Chorizo and Potato Tacos

Chorizo and Potato Tacos

Ingredients

Tomatillo Salsa
5 -6 Medium tomatillos
1 -2 Jalapeños, cut in half lengthwise and deseeded if desired (some like it hot🔥. Also, this is the first place you can really adjust your heat. Add or take away peppers at will, depending on your heat preference)
2 Cloves of garlic
A pinch of salt and pepper
1 tbsp Canola or vegetable oil
½ Cup of water
2 tsp Honey (salsa too spicy? Add a drizzle more honey to counteract the heat)
½ tsp Salt
Roasted Potatoes
2 lbs White potatoes, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbsp Canola oil
Salt and pepper
Chorizo
2 lbs Ground pork (or nice fatty pork shoulder if you’ll be grinding your own sausage)
4 tbsp Mexican chili powder (a little less if you don’t like it too spicy. You can always add more)
2 tbsp Smoked paprika
2 tbsp Chipotle powder (pretty spicy stuff. Like the chili powder, if you are unsure of how hot this will be, add less. You can always add more during the cooking process if you want more 🔥)
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Kosher salt
2 tbsp Finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp Dried oregano (Mexican, if you can find it. It has great citrus and floral notes, but regular will do fine.)
4 Cloves garlic, grated
2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
Finishing touches
Chopped cilantro and white onion, a traditional Mexican taco topping 😋
Sliced and seared jalapeño slices (optional, but SO GOOD. Searing them gives them a more smoky flavor and kind of tames the heat a bit)
Slices of lime
Corn tortillas, warmed by heating in a dry pan until lightly charred.

Directions

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Spray sheet pan with non-stick spray. Place tomatillos, jalapeños, and garlic on sheet pan. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place under broiler with the rack on the second level. Keep and eye on them and turn them over when the skins of the tomatillos start to brown and sizzle. When they are all brown or even close to blackened and the juices are running out of the tomatillos, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.

Place all the vegetables and their juices in your food processor with the water, honey, and salt. Purée until smooth and put into a container and put in the fridge to cool completely.

Making Chorizo

Place all your spices and ground pork together in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Don’t be shy, get in there with your hands and mix it all up. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow chorizo to chill for at least an hour, so the spices can all marry together. If you can make the mixture the day before, even better, but not essential. I’ve cooked mine right after mixing and it was still delicious!

An extra note for overachievers: You can grind your own sausage. I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty of meat grinding because I’m by no means an expert. These are just some of my tips and preferences 😊 If you have a meat grinder, you know the drill, use extremely cold meats (even partially frozen) and keep your grinder attachment very cold. Some people like to season their meat after grinding. I prefer to mix my spices with the meat before grinding so that the spices get really pushed into the meat. I also tend to use the coarse grinding plate more than any other because I like the texture of the meat better.

Roasting Potatoes

Pretty simple. Preheat your oven to 425°. Lay your cut potatoes on a sheet pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray (I really should own stock in a non-stick spray company, I use it so much). Drizzle with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through, turning once. Set aside until your chorizo is cooked and ready to make friends.

Let’s Make Tacos!

Cook the chorizo over medium high heat until the meat is thoroughly cooked and has crispy bits throughout, about 8-10 minutes. There will probably be less fat than you think, but if there’s more than you want, just drain some off or blot with paper towels. You’ll want to leave some fat in there to finish the potatoes, and everyone knows there’s flavor in the fat!

Add the roasted potatoes into the cooked chorizo and stir together until the potatoes are caramelized and covered in the juices and fat from the chorizo. Oh, yeah. We aren’t making Spa food here, get that fat on them potatoes!

Serve on warm corn tortillas, with your tomatillo salsa, cilantro, onion, and jalapeños. Add a squeeze of lime. Eat too many because they’re delicious and be okay with that. Unbutton your pants and sigh. Great job 👊

Spicy Beef Empanadas

Spicy Beef Empanadas

Ingredients

Empanada Dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup very cold lard (I keep mine in the freezer. It won’t ever freeze solid, but will stay quite cold)
1 large egg
¾ cup cold chicken broth
1 large egg, whisked, for the tops of the empanadas before baking
Empanada Filling
1 lb ground beef
1 tbsp chili powder
¾ tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp hot paprika
½ tsp Mexican oregano (if you can’t find this in your International aisle at the Mega Market, you can use generic oregano. It’s fine.)
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ orange or yellow bell pepper, diced (can you tell I like color?)
½ large onion, diced
1 jalapeño, finely chopped (seeds and white-ish ribs from inside removed. That’s where most of the “hot” lives. If you like it hot, leave ’em in. I did!)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup grape tomatoes, chopped

Directions

Gather together all of your dough ingredients. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in your food processor. Pulse to mix well. Add in your lard (or shortening) in small pieces and pulse until the mixture is the texture of wet sand or coarse cornmeal.

In a measuring cup, combine the chicken broth and egg and whisk together. With the food processor running, pour in the liquid until the dough comes together. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead a few times until it all comes together and no longer feels sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest while you prepare the filling.

empanada crust ingredients

In a large skillet on medium high heat, cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink. Drain the beef and set aside. In the same pan, add about one tablespoon of vegetable oil and heat back up to medium high. Sauté all of the vegetables until they are just beginning to soften. Remember, if you don’t want it too spicy, just use less (or no) jalapeños. If you want it spicier, go crazy. You are in charge of your flavor intensity here! Add the ground beef back to the pan and continue browning.

Now is when you’ll add in your spices. The chili powder and the chipotle powder are where the real heat is. Adjust as needed, okay? After everything is cooked and seasoned, turn off the heat and toss in the chopped cilantro and tomato. They will soften from the heat of the mixture and need no further cooking. Allow the filling to cool while you prepare the dough.

sauteed empanada beef

Lightly flour a work surface and roll out your dough to about 1/4 inch thick. I found it easier to work the dough in quarters, not trying to roll everything out all at once. Cut out circles about 5-6 inches in diameter. I used a bowl and a paring knife to cut out nice even circles.

Using a brush or your fingers and the whisked egg, trace around the edge of the dough circles to help when sealing your empanadas.

Add about 2 tablespoons of filling to the center of each circle. Fold the dough in half and press around the meat to remove any extra air. Use a fork to press shut and seal the edges of each empanada.

Place finished empanadas on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Using a brush, egg wash each empanada with the whisked egg.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes on the pan before serving or you’ll liquify the inside of your face.

I served my empanadas with my Mexican Rice. This was as authentic as I can imagine and frankly, quite delicious! Enjoy!

Spicy Beef Empanadas 3