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Making Mexican Chorizo with Chicken or Turkey


DanM
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I was flipping through my copy of Mexico: One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless to discover a recipe for Mexican chorizo sausage. This is something that I never have in my kosher kitchen, so it inspired my muse. The recipe calls for 1.5 lbs of lean pork shoulder and 8oz of pork fat, plus a variety of spices, chiles and other ingredients. I was thinking about eventually trying this with chicken or turkey breast and schmaltz. Will this work? Any reason not to try other than "It's not authentic?"

Thanks!

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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I second the suggestion to use thighs. Are you planning a loose chorizo or putting it in cases? I have done this for a loose version of a pastel de choclo recipe, and the spices really do dominate the flavor of the meat. What you come out with is a lighter chorizo in flavor. To me, it just seemed brighter.

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Slightly off topic...I think we need to change the name of Mexican chorizo. I'm tired of asking servers if the chorizo in a dish is Mexican or Spanish. They never know, and its such a critical issue since the two are very different.

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I pulled out one of my trusty kitchen references and looked at the nutritional guidelines for pork and turkey. Pork shoulder and turkey thigh have the same fat content, so I will use that once I get around to this. I don't have a meat grinder, so this will have to wait a bit. Its good to know I have options though.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Before there were meat grinders ....

You might want to consider very roughly chopping the meat. As for poultry, it is best to use thighs as they are fattier and more durable, less prone to drying out and losing flavor. I don't know what to suggest about the fat, however. As much as I love schmaltz, it might just be too liquidy, and raw, chopped poultry fat may well be frightening.

Alternatively, I know that there are lamb sausages made in several countries, for example Morocco's beautiful merguez. Though I have never seen lamb chorizo in Mexico, I am thinking that roughly chopped lamb, together with chopped lamb fat might give a far closer textural approximation of Mexican chorizo that would poultry. It is meaty, and as we all know from curries, especially vindaloos, it can stand up against the vinegar and the spicing and keep its flavor. Lamb shoulder or perhaps leg with a careful eye to enough fat to keep it moist would be my choices of cuts.

Regards,

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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...I don't have a meat grinder, so this will have to wait a bit. Its good to know I have options though.

Dan

I have found (and will probably be pilloried by the real sausage-heads around here for suggesting it :raz: ), that for small quantities of ground meat (up to a couple of pounds) a food processor works just groovy. Freeze the chunks of meat for about a half an hour before you blitz them, and don't put it on autopilot - pulse, pulse, pulse. Don't overdo or you'll get a paste or mush. But do it carefully, and it works. Oh, and don't overload the machine, either.

Cut the chunks about an inch square or a bit larger (roughly), freeze a bit, and process maybe 5-6 at a time.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Food processor works for me ... as does two good cleavers working side-by-side. It's good to freeze the cubes. One-inch is a good size. And pulse them in small batches. You want the pieces to be of similar size so that the air drying (if you are going to do that) will be uniformly effective. That said, pick a "size" theme and have some variation within that to give texture to the finished sausage.

You might also want to check out Diana Kennedy's recipe for chorizo in The Art of Mexican Cooking. I like to get cross-inspiration going between her and Bayless. You can't go wrong on that one.

Regards,

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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I think I might make a proof of concept batch with a package of ground turkey and use it for a dinner of chorizo tacos.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Just guessing here, but for texture's sake, I think you'd want to use chunk fat trimmed from turkeys or chickens rather than schmaltz. (Sausage recipes don't normally call for lard.) Beef fat might also work.

Happy experimenting, and please let the forum know how things turn out.

Dick in Northbrook, IL

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Heh... If there was a full service kosher butcher in reasonable distance, I would... But the 70+ mile drive to Monsey NY is just a bit too far. I'm stuck using packaged chicken from the market.

This has been pushed to the back burner while I'm down with a 100ish fever.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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