Tuesday dinner: Gringo chorizo

This took 10 minutes to cook through.

Before we get going, how is it that the Tuesday after a three-day weekend seems like three days packed into one? Seriously, I looked at the clock with the expectation that it was after 3 p.m. Imagine my disappointment when the little digital display said 12:46, blinking at me like a passive-aggressive ninja.

/soapbox

My love affair with chorizo has been documented on this blog. Stuck in the Northeast, my access to good, authentic Mexican food is limited. There is a decent taqueria in town and one of my favorite restaurants in Syracuse calls itself pan-american, but it all pales in comparison to the gritty, authentic taco stands of the south and west.

Raw chorizo. Embrace it.

Chorizo is tough to find. What I can get here is either over-processed or overpriced. Forget about the “chicken chorizo” that some stores carry. I’m looking for pork, chiles and enough spices to make my kitchen smell like the New York State Fair on all-you-can-ride day. The June 2012 edition of Bon Appetit had a recipe, which serves as the foundation for the one below. I found myself intrigued and set out on a research expedition. After an exhaustive search I wound up with a meta-recipe, combining four or five good suggestions from around the interwebs.

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Did it smell? Oh hell yeah! If it wasn’t for the batch of barbecue sauce I was making in another saucepan, this would have been a rough one to cook.

Was it good? Yeah. I mean, it wasn’t perfect. In retrospect, I would have added a little more heat to the sausage with some ancho peppers (Wegmans was out of stock, so I skipped it.). Otherwise, it hit the spot in taco form tonight with the homemade salsa verde, shredded lettuce and grated panela cheese.

Guajillos are mild Mexican chile peppers

Jared’s Meta Gringo Chorizo
By Jared Paventi

  • 2 lbs. ground pork (no more than 90 percent lean; preferably between 80-85 percent)
  • Five dried guajillo peppers
  • Three dried ancho peppers
  • One small or half a medium white onion, chopped
  • Five garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
Guajillos are mild Mexican chile peppers

Heat a medium skillet over high heat and toast the chile peppers 10-15 seconds each side. Clip the stems with a kitchen scissors, taking care not to lose many seeds. Transfer the toasted peppers to a medium saucepan, add enough water to cover and add to a burner on high. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain the peppers and discard the water. Set aside.

Add the onion, garlic and vinegar to a blender and pulse on a medium setting. Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the pork to the blender and mix 45-60 seconds. Toss the paste in a mixing bowl with the ground pork, working the meat to thoroughly combine the chile paste with the pork.

Fresh from the fridge, after three days of mingling.

Refrigerate for at least a few hours. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. When you are ready to cook it, heat a large skillet on high. Add the meat with any accumulated juices to the pan, reduce to medium and cook until browned. Use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage into small pieces to help the meat cook evenly.

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