I've mentioned before that Mexican food in Britain is crap. And mostly that's ok, because we've learned to make most things from scratch. (The Critter has been able to work the tortilla press since she turned 3).
One of the things I got turned on to during a pack trip in Colorado was breakfast of chorizo and eggs. You can find chorizo over here, but it's Spanish chorizo, and not Mexican style. Which is similar in the same way that Oscar Meyer resembles kielbasa. It's clearly in the same family, but it's not going to cut it with my eggs. Spanish chorizo is firmer, with less spices, and it just leave you frustrated rather than satisfied when you've really got the craving.
So I figured I'd try and make proper chorizo as well. God bless the internet - I was able to find a few different types (evey Mexican tia has her own special recipe) and settled on one that I had the ingredients stashed away for. It took a good couple of hours worth of effort (and I didn't bother casing it, as I break it apart to cook for breakfast or in burritos anyway, but the results were fantastic! Just be careful on the spices... it turned out a bit hotter than expected. I've made large batches of this a couple of times now and adjusted the recipe as necessary to taste
Chorizos toluquenos del 'Groove
- 1 kg pork (diced, not minced gives you a better consistency)
- 400g lard
(note: you can use any combination of Mexican chiles you like here, adjust according to taste)
- 100g ancho chiles
- 30g pasilla chiles
- 2g arbol chiles
- 6g smoked paprika (definitely include this one - it's a key to the traditional flavor)
- 2g Mexican cinnamon
- 1/2g cloves
- 2g cilantro seeds
- 2g Mexican oregano
- 0.5g cumin
- 3-4 cloves garlic (go on... use 4)
- 1 small onion
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 3 tsp salt
Before starting, make sure the lard and pork are very cold.
Prepare the chiles: remove seeds and stems and toast on a griddle or cast iron pan until they're dry and brittle but not burnt. If using dried chiles (I did) the weights will vary (generally be less) from the recipe and you'll need to adjust. But be careful, you can easily make the results too spicy for human consumption if you're not careful. Set aside to cool.
Once chiles are cooled, put them in a blender with remaining ingredients (except pork and lard) and grind to a lumpy paste.
Dice the pork into cubes (around .5 - .75") Toss with spice mixture. Add lard and grind or mince with food processor. You can ground it as finely as you like - it's going to end up looking like dog food, but smelling delicious. I like mine only coursely ground, but thoroughly mixed.
It's best if you keep them in the fridge for a day before cooking to give the mix time to thoroughly absorb the flavors. Cook with eggs, serve with tortillas. However you like your chorizo. You can portion out the mix and freeze for several months and still enjoy.
This is the stuff that makes mouths happy. And think of how freaking impressed your friends will be when you tell them you made it from scratch!