Homemade Mexican Chorizo

I'm in big trouble.

Big. Big. BIG trouble.

Because last week, I went and taught myself how to make chorizo.

Chorizo is a regular on my grocery list. It's more regular than bacon. It's more regular than chicken.

I'm fairly certain that I have eaten just as much, if not more, chorizo as I have chicken in the past year.

When it comes down to it, I prefer the cured, smokey Spanish kind. For a long time, I didn't even like Mexican chorizo, which is fresh like Italian sausage, with less salt and more sweetness.

But then, a taco happened.

I went out with a colleague to a Mexican place not far from where I live and absentmindedly ordered chorizo tacos, the icy margarita I'd downed quickly upon arrival that hot night causing me to forget that I "didn't like" Mexican chorizo.

And when it arrived I was like, "oh, right!" but it was too late because I wasn't paying and didn't want to be a pest, so I ate it and surprised myself.

Because even though it wasn't Spanish chorizo, it was still good and I still loved it. The heat and the tough of nutty sweetness from the addition of...was that cinnamon?

Eugene and I go to that place all the time now, and I order everything with chorizo on top: the tacos, the huaraches.

In the mornings, I get it on eggs.

Last week while doing groceries, I saw that ground pork was on a ridiculous sale. I had to buy it (a lot of it), and as I went through recipe ideas in my head (meatballs? meatloaf? ragu?) I suddenly thought of chorizo.

You guys, this is SO easy. You throw some spices and aromatics in the blender and puree them into a rich paste. Then you mix it with the ground pork.

Done. You have sausage.

Seriously. That's it. You can DO this! (Yes, YOU!)

You don't need a casing because Mexican chorizo is always removed from the casing anyway, and you don't need special equipment.

You don't even need to eat pork, because this recipe would be just as lovely with ground chicken and then you can call it "chickarizo."

You will need some patience because as easy as it is to make, it really does taste better the next day (and best on the third).

(Note that I lack patience and had some on the first day anyway. It was still delicious, just not yet super chorizo-y.)

Oh, and once you mix it and make it, you can divide it into portions, wrap it in plastic wrap, and freeze it. Fresh chorizo. Pounds and pounds of it.

And you made it.

So far, I've used my chorizo to make breakfast tacos and broccoli rabe. I want to mix it into burger patties.

This would be awesome stuffed into these mushrooms, too.

(And once you make this, you should give my equally easy Homemade Merguez Sausage recipe a try. You expert sausage maker, you!)

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Homemade Mexican Chorizo
Mexican chorizo recipes vary, and based on your personal taste preferences, you may find that you want more of some spices or less of others. The best way is to fry up a tiny portion to taste and then adjust accordingly. 

5 dried ancho chiles (substitute guajillo chiles)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 medium red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
8 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika (see note below)
2 teaspoons ground oregano
1 teaspoon ground cayenne
4 rounded teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3lbs ground pork (not lean)

Combine the ancho chiles in a small pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and then remove from heat. Let soak 15-20 minutes, or until the chiles are soft and rehydrated. Remove the stems and place the chiles (with seeds) in a blender or food processor (reserving the soaking liquid).

Add the vinegar, onion, garlic, and bay leaf to the blender along with the chiles and puree into a smooth, thick paste, adding some of the soaking liquid as needed to loosen the paste and help blend.

Place the ground pork in a large bowl or base of an electric mixer. Pour in the paste and all of the spices and mix until evenly combined.

Transfer the mix to an air-tight container or bag, and refrigerate at least 8 hours to allow the flavors to marinate. After 8 hours, the chorizo will be ready to cook, or you can divide into smaller portions for freezing and storing. (Will keep well in the freezer for at least 4 months as long as it's properly stored.)
Note on Paprika: Mexican chorizo is typically made with sweet paprika, not smoked, but I actually prefer the flavor of the smoked paprika. Use whichever you prefer--both will be delicious!

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