There will be no hog casings or meat grinders in this homemade chorizo post. All you really need is ground pork, some dried chili peppers, and the simple belief that it’s easier than it sounds.
So consider this the express version of chorizo making, designed for people who don’t have time to make their own chorizo.
You’ll still end up with a final product that’s superior to commercial grade chorizo, and this recipe comes with the added bonus of being adaptable to the dried chili peppers you have on hand.
Homemade chorizo Recipe
Unlike the dried and cured Spanish version, Mexican chorizo is sold fresh and typically flavored with the very foundation of Mexican cuisine…dried chili peppers.
Luckily there is tremendous leeway on the type of chili peppers you can use. In other words, it’s hard to go wrong when you combine reconstituted chili peppers and sausage so I highly recommend just going for it.
I’m using a half Ancho, half New Mexican combo:
That’s four Ancho dried chilis and five New Mexican chilis. I’m a big fan of Ancho peppers so I use them every chance I get, but using all New Mexican chilis, or even all Guajillo chilis, is a viable option.
The other thing to keep in mind is that Anchos and New Mexican chilis are mild by nature, so this will be a less fiery version of chorizo. If you want to amp up the heat you can always add in a few Chiles de Arbol or even some Cayenne.
Start by wiping off the peppers with a damp towel. Then cut off the stems and de-seed the chilis, but don’t worry about getting rid of every last seed.
I usually roast these in a 450F oven for 1-2 minutes, partly to enhance flavor and partly for the aroma that fills the kitchen. You can also flash them on a hot skillet for 30-60 seconds and get a similar effect. Just be sure not to burn them or they will turn bitter.
Add the chilis to a bowl and cover with the hottest tap water you’ve got. Let the chilis reconstitute for 20-30 minutes.
If they float to the surface you can use a small bowl or plate to keep them submerged.
Drain the chilis and discard the soaking liquid. Add them to a blender along with 1/2 onion, 3 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1 Tablespoon salt, some freshly cracked pepper, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, and a splash of water.
Blend until you’re left with a thick paste. You can always add another splash of water if it’s having trouble blending.
Okay, a quick word on sausage…
Like it or not, sausage is made possible by fat. So if you are starting with super lean ground pork and want to avoid adding fat to it then most likely you’ll be disappointed with the result.
One route is to buy fat separately and add it to the ground pork. Back fat is frequently used and can sometimes be purchased from local butchers. (More info on back fat in our home rendered lard post.)
Or you can start with ground pork that has a higher fat content. That’s what we are doing here and it fits well with our express version model.
See all the fatty bits? That’s enough to send us into Mexican chorizo territory, but of course you are welcome to up the fat content even more if you want to. I was quite happy using just this ground pork so I’ll probably be sticking with this method for the foreseeable future.
Okay, add the blender mixture to the ground pork and combine well using a spoon or your hands.
And that’s it. Easy right? You’re left with two pounds of deliciously seasoned express chorizo that gives you instant access to a wide range of Mexican dishes.
You can store this homemade chorizo as you would fresh sausage. And since we are bypassing the intestinal casings for this batch, breaking it up into 1/2 lb. chunks and storing in Ziplocs works just fine. I keep one in the fridge where it will last for a few days, and put the others in the freezer.
I’ve been using this chorizo all week to make some epic breakfast burritos; I’ll put up a recipe for those next week. I also want to try out a chorizo jalapeno pizza, and down the road I’ll put up a recipe for an express batch of green chorizo.
In the meantime, don’t forget that this recipe is willing to be customized based on what you have in your kitchen. It’s as if this chorizo is willing to do just about anything to make its way into your fridge 🙂
This is the express version of homemade chorizo. Don't forget that there is lots of leeway in the chili pepper combo you use.
- 2 lbs. ground pork
- 4 Ancho dried chilis
- 5-6 New Mexican dried chilis
- 1/2 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon salt
- freshly cracked pepper
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- splash water
Start by wiping off the dried chilis with a damp towel. De-stem and de-seed the chilis, but don't worry about getting rid of every last seed.
Roast the chilis for 1-2 minutes in a 450F oven, or you can flash them on a hot skillet for 30-60 seconds.
Place the chilis in a bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let the chilis reconstitute for 20-30 minutes. You can use a small bowl or plate to keep them submerged.
Drain the chilis and discard the soaking liquid. Add the chilis to a blender along with 1/2 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon salt, some freshly cracked pepper, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, and a splash of water. Blend until you have a thick paste.
Add blender mixture to 2 lbs. of uncooked ground pork and combine well using a spoon or your hands.
I store these in 1/2 lb. chunks using Ziplocs. I keep one in the fridge where it will keep for a few days and store the others in the freezer.
Cook as you would traditional sausage. I use a skillet over medium-high heat and give it 3-5 minutes on each side.
Chile de Arbols or Cayenne can be added if you want a more fiery version.
Starting with a higher fat content ground pork will make it taste more like "sausage". You always have the option of adding additional fat.
Don't worry about tracking down Mexican oregano if you don't have any. You can use traditional oregano or omit it altogether.