Homemade Chorizo

One of the restrictions in this diet we’re trying is “no nitrates or nitrites”. When I read this recipe for a paleo breakfast casserole using chorizo I knew I wanted to try it, but every brand of chorizo I could find had nitrites added. So what’s a girl to do? Make her own chorizo, of course!

The first place I look for charcuterie recipes now is Punk Domestics. I read every recipe on there for making fresh chorizo and then combined them to use what I had on hand and our taste preferences (all the oregano!). Several recipes called for spices like cloves and cinnamon. I substituted allspice, which is native to the New World and goes very well with chiles and achiote.

Fresh chorizo was a revelation. I usually buy dried chorizo but the fresh is spicy and heady in a completely different way. My homemade chorizo has much less fat than store-bought, also. Usually recipes call for frying the chorizo and then using the fat rendered out of the sausage to cook the vegetables that come after. I actually had to add some home-rendered lard to the pan afterwards.

Fresh Chorizo

I can’t wait to make another, much larger batch of this to hoard in the freezer!

4 guajillo chiles
2 ancho chiles
1 fresh ripe (red) jalapeno
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbl fresh Mexican oregano, minced, or 2 tsp dried
1 heaping tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp roasted cumin seeds
1 tbl achiote seeds
1 heaping tsp whole allspice berries
1 tbl sea salt
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1 pound of ground wild hog meat, or any ground pork

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and set aside. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-low. Toast the guajillo and ancho chiles until the skin is slightly darker and they are more pliable and maybe puff up a little. Put them into a jar or a glass bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Leave alone for 20-30 minutes.

Drain the chiles. (Chile soaking water is excellent for poaching chicken, if you’re feeling thrifty.) Lay them on a plate with a lip. Tear off the stems, then tear them open lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a butterknife and discard the seeds and stems. Put the cleaned chiles in a blender or food processor. Then clean the fresh jalapenos the same way. Add the jalapenos, onions, garlic and oregano to the blender with the rehydrated chiles. Add the 1/2 c apple cider vinegar and puree.

Put all of the dry spices in a spice grinder or mortar (or molcajete!) and grind until they form a coarse powder. Add to the blender with the salt and blend again. Put the mixture into the fridge for at least an hour or until cold. Taste and adjust any seasonings if necessary. Try not to eat it all.

Put the cold ground pork and the cold spice paste in a bowl and combine the mixture thoroughly by hand. Put the meat mixture back in the fridge in a non-reactive bowl and chill for at least 2 days before using. I split mine into small portions and froze the portions in waxed paper, but I think parchment paper would work better.