Tag Archives: chorizo

Pretzels without Lye(s)

Back in the day when life was easy and you could walk down the street at night- er- scratch that.

Back in the day when scrunchies and slap bracelets were all the rage- er- not quite.

Well, they do seem quite antiquated, if still intensely yummy when executed with flair. 

No, not fruit cakes, I speak of chorizo-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon.  Nowadays, they are touted on every catering menu that prides itself on “upscale” cuisine.  I think you can probably also order them at Applebee’s.  But once upon a time, a few years ago, these delicious little sweet-and-savory nuggets could only be had at Avec and a few similar institutions.  No visit would be complete without their cocooned goodness nuzzled in a red pepper sauce so perfect for bread mopping. 

The last time I ordered these at Avec there was but room for disappointment.  They were fine but not revelatory.  Perhaps I had become inured to their wonder.  Perhaps my buds had been ruined by an improved version made in my own kitchen a few weeks prior for a thirteen course dinner party.  Perhaps their heyday was no more.

But in any case, the sweet/salty combination that so titillates McDonald’s is really epitomized by these pieces of nostalgia.  As such, I decided that they needed a makeover.  Hence: chorizo, bacon and date pretzels. 

They are a work in-progress but all who have left the test kitchen with a bite have also left with a smile.  Add a delicious peppery bourbon cocktail as an accompaniment and it might just set the stage for a fantastic mingle. 

And they will rise.

Nuzzled together so sweetly.

Free of their constraints.

Chorizo sans skin. Do you detect a motif?

Oh, bacon.

Lounging in the skillet so enticingly.

Raw unboiled potential.

The pretzel jacuzzi.

Ready for a little tan.

It's not always about looks you know.

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Confessions on a Chorizo Night

I was warned against encasing- I paid this no heed. And then the fun began.

Chorizo, like bacon, might just be one of the most genial of all foods. My love affair with the spicy Mexican (yes, yes, there are different types, but here I am referring to the loose, red-spiced Mexican version) sausage began with a chorizo and egg breakfast taco when I was just a wee one. Since then, I have encountered its wonder in numerous and beautiful ways. Just like bacon, it’s the perfect doppelgänger for seafood, yielding a rich, savory, finely ground contrast to the more delicately flavored and firmer in texture shrimp or scallop. Also like bacon, it pairs equally well with both the savory and the sweet. (And just tonight I discovered how well it goes with kimchi fried rice!)

Kimchi fried rice with chorizo de casa!

With five pounds of ground shoulder and belly in my fridge, I knew it was time. Knowing basically what went into chorizo, (garlic, oregano, vinegar, salt, pepper, and some red pepper/chili powder combination) I did a bit of internet research. I did not like what I found and thus chose to ignore it. I have a pretty discriminating palate when it comes to chorizo and I decided to come up with my own recipe approximation.

I bought guajillo and ancho peppers. I soaked them in a hot water and then scooped out their tender insides. I threw in lots of fresh garlic. Added some apple cider vinegar, some oregano, some comino, some sautéed onions, some salt, and some white pepper. After much trial and error, I believe I eurekaed.

Ancho chilies

Guajillo chilies

Chilies in their hot water bath.

All the internal goodness.

This was a mess. But out of the chili water will come a spicy chocolate sorbet!

My garlic bloomed.

The sauce I continuously adjusted to add to the ground pork.

Ah, pig.

Sadly, casing the mass was not without some teeth gnashing. Hog casings are not the most cooperative of animal products. I understand now why there are sausage makers. I understand now why there are sausage makers. I understand now why there are sausage makers. I understand now why there are sausage makers. I understand now why there are sausage makers.

Hog casings. A lot of hog casings.

And it looks like tape worm.

Ay, ay, ay.

Sigh.

After so many funnels, I finally discovered the brilliance of a pastry bag. My hands might smell forever like chorizo, but at least every last ounce of spiced piggy deliciousness is resting sounding in a relative’s intestine.

Chorizo

Would you like some chorizo?

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