Green Chorizo

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I wish I could say I first ate green chorizo at a market in Toluca, just west of Mexico City. But I didn’t. I first saw green chorizo at the Underground Butcher in Madison, Wisconsin. At first I thought it was some gabacho bastardization of “real” chorizo. Nope, chorizo verde is a thing. And it’s a good thing.

Fresh green chorizo on a platter
Photo by Hank Shaw

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense: Virtually everything great in Mexican cuisine is como la bandera: Like their flag, which is to say red, white and green. We all know the bright red chorizo, and yes, there is one without any visible coloration, too. This is the green one.

The flavor is amazing. Green chile, which means picante but not fiery, lots of cilantro (if you hate cilantro use parsley), just a touch of cumin and coriander, and, to green it up a bit more, a fair bit of green powder. What sort of green powder? I used dried nettles, ground fine. But you can do the same thing with spinach, green onions or chives, kelp, parsley or even more cilantro.

In Mexico you can see lurid green chorizo that has food dye in it. Not my style.

You make your own by blanching the green vegetable or herb in salty water for about 30 seconds, then dunking it in ice water to stop the cooking. Dry the greens, then dehydrate them fully. Grind to a powder. Or you can do what they do in Toluca, which is add food coloring.

Or hell, skip it. Your green chorizo will be just fine, just less green.

You want a rustic grind here. I use a 6.5 mm die, which is a medium grind. You can make chorizo verde with store-bought ground pork, too, just be sure it’s not too lean.

A final word on making these sausages: I find that the C-Bind carrot fiber keeps all fresh sausages moister and better bound than those made without it. It’s my secret weapon when making sausage. All it is is carrot fiber, dried and ground. Nothing weird in there.

How do you eat your green chorizo? Any way you’d like. I love it broken up in chilaquiles, that amazing Mexican “garbage plate” of stale tortillas, eggs, and basically whatever you have lying around.

green chorizo in chilaquiles
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

But chorizo verde is really good grilled on a bun, too. Make it like a sort of Mexican hot dog, with salsa, hot sauce and or crema on it.

Play around with it, and let me know in the comments how you like eating your green chorizo.

New to making sausage? You can find my detailed tutorial on how to make sausages at home here

Fresh green chorizo on a platter
4.91 from 11 votes

Green Chorizo

This recipe is meant for regular pork, but you can make it with most meats -- just make sure you have between 20 and 35 percent fat by weight. If you can't find a cool green powder like the nettle powder, you can add a little green food coloring. It makes about 5 pounds of sausage, and can be scaled up.
Course: Cured Meat
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 20 links
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 5 pounds fatty pork shoulder
  • 36 grams kosher salt, about 2 level tablespoons
  • 1 cup roasted, stemmed, seeded and chopped green chiles (Hatch, Anaheim, poblano)
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 serrano chile, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, Mexican if possible
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh epazote (optional)
  • 1/2 cup nettle/kelp/spinach powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon C-Bind carrot fiber (optional)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • hog casings

Instructions 

  • Cut the pork shoulder into chunks that will fit in your grinder. Mix with the salt and put in a closed container in the refrigerator overnight. Doing this helps develop myosin in the meat, which helps your sausage bind to itself.
  • The next day, put all your grinding equipment in the fridge, and the blade and a 6.5 mm (or medium) die in the freezer. Take out about 15 feet of hog casings and flush them with warm water, checking for leaks. Set the casings aside in a bowl of warm water.
  • Put the roasted green chiles, cilantro, serrano chile, and the garlic cloves in a food processor and buzz until you have a fine mix, almost a paste. Mix that in a bowl with the oregano, cumin, and coriander. Put it in the fridge.
  • Grind your meat through the grinder once or twice. Once if it's decent pork shoulder, twice if you are using gnarly bits. Set the ground meat in the freezer while you clean up the grinder and set up your sausage stuffer.
  • In a large bowl, mix the meat, the chile mixture, the nettle or spinach powder, if you are using it, as well as the carrot fiber, lime juice and ice water. I do this with my (very clean) hands for about 90 seconds, until I can't stand it any longer; your hands should ache with cold while you are mixing. You want the entire 5-pound batch to stick to itself in a messy, sticky ball when you pick it up.
  • Put the loose sausage in a stuffer if you are making links, or make patties if you want it loose. To make links, thread a casing onto the stuffer tube and leave about 3 inches of casing at the end. Fill the entire length of casing fully but not too tightly. Repeat until you have filled all your casings.
  • To make links, starting from one end of the coil, pinch off about a 6-inch link at the end with one hand, then another by using your other hand. Roll the second link away from you about 5 times to form the link. Compress the end link with your hands and tie it off. Now move down the coil and pinch off two more links. This time you want to roll the link farthest from the end of the coil towards you about 5 times. Continue this with all the coils. Tie off the final link on the other side of the coil. Forming links this way keeps them from unraveling too easily. (This video shows how I do it.)
  • Use a clean needle or sausage pricker to piece the casing where there are air pockets. Gently compress each link to push out the air. Let your links hang for at least 1 hour on a drying rack, or whatever you can rig up. Ideally you'd let them hang overnight in a refrigerator, but even an hour's worth of room temperature air will help the sausages bloom and fill their casings.
  • Regardless, store your chorizo overnight before vac sealing and freezing. They will keep in the fridge a week or so.

Nutrition

Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 791mg | Potassium: 253mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 61IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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15 Comments

  1. Excited about trying this with the weekends’ bounty. I’ll be adding my goose to the pork and see how it goes. Do you ever add dried milk as a binder? I made your Greek sausage and don’t remember there being any mention of a binder in that. I heard on a show that you should never make sausage without a binder but that’s news to me. I’m not an avid sausage maker yet though, so maybe that’s why I haven’t run across it. The carrot binder you mentioned sounds interesting, I’ll have to find some online. In the meantime, any suggestion if I should bother with the dry milk or just skip a binder? I’d like to get this done up while it’s still fresh. Thanks and hope the move to MN went well!

      1. Awesome blend of herbs and spices made this an excellent sausage. Used a portion of goose to go with the pork and added a little richer flavor I think than straight pork. Will certainly be making this again! Might add some cooked shallot in the mix and the carrot binder I ordered. Thanks for another great addition to the kitchen!

  2. FYI -If you are fortunate enough to have a gas oven, you already have a built in dehydrator! Just wash your leafy greens, dry well, spread out on a paper towel lined baking sheet (don’t crowd) and place on an upper rack in the oven overnight. You may have to rotate the tray once. The gentle heat from the pilot light supplies the perfect amount of even heat to dry the leaves. I’ve been doing this for decades now and it works far better than the store-bought dehydrator that I threw away long ago. One caution: don’t forget you have them in there and turn the oven on the next day and burn them up, as my spouse once did to me. So be sure to alert your family. This works for making literally ANY kind of vegetable powder. Try with thin sliced beets and parsnips! Experiment and have fun.

  3. So…I was prepping this recipe and made the green chile/cilantro/serrano/garlic mixture. I had a pot of elk chili simmering on the stove for dinner and my wife came up and put a spoonful of the mixture in her chili and asked if I could make more for the chorizo because she was keeping this batch for the chili…so five stars for that alone!

  4. These are amazing and perfectly spiced with good ratios! I chose to add in toasted pepitas for my own likings but the recipe is a winner as it is!! Don’t pass on the epazote. Another winner for Hank Shaw.

  5. Carrot fiber , him , I’ll give it a try , my sausages lack that bounce (probably not the right word ) I’m looking for .

  6. Fratello,
    It formats (right word) a tad incorrectly when printing. Chops off a bit at the top left.
    Just FYI 🙂

    -Lou

  7. I made a very similar sausage to this recently by simply adding my homemade hatch chile salsa to a batch of fresh pork sausage. They were fantastic. The recommendation to add the carrot fiber binder is a great one. It’s an absolute game changer when it comes to chicken or turkey sausages. Carrot Fiber will hold up to 26 times it’s weight in water which will make for a juicier product and overall a better yield. You could very easily use this product in any ground meat product to improve moisture…burgers, meatballs or meatloaf come to mind.

  8. I use a recipe by Rick Bayless that is very similar that uses spinach powder.This stuff is muy bueno!Viva chorizo verde!

  9. This sounds great, plan on making this, but leaving it as bulk sausage and vacuum pack in 8oz packages to have meat for nachos, quesadillas, breakfast tacos! Thanks for the recipe!
    I have spinach powder, I order it from MySpiceSage.com

  10. would you consider using venison for this recipe? if so, what would you use as a meat to fat ratio?
    also, if im just going to package in bulk is the carrot binder going to be beneficial?
    thanks
    Miguel

  11. I had these amazing sausages in toluca mexico 30 years. The spices come out of your skin for couple days after. Thanks for the receipe