The slimmest of the chorizo castellano sausages in the batch had lost precisely one third of its weight when I measured them last night, so I decided it was ready to eat. I was a little nervous when cutting into my first home-made fermented sausage ever, but on doing so the chorizo seems fine: even colouring throughout, no mushiness inside or off-smells. The grain of the meat and fat is a little finer than the chorizo I am used to – it looks more like salami – but otherwise it seems perfectly acceptable.
Looks is one thing, but just like puddings, fermented sausages made with raw pork can only be proven in their eating, so I peeled some of the slices and sent them down the hatch. The chorizo tastes delicious, and has an excellent texture also. There is also a wonderful hint of lip-smacking umami-taste, similar to a strong hard cheese. Over the next few hours it remains to be seen if I will suffer a listeria or botulism poisoning.
I followed the recipe closely but it seems that the spices are imbalanced – at least when compared to the chorizo I have eaten before. There seems to be too much oregano and black pepper, and not enough pimentón, both spiciness and colour. I used pimentón I bought in London this spring, but perhaps I need some of the right true stuff, something really strong and pungent, to get those saffron and ruby-red colours you see with the real matured sausage. Or perhaps it is just a matter of maturing the sausage further, the others in the batch still in the drying chamber may develop a stronger colour, and mellower flavour, if I let them dry for longer. Some recipes say the sausage can be dried for 2 months or more so we shall see how the others turn out.