Cho-Ritz-O ‡

Chorizo is a pork sausage that originated in the Iberian Peninsula, where it exists in many styles, from fresh (uncooked) to fermented, smoked, and cured. The spelling and pronunciation of its name varies with the country that makes it. In Europe, its smokiness and deep red color derive from dried smoked peppers, whereas, in Mexico and Latin America it is usually made with red chiles. In Europe, they add wine; over here they use vinegar. There’s even a soy-based version, Soyrizo® that is not too bad, and which I used before I concocted this recipe. It is not usually eaten as a separate dish, but used as a partial replacement for ground beef or pork in recipes desiring a certain piquancy.

An old high school mate,* Bill Don Creighton,* made sausage for the Glover Packing Company in Roswell, NM for 17 years. He lamented that they used so much suet in their product as to require refrigeration just to stay coherent. He sent me his own lower-fat version of their product, which I have further tweaked to more closely fit my own dietary guidelines. The recipe calls for pork, but reconstituted textured vegetable protein (TVP), or half of each, may be substituted.

  • 1 lb lean ground hog
  • 1 tbsp <salt>
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp powdered cumin
  • 1 tsp powdered coriander
  • 1 tsp smoky paprika
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne chile
  • 3 tbsp NM chile powder
  • 1 tsp red chile flakes
  • 1 tsp <sugar>
  • 2 tsp leaf Mexican oregano
  • 2 tsp powdered onion
  • 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
  • 4 tbsp white vinegar
  • 4 tbsp water

Combine all but the last three ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until all constituents are well mixed into the mixture. Sprinkle the wheat gluten over this and remix until well incorporated. Add the water and vinegar and re-remix until again a uniform mixture. I like to use an electric hand mixer for doing this.

Roll out the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap, form into a tubular (sausage) shape, roll up, and twist the ends to seal the package. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to be used.

Alternately, form into ¼ lb patties and refrigerate or freeze for later use. To use, spray a sauté pan with oil and cook patties until browned all over and cooked in the middle.