As a kid growing up in Southern California I ate a lot of Chorizo; so much so that it would stain the pages of my homework a rusty red. It was the sign of a proper chorizon! And. It was by far my favorite food to eat. Those chorizo stains were a (red) badge of courage you could say.
It was the a part of first dish I ever learned to cook (chorizo con papas) and I did it by sight; from memory – no one ever showed me how. And truth be told, I probably shouldn’t have even attempted it – I was seven years old. But! I was at the other grandmas, who wasn’t so keen on supervision.
Needless to say I didn’t nail it. The potatoes were underdone and the kitchen looked like the dance party scene in Carrie. Greasy paprika red. But I endured to fight another day.
Those days are long gone though. I don’t eat chorizo anymore (obviously). But I still love the combinations of spice plus acid and I recognize the flavor for what it is and how it is achieved. It was always less about the meat and more about the spices.
Since the early days of my veganism (and before soyrizo was, y’know, an option) I have toyed with recipe after recipe to capture the flavors I remember so vividly. In my mind, there have always been two types of chorizo – the kind you buy at the store and the kind you make – I prefer the kind you make. Not only because you get to determine what goes into it but you can make it to suit how your tastes – it’s the reason I like making most things from scratch.
Now. Let me say this: This recipe looks more daunting than it actually is. It has a lot of components – and for good reason – a lot of Mexican food from scratch does. That’s just how we roll. So, this is just as much about tradition (for me) as it is about making it from scratch.
I present this recipe for the budding vegan home cook army (of which I’m a soldier). As I mentioned above it has a lot of components – mostly various spices – I don’t expect you to have every spice listed in this recipe. But you should – if you’re interested in cooking (not only) Mexican food but lots of other stuff.*
Cheat sheet for creating this recipe with less than what is listed, you’re essentially trying to arrive at the following flavors: salt, heat (chili), sweet and acid (vinegar).
In my previous post I talked about the proper way pre-game Tempeh for any recipe. You will need to do it here**. Also I’ve added sauteed mushrooms to the mixture because it not only adds to the flavor but it gives it great textural levels as well.
Of Note: I use a food processor but don’t let not-having-one stop you from making this dish. You can do it with a knife – it just takes longer.
This dish can be frozen (it keeps well in the freezer) for later use and thus, if you’re feeling adventurous you can double or triple the recipe as needed.
8 oz of Tempeh (blanched – see previous post)
8 – 10 Medium sized Cremini Mushrooms (stems trimmed, diced)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce
Chorizo Paste / Marinade
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion power
1/4 tsp chile peqin powder (or red chili powder)
1/2 tsp acho chili powder (or ground cayenne)
1/2 tsp achiote powder (optional – mostly for color)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp (crushed) mex oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch (1/8 tsp) of all spice
Pinch (1/8 tsp) of cloves
Pinch (1/8 tsp) of cinnamon
Pinch (1/8 tsp) of dried thyme
2 TBS Tomato Paste*
2 TBS Ketchup
3 TBS Water
1 TBS Canola Oil (or any mild oil)
1 TBS Soy Sauce
1 TBS Nutritional Yeast
1. Poach the Tempeh whole as described here. Add 1/2 tsp of ground achiote to the water – for color – optional.
2. Saute the cremini mushrooms in the oil until (most) of the water has been cooked out of them. Add 1 tsp of soy sauce and mix throughout.
3. Cool both the tempeh and mushrooms.
4. Meanwhile create your chorizo marinade / paste in a medium mixing bowl using the remaining ingredients. Whisk thoroughly to create a smooth paste.
5. When cool, dice your tempeh into large chunks.
6. Place your tempeh into a food processor and pulse a few times.
7. Add your cooled mushrooms and pulse until the tempeh is small bits and the mushrooms have been thoroughly incorporated.
8. Add your tempeh/mushroom mxiture to your mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
9. Allow to marinate for at least an hour – if not longer.
10. To cook your Temprizo, fry in a bit of oil to brown and heat throughout.***
Okay! Obviously you can eat the temprizo as is. I’m not gonna lie, it has a very assertive flavor – as it should!
Add to cooked beans, with potatoes or scrambled tofu. Seriously people – the possibilities are endless! Use as you would soyrizo.
*I’m not a spice snob – just speaking the truth Ruth!
** As I state in the instructions for this recipe, I blanch with a bit of achiote paste for color.
*** I like to cook most of the moisture out of my temprizo – I like it a little dry and crispy – if you prefer a little more moisture feel free to add water a TBS at a time. Just be sure to adjust with a pinch of salt.