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Chorizo for Quick Chilli

Asked by Lucy87. Answered on 10th September 2012

Full question

Dear Nigella team, I have a question about chorizo. In the Quick Chilli recipe in Nigella Express (p.236), Nigella mentions using chorizo sausage but not the salami sort. I was wondering what she means by this? I'm living in Holland and I've only managed to find one sort of chorizo, which is the dried one, similar to salami. Is this the wrong one? Thank you!

Our answer

Chorizo is usually found in two forms. One is the fresh (fresco) chorizo which needs cooking before eating, the other is the "salami" form which is cured and smoked and can be eaten raw. The main reason the fresh one is recommended for cooking is that it is fattier than the cured type and so lets out plenty of chilli and pimenton-flavoured oil which helps to flavour the dish. The cured type is much leaner and will not release the same amount of oil.

In our experience the fresh type of chorizo tends to come as thinner sausages and the salami type will be fatter (though may not be as large as Italian salami sausages). If you can only find the cured type then you could use it but try to get a chunk, rather than ready sliced, and cut it into cubes. You will need to add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and heat this before adding the chorizo and frying for a few minutes, and taste and add some chilli flakes (red pepper flakes) if the chilli isn't spicy enough. You may also like to add a glug of red wine to the pan when you add the beans, but only if you have some already to hand.

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