My Recipe Box

Chorizo: Ready to Eat, or Not?

by Jennifer Armentrout

fromFine Cooking
Issue 80

Chorizo is a spicy pork sausage that hails from Spain, though many countries that have a history of Spanish colonization have their own versions as well. Some chorizos are fully cured and ready to eat; others are meant to be cooked before eating. To make New York Strip Steak with Sweet Pepper-Chorizo Butter, you need a chorizo that’s ready to eat because it won’t be cooked before it’s mixed into the butter. While testing this recipe, however, we discovered that not all chorizo is clearly marked if it’s ready to eat. Here are some tips for figuring it out.

Shopping for chorizo

• Look for imported Spanish or domestic Spanish-style chorizo; most are dry-cured and ready to eat. Mexican chorizo is more often a fresh sausage sold in bulk rather than in links. Don’t use this style for the chorizo butter.

• If there are cooking instructions on the label, it’s likely that the chorizo shouldn’t be eaten raw. Note its placment in the store. If it’s in the cheese or deli case, it’s probably ready to eat. If it’s in the meat case, it’s probably meant to be cooked.

• If it seems hard and dry (a sign of curing), chances are it’s ready to eat.

• You’ll find ready-to-eat chorizo in both supermarkets and specialty shops. If you’re unsure, consider ordering it online.Try for a variety of chorizos (from $5.95 for 7 oz.).

Photo: Scott Phillips

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