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Prawncrackers

Fresh Spanish Chorizo

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Hola egulleters! Those of you who know me know that I like to turn my hand at Charcuterie now and then. Nothing is more satisfying than breaking down a whole pig and turning it into delicious cured meats and sausages. I'm quite happy making a wide range of products but there's one thing that I just can't get right. Fresh Spanish cooking chorizo, in particular I want to try and recreate this wonderful stuff from Brindisa http://www.brindisa.com/store/fresh-chorizo-and-morcilla/all-fresh-chorizo-and-morcilla/brindisa-chorizo-picante/

They're wonderfully red, juicy and packed with deep pimenton flavour. Now when I make them I can get the flavour right but the texture is all wrong, very mealy, not at all juicy and the colour loses it's vibrancy too easily. What's the secret to them I wonder? Some kind of additive and/or food colouring?

My recipe sees me mincing 2.3 kg fatty pork shoulder through a fine die, mixing with 80g pimenton, 50g salt, 30g sugar, 35g fresh garlic and stuffing into sheep casings. Here's a photo of them:

IMAGE_60.jpg

I rest them overnight in the fridge before cooking with them. Maybe I should be putting some curing salt in there and hanging them for a couple of days? Does anyone have any experience making this kind of juicy fresh Spanish chorizo or even chistorra?

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Charcuterie. By ruhlman and polcyn

They talk about emulsifying sausage. As opposed to just fresh grinding.

I just pulled my book and I haven't made any of this. Thought you might want to look at it

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That was my thought too - mealy sausage might be due to lack of emulsification.

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Hi Prawncrackers. I don't know that specific brand, and there are as many chorizo recipes around here in Spain as towns and people producing it...

Fresh chorizo here is normally a coarse-ground sausage, so I suggest don't use a fine but a coarse die. It's not even close to an emulsified sausage (such as mortadella), which, by the way, is a wrong name, as the mix is not an emulsion but a coloidal suspension (according to Modernist Cuisine).

It is usually stuffed in hog casings rather than sheep casings. The usual ingredients do not include sugar but include wine and/or vinegar, about 40-50 grams per kg of meat+fat. In addition to pimentón, whose quality highly affects the result, and garlic, you may find black pepper, oregano, and fennel or cumin seeds.

About color, it's true that homemade chorizo loses it much easier than commercial one, it also happens to me. Sure there's some extra colouring there. In fact, any commercial producer, even "artisan" butchers, will use premade mixes for chorizo (and any other sausage) that are likely to contain a bunch of phosphates, preservatives, and colourings.

Lack of juiciness and wrong texture is hard to diagnostic, as it may have many origins. It may be a low proportion of fat (chorizo is usually quite fatty), production problems (stuffing with a grinder attachment, ingredients not cold enough, not enough mixing to achieve a good primary bind, etc) or even cooking to a too high temperature. Also, of course, is the lack of liquid in the formulation, try to add almost frozen red or dry white wine in the final part of the mixing stage. And don't forget that the commercial version is likely to include phosphates that allow the chorizo to absorb more liquid...

Fresh chorizo is not cured. Cured versions take longer than 2 days.

Chistorra is a different thing with a higher fat percentage, stuffed in sheep casings, and cured for a short period of around 2 days.

Two good recipes (in Spanish) are Chorizo de rioja (cured) , and chistorra


Edited by EnriqueB (log)
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Perhaps binding might be a better choice of word than emuslification given the texture of the ingredients.

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I agree with Kerry and EnriqueB: when you made it did you have a "binding" step in your recipe? One where you beat it for a minute or two to activate the myosin?

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Aside from what the others said, it could have broken from getting too warm during grinding or mixing. Also you could try adding non fat dry milk or soy protein.

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Aside from what the others said, it could have broken from getting too warm during grinding or mixing.

+1. I think the OP has 2 unrelated issues; the mealiness and the lack of juiciness.

The former is is most often caused by not keeping the mix cold, as TheTinCook and others suggest. There's some discussion of how this happens here: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/79813-sausages-cook-off-17/page-6

The latter is most likely just not enough fat. Whole commercial pork shoulder is (these days) often about 15% fat. You need at least double that to make a decent juicy sausage. And I agree with EnriqueB's recommendation to use a coarse grind for chorizo, or at least grind the fat coarse.The fat should be visible here. I sometimes add small cubes of fat (sharp knife, almost frozen fat) to my chorizo.

For more colour, you can add some unsmoked mild paprika.

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Mealy and dry? :shock:  It sounds like a binding issue which is easily fixed by improving the mixing technique. Invest in a stand mixer if you don't already have one. I agree about the fat as well. One can grind extra fat separately with a coarser die and add at mixing time. 

 

Those sausages look fantastic tho! 


Edited by radtek (log)

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The binding is a function of two things: adding salt (try around 12% of total weight and then adjust to taste) and mixing and squeezing the meat (apropos Chris' comment above about activating the Myosin). I'd also second using a coarse rather than a fine grind, keeping the mixture (and your equipment) cool, and adding finely diced back fat to bring the total amount of fat up to around 25%. Wash the chopped fat in a combination of boiled and chilled wine and slightly warm water to separate it out before mixing it in to the meat. Rest the meat in an open container in a refrigerator for a day just above 0C to let it bind without having ice crystals form.

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The binding is a function of two things: adding salt (try around 12% of total weight and then adjust to taste) and mixing and squeezing the meat (apropos Chris' comment above about activating the Myosin). I'd also second using a coarse rather than a fine grind, keeping the mixture (and your equipment) cool, and adding finely diced back fat to bring the total amount of fat up to around 25%. Wash the chopped fat in a combination of boiled and chilled wine and slightly warm water to separate it out before mixing it in to the meat. Rest the meat in an open container in a refrigerator for a day just above 0C to let it bind without having ice crystals form.

Must be a typo: 12% salt by weight? Don't you mean 1.2%? I prefer 1.6% myself.

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Yep, sorry - fat typing fingers. 1.2% with adjusted to 1.6 if it needs it and .3% pepper. The ratios are 12-16 grams per kilo for salt and 3 g pepper per kilo for pepper.


Edited by nickrey (log)

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Wash the chopped fat in a combination of boiled and chilled wine and slightly warm water to separate it out before mixing it in to the meat. 

 

Nick, I'm not familiar with this technique: could you say more about it? Is this just part of a standard chorizo recipe, or is it something you regularly do for sausage?

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It's a generalized sausage making technique to separate out hand cut back fat. A seventh-generation Italian butcher showed it to me in a sausage making class.

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It's a generalized sausage making technique to separate out hand cut back fat. A seventh-generation Italian butcher showed it to me in a sausage making class.

 

Interesting! Could you please give more details? What should be "separated" in your sentence "Wash the chopped fat in a combination of boiled and chilled wine and slightly warm water to separate it out before mixing it in to the meat."?  What's the purpose of the warm water? Shouldn't the fat be used frozen or almost frozen?

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The fat in this case is hand cut, not minced. The fat needs to be distributed equally throughout the meat. Using finely cubed fat without this process will stick together and not emulsify properly as the salt acts on the chilled mix.

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