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Chorizo is the flavor of Spain

Published Sep. 11, 2002
Updated Sep. 3, 2005

(ran SPTP edition)

Chorizo is a beloved thing among devotees of Mexican food.

The chile-red sausage, laced with garlic and oozing crimson-hued pork fat, is popular throughout Mexico and parts of the United States and Latin America.

But its origins are not in the New World.

From their home country, Spaniards brought with them the major raw ingredient, pigs, as well as sausagemaking techniques from Europe. The recipe changed over centuries in the Americas, incorporating the New World's chiles, such as ancho.

In her book Delicioso: The Regional Cooking of Spain, Penelope Casas says that adding Spanish chorizo to a dish gives it that "unmistakable flavor of Spain."

The same can be said of Mexican chorizo and its ability to impart the chile-induced warmth and flavor of great Mexican food.

Black Bean and Chorizo Soup

1 link (3- to 4-ounce) Spanish

chorizo, coarsely chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

{ green bell pepper, chopped

\ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

{ teaspoon ground cumin

\ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2{ to 3 cups chicken broth

2 (15- to 19-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

Sliced lemon rounds and chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Cook chorizo, onion, garlic, bell pepper, pepper flakes, cumin and salt in oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.

Add broth (2{ cups for smaller cans of beans or 3 cups for larger) and beans and simmer, partially covered, 15 minutes.

Lightly mash beans with potato masher to slightly thicken.

Yield: 4 servings.

Source: Gourmet magazine.