Chorizo Norteño. You know how you have special food memories stuck in your head from years past? It keeps playing over and over in your mind. So much so, that you could see the images clearly, hear the sounds, smell the aromas of the food prepared. In this case it was this rustic chorizo Norteño that my abuela(grandmother) used to prepare.
Let’s Do This! We Don’t Need No Stinking Measurements! Lol!
If you grew up like me, mom or abuelita cooked from scratch with no set rules! No written recipes. A little of this, a little of that and later there was this most delicious home cooked Mexican feast. Now I understand why mom never sat down with us at the dinner table right away! She would sit at the kitchen table or go outside and smoke her cigarette before coming in to enjoy her meal, ha, ha, ha! She silently worked hard cooking every meal without ever asking for any help. Try preparing chiles rellenos for 10-12 people and come out of it calm and smiling! Thank you Mom!
What Is So Different About This Chorizo Recipe Compared To The Others On My Blog?
For many years I was so curious about the chorizo recipe I remember from my childhood. Long strands of links tied together hanging from temporary lines in my abuela’s dining room. The intense aroma of vinegar, spices and chile ancho filled the air. What made this chorizo recipe different was how freaking simple the ingredients are. My version has a few more ingredients than what my tia originally shared with me. There were no measurements, just a list of ingredients. I couldn’t make out the directions either, lol! But, thanks to my prima(cousin) Laura Garcia, she had shared the instructions with me years ago. I used that experience to challenge myself to try and prepare a tasty, dried chorizo finally. When the chorizo dries, the flavors are more concentrated. The texture of the chorizo becomes more firm. It doesn’t turn to mush when you cook it. You literally have to chop it into smaller pieces before you use it in your recipes.
Can I Use A Mix Of Dried Chiles Instead Of Just Chile Ancho?
Absolutelty! Since I wanted the chorizo to resemble the flavors the way I remembered, I stuck to only chile ancho. I would definitely prepare another version with a mix of guajillo, morita, puya and cascabel. Love them all. If you don’t feel comfortable using the whole spices, you could use already ground spices. I have a power blender, so it does the job well. I make it a habit to use whole spices 90% of the time. I use a coffee grinder only for spices
What Is The Best Pork To Use For This Recipe?
Chorizo Norteño traditionally is prepared with fatty pork butt, chopped small. I took a short cut this time and purchased a good quality ground pork. If it’s too lean, it is not as tasty, in my opinion. But, that is really up to you in the end. Like I stated, there are no set rules. In the past I have used beef, even a mix of pork, beef and veal. Some of my followers have told me they use ground chicken. I will always encourage you to get creative and make the recipe the way you will enjoy it.
Let’s Get To It!
Once you have prepared the chorizo, there are a few options. You can use quart size freezer bags to freeze the chorizo in 1 cup portions. You could use the collagen links that I show you in this post. Fill them, freeze the links filled with fresh chorizo. Or, you can fill casings, then hang the tied casings to dry for 6-7 days. I was told by a friend, that I could dry them out in the refrigerator as well. Not sure how long it takes to dry out. I will keep you posted!
Be Careful When Adding Vinegar Directly To The Meat!
Years ago when I was first experimenting with preparing chorizo, I mixed in a lot of vinegar and let the meat marinate for more than one hour. After straining out the vinegar(didn’t like that job!), I felt like the meat was a bit mealy. Not my favorite. In this recipe, you are mixing in a small amount of vinegar directly to the meat. I wanted to make sure it picked up the vinegar flavor. I really am happy with the results of this chorizo recipe! Did I mention that?
If you own a kitchen aid with the sausage making attachment, bless you! Lol! I don’t, so this definitely was a labor of love! I need plan B next time I prepare more chorizo! I am very good at adapting!
Is It Chorizo Con Huevo or Huevo Con Chorizo?
Both! Love it no matter how you refer to it. The images below are the way I remember the chorizo con huevo in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
- 9 oz dried chile ancho
- 4 lbs. ground pork butt/shoulder
- ½ c apple cider vinegar
- ½ c white distilled vinegar
- 2 tbsps. Mexican oregano
- 2 tbsps. cumin seeds
- 2 tbsps. peppercorns
- 2 tbsps. crushed red pepper flakes
- 15-20 whole cloves
- 18-20 cloves of garlic
- Kosher Salt I roughly added about 6 tbsps.
- 2 cups water
- Fresh Collagen Casings 21mm size, but think it would work better with larger size casings
- Piping bag with metal tip
- In a large pot, pour in 1 ½ quarts of water. Heat to medium heat. Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chile ancho. If the peppers look dusty, rinse them with lukewarm water in a colander. Transfer cleaned peppers to 1 ½ quarts of water coming up to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the ground pork to a large glass or ceramic bowl. In a large glass, mix the apple cider vinegar with white vinegar. Pour in half of the vinegar to the pork. Reserve the other half of the vinegar for later. Stir the pork with vinegar until well combined. Set aside for 30-35 minutes.
- In a skillet, combine the oregano, cumin seeds, peppercorns, red pepper flakes and whole cloves. Heat to below medium. After a few minutes when the spices become aromatic, stir often for the next 3 minutes. They should be slightly aromatic. Remove from heat. Reserve.
- Drain out all the water from softened chile ancho. Transfer to the blender. Also to the blender, add the fresh garlic and all of the lightly toasted spices from the skillet. Pour in the reserved vinegar. I started by adding 3 tablespoons of salt. Remember, this must be on the salty side for it to season the chorizo thoroughly. Pour in just enough water to get the adobo to blend smooth. Blend on high until very smooth. I am using a power mixer and there is no need to strain the adobo when you use a power blender. Taste for salt. In the end, I ended up using a little more than 6 tablespoons of salt. But, of course, you can add to your liking.
- Once you are happy with the seasoning of the adobo, pour in 4 cups of the adobo. It's 1 cu[ of adobo per 1 lb. of meat. Mix well to combine. If you have plastic gloves available, mix with your hands for better results. Freeze remaining adobo for future recipes. Test ¼ c of the chorizo. Cook at medium heat in a skillet for 7-8 minutes. Taste for salt. If it needs more, adjust the salt to your liking.
- For easy storage, you can freeze the chorizo in quart size freezer bags flat. I add 8-9 ounces per bag. It will improve with flavor after one month. I can never wait that long!
- If you want to use the collagen casings and dry the chorizo, estilo Norteño, this will require the piping bag and 6-7 days of drying time. The casings I used were small, so it was not an easy task piping in the chorizo, I must confess. How long you want to make the links is up to you. I used cooking twine to tie the links. I hung them to dry in a cool, non-drafty space for 8 days. I think they were ready after 6-7 days though. It was my first-time drying chorizo. It is sooo delicious! Reminds me so much of the chorizo my abuelita and tias used to prepare! The chorizo will shrink a bit as it dries.