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Chorizos P6021974.jpg
Curing chorizos
Course Sausage
Place of origin Spain [1]
Region or state Iberian Peninsula, Latin America, parts of Asia
Serving temperatureHot or room temperature
Main ingredients Pork, paprika

Chorizo ( /əˈrz, -s/ , [2] [3] from Spanish [tʃoˈɾiθo] ) or chouriço (from Portuguese [ʃo(w)ˈɾisu] ) is a type of pork sausage. Traditionally, it uses natural casings made from intestines, a method used since Roman times.

Portuguese language Romance language that originated in Portugal

Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. Reintegrationists maintain that Galician is not a separate language, but a dialect of Portuguese. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

Pork meat from a pig

Pork is the culinary name for meat from a domestic pig. It is the most commonly consumed meat worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC.

Sausage Meat product

A sausage is a cylindrical meat product usually made from ground meat, often pork, beef, or veal, along with salt, spices and other flavourings, and breadcrumbs, encased by a skin. Typically, a sausage is formed in a casing traditionally made from intestine, but sometimes from synthetic materials. Sausages that are sold raw are cooked in many ways, including pan-frying, broiling and barbecuing. Some sausages are cooked during processing and the casing may then be removed.


In Europe, chorizo is a fermented, cured, smoked sausage, which may be sliced and eaten without cooking, or added as an ingredient to add flavor to other dishes. Elsewhere, some sausages sold as chorizo may not be fermented and cured, and require cooking before eating. Spanish chorizo and Portuguese chouriço get their distinctive smokiness and deep red color from dried, smoked, red peppers (pimentón/pimentão). [4]

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Salt-cured meat Meat or fish preserved or cured with salt

Salt-cured meat or salted meat is meat or fish preserved or cured with salt. Salting, either with dry salt or brine, was a common method of preserving meat until the middle of the 20th century, becoming less popular after the advent of refrigeration. It was frequently called "junk" or "salt horse".

Smoking (cooking) exposing food to the smoke to flavour or preserve it

Smoking is the process of flavoring, browning, cooking, or preserving food by exposing it to smoke from burning or smoldering material, most often wood. Meat, fish, and lapsang souchong tea are often smoked.

Chorizo can be eaten sliced in a sandwich, grilled, fried, or simmered in liquid, including apple cider or other strong alcoholic beverages such as aguardiente . It also can be used as a partial replacement for ground (minced) beef or pork. [5]

Sandwich Food made of two pieces of sliced bread with fillings such as meat or vegetables in between

A sandwich is a food typically consisting of vegetables, sliced cheese or meat, placed on or between slices of bread, or more generally any dish wherein two or more pieces of bread serve as a container or wrapper for another food type. The sandwich began as a portable finger food in the Western world, though over time it has become prevalent worldwide.

Grilling form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food

Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above or below. Grilling usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking meat and vegetables quickly. Food to be grilled is cooked on a grill, a grill pan, or griddle.

Frying Cooking of food in oil or another fat

Frying is the cooking of food in oil or another fat. Similar to sautéing, pan-fried foods are generally turned over once or twice during cooking, using tongs or a spatula, while sautéed foods are cooked by "tossing in the pan". A large variety of foods may be fried.


Several different names and spellings are used:

Basque language Language of the Basque people

Basque (; euskara[eus̺ˈkaɾa]) is a language spoken in the Basque Country, a region that straddles the westernmost Pyrenees in adjacent parts of northern Spain and southwestern France. Linguistically, Basque is unrelated to the other languages of Europe and is a language isolate to any other known living language. The Basques are indigenous to, and primarily inhabit, the Basque Country. The Basque language is spoken by 28.4% (751,500) of Basques in all territories. Of these, 93.2% (700,300) are in the Spanish area of the Basque Country and the remaining 6.8% (51,200) are in the French portion.

Catalan language Romance language

Catalan is a Western Romance language derived from Vulgar Latin and named after the medieval Principality of Catalonia, in northeastern modern Spain. It is the only official language of Andorra, and a co-official language of the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencia. It also has semi-official status in the Italian comune of Alghero. It is also spoken in the eastern strip of Aragon, in some villages of Region of Murcia called Carche and in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of France. These territories are often called Països Catalans or "Catalan Countries".

Galician language Language of the Western Ibero-Romance

Galician is an Indo-European language of the Western Ibero-Romance branch. It is spoken by some 2.4 million people, mainly in Galicia, an autonomous community located in northwestern Spain, where it is official along with Spanish. The language is also spoken in some border zones of the neighbouring Spanish regions of Asturias and Castile and León, as well as by Galician migrant communities in the rest of Spain, in Latin America, the United States, Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe.

The etymology of chorizo is uncertain: it was formerly thought to derive from the Latin salsicium, meaning "salted". [6] In English, chorizo is usually pronounced /əˈrz, -s/ . [7] Non-English pronunciations are sometimes heard, including /əˈrθ/ , mimicking Castilian Spanish pronunciation.

Etymology Study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time

Etymology is the study of the history of words. By extension, the term "the etymology " means the origin of the particular word and for place names, there is a specific term, toponymy.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Varieties by region



Spanish chorizo Chorizo1-edited.jpg
Spanish chorizo

Spanish chorizo is made from coarsely chopped pork and pork fat, seasoned with garlic, pimentón – a smoked paprika – and salt. It is generally classed as either picante (spicy) or dulce (sweet), depending upon the type of pimentón used. Hundreds of regional varieties of Spanish chorizo, both smoked and unsmoked, may contain herbs, and other ingredients. [8] For example, chorizo de Pamplona is a thicker sausage with the meat more finely ground. Among the varieties is chorizo Riojano from the La Rioja region, which has PGI protection within the EU.

Paprika spice made from ground, dried fruits of Capsicum annuum

Paprika is a ground spice made from dried red fruits of the larger and sweeter varieties of the plant Capsicum annuum, called bell pepper or sweet pepper. The most common variety used for making paprika is tomato pepper, sometimes with the addition of more pungent varieties, called chili peppers, and cayenne pepper. In many languages, but not English, the word paprika also refers to the plant and the fruit from which the spice is made.

Chorizo de Pamplona

Chorizo de Pamplona is a sausage that is typical in the cuisine of the Navarre region of Spain It is prepared with equal parts of finely-chopped beef and pork and significant amounts of a strong smoked paprika, pork fat and a natural or plastic casing which is designated to have a minimum size of forty millimeters in diameter. The red-orange coloration is due to the addition of paprika, which is abundant in Navarre. Despite its local name, it is a very common type of sausage in delicatessens around the Spanish territory. It is also produced and sold in Pamplona, Spain.

La Rioja (Spain) Autonomous community and province of Spain

La Rioja is an autonomous community and a province in Spain, located in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Its capital is Logroño. Other cities and towns in the province include Calahorra, Arnedo, Alfaro, Haro, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, and Nájera. It has an estimated population of 315,675 inhabitants, making it the least populated region of Spain.

Chorizo is made in short or long and hard or soft varieties; leaner varieties are suited to being eaten at room temperature as an appetizer or tapas, whereas the fattier versions are generally used for cooking. [9] A rule of thumb is that long, thin chorizos are sweet, and short chorizos are spicy, although this is not always the case. [10]

Spain produces many other pork specialties, as well, such as lomo embuchado or salchichón , cured and air-dried in a similar way. Lomo is a lean, cured meat to slice, made from the loin of the pig, which is marinated and then air-dried. Salchichón is another cured sausage without the pimentón seasoning of chorizo, but flavoured with black peppercorns, instead. [11]

Depending on the variety, chorizo can be eaten sliced without further cooking, sometimes sliced in a sandwich, or grilled, fried, or baked alongside other foodstuffs, and is also an ingredient in several dishes where it accompanies beans, such as fabada or cocido montañés .

The version of these dishes con todos los sacramentos (with all the trimmings, literally sacraments) adds to chorizo other preserved meats such as tocino (cured bacon) and morcilla (blood sausage).


A variety of Portuguese chouricos Enchidos portugueses2.jpg
A variety of Portuguese chouriços

Portuguese chouriço is made (at least) with pork, fat, wine, paprika, garlic, and salt. It is then stuffed into natural or artificial casings and slowly dried over smoke. [12] The many different varieties differ in color, shape, seasoning, and taste. Many dishes of Portuguese cuisine and Brazilian cuisine make use of chouriço – cozido à portuguesa and feijoada are just two of them. [13] [14]

Other Portuguese enchidos Enchidos portugueses.jpg
Other Portuguese enchidos

A popular way to prepare chouriço is partially sliced and flame-cooked over alcohol at the table (chouriço à bombeiro). [15] Special glazed earthenware dishes with a lattice top are used for this purpose.

In Johannesburg, South Africa, the high influx of Portuguese immigrants in the 1960s from Portugal and Mozambique tended to settle in a suburb called La Rochelle (Little Portugal) [16] and though most of them have either returned to Portugal or moved on to more affluent suburbs in the city, restaurants in the area, as well as the very well supported annual "Lusitoland" fundraiser festival, have chouriço on the menu. [17]

In the heavily Portuguese counties in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, chouriço is often served with little neck clams and white beans. Chouriço sandwiches on grinder rolls, with sautéed green peppers and onions, are commonly available at local delis and convenience stores. Stuffed quahogs (also known as stuffies), a Rhode Island specialty, usually include chouriço.[ citation needed ]

In Portugal, a blood chouriço (chouriço de sangue) similar to black pudding is made, amongst many other types of enchidos, such as alheira , linguiça , morcela , farinheira , chouriço de vinho, chouriço de ossos , chourição, cacholeira, paia, paio , paiola, paiote, and tripa enfarinhada.

Latin America


Mexican chorizo served over enchiladas as part of a breakfast in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca Tortilla Enchilada with Chorizo Tlaxiaqueno.jpg
Mexican chorizo served over enchiladas as part of a breakfast in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca

Based on the uncooked Spanish chorizo fresco (fresh chorizo), the Mexican versions of chorizo are made not just from fatty pork, but beef, venison, chicken, turkey, and even tofu, kosher, and vegan versions are made. The meat is usually ground (minced) rather than chopped, and different seasonings are used. This type is better known in Mexico and other parts of the Americas, including the border areas of the United States, and is not frequently found in Europe. It is typically spicier than Spanish and Portuguese varieties of the sausage, and often contains chili peppers that are higher on the Scoville scale. Chorizo and longaniza are not considered the same thing in Mexico.

Due to culinary tradition and the high cost of imported Spanish smoked paprika, Mexican chorizo is usually made with native chili peppers of the same Capsicum annuum species. Spanish-American cuisine adds vinegar instead of the white wine usually used in Spain.[ citation needed ]

Chorizo verde (green chorizo) is an emblematic food item of the Valle de Toluca, and is claimed to have originated in the town of Texcalyacac. Texcalyacac (3).JPG
Chorizo verde (green chorizo) is an emblematic food item of the Valle de Toluca, and is claimed to have originated in the town of Texcalyacac.
Chorizo from Oaxaca Chorizo oaxaqueno.JPG
Chorizo from Oaxaca

The area of around Toluca, known as the capital of chorizo outside of the Iberian Peninsula, specializes in "green" chorizo, made with some combination of tomatillo, cilantro, chili peppers, and garlic. The green chorizo recipe is native to Toluca. Most Mexican chorizo is a deep reddish color, and is largely available in two varieties, fresh and dried, though fresh is much more common. Quality chorizo consists of good cuts of pork stuffed in natural casings, [18] while some of the cheapest commercial styles use variety meats stuffed in inedible plastic casing to resemble sausage links. Before consumption, the casing is usually cut open and the sausage is fried in a pan and mashed with a fork until it resembles finely minced ground beef. A common alternative recipe does not have casings. Pork and beef are cured overnight in vinegar and chili powder. Served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it has the finely minced texture mentioned above, and is quite intense in flavor.[ citation needed ]

In Mexico, restaurants and food stands make tacos, queso fundido (or choriqueso), burritos, and tortas with cooked chorizo, and it is also a popular pizza topping. Chorizo con huevos is a popular breakfast dish in Mexico and areas of the United States with Mexican populations. It is made by mixing fried chorizo with scrambled eggs. Chorizo con huevos is often used in breakfast burritos, tacos, and taquitos. Another popular Mexican recipe is fried chorizo combined with pinto or black refried beans. This combination is often used in tortas as a spread, or as a side dish where plain refried beans would normally be served. In Mexico, chorizo is also used to make the popular appetizer chorizo con queso (or choriqueso), which is small pieces of chorizo served in or on melted cheese, and eaten with small corn tortillas. In heavily Mexican parts of the United States, a popular filling for breakfast tacos is chorizo con papas, or diced potatoes sautéed until soft with chorizo mixed in.

Central America and the Caribbean

Salvadorean style chorizo Salvadorean style chorizo.JPG
Salvadorean style chorizo

In Puerto Rico, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, chorizo and longaniza are considered two separate portions of meat. Puerto Rican chorizo is a smoked, well-seasoned sausage nearly identical to the smoked versions in Spain. Puerto Rican and Dominican longanizas have a very different taste and appearance. The seasoned meat is stuffed into a pork casing and is formed very long by hand. It is then hung to air-dry. Longaniza can then be fried in oil or cooked with rice or beans. It is eaten with many different dishes.

Chorizo is a popular pizza topping in Puerto Rico.

Salvadorean chorizo is short, fresh (not dried) and tied in twins.

South America

Argentinian chorizos in an asado Asadito.jpg
Argentinian chorizos in an asado

In Ecuador, many types of sausage have been directly adopted from European or North American cuisine. All sorts of salami, either raw or smoked, are just known as salami. Most commonly known are sorts from Spanish chorizo, Italian pepperoni, and wiener sausages; wieners are the most popular. Some local specialities include morcilla, longaniza, and chorizo. Morcilla, as in most Spanish-speaking countries, is basically cooked pork blood encased in pork intestine casing (black pudding in English). Longaniza is a thin sausage containing almost any mixture of meat, fat, or even cartilage, smoked rather than fresh. Chorizo is a mixture of chopped pork meat, pork fat, salt, whole pepper grains, cinnamon, achiote, and other spices, which produce its characteristic deep red color. A traditional dish consists of fried egg, mashed potatoes, avocado, salad, and slices of fried chorizo.

In Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela, chorizo is the name for any coarse meat sausage. Spanish-style chorizo is also available, and is distinguished by the name "chorizo español" (Spanish chorizo). Argentine chorizos are normally made of pork, and are not spicy hot. Some Argentine chorizos include other types of meat, typically beef. In Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru, fresh chorizo, cooked and served in a bread roll, is called a choripán . In Colombia, chorizo is usually accompanied by arepa .

In Brazil, chouriço is the word used for what in the rest of Latin America is morcilla; meat sausages similar to the chorizos of other Latin American countries are called linguiça. Many varieties of Portuguese-style chouriço and linguiça are used in many different types of dishes, such as feijoada .

In Bolivia, chorizos are made of pork, fried and served with salad (tomato, lettuce, onion, boiled carrots and quirquiña ), mote, and a slice of bread soaked with chorizo fat. Chorizo sandwiches, without mote, are also eaten.


East Timor

Chouricos in East Timor Producao caseira de chouricos em Timor.jpg
Chouriços in East Timor

Chouriço is made in East Timor. It was introduced by the Portuguese, with their colonization of East Timor.


Goan sausages being sold at the Mapusa market, Goa, India. Goan sausages being sold at the Mapusa market, Goa, India 04.jpg
Goan sausages being sold at the Mapusa market, Goa, India.

In Goa, India, which was ruled by the Portuguese for 450 years and has a large percentage of Goan Catholics, chouriço is made from pork marinaded in a mixture of vinegar, red chilies, and spices such as garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, cloves, pepper, and cinnamon, which is stuffed into casings. [19] These are enjoyed either with the local Goan Portuguese-style crusty bread, or pearl onions, or both. They are also used, cut into chunks, as the meat ingredient in rice pilaf. They can be raw (wet), smoked or cured through salting and air-drying.

Three kinds of chouriço are found in Goa: dry, wet, and skin. Dry chouriço is aged in the sun for long periods (three months or more). Wet chouriço has been aged for about a month or less. Skin chouriço, also aged, is rare and difficult to find. It consists primarily of minced pork skin along with some of its subcutaneous fat. All three chouriços are made in variations such as hot, medium, and mild. Other variations exist, depending on the size of the links, which range from 1 in (smallest) to 6 in. Typically, the wet varieties tend to be longer than the dry ones.

Goan chorizo should be distinguished from "Goan frankfurters", which look similar to equivalents in the United States, but with a predominantly peppercorn flavor.


Various types of Philippine longganisas (chorizos) in Quiapo, Manila 09794jfFajardo Echague Street Loyola Sampaloc Quiapo Manilafvf 16.jpg
Various types of Philippine longganisas (chorizos) in Quiapo, Manila

Longaniza (Tagalog : longganisa; Visayan: chorizo, choriso, soriso) are Philippine chorizos flavored with indigenous spices, and may be made of chicken, beef, or even tuna. While the term longaniza refers to fresh sausages, it is also used in the Philippines to refer to cured sausages. Philippine longganisa are often dyed red with achuete seeds. There are dozens of variants from various regions in the Philippines. [20]

North America


Creole and Cajun cuisine both feature a variant of chorizo called chaurice, which is frequently used in the Creole dish of red beans and rice. [21]

See also

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