Chorizo Seco is made with heritage breed pork, solar-evaporated sea salt, Pimentón de la Vera, and garlic and is slowly dry-cured according to an old recipe from the Spanish mountains. Chorizo Seco is made with the best of the fewest ingredients needed to make Chorizo and has an impeccably clean flavour. After introducing paprika to Spain in the sixteenth century, what we now call Chorizo most likely first appeared in the Iberian peninsula.
Chorizo is distinguished because it is made from coarsely ground pork and is heavily seasoned. Chorizo, which is often fermented and sometimes cured, can be spicy or mild, depending on the seasoning. Cuts like cabecero (neck to the fifth rib), lomo (loin), papada (jowl), and pancetta are used to make Spanish Chorizo (belly). If those cuts aren’t available, pork shoulder is a good substitute, but with a total fat content of around 40%, tocino (pork back fat) in Chorizo is a must. Pimentón (smoked paprika) gives Spanish-style Chorizo its flavour and bright red colour, but other types of Chorizo are pink, brown, or even green.
A variety of chorizos that have been dry cured
Spanish chorizos are classified by the level of curing and the ingredients they contain, but they always have pimentón (smoked paprika), which gives them their bright red colour.
- Spanish soft Chorizo comes in two forms: loose (picadillo) and in a casing (chorizo fresco). This raw, fresh sausage is typically made with pork meat, pork fat, paprika, crushed red pepper, and garlic, and it must be cooked before consumption.
- Semi-cured Spanish Chorizo is fresh sausage that has been fermented and possibly smoked, but not dried. Although the fermentation process adds acidity and extends the shelf life of semi-cured Chorizo, it must still be cooked before consumption.
- Spanish Chorizo Seco — Dry Cured Chorizo is fermented and dried until it becomes hard and shelf-stable. This type of Chorizo is typically served raw, thinly sliced as a tapa.
- Chorizo riojano is made in Rioja, Spain, and is seasoned with garlic and both spicy and sweet/mild pimentón. It’s available in two forms: cured and semi-cured. The same seasonings as chorizo riojano are used in Spanish chorizo castellano, plus oregano.
- Pimentóndulce and garlic are used to season Spanish chorizo navarra.
The Chorizo was defined as a “short piece of gut, filled with meat. Usually, pork, chopped and seasoned, usually cured by the smoke” in a Spanish dictionary in 1726.