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“Chouriço” is an integral part of Portuguese cuisine. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the same as Spanish chorizo. Let’s find out the difference between the two, as well as the most popular types of chouriço.
A trip through Portugal’s delicious cuisine will have you discover, very soon, how important sausages (also known as ‘enchidos’) are to the Portuguese culture. Take for instance, the famous Caldo Verde soup, or feijoada (bean stew), or even the appetizer “chouriço à bombeiro” (flame grilled sausage). The truth is whether you enjoy it raw, baked, fried, or grilled, chouriço is part of menu.
What distinguishes the chouriço from the Spanish chorizo? While the Spanish chorizo is cured, the Portuguese chouriço is a smoked sausage, which means it is fully cooked and ready to eat. So, here are some varieties to try:
Chouriço – Perfect appetizer, as you can eat it raw; this is also the sausage to use to make the Chouriço à Bombeiro we mentioned above or the Caldo verde. Oh, we almost forgot. If you haven’t tried it yet, you must try pão com chouriço (bread with sausage).
Linguiça – This is a thinner version of chouriço, but it also contains more paprika, garlic, and chilies. Used in some roasts and an essential ingredient in the “Francesinha”, Porto’s famous meat sandwich.
Morcela – This is the word for blood sausage. There are two different types: in mainland Portugal, this sausage is made with pork blood, meat (in some regions), and spices. Unbelievably rich and flavourful with the perfect amount of spice, common in the Portuguese ‘cozido’. In the islands of Azores, the morcela also contains rice and it’s a delicious appetizer when fried.
Salpicão – A must-have in an appetizer board in Portugal. This Portuguese sausage is made with pork loin with wine, garlic, bay leaves, and paprika (sweet or hot). Also delicious in a sandwich.
Alheira – This one is an exception to the rule as the original one does not contain pork meat (although lately some of them do include pork meat). This one was created in the 15th century by the Portuguese Jews who could not eat pork, but had to deceive the Inquisition. So, ‘alheira’ is a sausage made with other meats, mainly poultry, bread and garlic.
Farinheira – The name farinheira comes from the word farinha, meaning “flour” in Portuguese. As you might have guessed, flour is one of the main ingredients of this smoked sausage, along with pork fat, garlic, white wine, and bell pepper paste.