Chorizo is a big deal here in South Texas.  The regional version is a more laid back sausage than its Spanish ancestor, but it packs a punch.  Although it comes in a casing, it is usually cooked like a ground meat broken up, and quite greasy.  Unlike Spanish chorizo, it is not cured or dried.  It is a common breakfast food served mixed in with scrambled eggs, or with refried beans in a flour tortilla, or with breakfast potatoes on the side.  It adds a spicy vinegary flavor, and is usually deep orange-red and full of chili powder, cumin, and garlic.

Tlacuache loves the chorizo from the San Manuel chorizo factory on I-37 South (between San Antonio and McAllen).  He says he prefers it because of the smooth texture– the lack of gristle or other tough little bits.  I suppose I value this too in a sausage, but I didn’t realize there was so much bad sausage that this was an issue.

Chorizo Verde is not really a South Texas thing– it is popular in some parts of Mexico, but not here.  However, a few months ago I bought some chorizo verde from a charcuterie stand at the farmers market.  It was rustic (not in a tough bits kind of way) and refreshing, wrapped in butcher paper, but with no casing.  Since then, I don’t think I can go back to factory-made chorizo.  The chartcuterie unexpectedly went out of business, despite their mad popularity.  Fast forward to last week when I got a discount off my order from Greenlings, and stocked up on local veggies and meats.

Even though all the recipes I read called for a fatty cut of pork butt for this, I took two giant 2-inch thick pork chops, and removed all the meat and fat from the bones that I could.  I think what is more important than the cut of the pork is the quality of it.  (Although I wouldn’t use an extra lean pork tenderloin.)  This pork is local pastured  pork from Richardson farms.  Rule of thumb is that it should be firm and a nice deep pink, not too pale or soft.  You can use a meat grinder for this recipe, but I actually used a food processor and it worked fine.

I ate this all by itself on warm white corn tortillas I made, with a dollop of sour cream and a little cilantro.  Some of the ingredients are essential– serranos, cilantro, onion, garlic– but some you can tweak to your liking.  I prefer a little allspice or nutmeg, and plenty of coriander.  I also like to use white wine instead of vinegar.  The chives were a chance addition– needing to be used up and adding to the verde.

I scooped this into individual portions onto parchment paper, then wrapped them and froze them for later use.

Chorizo Verde

1 pound pork chop or butt

1/2 white onion, diced

2 serrano chiles, seeds removed, minced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tsp salt

3 tablespoons white vinegar or white wine

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

Process the meat a few seconds in the food processor.  Add everything except the cilantro, and process about ten seconds.  Transfer the sausage to a bowl, and use a wooden spoon to stir in the chopped cilantro until thoroughly combined.  Scoop into portions for patties, or crumble loosely into an oiled frying pan and cook on medium-high until browned and firm.