A coarsely textured spiced pork sausage widely used in Spanish and Mexican cooking. It is made from coarsely chopped pork and red pepper and seasoned with chilli and paprika. Mexican chorizo is made with fresh pork while Spanish chorizo uses smoked pork.
Chorizo can be bought as a whole sausage of either soft cooking chorizo, which must be cooked before eating, or a firmer, drier cured sausage which can be sliced and eaten without cooking. It is also sold thinly sliced, like salami, to be enjoyed raw as tapas.
Spanish chorizo gets its trademark smoky flavour and rich red colour from Pimenton, which is smoked Spanish paprika, and is usually very spicy. Uncooked chorizo is softer to the touch and, when cooked, releases a delicious spicy red oil. Indeed, often recipes using chorizo do not call for additional oil to be added to the pan since it provides its own.
Available fresh, dried or semi-dried from Spanish shops, delicatessens and good supermarkets.
Keep chorizo in the refrigerator away from uncooked foods. Sliced chorizo should be used within a week of opening; whole sausages can be kept for up to two weeks.
The outer wrapper or 'skin' should be peeled off before cooking.
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