A spicy, flavorful and versatile sausage that's easy to make at home
By Darby Doyle
DWR Conservation Outreach Section
There are probably as many great chorizo recipes out there as there are flocks of Canada geese, and with good reason. Used for centuries in Spanish and Mexican cuisine, it's a versatile sausage that can be easily adapted to your spice level preference, and it freezes beautifully for long-term storage. It's delicious as a stand-alone main course or a flavor-packed addition to chili, pasta dishes, stuffed peppers, wine-steamed mussels or — to start the day with one of our family favorites — breakfast tacos.
If you're lucky enough to bag your limit of wild honkers, this savory and spicy sausage is a terrific way to make sure that all of the edible parts of the bird go to good use. It's also adaptable to any kind of game meat, from pronghorn to those "muddy" ducks that rarely get the attention they deserve in the kitchen.
Although our recipe has a pretty generous addition of pork to help the grind bind together for stuffing in sausage casings or for forming breakfast patties, the percentage of pork can be much lower if you intend to use this mostly as a crumbled sausage, such as in chili or tacos.
Chorizo aficionados will note that this spice profile is similar to versions popular in Mexico and the southwestern U.S., more so than what you'd find in Spain.
Makes about 5 pounds of sausage
Some tips for making great chorizo:
- Carefully pick over and clean the goose meat to make sure all feathers, shot, gristle and fat are removed.
- Steaming the garlic results in a milder, less-pungent flavor than using minced raw garlic, but it is an optional step. It's a bit excessive to heat up my oven to prepare just one head of garlic, so I usually make a big batch with 6–8 heads at a time and then freeze the extra in small portions to keep on hand for other uses.
- If you don't have all of the chile powders listed here, use your favorite Mexican spice blend in the same total quantity; just be sure to account for any additional salt and herbs that may be in the pre-mixed blend.
- Ideally, the spiced meat mixture should chill in the refrigerator for about 24 hours before grinding to allow the meat to rest and flavors to meld.
- 2¾ pounds goose meat, cut into approximately 1-inch pieces
- 2 pounds pork shoulder butt, diced
- ¼ pound pork back fat (or uncured pork belly), diced
- 3 tablespoons steamed garlic (instructions below) or 1 tablespoon minced garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground arbol chile (optional)
- ½ teaspoon ground pasilla chile (optional)
- 3 tablespoons blanco (unaged) tequila, chilled (or ice water)
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, chilled
Prepare the garlic (optional): Cut off the top of a head of garlic to expose the tips of the cloves. Place the unpeeled garlic root side down in a small oven-safe baking dish. Add about ¼ inch of water, and cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour, or until very soft. When cooled enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the peel.
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the tequila and vinegar. Toss with your hands or two large spoons to evenly distribute the ingredients. Cover tightly with plastic wrap (press the plastic wrap onto the surface of the meat) and refrigerate until ready to grind, about 12–24 hours.
Prepare a chilled setup for grinding: Place a large bowl inside another larger bowl (or a rimmed baking dish) filled with ice, and place the entire bowl setup under the grinder plate. Grind the spiced goose mixture through a medium die into the chilled bowl.
Using a wooden spoon or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, thoroughly combine the ground meat mixture using the lowest speed setting. A tablespoon at a time, add the chilled tequila (or ice water) and red wine vinegar and keep mixing until all is evenly combined.
Increase the mixer speed to medium for about one minute (or keep mixing vigorously with a spoon for 2–3 minutes). The resulting sausage will be quite sticky.
Check the level of seasoning: In a skillet, sauté a quarter-sized piece of sausage until cooked through. Taste, and adjust seasoning to add more salt or spice as desired, mixing in thoroughly to distribute the new additions.
If you intend to use the chorizo as a loose sausage, divide it into portions for refrigeration (up to one week) or freezing. Wrap the portions in butcher paper or prepare vacuum-sealed bags.
If you're making links, stuff the sausage into rinsed hog casings (I like the pre-tubed casings available online through sausage specialty stores) and twist into 6-inch sections. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook.
Serving: Make sure chorizo is cooked through before serving (reaching a temperature of 165 degrees) by sautéing, grilling or roasting the sausage.
Bonus recipe: Goose chorizo breakfast tacos
Makes 8 tacos
Brown 10–12 ounces of chorizo in a heavy skillet until cooked through, breaking it up with the back of a spoon as it browns. In another dry skillet over medium heat, toast 8 small corn tortillas until fragrant and golden, flip so both sides are toasted; keep warm on a covered plate until ready to assemble. Add a little bit of oil to the skillet that was used to toast the tortillas, and prepare 6–8 eggs, scrambled.
To assemble the tacos, distribute equally to each tortilla the chorizo, eggs, some shredded cheese and your favorite taco toppings. ¡Salud!