Chorizo-choice conundrum

Mailbox: Recipes & Requests

08/18/2009 10:36 AM

08/18/2009 11:32 AM

From time to time, recipes call for chorizo, but they seldom explain what kind — Spanish or Mexican?

I can usually figure it out, but it would be nice to know the difference between the two and also some information about Portuguese linguica.

Harvey Andrews, Placerville


Spanish chorizo is a ready-to-eat sausage that is slow-cured (up to four months) and is usually smoked. It is made from pork and pork fat, is hot and spicy, and seasoned with sweet or hot paprika. There are hundreds of regional varieties.

If your recipe calls for Spanish chorizo and you don't have any, you cannot substitute with Mexican chorizo; it is very different. You can use Portuguese linguica in place of Spanish chorizo.

Mexican chorizo is made using fresh, moist pork, although it can also be made from beef, venison or goat. It is ground, not chopped, usually deep red in color and must be cooked before eating. The meat is mixed with spices and ingredients such as red chili peppers.

Portuguese linguica is smoked garlic sausage and is fairly spicy. It is about ½ inch in diameter and can be found in Latin American markets and most supermarkets. It is a common ingredient in many Latin American dishes.

Watson is a Sacramento home economist who has been a nutrition consultant and cooking instructor for nearly 20 years. She is a member of the American Association of Family and Consumer Science. Write: Teri Watson, Taste, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento 95852. Fax: 916-556-5625. E-mail: twatson@sacbee.com. Include your full name, phone number and city.

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