by Malia Kirby L.Ac.
So, after a few years of living in Boulder, I finally decided to stop in at our local library to pick up a library card. Normally, I stop in at the library for a fiction fix (primarily because our bookshelf space is reserved for TCM texts and cookbooks), but on my most recent trip, I decided to check out their cooking section to see if they had any of the vegan cookbooks on my list before I purchase them. Being that it’s Boulder, every single vegan and vegetarian cookbook on my wish list wasn’t just checked out, but on waitlists also, but to my surprise, I also managed to hit pay dirt with several Japanese cookbooks, one on Vietnamese cooking, several on Indian cuisine, and the entire collected works of Rick Bayless. Shawn, bless his little heart, managed to keep from rolling his eyes as I squealed with glee and started loading him up with book after book after book.
Now, I’m not entirely certain I’ll pick up all of these books I now have sitting in a very large stack on our dining table, but I can tell you that I will most definitely be picking up Bayless’s Authentic Mexican. Not only does that little gem contain a number of recipes that I should be eating right now, but it also contains a recipe for homemade chorizo, which was the inspiration for today’s recipe. Leave it to me, I suppose, to start out looking for vegan cookbooks to wind up making spicy pork sausage instead.
Items you will need in addition to the ingredients include: a stand mixer with a meat grinder attachment or a high-powered food processor, two large bowls that have been chilled in the freezer, a large colander, a large piece of cheesecloth, a large platter, plenty of available space in your refrigerator, and two days for aging.
Modified from Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless
Makes approximately 1 lb. after aging
8 oz lean, boneless pork loin, cut into 1” cubes and chilled
8 oz lean, boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1” cubes and chilled
1/3 pound pork fat, cut into ½” cubes and chilled
3 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into pieces
2 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into pieces
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 T smoked Spanish paprika
1 t kosher salt
¾ t dried Mexican oregano
½ t freshly ground coriander seeds
½ t ground cinnamon
½ t freshly ground black peppercorns
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground ginger
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then place a few chile pieces on the hot surface and toast until blistered. Flip and toast the other side, then remove and allow to cool to room temperature. Repeat this process until all of the chiles have been toasted and cooled. Crumble in a spice grinder, then combine with the vinegar, garlic, paprika, salt, oregano, coriander, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Set aside until ready to use.
Mix the pork loin, shoulder, and fat together in one of the pre-chilled large bowls. Place the reserved meat seasoning mixture into the other pre-chilled bowl, then run the meat through the grinder and into the bowl with the seasonings. Mix the meat and the seasonings together thoroughly with your hands, then cover and refrigerate overnight to let the flavors meld together.
In the morning, line the bottom of the colander with the cheesecloth, then transfer the chorizo from the bowl and into the colander. Cover, then place the colander on top of the platter to catch any drippings from the chorizo, and place back into the refrigerator to age for two to three days. Once the chorizo has aged, it will be ready for use immediately. If not ready for use, place in a freezer-safe container and freeze, otherwise the sausage will keep in the refrigerator for an additional two days.
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