Chorizo is a term encompassing several types of pork sausage
originating from the Iberian Peninsula.
Chorizo can be a fresh sausage, in which case it must be cooked, but in Europe
it is more frequently a fermented cured smoked sausage, in which case it is
usually sliced and eaten without cooking.
Spanish chorizo and Portuguese chouriço get their distinctive smokiness and deep red color from dried smoked
red peppers. Mexican chorizo usually has the
consistency of ground beef, though drier, due to the high chili powder content.
Chorizo can be eaten as is (sliced or in a sandwich), barbecued, fried, or
simmered in apple cider or other strong alcoholic beverage such as Aguardiente.
It also can be used as a partial replacement for ground beef or pork.
sausage slowly cooked in wine or cider
is common Spanish tapas.
Spanish chorizo is made from coarsely chopped pork and pork
fat, seasoned with smoked pimentón (paprika) and salt. It is generally classed
as either picante (spicy) or dulce (sweet), depending upon the type of smoked
paprika used. There are hundreds of regional varieties of Spanish chorizo, both
smoked and unsmoked, which may contain garlic, herbs and other
ingredients. Chorizo comes in short, long, hard and soft varieties, some
of which are suited to being eaten as an appetizer or tapas, whereas others are
better suited to cooking. Leaner varieties are typically better suited to tapas,
eaten at room temperature, whereas fattier versions are generally used for
cooking. A general rule of thumb is that long, thin chorizos are sweeter and
short chorizos are spicy, although this is not always the case.