It’s fairly common knowledge that you’re better off not knowing what goes into the making of commercial hot dogs and sausage and such, but even so, I can’t imagine life without links of brats, sausage, kielbasa, hot dogs and a particular favorite, Mexican chorizo. We love them all. I can usually find pretty healthy, flavorful versions of our favorite sausages and hot dogs, but finding some good sort of healthy, fresh chorizo has been ridiculously frustrating.
So what’s a girl to do? She makes her own, that’s what.
Chorizo, for those who might be unfamiliar, is a Mexican pork sausage (very different from Spanish chorizo, which is a cured meat sort of like salami), that’s used in a plethora of Tex Mex type dishes. It has a distinctively spicy, smoky flavor that pretty much rocks almost any dish you add it to.
Once I decided to make my own chorizo, it wasn’t hard to find some decent recipes for it. My research yielded a few promising candidates, but I settled on this one from the Serious Eats website. I still did a bit of tweaking to it to ramp up the heat levels a bit,and substituted chicken thighs for the pork.
Well, I’m just going to cut to the chase and tell you that our chicken chorizo kicked some serious *ss. Not even kidding here… this stuff is pretty killer. The bonus is that we got all that flavor and nowhere near the fat, which I’d say is a rather awesome outcome. Oh, and this is one sausage that you won’t have to close your eyes to while it’s being made.
I used the meat grinder attachment to my Kitchen Aid, but you can easily do this in a food processor, or even use already ground meat.
I cut chicken thighs into small chunks, mixed them with the spices and seasonings and let it marinate overnight in the fridge. Then I ground it up and refrigerated it for a few more hours before cooking it.
And when I say cooking it, I mostly mean smelling it. Holy cow, the aromas of cooking chorizo are simply crazy. As in good. Way good.
So now that you have your chorizo all made, you’re gonna need some awesome ways to use it, and we've got you covered there too...
It’s amazing on huevos rancheros…
Or these fideos with shrimp and chorizo (yum!!)…
Well, that should keep you busy and out of trouble for awhile. Here’s the recipe…
Homemade Chorizo Sausage
The beauty of making your own sausage is being able to adjust the seasonings and ingredients to make it exactly how you want it. Below is the recipe as printed on the Serious Eats website. I’ve noted the changes I made in italics, and encourage you to use this as a jumping off point to create your own signature chorizo. If you don’t have a food grinder, no worries, you can do this in a food processor just as easily. If you want to skip the meat grinding altogether, just use already ground meat, add the seasonings and tuck it away in the fridge for at least 24 hours to marinate before using. The achiote is a traditional addition to chorizo that gives it that deep red color. You can find it in Latin and Hispanic markets; I found mine at the Savory Spice Shop (it's also called ground annatto), but it can be ordered online or just leave it out.
1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used chicken thighs)
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder (I used 1 tsp chipotle chili powder and 2 tsp chili powder)
1/4 teaspoon ground achiote or annatto powder (I used almost a teaspoon)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexicano oregano
(½ teaspoon smoked paprika)
(¼ to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder, or more, depending on your desired heat level)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons red wine or distilled white vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss until homogenous. Let rest for at least 4 hours and up to overnight, covered, in the refrigerator. When ready to grind, grind through a chilled meat grinder fitted with a 1/4-inch plate (fairly course). Alternatively, working in 1/2-pound batches, pulse in a food processor until finely chopped. Knead chopped meat by hand in a large bowl, or with the paddle attachment in the stand mixer until slightly tacky. Cook as desired. Chorizo can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (and frozen, tightly wrapped, for months).