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Friday, January 1, 2010

Homemade Mexican-style Chorizo

I love good Mexican food and have either learned or developed a few good recipes of my own. One of these recipes is for chorizo. Mexican-style chorizo is a very spicy fresh sausage and can be made from different kinds of meats. Usually it is made from pork, but beef, turkey, venison or a mixture of any of these is also good. Chorizo, unlike most other sausages, is traditionally made with lean meat, making it a healthier choice for eating. The spice mix I have here is one I came up with after lengthy study and experimentation. I have also discovered that this mix makes a killer spice rub for grilling meats, as well as spices for cooking meat for other dishes.

Dry Spice Mix:

7 tsp. of salt
6 tbsp. ground ancho chiles
6 tbsp. ground chipotle chiles
4 tbsp. paprika
6-10 tsp. crushed red pepper (depending on how hot you like it!)
4 tbsp, crushed oregano
4 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground coriander
¼ tsp. each ginger and cloves
4 tsp. brown sugar

Place all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

Mexican-style Chorizo

2 pounds ground meat
1/2 recipe of the dry spice mix
5-8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup hot water

Mix the dry spice mix with the garlic, vinegar and hot water. Set aside to soak about 10 minutes or so. It should make a slightly thin paste, add more hot water if needed. Stir the paste into the ground meat and mix well. Usually you can do it with a very stout spoon, but sometimes you may need to use your hands. Divide the meat up into 4-5 small containers and allow to set overnight in the refrigerator. After that it can be frozen and taken out as needed.

When I use chorizo I often start out cooking it the same way. I add a small amount of vegetable oil to a skillet, then the chorizo and fry gently for a few minutes, breaking up the chorizo as it fries. Then I add about 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, a finely chopped green chile or two and about a cup of chopped tomato. I continue frying until the mixture is almost dry. This by itself makes a great filling for tacos. If I am cooking this at breakfast time, I'll beat 5-6 eggs and add to the skillet, cooking as for scrambled eggs. Taking care not to cook the eggs too dry. This with beans and tortillas makes a good breakfast for 3-4 people.

The next recipe I have using chorizo is one given me by my good friend Padre Javier who lives in Monterrey, Mexico. I have friends who hate beans, but who beg me to make these.

Padre Javier's refried beans

Heat a couple tablespoons of oil it a deep skillet. Fry the chorizo, along with a finely chopped peeled onion and 1-2 chopped jalapeno peppers and 2-3 finely chopped tomatoes. When mixture begins to get a bit dry, puree 2-3 cups cooked black or pinto beans with ½ cup milk or half and half. Add to the skillet and simmer, stirring frequently, until the beans are fairly thick. Spoon into a serving dish and top with grated monterey jack cheese. Eat as a side dish with Mexican food or leave a bit soupy and use as a dip for chips. Guaranteed to please!