If you’ve ever been to Spain, or you’ve tried some tapas when out and about, you will have likely gotten a taste of either longaniza, chorizo, or both!
Of the two, chorizo has the most fascinating history. A staple in Mexican cuisine, Chorizo dates back to the 1500s when the Spanish conquested the Aztec empire. Hernan Cores and his conquistadors nearly immediately started to raise pigs so that they could produce the chorizo they loved in Mexico.
To make chorizo, the Spaniards were meticulous about how they produced it. For example, one person would be tasked with ensuring that the pigs got plenty of exercise so they wouldn’t become too fat. Over time, the Spaniards started adding chili peppers to their chorizo to make it even spicier and flavorful.
Unless you’re familiarized with them, you might not realize that longaniza and chorizo are two different foods.
They’re easy to confuse as the same because they look and taste very similar, and sometimes it seems as though they can be used interchangeably. However, they are very much different foods, despite their similarities.
So what’s the difference between longaniza and chorizo? The main difference is actually in what they’re made out of. While longaniza is made out of minced meat, chorizo is made out of ground pork. Mexican chorizo is different than Spanish Chorizo.
It’s also worth noting, as another main difference, that longaniza is spiced with black pepper, and chorizo, on the other hand, is spiced with paprika.
Longaniza and chorizo are both delicious and popular types of sausage, each with its own unique flavors and characteristics. You may have encountered these sausages in various dishes and wondered about their differences.
Originating in Spain, these sausage cousins have spread across different countries and regions, each developing its distinct flair. Chorizo is known for its smoky, rich taste, while longaniza possesses a sweeter and more aromatic flavor profile. Both are created using ground pork, and often flavored with garlic, salt, and various regional spices, depending on the location.
While their similarities might make you think they’re interchangeable, there’s more to it than just swapping one for the other in your recipes. As we delve further into the specifics of longaniza and chorizo, you will gain a deeper understanding of their differing textures, cooking methods, and ideal pairings, allowing you to fully appreciate each of these mouthwatering sausages.
You might also notice that longaniza is a bit thinner in texture, compared to the thickness of chorizo, and this is due to the differences in the way they are both made.
Now that you know the slight differences in what they are made out of, you might notice that they do, in fact, taste differently, and you therefore might be able to distinguish between them.
Although it’s true that they can basically be used interchangeably in most cases, you’ll find that one or the other works best for certain types of recipes or food combinations.
The Spanish know this very well, which is why their tapas are always on point!
We will take a deeper look at what exactly longaniza and chorizo are, and give you some examples as to what types of recipes one and the other are best used for!
What is Longaniza?
Longaniza is essentially a type of Spanish sausage, made out of minced meat. It is highly popular in Spain, as well as in other Spanish-speaking countries.
Longaniza’s ingredients and spices can vary from region to region, as each place will have its own version of longaniza.
However, if we take Spain as our main reference, longaniza is seasoned with black pepper. In other places, such as Mexico, they will season longaniza to be a lot spicier, so it’s good to check beforehand!
Longaniza is usually used as raw meat for cooking, shaped in long sausages (longer than chorizo, which can be a way to tell them apart sometimes).
It can also be cured, and the curing time for longaniza is actually shorter than that for chorizo.
As for appearance, longaniza looks like a dark red sausage, due to the number of spices and seasonings it has.
It can be hard to accurately describe longaniza, as there are so many variants of it and it is constantly evolving to experiment with more flavorings and texture.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to try it, we highly recommend you seek a chance to taste it! Longaniza can be cooked and eaten in many ways, smoked, fried, cured, frozen…multiple possibilities to suit all tastes and preferences! It is not as popular as chorizo, but longaniza can be used for many meals and is definitely worth looking into.
What is Chorizo?
Chorizo is far better known than longaniza, as it is also widely used outside of Spain or Spanish-speaking countries. It is incredibly popular and can instantly add a ting of Spanish flavoring to any meal you’re cooking!
Essentially, chorizo is a type of pork sausage, originated in Spain, that is finely ground and heavily seasoned, to then be packaged into casings in short lengths of meat.
Most commonly, it is mainly seasoned with paprika. However, it can also feature different seasonings, creating many different varieties and types of chorizos.
Chorizo can also vary from region to region, as happens with longaniza, so there really is no end to the variations and differences in flavor that chorizo sausage can offer!
If you ever want to be able to guess at the flavoring of chorizo, there’s a trick. As a general rule, thin chorizos are sweeter and milder in flavoring, while thicker chorizos are a lot spicier and a lot more savory.
Chorizo can be bought as a soft sausage that needs to be cooked, or it can be bought as a cured sausage that is dry and can simply be sliced for consumption.
You can also cook the cured chorizo, to warm it up and blend its flavoring with whatever else it is you’re making!
You should know that before you cook chorizo, you should peel and remove the outer sausage casing it comes in. It is also recommended that you remove the casing from the cured chorizo too because although you can eat it whole without a problem, the casing is far too easy to choke on!
Just like longaniza, (or perhaps it’s longaniza that is just like chorizo), it can be cooked and integrated into a meal in many different ways. As well as being highly popular in tapas and as a plate spread.
However, we’ve got to give it to chorizo, because it’s even more versatile than longaniza, which is perhaps what makes it so much more popular and so much more used outside of Spanish-speaking countries.
Recipes for longaniza
As we’ve mentioned, longaniza can be eaten in a variety of different ways, as it can be cooked, smoked, fried, cured…basically, it’s very versatile.
The most common way you will find longaniza is as a raw sausage that can be cooked and then eaten as part of different meals and recipes.
Although just like chorizo, longaniza comes in casings, you do not have to remove the casing before cooking, as it is usually just cooked as sausage links instead of as ground meat.
This is a very popular recipe in Spain, and it’s a great way to add some flavoring (and unhealthiness, oops), to an otherwise healthy meal.
Lentil Soup with Longaniza
- Olive oil
- Heat olive oil in a pan (if you ever want to cook like a Mediterranean person, just add olive oil to everything, pro tip!).
- Add garlic and saute till golden brown. Then add onions and cook until they are tender.
- Add pieces of longaniza and stir-fry for two minutes so that they start cooking.
- Add celery, carrots, tomatoes, or any other vegetables you want to include in your lentil soup. Keep cooking in the pan for another few minutes.
- Cook your lentils by the side, until they are tender and ready. Then mix it all together, and let it simmer.
- Add seasoning and spices. However, take into account that the longaniza will already add quite a bit of flavoring!
- Serve warm and enjoy! You’ll find that the longaniza adds a lot more flavor to the lentils, turning it into a highly enjoyable meal!