What is Iberian “Chorizo”?
It is a sausage made with the meat of Iberian pigs, which is cured through a drying process similar to that of other cold meats. It is originally from Spain and it has an elongated and rounded shape due to the fact that it is stuffed into the pig’s own intestine. One of its most important ingredients is paprika, that gives it its characteristic reddish colour.
How is it made?
First of all, it is important to say that there are many varieties of chorizos. Each of these varieties has its own specific characteristics during the production phase. We will focus on a standard Iberian “chorizo”.
For the production of an Iberian “chorizo“, we need lean meat and bacon from Iberian pigs, paprika, salt and some garlic. In addition, other spices can be added, but this is what we would consider all Iberian chorizo should contain.
We will prepare and mix the ingredients in the following way:
- Chop the lean meat and the fat into small pieces so that they are easier to mix.
- When we have the chopped meat, we will mix it with the rest of the spices and ingredients that we want to use in the elaboration, and we will knead it so that it becomes a compact mixture.
- Once we have obtained the mixture, we will let it sit so that the smells and flavors of the ingredients harmonize. This will make the future “chorizo” get its unique aroma and flavor. This step will last approximately 24 hours.
- Once the flavors and aromas have been well mixed, we will stuff the product in natural pork casing. This will give the product its characteristic shape. Depending on the type of casing used, the “chorizo” will have one size or another.
- When we have put all the mixture of the ingredients in the casing, we the curing process will start. This phase is carried out by means of a traditional air drying process in an environment with a suitable temperature and humidity, or as it was done in the past: in a room with smoke (this was done in order to avoid the presence of insects in the drying process).
- During the final stage of drying or ripening, the product finishes its drying process and obtains the optimum curing point for commercialization or consumption. The time spent both in this phase and in the previous one will depend on the size of the product, the composition and the environmental conditions. The process usually lasts between 4 and 6 weeks.
How should we eat it?
As all Iberian cold meats, it is a product that can be easily combined with others. The best options are usually a good Iberian ham, a pork loin or a piece of Manchego cheese. Serving all this with some bread, tomato and good wine, cava or beer ensures an excellent experience.
It can be cut by machine or with a knife in thin slices, and it should be eaten at a temperature of around 19ºC, so that we can appreciate its excellent aroma and flavour.
It is a pleasure to eat “chorizo”, and even more if it is Iberian. It can be served in many different ways, but it is important to know how to consume it, and to enjoy it!
In our next post we will talk about the different varieties of “chorizo” that exist depending on their origin, the animal they come from, the ingredients used and their shape. All these factors make each “chorizo” unique.
Come to taste the “chorizo” that we have chosen for our customers in our stores with tasting zone, find the one that is closest to you or order your chorizo on-line.