I took two weeks off from the grind called work. What did I do? I stayed home and ground my own.
Chorizo, that is.
There's a hoary saying about the ugliness of witnessing the production of either journalism or sausage. Read on; this one's pretty tasty.
My home-ground chorizo experience started in April, when I bought a 7-pound pork loin at QFC, dramatically marked down the day before its sell-by date. I stuck it in the deep freeze and forgot about it until I saw 10 pounds of pork shoulder at Costco. I beelined over to Bed Bath and Beyond and bought a grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer.
Home-made chorizo is easy to make. It's a lot better than chorizo from the grocery store. That kind's greasy and contains pig parts I don't want to think about.
I asked my dad's advice for preparing the pork (puree spices and chiles and let the cubed meat marinade in the mixture) and peeked at a Rick Bayless cookbook for proportions. With measurements scaled up to approximately one-quarter cup each, I lightly toasted the spices: oregano, cumin, paprika, peppercorns and Chinese five spice powder. I added garlic and salt. I cheated and used canned chiles in adobo, rather than reconstituting dried chiles in boiling water.
Once the meat was marinated, I ran it through the grinder. Then I poured three cups of cider vinegar into the ground pork and mixed it all together by hand. I covered the tub with plastic wrap and stuck it in the refrigerator.
Two hours later, I cooked a test batch. I was pleased. The chorizo was lean, with a meaty texture that didn't crumble in a greasy pool like the supermarket stuff does. Two days later, after the spices mellowed and the vinegar started to preserve and flavor the meat, I cooked lunch – a scramble of chorizo, onions, bell peppers and mozzarella cheese, scooped up with corn tortillas. I ate the same lunch almost every day last week.
I gave some chorizo to a friend. She made breakfast pizza. I gave some to another friend. He shared it with his dad for breakfast, scrambled with eggs the way Mexicans have started their days for centuries.
I've got about seven pounds of chorizo left. I'm thinking about making chorizo chili. Maybe chorizo meatloaf. Heck, chorizo con chorizo sounds bueno, too.