Local restaurant makes fresh chorizo

CHICAGO Chorizo is typically associated with Mexican cooking but the highly-seasoned sausage shows up in many Latin American countries. ABC7's Hungry Hound found one place where they not only use it in everything from appetizers to side dishes but they also make it themselves, nearly everyday.

Since it opened, the mantra at Nacional 27 has been to recreate dishes inspired by the 27 Latin American countries. In that spirit, chef Randy Zweiban makes it a point to offer chorizo sausage made from scratch.

"What you see from Portugal and from Spain is more likely aged longer than what you see from Central and South America and we kind of take a little bit of all those common ingredients that go into chorizo and make our own here, but we don't case it, so we're not aging it," said Randy Zweiban, Nacional 27.

Zweiban begins by adding several dried spices like cumin, coriander, cayenne and red pepper flakes, to some roughly-chopped pork shoulder. Then a series of sauces and marinades are added.

"We take a little bit of jalapeno, cilantro, some sherry vinegar and some anchos, and we sort of form a little bit of a paste out of that, and we take an adobo paste that we make in house and we marinate the pork and the pork fat for a couple of days in that mixture before we grind it, so the flavors really kinda seeped in."

Everything is mixed into the pork and then ground up together. Once the sausage is made, Zweiban crumbles some into a saute pan, adding some pre-cooked wedges of Red Bliss, Purple Peruvian and Sweet potatoes, creating a "hash" that is either paired with steak or just served as a side dish.

Zweiban also makes a queso fundido appetizer, combining cream cheese, pepperjack and goat cheese, then tossing in some shredded duck plus the rendered, cooked chorizo. It's baked in a small cazuela for about ten minutes, just until it's oozy and cooked through. He says the chorizo adds a necessary layer of added flavor.

"It's adding a little bit of the fat, which then becomes useful in cooking whatever you're cooking with it, and it adds that really nice flavor of the spice profiles that are in the sausage, um, to that, and in the queso fundido it's really more of an element to kinda pump up the volume of giving that spice to the queso fundido," said Zweiban.

It's not just the chorizo that makes Nacional a destination. Consider the fact they have one of the best mixologists in town, creating festive drinks.

Plus, salsa dancing every Friday night and every holiday season, they do a Cuban Christmas feast which is out of this world.

Nacional 27
325 W Huron St.

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