I have a recipe that calls for "Cooking Chorizo" (in the UK). What is this? Would normal cured chorizo be an acceptable substitute?
Spanish Chorizo comes in two forms both of which to the best of my knowledge are fully cured (cooked): one which is more for eating on its own (like salami) and the other which tends to have a higher ratio of fat in it and is used primarily for cooking. The latter one being what the recipe is referring to as "cooking chorizo". Oftentimes the cooking chorizo is in a paper casing that must be removed (unless you need some extra fiber in your diet). Either one of these would work, however you might need to add a little oil to the pan if you need to cook other things in the fat that would normally be rendered out.
Mexican chorizo is always a raw product which must be cooked and is usually in a plastic casing.
"Cooking chorizo" probably refers to chorizo for cooking rather than eating raw. Cooking chorizos are usually smallish (8-16 cm), sometimes curved like a banana and tied together by a string in chains, whereas eating chorizos are usually straight, larger (30-50 cm), and you eat them raw in thin slices, like salami. In some places in Spain, they use the word "chorizón" to refer to eating chorizo and differentiate it from cooking chorizo.
Spanish 'Cooking' Chorizo is semi-cured, hence, you have to finish the cooking process yourself. The semi cure only takes a week, where as fully cured takes about 8 weeks. Fully cured you can eat without cooking. If the packaging doesn't state if it's for cooking and you are not sure, check to see if it's semi cured, or not. Cooking chorizo is also spicy - it's not sweet cured!
Portuguese chourico comes only one way that I know of.That is raw and needs either frying or cooked in soup. It is high in fat content. I would assume to add flavor also to hold it together. I always buy mine (since I live in Minnesota) from Portuguese food Inc.