“Your glance scattered seeds.
It planted a tree.
because you shake its leaves.”
Excerpt from “Letter of Testimony” by Octavio Paz
Mexican food and culture are irresistible to me – the warmth, the spices, the influence of the ancient. You may have even read some of my recipes for dishes such as mole roasted sweet potatoes and street corn with chile butter. With Día de los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday, coming up just after Halloween, here is a main dish to add to your celebration.
Unlike its Spanish counterpart, Mexican chorizo is made from fresh pork. Where you may have noticed the hard, dried Spanish variety appearing in everything from donuts to cocktails, rivaling bacon as a way to add smoky pork flavor to dishes we eat morning to night, this recipe is best used as a filling for tacos and empanadas or served with rice.
1 ½ pounds ground pork
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons adobo sauce from chipotles in adobo
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons red chili flakes
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Savory Mexican dishes often include a complex combination of spices including chiles, cinnamon, and even a touch of clove, and this chorizo recipe is no exception. Rather than adding a dessert-like quality, here cinnamon and clove add depth without being overpowering. The heat level of this chorizo isn’t over the top, with the chiles adding maximum flavor without burning intensity.
Begin by combining all of the ingredients except for the pork in a large glass bowl to create a spice paste. Once the mixture is well-combined add the pork and gently work the paste into the meat until it takes on an even reddish color. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
When ready to cook, use a small amount of oil to just lightly coat the bottom of a skillet. Over medium high heat, brown the chorizo, breaking it up with a spoon as necessary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is no longer pink. It will have the consistency of ground beef with a reddish brown color when it is done.
Serve with warmed tortillas and taco toppings, fill empanada dough, or pair with rice.