Spicy Chorizo Tacos

It’s officially that time of year again when summer is no longer a pipe dream. It feels just around the corner, and I’m already remembering little gems from last year, like these juicy tomatoes. Come onnnn.

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We’ve already got the wood planks set aside for a third raised bed, and I’m itching to get out and make it happen. Time to break out the summery recipes, sweep off the back porch, fill up that wine glass and enjoy.

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Tacos are good whatever the season, and despite the popularity of Taco Tuesday, I’ll eat them any day of the week. Especially with chorizo because, chorizo.

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What You Need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 pound of chorizo
  • 1 tbsp chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced into tiny bits
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground paprika
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup shredded havarti cheese
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 8-10 taco shells

IMG_2625What You Do:

Get two separate skillets and heat each over low-medium with a 1/2 tbsp of oil.

In one, cook the chorizo until browned and fully cooked.

In the other, cook the chili pepper, onion and garlic, covered, until the onion is soft and translucent.

Combine the chorizo and onion mixture, and combine well. Add the spices and stir to combine.

Heat your taco shells in the oven according to package directions.

Stuff tacos with chorizo filling and top with freshly chopped tomatoes, cheese and salsa.

Pro Tip: Put the cheese into the warm taco shell first so it melts underneath the other toppings. YUM.

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Imitation Jambalaya Stew with Chorizo

This weekend was a bit of a wash, literally and figuratively. It rained and/or snowed almost the entire two days, basically rendering any serious prospects of trail running, hiking or long walks with our dog impossible. Well, unless we wanted to get drenched and freeze our fingers and toes off, which we didn’t.

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On top of the weather, we also woke up Saturday in a bit of a haze from Friday night’s Halloween shenanigans (worth it) and sacrificed actual productivity for egg sandwiches and re-watching movies on HBO (also worth it).

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Can you guess what we’re dressed as?

But we finally put on our rain coats and begrudgingly left Madison behind to head to the Farmer’s Market’s last outdoor market of the season. I almost can’t believe we’re already making the transition to the winter market, but then again, it snowed on Sunday, so nothing really surprises me anymore.

It was raining, it was cold, and Mike had just found out that a show we bought tickets to see that night had been cancelled, so the day really wasn’t shaping up very well… until we found chorizo.

Let me tell you – chorizo has some serious mood-improving qualities. With our night suddenly wide open, the promise of a chorizo-filled dinner was the answer to turning a fairly crappy day into an actually pretty OK one. We scuttled around from market tent to market tent, buying up all different kinds of veggies to put in our chorizo stew – just a germ of an idea so far but quickly shaping into something great.

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A few mildly productive hours later, we were back home, prepping our rainy day chorizo stew. Mike wanted it to be like a jambalaya, so we gave it just enough kick to have that Louisiana Creole flavor. He was head over heels for the chorizo, and I was excited for the return of tri-color carrots into my life. A perfect match.

What You Need:

  • About 6 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 4-5 medium potatoes (any kind is fine) cut into cubes
  • 4-5 large tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large or 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 small-medium bell peppers, cut into small slices
  • 1 cup chives, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 3 large chorizo sausage links, sliced into small rounds
  • 1 cup rice cooked according to package directions

What You Do:

Because the potatoes and carrots will take longer to cook, start these first. Fill a 5-quart pasta pot about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and carrots, and boil until both are soft. Don’t overcook these as you will be adding them to a hot sauce at the end.

While the potatoes and carrots are cooking, start your tomato sauce. The best thing about this dish is the spicy tomato sauce, which is easy to make by quartering your tomatoes and gently pulsing them in a food processor until they have formed a chunky sauce.

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Pour the sauce into a wok or large skillet and heat on low-medium.

Make your rice, and keep it warm until the meal is complete. This dish is great over a bed of rice, but you can eliminate the extra carbs if you want and it will still deliver.

In another pan, heat a tablespoon of oil on low-medium heat and add your sausage. Let them simmer and flip with the bottom sides are browned.

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Also in another pan, on low-medium heat, heat a teaspoon of olive oil and add the garlic and onion and cook until the onions are translucent and soft.

Add the bell peppers, chives and the jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft. When they’re ready, add them to the tomato sauce and stir well.

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Strain the potatoes and carrots when ready and add those to the tomato sauce.

Also add the sausage, careful to leave behind any oil or juices left in the pan.

Then, add your spices, and stir well, bringing to a slight boil.

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Leave the entire jambalaya stew on the stove to, well, stew, for about 10 minutes before serving, just to make sure all the flavors can interact.

Serve over a bed of rice.

Pro Tip: Jambalaya is traditionally a spicy surf and turf dish, so this could be great (and authentic instead of imitation) with shrimp, mussels and/or scallops as well. The great thing about this dish is being able to make the sauce as spicy or as mild as you would like, so feel free to mess around with the ingredients and do frequent taste testing! 🙂

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