When is a sausage not just a sausage? When it’s a Spanish chorizo, made from lean and fat pork, garlic, salt and herbs. Often white wine is added to accelerate the fermentation process, giving chorizo its distinctive taste. And key to its deep red colour is the addition of paprika, which also has preservative qualities.
Most commonly available is fresh chorizo with a soft texture similar to that of a regular sausage. If you’re dealing with a specialist supplier you may find the terms “dulce” and “picante” being bandied about, indicating a sweet chorizo or a spicier version. Some fresh chorizo is also available smoked, lending a complexity best suited to dishes where the chorizo is the hero ingredient. Fresh chorizo is often fermented and hung to air-dry, becoming a semi-dried or dried chorizo. As it dries, the texture changes to almost that of a salami and its flavour gradually intensifies – qualities much prized by Spanish aficionados.