& COOKING ARTICLE
chorizo - the most famous of Spanish sausages. There
is a lot you can do with chorizos but there are also
many different varieties to consider when buying. Some
chorizos are good for cooking and barbequing, others
simply for tapas or slicing and there is of course the
different strengths and whether to consider standard
chorizos or the top of the range Bierce variety. Here
we will cover your firm favorites, a few tasting notes
and what you can do with this world famous sausage.
Cooking chorizos are only mildly cured, usually for
around 5 days less than standard chorizo. These sausages
are soft and should always come vacuum packed. When
removed from the vacuum pack the chorizos almost look
pink, this is perfectly normal and they can be fried
or barbequed straight away as well as being a main ingredient
in a Spanish stew. You can however hang the chorizos
up in a cool dry place where their pink colouration
will begin to darken, this is part of the natural process
of curing, the chorizo will also begin to firm up.
Cooking chorizos are ideal for hot tapas, fried and
then sliced into inch long segments they can be served
on cocktail sticks with olives, cheese or green chili
to name but a few good flavour combinations. The famous
dish from Northern Spain the "Fabada Asturiana"
uses chorizo as a main ingredient alongside morcilla
(black pudding sausage" and beans - a classic dish
but you can also make your own stew using this highly
This really is the king of everyday quality Spanish
chorizo. Cured for approximately one week these sausages
come hand tied in a string, firm but not hard these
chorizo are suitable for cooking as well as serving
directly as tapas. Two different strengths are available:
"Dulce" (sweet) and "Picante"
(hot). Here at Orce Serrano Hams however you can also
enjoy what is known as the "Fire Chorizo",
the locals like to call it "chorizo del fuego"
or the "super picante" chorizo. Again suitable
for most cooking and tapas this chorizo really packs
a punch if you enjoy your tapas or ingredients hot
Standard chorizo can also come in other sizes too,
horseshoe shaped chorizo is very common and you can
also get mini chorizos in a string. The flavour of
the authentic hand made chorizo is far superior to
other mass produced varieties particularly sausages
which have been vacuum packed for large retailers.
Every local "carniceria" (butchers) follows
a basic recipe for chorizo but there are many variations
which result in subtle flavour differences, the addition
of white wine or a little sherry, less chili more
paprika etc etc. Each butcher has their recipe perfected!
the Orce Fire Chorizo being made >>>
The chorizo extra is a very large chorizo usually
weighing in at between one and two kilos and approximately
three inched across this chorizo is ideal for machine
carving. The flavour of this chorizo is quite tangy
and it best served on a platter with other sliced
meats such as Serrano ham, salchichon and lomo tenderloin.
Thin slices can be cut into strips which add depth
to salads and chicken dishes.
Although most chorizo sausages in Spain are referred
to as "duro" which literally means "hard"
this term is loosely used to describe something that
is cured. There is however a chorizo sausage that
has been cured so that it has a firm consistency all
the way through. The chorizo duro is a larger sausage
around 350 - 400g that comes on its own tied with
rope around the top of the sausage. This chorizo has
a sweeter flavour than most and needs to be carved
wafer thin for best results. As with the chorizo extra
it good for tapas on its own and thinly sliced for
tapas, however for cooking the standard or cooking
varieties are much more adapt.
Iberico chorizo is a different product altogether
and to be truly savoured should be eaten sliced on
its own or with other complimentary Spanish tapas.
Just like the famous Iberico hams these chorizos come
from the Iberian pig - a relative of the wild boar
from the Iberian peninsular, these pigs are fed on
acorns and again, as with the exquisite hams they
produce the nutty flavour from the Iberian sausage
is exceptional. Look out for the word "bellota"
(acorn fed) and you will experience a real gastronomic
treat (there are lesser grades/non bellota) available.
The texture and aroma from these sausages speaks
quality, best served at room temperature these chorizo
need to be sliced moderately thinly (3mm) and left
to breath for at least 5 - 10 minutes to bring up
to room temperature. At this point you will notice
that the skin of the sausage will start to separate
from the meat, this is the time to enjoy.
Complimentary tapas and accompaniments to Iberian
chorizo include: Full bodied, slightly bossy red wines,
manchego cheese and milder cheeses also work well.
Grapes add a sweetness to the depth of this sausage
as does mango, orange and ripe exotic fruits such
as kiwi. Almonds (not salted) and hazels can add additional
texture and for the main all rounder - simple sweet
tomatoes, either cherry or sliced vine ripened varieties.
Your Questions Answered:
(guidance for Orce Serrano Hams chorizos
Q: What is the best way to take
care of the chorizo sausages?
A: This will all depend on which
type you buy. As a general rule vacuum packed chorizo
sausages will keep in the fridge for up to three months,
once the vacuum has been broken then the chorizos should
be hung in a cool dry place away from humidity where
they will continue to cure and should be consumed within
Q: Should I put my chorizos
in the fridge?
A: If your purchase is vacuum
packed (including horshoe and mini varieties) then yes
they/it should be refridegerated. The exception to this
is the "chorizo duro" which comes wrapped
in special paper - this chorizo should not be kept in
Q: How long will the Orce chorizos
A: Once the vacuum seal has
been opened the chorizos will last for another two weeks,
at this point they will become very firm and although
still perfectly ok to consume they will be very well
cured and hard.
This Spanish sausage seems to have a wonderful array
of pronunciations! However the correct pronunciation
is "chor - ee - tho".
The Spice Factor
These are very mild chorizos and although they contain
paprika it is of the sweet variety, the chorizo dulce
is the sweet chorizo and has no "heat" just
authentic chorizo flavours.
The "picante" chorizo is the hot and spicy
variety, a moderate "kick" which does calm
down with cooking. Warm and spicy this chorizo could
be described as a moderate plus on the chili scale.
A special recipe and unavailable anywhere else the
Orce Fire Chorizo packs a real punch. Very hot, very
spicy and and ideal tapa for those who like a real
kick with their Spanish food. Best accompanied with
cool salads, mild salsas and fresh bread. Cooks well,
adds depth and character to Spanish recipes.
Other sausages to cook with:
Morcilla is another popular Spanish sausage. This
black pudding also comes tied in strings of sausages.
Morcilla is vacuum sealed for transportation the day
it leaves us here in Orce and needs to be kept refridgerated
even after the pack is opened as although it has been
cured it is very fresh. Morcilla makes a great breakfast
and also as an ingredients in stews. Other popular
ways of using morcilla in Spanish recipes is to stuff
and roll pancetta before cooking as a joint, you can
also stuff boned chicken legs or course simply fry
up as simple tapas. Morcilla sausages also come in
both hot and sweet varieties.
SAUSAGES DIRECT FROM SPAIN >>>
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