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What is a Choripan? All About the Most Iconic Argentine Sandwich

choripan (chorizo sandwich)

It is known that the essence of every culture lies in its food. And if you want to know the essence of Argentina, you have to go for the choripan (a.k.a: the one and only chorizo sandwich). 

In every social event or demonstration, in every barbecue party, in every Sunday noon with the family, in every grill of the most remote place of southern Latin America, you will find a chorizo sandwich. The famous choripán is not only a bastion of Argentine culture, but also the center of the meetings between loved ones. 

I’m Cami, an argentinian proud of her culture and its cuisine. Here, the secrets of our culinary gem, our best excuse to get together. 

To properly introduce this traditional dish, you should know that choripan is that chorizo sandwich that introduces all that is good. If you want to craft a real asado argentino, as well as a good variety of cheeses and cold cuts, choripan has to be the starter. 

That’s the way things are, that’s the opening for an authentic argentinian barbecue. Sizzling chorizo, nestled within crusty bread is the most popular superstar of Argentine cuisine. So when you are craving for a good asado and traditional South American food, the choripan is a must in any quality menu.

The origin of the Argentinian choripan dates back to the middle of the 19th century. It is said that the gauchos who lived in the rural areas of the Río de la Plata, who had almost no crockery in their ranches, prioritized the consumption of grilled chorizo or flame-grilled beef. 

This is where the handy custom of eating chorizo inside a loaf of bread began. This practice eventually reached the cities and became popular in the urban environment as street food, when fast food chains were only found in American movies. 

As meat is what always distinguished Argentina from the rest of the world, it is no surprise that our first and most iconic street food is a sausage of beef and pork between two hot buns. 

And that’s the story, this legendary gem of Latin American cuisine went from that rural argentine grill to the cities to the rest of the world. So cheers to that good old grill. 

If you’re looking for the best choripan or chorizo near me, there’s no better place than your backyard grill, so keep in mind that grilling techniques play a pivotal role in mastering the tricks of the choripan recipe

Achieving that perfect balance of charred exterior and juicy, tender chorizo requires expertise. The smoky smell and the sizzling sound will be your guide. When it starts to get barely charred, turn it over. The key is to get the outside crispy and the inside juicy. Then, let the smoke from the grill and the tenderness of the bread do the rest. 

But wait, because this grilled magic doesn’t end there. Variations and personal touches can result in an individualized choripan experience. Some might add chimichurri sauce for a spicy kick, while others might opt for caramelized onions or different types of bread, enhancing the overall taste and texture. 

And since chimichurri is the typical Argentinian sauce for any barbecue, here we give you the best chimichurri recipe. Believe me, this one is a keeper. 

Best chimichurri recipe for the best choripan experience

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust according to spice preference)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Start by finely chopping the fresh flat-leaf parsley. You want it finely minced, but not to the point where it becomes a paste.
  • In a bowl, combine the minced parsley with the minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to suit your spice preference. 
  • Gradually add the extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar to the parsley mixture. Stir gently to combine.
  • Incorporate the dried oregano into the mixture, giving it a nice herbal note. You can use your fingers to crush the oregano slightly to release more flavor.
  • Season the chimichurri with salt and black pepper to taste. Be mindful not to over-salt; you can always adjust later if needed.
  • Allow the chimichurri sauce to sit for at least 20-30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.

Tips and tricks:

  • For a milder flavor, reduce the amount of red pepper flakes. Adjust the spice level to suit your taste.
  • Fresh herbs work best for a vibrant chimichurri, but dried herbs can be used as a substitute.
  • For a hint of zesty freshness, consider adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  • This sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. The flavors tend to meld and improve over time.

Although the star appetizer is the choripan, the success of a good argentine barbecue lies in the pairings. 

When considering beverages pairings, options vary widely. Some prefer the simplicity of a classic soda or beer to balance the spiciness of the chorizo. For those seeking a more complex dining experience, exploring wine pairings for chorizo is the winning choice. 

Wines with robust flavors, such as Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon, can complement the intensity of the chorizo. The boldness of these wines marries well with the smoky, savory notes of the dish.

Moreover, the choripan experience isn’t complete without the addition of complementary sides. These may include grilled vegetables, a fresh salad, or crispy French fries. And our most iconic side: a potato and egg salad (for this one I would need a whole special article, so I will simply tell you that, for your sake, just gather boiled potatoes and eggs, mayonnaise, parsley, and go nuts). 

Well, the thing is all our Sundays revolve around our family, our friends and this chorizo sandwich made in the rural heavens of Río de la Plata. 

Choripan and it’s universe, the asado argentino, it’s our most popular and delicious excuse to get together and have a good time. So if you want a taste of true argentinian culture, call your friends and get the fire going in your grill. 

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