Thursday, May 24, 2012

Argentine Chorizo with a Chilean

Rebecca and I are, for the most-part, American mutts. I can trace my Gaelic heritage somewhat easily with a name like Darrin Patrick McCowan, but I also know of French, German and Crow Indian roots. Rebecca's bloodline includes Polish, French and English (of Anne Hathaway fame even). But our good friends back in Chicago, Monica and Christian are much closer to their foreign roots. Monica is a first-generation American born to Polish parents while Christian was born in Washington DC to Chilean parents. So I will admit I was caught a little off-guard when Christian asked me to make an Argentine Chorizo for him. I imagine it was mostly because the differences between this and a Chilean version were minimal and there aren't any recipes floating around for a more specific version from Chile.

1/2     liter     red wine
10      lb.       pork
1        head   garlic, crushed
20      pc.      cloves
5        lb.       beef
6        oz.      bacon (or salt pork)
5        cloves garlic, crushed
1/3     cup      salt
4        Tbsp    Paprika
1        Tbsp    Nutmeg
1        Tbsp    White pepper

hog casings

Because I don't like to mess with something that might not be broken, we stayed pretty close to the recipe he found online. I did try to keep it a little more Chilean by using a nice Chilean Malbec. The recipe was from

My variations included the Chilean wine, using smoked paprika and upping the salt to taste. But you simply steep the head of garlic and the cloves in the red wine for about 15 minutes then strain and chill. Then following standard sausage making rules (rinsing/soaking casings, slightly freezing meat, etc) we mixed all the seasoning components and the firm meat, ground it all together, mixed it further and finally stuffed it into natural brat-sized casings.

After doing the first part of each step I let Christian step in and actually be part of the whole process. He was a champ and mixed, ground, mixed more and finally stuffed the sausages.

We left it in its coil and cooked it off in a cast-iron pan with a bit of olive oil. We then served it in a more Chilean fashion. While the Argentine people might prefer chimichurri, we LOVE the Chilean take on it with a sauce called pebre. It is basically chimichurri with the parsley to cilantro ratio reversed. Ok, we actually completely illuminate the parsley all together. The fresh herb and garlic combined with the acidic bite are always great with any piece of meat.

While Christian says it was as he remembered from his visits "home," I thought it could use a couple changes for the next round. First of all, it was dense and a bit dry. Both of these issues can be resolved with the inclusion of some ground fat. I suggest pork fat, thrown in with the final smaller grind. This will lighten the farce while adding some more juiciness beyond the wine. Besides some juiciness, it will also make it a bit easier to stuff if you wanted to throw a handful of ice cubes in with the fat. One other consideration I had was to include some of the garlic that was strained out of the wine. I am thinning it would be a welcome added touch.

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