Today, I bring to you a semi-authentic version of Longaniza de Chile, which, in English, translates to Chilean Longaniza…I know, my Spanish is pretty impressive.
Longaniza refers to a Spanish sausage that is similar to a linguica or chorizo. There are many different varieties of Longaniza amidst the regions of Spain, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and the Philippines. The recipes for the different versions types of Longaniza’s vary by the spices that are used, the types of peppers, and how the sausages are prepared.
Longaniza de Chile is a fresh sausage that calls for jalapeño peppers and a type of alcohol known as chicha de jora, or just, chicha. Now, remember when I said “semi-authentic” in the beginning? It’s because of this danged chicha. Chicha (derived from the Spanish word ‘chichal’, which means ‘to spit’ or ‘saliva’) is what is commonly known as “spit-beer”- as in it is made by the spit of other people… I know, I had to let that sink in for a minute too when I first heard about it. Chicha is a traditional Latin American beer made by chewing corn that has been ground into a flour, allowing the enzymes in the saliva to turn the starches from the corn into fermentable sugars. The chewed corn is then pressed into the roof of your mouth to flatten it into a small patty (called a muko, which means ‘salivated flour’), and then left out to dry. During the actual beermaking process, the mukos are boiled, which should kill off any harmful bacterias, making the idea of drinking someone else’s spit a little less gross. Various fruits and spices are added, resluting in a beer that is described as being somewhat sweet and sour. Because the traditional spit method for making authentic chicha is very labor intensive, it is more common nowadays to make chicha by allowing the corn starches to ferment by soaking and germinating the corn and adding a starter culture. While I would like to tell you about my adventures in chicha making, I’m afraid that won’t be happening. I was unable to find a local market that sold any chicha, so we substituted the chicha for a Spanish Port for our recipe. If you are interested in learning about making your own chicha, this website has a good description of the process.
The Longaniza de Chile is frequently made during the Fiesta Patrias of Chile, which is a celebration lasting two days commemorating the beginning of the Chilean Independance process. The sausages are eaten as a sandwich,called a choripán, on crusty bread with chimichurri, and washed down with glass of chicha.
Alright, enough chit-chat- let’s make some sausage!
If this is your first time making sausage, you’ll want to read through Fresh Sausage Making 101 to learn about the basics of cranking out delicious, homemade fresh sausages. If you’re already a pro, it’s time to gather the ingredients:
Longaniza de Chile
- 5 lbs. pork shoulder
- 2 jalapeño peppers
- 1 tbs. (36 grams) salt
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbs. (30 grams) paprika
- 4 tsp. (6.2 grams) oregano, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp. (3.3 grams) cumin, ground
- 1/4 cup Chicha or sweet wine such as port or sherry
*If you have a kitchen scale, measuring your spices by weight is the preferable method.
- Chill the pork to 40°F and grind through the small plate (3/16 inch). Place ground pork in the refrigerator.
- Add minced garlic to the Chicha or wine; let the garlic get good and drunk for about 30 minutes. Take hearty sips from the remainder of the bottle while the garlic makes a fool of itself.
- Mince the chili pepper and fresh oregano; add them and the other ingredients (plus the drunken garlic mixture) to the meat.
- Get your hands dirty and mix everything together.
- Stuff the mixture into pork casings, and link the sausages to your desired length.
- Allow the sausages to ‘age’ several hours, or overnight before cooking.
- Impress your friends or your cats with your new Chilean culinary expertise.
I happen to be a sucker for Latin American food, and my biased opinion is that these sausages are fan-frickin-tastic! I scrambled them with eggs, made breakfast burritos and tacos, and also made some awesome beans and rice and grilled these suckers up to serve with. You can also just mix up the meat and spices and use the loose sausage mixture to cook with if you don’t want to stuff the meat into links. So many possibilities. And don’t forget about making choripán for your next Chilean themed bar-b-que, because now you have an excuse to actually have a Chilean themed bar-b-que! What are you waiting for? Crack open some cervezas and fire up the grill!