You know you have Mexican chorizo if you have to cook it. Mexican chorizo, unlike Spanish, feels springy and contains fresh, minced pork, spicy red peppers and an array of other ingredients and spices. Traditional Mexican chorizo uses natural hog casings tied with string or twisted in links. Commercially produced Mexican chorizo, on the other hand, often comes cinched with plastic or metal clips and packed in a plastic or otherwise inedible casing. You mainly cook Mexican chorizo out of the casing because it makes it easier to add it to other dishes, but it also cooks more evenly and thoroughly when you do.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a couple quarts of water to a boil in a pot and turn the heat off.
Place the chorizo in the hot water for about 3 minutes. The hot water loosens up the chorizo, making it easier to remove from the casing and break up the filling.
Line a lipped baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. You can also use a shallow dish to bake the chorizo.
Take the chorizo out of the hot water using tongs. Snip one end of each sausage off just under the clip or string using scissors.
Squeeze the chorizo out of the casing and onto the baking sheet. Break up the chorizo with a spoon or spatula.
Smooth the chorizo out evenly in the pan with the spatula or the back of the spoon. Place the pan in the oven.
Bake the chorizo for about 35 minutes per pound, stirring it well and breaking it up with the spoon or spatula halfway through cooking. The pork will be firm and browned when fully cooked.
Remove the chorizo and place the pan on a cooling pad.Scoop the chorizo out of the pan using a slotted spoon, allowing the juice to drain. Place the sausage in a dish for serving or reserving. If you're adding the chorizo to another recipe, place a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap on the surface to prevent drying. You can also reserve the fat and stir in a spoonful if you see it drying out.
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- You don't have too many limits with chorizo. You can mix it with almost any starch, such as diced potatoes, pasta and rice, vegetables, such as corn, tomatoes and eggplant, and other recipes, such as hash, soups and casseroles. Chorizo also takes paella, the quintessential seafood-and-rice dish, to a whole other level.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.