To capture the essence of chorizo, a trademark Mexican dish made from pickled pork and flavorful seasonings, you need to begin with authentic ingredients. Meet guajillo peppers:
Guajillos are a variety of dried peppers used in several traditional Mexican dishes. Drying peppers smoothes out their burn, sweetens them, and leaves them with a mellow, full bodied fragrance and flavor. They can be found in the “ethnic” isle of the grocery store, though you may also find them next to the produce alongside other dried goods. You know you have good ones when they are deep garnet red and pliable (like very thin fruit leather) and don’t crack too badly when you try to pull them open.
Now that you are learned in selecting quality dried peppers, you can begin on the rest.
1c Apple Cider Vinegar
4 dried Guajillo (wah-hee-yo) Peppers
4 cloves Garlic
4 whole Cloves
¼ t dried Mexican Oregano (or ½ t fresh Oregano if you’re lucky enough to have some on hand, but make sure it’s Mexican, not Italian, for an authentic flavor)
¼ t Black Pepper
¼ t powdered Cumin
2 t Salt
1 ½c Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
Measure your liquids into a 20-32oz pot and bring them to a boil.
Meanwhile, pop or cut the stems from the peppers, slit them lengthwise, and pull out any seeds and whitish veins you see inside the pepper. Add them to the boiling vinegar solution and remove from heat, allowing them to rest about 10 minutes and reconstitute. You’ll know they’re ready when they are cloudy and soft.
Strain liquid from the peppers over a 32oz glass or plastic lidded dish and add the peppers, along with ¼ of the liquid, garlic, cloves, and oregano a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, cool everything first by placing in the fridge or freezer in a plastic container before liquefying it in the blender. Blend this carefully at low speed; otherwise your prep area is going to look like a set on CSI Miami.
To the vinegar solution add Salt, Pepper, and Cumin, stir to dissolve salt, and add TVP to the hot liquid.
Into the pickling TVP, strain your pepper mush through a fine colander or sieve to remove all unpleasant pepper skins and twiggy bits of oregano and cloves. Use a rubber spatula to get all the good stuff out of the processor/blender, and rinse it before using the spatula to mix the peppers with your TVP…or you will leave gross little pepper skins in your soyrizo that stick to the back of your throat when you’re eating. Or leave them in. What’s breakfast with the family without an awkward moment or two?
When everything is mixed, have a little taste. How is it? Hell yes, it’s delicious! It doesn’t stop there: it’ll taste even better tomorrow. After a few days in the fridge, the flavors will really get to know each other well, like new sorority sisters who bonded over a week of hazing and are having a delicious pillow fight in your mouth, talking about their feelings, and experimenting with their sexuality. ¡Buen Provecho!
Add up the cost of ingredients…did you or did you not wind up paying less per ounce of homemade deliciousness versus what you would have bought at the store? I know you did. The stuff you made is going to last…oh boy, you’re going to have soyrizo for at least a month because you just made enough to fill about three packages of store bought and thanks to the pickling process, it’s going around a long time. You can share or trade with a friend, or freeze it after the initial 24 hours and hoard it all like a greedy bastard. Whatever you do, don’t store it at room temperature or leave it out, as this will cause it to turn and mold.
You can add this to make Soyrizo Potatoes from my post in February 2012, or add them to January 2012’s entry, Tofu “Eggs.”