How To Make Chorizo

Recipe from The Gourmet Farmer Deli Book

chorizo

Homemade Chorizo Recipe

Chorizo is a sausage that you can eat at three different stages: the first is fresh, and cooked on a barbecue as normal; the second is hung and cured for a couple of weeks, and then sliced and fried and eaten inside fresh bread; the third is hung for four weeks until it is hard, like a good salami. Try the different stages and see which is best for you.

Makes about seven to nine sausages.

Making your own chorizo is really exciting and satisfying but you must be aware that there are risks associated with it, especially to the young, the elderly and the infirm of constitution. Do your research and understand the process. Cooking cured meats before you eat them, however, reduces that risk to almost zero.

Equipment

You will need a meat mincer with a coarse mince attachment. This may be a hand mincer or an attachment for an electric mixer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions re sanitising and assembly.

A sausage cannon:

Butcher’s string

Ingredients

1 full-length natural hog casing

2 kg free-range pork shoulder, skin off1

7 purple garlic cloves, crushed

2 tbsp. smoked paprika

2 tbsp. sweet paprika

1 tbsp. dried oregano

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried chilli flakes

300 ml red wine

40 g pure sea salt

20 g freshly ground black pepper

a pinch of starter culture2

a pinch of sodium nitrate (optional) used to prevent bacteria.

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Photos by Robyn Rosenfeldt

Method

You’ll need a sausage stuffer and mincer – follow the manufacturer’s instructions re sanitising and assembly.

Soak the sausage casing in cold water for 1 hour, and then rinse it well inside and out. Thread the casing onto the sausage nozzle, put it onto a plate and keep in the refrigerator.

Remove the sanitised mincer parts from the freezer3 and assemble the mincer.

Cut the meat into pieces small enough to grind through the mincer. Using a medium-sized disc, grind the meat into a non-reactive bowl that has been sanitised and kept in the freezer. Wash and sanitise your hands (some people prefer to use gloves, but we think you can lose the feel of what you are doing, and with sausage making that is important). Combine the ground meat with the garlic, spices, wine, salt, pepper, starter culture and sodium nitrate, if using, and mix very well. Place in the refrigerator and leave overnight.

The next day, fill the bowl of the sausage cannon with the mixture — be careful not to leave any air pockets as this will create air pockets in the chorizo, which you want to avoid. Attach the nozzle to the end of the sausage cannon. Tie a knot at the end of the casing, pumping the mixture out of the end of the nozzle before you tie the knot as this will also stop air pockets from forming. Slowly start to crank the cannon and fill the casing to make the chorizo. Make sure to pack the casing tight as you fill it. Guide the casing out of the cannon using your thumb and forefinger onto a clean work surface as it fills. Once it has finished, massage the sausage to ensure that it is filled evenly. From the end that is tied, twist the filled casing at 23 cm (9 inch) intervals to make individual sausages. When you come to the end, tie the final knot.

Hang the sausages in a cool wellventilated place, about 12ºC.4

It takes about 2–3 weeks for the sausages to start to dry out — the longer you leave them the drier they will get. We prefer to cook them when they are at the early stage of the drying process.

Recipe based on The Gourmet Farmer Deli Book by Matthew Evans, Nick Haddow and Ross O’Meara (2012, Murdoch Books, rrp $49.99)

Notes

  1. If you haven’t got your hands on some old-breed pork, with a good ratio of fat to meat (fat would be about 15–20%), you will need to replace some meat with minced pork back fat.
  2. Starter cultures help to ferment sausages, which in turn develops their colour and flavour and ensures they are safe to eat; it’s best to get a commercial starter culture (from butchers’ supply stores) to ensure the right fermentation happens.
  3. A baby bottle sanitiser works well for most domestic sausage making.
  4. the best place to hang food is in a cellar or equivalent – somewhere about 12˚C that has some humidity, and is airy but not breezy.

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