Having grown up in a Mexican household and a predominantly Mexican city, chorizo was the quick, go-to meal for my family. It's delicious and was always in my fridge growing up. My family typically ate chorizo with scrambled eggs, with potatoes, in tacos, and inside tortas—it can really be eaten with anything. 

What is chorizo, you ask? In short, chorizo is a pork sausage spiced with paprika and chiles like guajillo, chile arbor, or ancho chiles (these spices give chorizo its reddish hue). But there's so much more to learn about chorizo, and by the end of this article you'll love it as much as I do. 

What Is Chorizo?

Heema Gokani

Chorizo is a seasoned pork sausage common in Spain, Mexico, and other Latin American countries. Chorizo is made of minced meat and pork fat. In Spain, chorizo is cured, sometimes smoked, and seasoned with paprika and dried red peppers (it's kind of like salami). Mexican chorizo is seasoned with native red chiles and is not cured. It also must be cooked after removing the casing. Both differ slightly in flavor, and Mexican chorizo is most often what's served in restaurants.

History of Chorizo

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Image from WikiCommons

The chorizo we enjoy today dates back to the 16th century when the Spanish invaded Mexico and brought pigs over with them from Europe. Other sausages descended from the Spanish chorizo can be found in Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Chile. The Colombian sausage is often enjoyed with arepas.  In Venezuela, smoked sausage is eaten inside stews. Peruvian chorizo is eaten fried and crumbled with bread. As for Chile, its chorizo is eaten similarly to Mexican chorizo.

Today, Spanish chorizo can be found at most supermarkets and online, while Mexican chorizo is found pretty much at any local supermarket. My suggestion is to go to your local butcher for this. Otherwise, you can always get the plastic packaged chorizo that reads "lymph nodes, cheeks, etc."  

Ways to Eat Chorizo

Helen Limanto

Chorizo makes a great base for your soft tacos or tortas, scrambled into eggs, roasted with potatoes, or used as a topping on your pizza. There's also such thing as soy chorizo that can be used in any of these recipes. In fact, I'd argue that Trader Joe's sells a satisfying and delicious soy chorizo that tastes pretty close to the real thing. But maybe you're a little bolder than I'm giving you credit for—perhaps you want to make your very own vegan chorizo from scratch.  

Now that you've learned a thing or two about chorizo, it's your turn to experiment with dishes you can prepare it with. Chorizo can look a little intimidating with its red color, but it's definitely worth a try by itself or added into your favorite meal.