Chorizo Pollo Made EZ – Kick Off The New Year With A Trip Down México-way
Happy New Year!
That being said, this one was a little difficult. Not in terms of it being tricky to write – that part was easy enough. I love food, and can write about it until the cows come home, as the old saying goes. The difficulty was in trying to figure out what to write about for today.
Most major holdiays have some kind of special food or meal or treat or something that is commonly, almost subconsciously, associated with it – Independence Day & backyard BBQ, Halloween & anything pumpkin-themed, Thanksgiving & turkey and pumpkin pie (I would mention corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s day, but the meal is entirely an American invention and has no Irish origins at all, so I’m not sure that it really counts.) Anyway, you get the idea. But you’ll notice, out of all the holidays we know and love, is there really any quintessential New Years Day meal that you think of? No, alcohol doesn’t count – New Year’s Eve parties aren’t a meal.
You see my dilemma.
I think I’ve found a solution though.
With the year-end holiday vacations wrapping up for so many of us (yours truly included), I thought it might be nice to utilize cooking to squeeze an extra bit of vacation out of what little time remains. So let’s take a trip together and embrace a little slice of culture from our neighbor south of the border – let’s take a culinary holiday down to old México.
Mexican food is my absolute favorite. And thank goodness I live within easy distance of a wide variety of really good Mexican food joints. Whenever I’m in the mood, a nice big plate of fajita and a fishbowl margarita is just down the road. That’s the good news. But you know what – sometimes I get the craving for some good ol’ TexMex cuisine without having to shell out twenty bucks for the experience. I’m sure that most, if not all, of you can relate.
What if I told you, then, that you can easily replicate these dishes right at home without needing to stock your pantry with a ton of exotic, specialty ingredients? Because, hold on to your hats – that’s exactly what I’m telling you now. It’s so simple that it’s almost insulting.
I thought we could start off this series of South-Of-The-Border explorations with some delicious Chorizo Pollo (chicken with chorizo sausage.) Mexican is my favorite, and chori pollo is my favorite Mexican dish – that probably says a lot about just how much I love this stuff.
The first time I ever tried it was a bit of an experience. Working a part-time job one summer between college semesters, my friends and I who were together on the team were treated to Mexican take-out for lunch by our supervisor – a big steaming bowl of chorizo pollo unloaded in the middle of the lunchroom table. A thick bed of melted cheese, chicken buried beneath grilled spicy sausage dripping and swimming in grease, it was a disgusting mess and we all fell in love with it.
I’ve since found that many restaurants not only serve their own versions of this meal, but the majority offer them in much more appetizing fashions. This is the way I’m going to teach you to make it at home. If you’re going to cook something, you may as well cook it right.
Let’s start with the basics; Ingredient prep. Assemble the following:
- Chicken (2 chicken breasts)
- Chorizo sausage (Removed from casing & ground)
- Paprika (for seasoning)
- Beans/rice/tortillas (optional)
It’s pretty simple, isn’t it?
You’re going to want to start with the ground sausage. Once you’ve removed it from its casing and ground the meat, place in a griddle on medium heat and cook until brown. Be careful, there will be a bit of grease splash-back. I recommend that you don’t cook this while wearing nice clothes, and be sure to use a kitchen apron if you have one. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it.
While the sausage is in the pan, season the raw chicken with a heavy paprika rub.
Once the ground sausage is browned nicely, remove and set aside on a separate plate.
Set the chicken down in the same pan where you grilled the chorizo. Cook through thoroughly (you do NOT want to eat undercooked chicken. It’s not like lamb chops or a steak where you can serve it rare), flipping the chicken halfway through the grilling process for even browning.
Pour the set-aside chorizo back on top of the chicken for the last couple minutes of cooking. Plate and top with a heavy dose of cheese.
From here, you can serve your chorizo pollo however you like. Wrap it up in a steamed tortilla, set on top of a bed of seasoned rice, or just plate it up with a side of beans and a margarita. It’s up to you.
It’s my goal that, by the time I get done with this series of Mexican Made EZ, you’ll never have to go out for Mexican again. Chorizo pollo, delicious and simple, is the perfect place to begin. It’s a pleasant surprise learning how easy it can be to replicate the cuisine or other cultures, bringing a bit of travel culture directly to your own kitchen table.
As always, happy cooking, friends! And here’s hoping your New Year is ¡muy bien!