Choripan, from the Countryside to the Soccer Stadium, the Argentine Icon
Argentina is a vast country. It runs 880 miles from north to south, and despite the Andes foothills to the west and the Atlantic coast to the east, an enormous part of the territory is plains and prairies; the famous "pampas."
It comes as no surprise that the arid landscape became ideal to breed cattle, which is why the Argentine grilling game is up there with the best in the world. Amongst all the premium meat that makes the Argentine 'Asado,' there's one specialty found nowhere else, the choripan.
Choripan is a 'Chorizo' sausage laid butterfly-style inside a bun and often seasoned with the gorgeous chimichurri oil-based sauce. Beauty in simplicity.
But how did such a simple (and drop-dead delicious) preparation turned into the country's fast-food icon?
You'll find sausages labeled as 'chorizo' in Spain and most Latin America. Sausages are one of the Spanish conquerors most accepted Old World imports along with pigs and cows. But not all chorizo is the same.
Spain is well known for its sausages, but chorizo is not Spanish, but Argentine, it's amongst the earliest collaborations between the two cultures. What makes chorizo unique is its spiciness and characteristic red color that come from powdered chili peppers, or pimentón, native to the Americas.
Spanish meat lovers fell in love with the fiery sausage, and so did American cultures, but then, each country made chorizo its own. Spanish chorizo is often cured and smoked, while Argentine chorizo is cooked fresh.
How to make chorizo?
Chorizo is a thin pork's tripe filled with a mixture of pork meat and bacon fat seasoned with all kinds of spices from white pepper, coriander seeds, and dried oregano, to garlic, salt and of course, pimentón, or paprika. Wine is a common ingredient too, but recipe variations are endless.
The result is always a hearty, spicy, bright red sausage that has an honorary place in Argentine grills. Chorizo is often the first thing to hit the steaming grid and is often cut butterfly-style for added crispness and to ensure it's cooked through.
From the meadows to the stadiums
Argentine cowboys, or ‘gauchos’, have been cooking the spicy sausage for centuries as part of their impressive grilled meat repertoire. Served over bread for convenience, the easy-to-handle choripan was born.
The choripan soon developed into the street-food staple in large cities and became a fundamental snack in soccer games and cultural affairs. As the bread absorbs the unctuous fat, it complements the protein becoming an entire meal in itself.
For the bread, a French-style baguette with a crunchy crust seems to be everyone's favorite, and the herb-scented chimichurri is the quintessential seasoning.
Make your own choripan at home
If you live for the grill, you'll find in choripan the perfect partner for your meat selection.
Get yourself proper Argentine chorizo links, skewer them and cook them over medium heat. Cut your chorizos butterfly-style just a few minutes before serving over freshly-baked bread for the crispiest, juiciest choripan you'll ever taste.
Let's get grilling! And share your new favorite two-biter and your newfound knowledge with friends and family. If choripan is good at something, it is at bringing people together.
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