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Chorizo (Spanish: [tʃoˈɾiθo]; Asturian: chorizu [tʃoˈɾiθu]; Galician: chourizo [tʃowˈɾiθo]; Portuguese: chouriço [ʃoˈɾisu]; Catalan: xoriço [ʃuˈɾisu]) is a term encompassing several types of pork sausages originating from the Iberian Peninsula. In English, it is usually pronounced /tʃɵˈriːθoʊ/, /tʃɵˈriːzoʊ/, or /tʃɵˈriːsoʊ/, but sometimes /tʃɵˈriːtsoʊ/.

Chorizo can be a fresh sausage, in which case it must be cooked before eating. 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 (pimentón/pimentão or colorau). Due to culinary tradition, and the expense of imported Spanish smoked paprika, Mexican chorizo (and chorizo throughout Latin America) is usually made with chili peppers, which are used abundantly in Mexican cuisine. In Latin America, vinegar also tends to be used instead of the white wine usually used in Spain. In Spain and Portugal, the sausages are usually encased in natural casings made from intestines, in a traditional method that has been used since Roman times. In Latin America, they are usually encased in artificial casings, have a smooth commercial appearance, and artificial colorings are often used.

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.[1]

Spanish-style tapas bars that serve traditional-style chorizo have gained in popularity in recent years, and now appear in many large cities throughout North America.

Spanish chorizoEdit

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. Hundreds of regional varieties of Spanish chorizo, both smoked and unsmoked, may contain garlic, herbs and other ingredients.[2] For example, Pamplona-style chorizo is a thicker sausage with the meat more finely ground. Among the varieties is chorizo Riojano from the La Rioja region; and has PGI protection within the EU.

Chorizo comes in short, long, hard and soft varieties; the leaner varieties are suited to being eaten at room temperature as an appetizer or tapas, whereas the fattier versions are generally used for cooking.[3] A general rule of thumb is that long, thin chorizos are sweet, and short chorizos are spicy, although this is not always the case.[4]

As well as chorizo, Spain also produces many other varieties of pork elaborations, such as lomo embuchado or salchichón, cured and air-dried in a similar way. Lomo is a lean, cured meat to slice, made from the loin of the pig, which is marinated and then air-dried. Salchichón is another cured sausage without the pimentón seasoning of chorizo, but flavoured with black peppercorns instead.[5]

Depending on the variety, chorizo can be eaten directly, sliced in a sandwich, barbecued, or fried or baked alongside other foodstuffs, and is also an ingredient in several dishes where it accompanies beans, such as fabada or cocido madrileño. The version of these dishes con todos los sacramentos (with all the sacraments) adds to chorizo other preserved meats such as tocino (cured bacon) and morcilla (Spanish blood sausage).

Portuguese chouriçoEdit

Portuguese chouriço is made with pork, fat, wine, paprika, and salt. It is then stuffed into natural or artificial casings and slowly dried over smoke. There are many different varieties, differing in color, shape, seasoning and taste. Many dishes of Portuguese cuisine and Brazilian cuisine make use of chouriço - cozido à portuguesa and feijoada are just two of them.

A popular way to prepare chouriço is partially sliced and flame-cooked over alcohol at the table. Special glazed earthenware dishes with a lattice top are used for this purpose.

In Portugal, there is also a blood chouriço (chouriço de sangue) very similar to the black pudding, amongst many other types of enchidos (Spanish: embutido), such as alheira, linguiça, morcela, farinheira, chouriço de Vinho, chouriço de ossos, cacholeira, paia, paio, paiola, paiote, salpicão and tripa enfarinhada.

Mexican chorizoEdit

Based on the uncooked Spanish chorizo fresco, the Mexican versions of chorizo are made from fatty pork (however, beef, venison, kosher, and even vegan versions are known). The meat is usually ground rather than chopped, and different seasonings are used. This type is better known in Mexico and other parts of the Americas, and is not frequently found in Europe. Chorizo and longaniza are not considered the same thing in Mexico.

The area of Toluca, Mexico, known as the capital of chorizo outside of the Iberian Peninsula, specializes in "green" chorizo, which is made with tomatillo, cilantro, chilis, garlic, or a combination of these. The green chorizo recipe is native to Toluca. Most Mexican chorizo is a deep reddish color, and is largely available in two varieties, fresh and dried, though fresh is much more common. Quality chorizo is made from good cuts of pork stuffed in natural casings,[6] while some of the cheapest commercial styles use variety meats[7] stuffed in inedible plastic casing to resemble sausage links. Before consumption, the casing is usually cut open and the sausage is fried in a pan and mashed with a fork until it resembles finely minced ground beef. A common alternative recipe does not involve casings: ground pork and beef are cured overnight with a little vinegar and a lot of chili powder. Served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it has the fine mince-texture mentioned above, and is quite intense in flavor.

In Mexico, restaurants and food stands make tacos, queso fundido (or choriqueso), burritos, and tortas with cooked chorizo, and it is also a popular pizza topping. Chorizo con huevos is a popular breakfast dish in Mexico and areas of Mexican immigration. It is made by mixing fried chorizo with scrambled eggs. Chorizo con huevos is often used in breakfast burritos, tacos and taquitos. A popular Mexican recipe in which chorizo is used as an ingredient is to combine it with pinto or black refried beans. This is done by simply frying the chorizo and then combining it with refried beans. This combination is often used in tortas as a spread, or as a side dish where plain refried beans would normally be served. In Mexico, chorizo is also used to make the popular appetizer chorizo con queso (or choriqueso), which is small pieces of chorizo served in or on melted cheese, and eaten with small corn tortillas. In heavily Mexican parts of the United States, a popular filling for breakfast tacos is chorizo con papas, or diced potatoes sautéed until soft with chorizo mixed in.

Comparison with linguiçaEdit

Linguiça can be found mostly at Brazilian or Portuguese restaurants in Mexico, or where there are significant Brazilian immigrants. In Brazil, the term "choriço" is typically used to refer to blood sausages, while "linguiça" refers to meat sausages.

Linguiça, found in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, San Francisco Bay Area, Hawaii, Seattle and New Jersey, is generally known as a Portuguese sausage. In the heavily Portuguese-ethnic areas of southeastern Massachusetts, there is much debate over the merits of the two; chouriço is considered the spicier, more accepted alternative to the subtler flavor of linguiça, although many restaurants, especially pizzerias, use the terms interchangeably. (A general rule in area pizzerias is that chouriço is ground on the pizza, whereas linguiça is usually sliced in a manner similar to pepperoni. Both are very popular toppings.) Other popular meals include chouriço and chips (a sandwich on a long roll filled with sliced or ground chouriço and French fries, especially popular in Fall River, MA), chouriço and eggs (a variation on the Spanish chorizo con huevos), and are a common ingredient in New England clam bakes and clam boils.

Puerto Rico and Dominican RepublicEdit

In Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, chorizo and longaniza are considered two separate meats. Puerto Rican chorizo is a smoked, well-seasoned sausage nearly identical to the smoked versions in Spain. Puerto Rican and Dominican longanizas have a very different taste and appearance. Seasoned meat is stuffed into pork intestine and is formed very long by hand. It is then hung to air-dry. Longaniza can then be fried in oil or cooked with rice or beans. It is eaten with many different dishes.

South AmericaEdit

In Ecuador, sausages are not among the most popular dishes. Many of these products have been directly adopted from European or North American cuisine. All salami sorts, either raw or smoked, are just known as salami. Most commonly known are sorts from Spanish chorizo, Italian pepperoni and wiener sausages; wieners are the most popular. Nevertheless, there are still some local specialities, such as morcilla, longaniza or chorizo. While morcilla in most Spanish-speaking countries is basically cooked pork blood encased in pork intestine casing (black pudding in English), longaniza is a thin sausage containing almost any mixture of meat, fat or even cartilage, smoked rather than fresh. Chorizo is a mixture of chopped pork meat, pork fat, salt, whole pepper grains, cinnamon, achiote and other spices, which produce its characteristic deep red colour. A traditional dish, as an exception confirming the rule, consists of fried egg, mashed potatoes, a half avocado, salad, and several slices of fried chorizo.

In Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia, chorizo is the name for any coarse meat sausage. Spanish-style chorizo is also available, and is distinguished by the name "chorizo español" (Spanish chorizo). Argentine chorizos are normally made of pork, and are not spicy hot. Some Argentine chorizos include other types of meat, typically beef. In Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, a fresh chorizo, cooked and served in a bread roll, is called a choripán. In Colombia, chorizo is usually accompanied by arepa.

In Brazil, many varieties of Portuguese-style chouriço and linguiça (basically equivalent to American Spanish chorizo and longaniza) are used in many different types of dishes, such as feijoada.

Goan chouriçoEdit

In Goa, India, chouriço has made a deep impact among the local Catholic community owing to 451 years of Portuguese rule. Here, chouriço are deep red pork sausage links made from pork, vinegar, chili, garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, and other spices, and are extremely hot, spicy and flavorful, that are then stuffed into chitterlings (pigs intestines). These are enjoyed either with the local Goan bread (e.g. pão), or pearl onions, or both. They are also used in a rice-based dish called pulão. They are never consumed raw due to health concerns.

One can find three kinds of chouriço in Goa: dry, wet, and skin. Dry chouriço is aged in the sun for long periods (three months or more). Wet chouriço has been aged for about a month. Skin chouriço, also aged, is rare and difficult to find. Skin chouriço consists primarily of pork skin and some fat. All three chouriço come in variations such as hot, medium and mild. Other variations exist, depending on the size of the links, which range from 1 inch (smallest) to 6 inches. Typically, the wet varieties tend to be longer than the dry ones.

In Goa, tourists often refer to chouriço as "sausage", which causes it to be often confused with "Goan frankfurters". These are very different from chouriço. In looks, they are similar to sausage links as found in the United States, and they taste similar to Portuguese sausage links, known as linguiça. The meat is coarsely ground and has primarily a peppercorn flavor.


Longaniza (Tagalog: longganisa; Visayan: chorizo, soriso) are Philippine chorizos flavoured with indigenous spices. Longaniza-making has a long tradition in the Philippines, with each region having its own specialty. Among others, Lucban longaniza is known for its garlic profile, and Guagua for its salty, almost sour, longanizas. Longganisang hamonado (Spanish: longaniza jamonada), by contrast, is known for its distinctive sweet taste. Unlike Spanish chorizos, longanizas can also be made of chicken, beef, or even tuna.

While longanizas are fresh sausages, there are also cured sausages in the Philippines called chorizos. They are available the Spanish style and the Chinese style. They are used in dishes which have Spanish and Chinese influences, such as Philippine-style paella, and pancit Canton.

See alsoEdit


  1. Jerry Predika (1983), The Sausage-Making Cookbook, Stackpole Books, ISBN 9780811716932, ISBN 0811716937, 
  2. The U.S. Times, Truly Spanish Chorizo, in America at Last
  3. Schwarzwälder. Culinaria Spain. Cologne: Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, 1998. p 345.
  4. Aris, Pepita. Spanish: Over 150 Mouthwatering Step-By-Step Recipes. London: Anness Publishing Ltd, 2003 pp 54-55.
  5. - Types of Spanish Chorizo (Sausage)
  6. Chorizo recipes
  7. Chorizo ingredient scan

External linksEdit

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