Mexico and Spain are a world apart but their Chorizos aren’t that different after all. Both are minced meat filled into casings but dedicated time and loving care make the difference.
Chorizo simply means sausage in Spanish. Sausages are seasoned minced meat filled into various types of casings. Traditionally, casings are cleaned intestines of the butchered animal and still used as the most natural way of preparing sausages. There are other artificial variants like the still edible collagen made casings that are used on the industrial level food making and the not edible plastic ones that are used for lower quality products. More about sausage filling here: How To Make Sausage – Breakfast Sausage Recipe
In Spain there are a myriad of chorizo differing in size, ingredients and preparation method. There is two main categories where we can draw distinction is the freshly made uncured sausages and the cured sausages. The freshly made uncured sausages generally never leave the Spanish shores as they are consumed locally. These are the same things we can make in our kitchen and the ones we know as Mexcican chorizos, as well.
The other category holds all the chorizo the world most probably knows as Spanish Chorizo. These are generally smoked and cold air dried sausages that can be eaten raw after a curation period. These sausages are consumed as tapas in bars, filling in sandwiches or simply flavor dishes with their distinctive paprika and smoke savor.
Difference Between Mexican and Spanish Chorizo:
- How it’s made and sold: Mexican Chorizo is a spicy ground meat sausage that is most commonly sold fresh and uncooked, either loose or in a casing, although dried versions do exist. It is sold with other raw meat or sausages at the grocery store.
- Ingredients: While it is usually made of pork, Mexican Chorizo is a highly seasoned fatty sausage and it can be made out of other meat like beef. Most versions are bright or dark red in color, due to the seasonings but there is also green chorizo, which gets its namesake color from chili and cilantro.
- How to use it: Mexican chorizo must be cooked before eating. Even though it can be sold in casings, recipes usually call for the meat to be removed from the casings before being cooked and crumbled in the pan. It can be used in tacos, tortas, and is often served at breakfast with scrambled eggs in Mexico.
- How it’s made and sold: Spanish Chorizo is a dried and cured sausage in a casing. It can be usually found with other ready-to-eat cured meat products like salami. These chorizos can be smoked or unsmoked, and may be sweet or spicy. We usually find Spanish chorizos with the other cured and smoked sausages like salami.
- Ingredients: This chorizo is made of chopped pork and pork fat and it is seasoned with smoked paprika, which gives it its vibrant color. Other ingredients such as garlic and herbs may also be added. There are sweet and spicy varieties of Spanish Chorizo.
- How to use it: Most Spanish Chorizo can be eaten as it is, casings and all, and they are often served as tapas in Spain. They have a very dense and almost chewy texture and are often added to soups for richness and flavor.