How to use the different chorizo varieties

Wednesday, January 13, 2010; E03

Fresh chorizo can be refrigerated for up to seven days. It is best to place unopened packages in freezer-safe plastic food storage bags. Defrost frozen chorizo in the refrigerator a day before you are going to use it.

Seasonings and ingredients used to make various chorizos tend to dictate how they can best be used. Here are tips from chef and cooking teacher Patricia Jinich:

-- Argentine. Traditionally garlicky yet mild, with considerable depth of flavor. But some Argentine-style chorizos are made with more heat and spice. Great for outdoor parties where you want to complement grilled rich-tasting sausages with other cuts of meat.

-- Colombian. Not especially complex or bold in flavor. Good for adding a meaty quality to dishes and for grilling.

-- Mexican. Intensely flavored, richly colored, hot and spicy. This chorizo crumbles easily and is good for sprinkling on top of or adding to cooked dishes.

-- Salvadoran. Also crumbly, with a complex layering of flavors including the pungency of achiote and the intensity of non-spicy chili peppers. But spicier versions are more increasingly available.

-- Guatemalan. Similar to Salvadoran but slightly spicier than Honduran. It has no heat and is therefore good for adding to dishes intended for crowds and younger palates.

-- Honduran. Even milder than the Guatemalan, with very little spice. Another crumbly kind, it's good for incorporating into dishes.

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