Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Chorizo and Queso Tacos (Pimento Cheese Tacos)

Chorizo and Queso tacos.... hey! That sort of rhymes!

One of the more interesting types of foods to appear in North Carolina recently are foods with pimento cheese. First it started with burgers, now it's on tacos, but perhaps the best experience I had with it was on a taco from the Burrito Bandito food truck on the campus of UNCG.

Most of these pimento creations are not like the pre-made store bought kind you may be used to. They're homemade using Velveeta cheese, diced pimentos, and in some cases, other secret seasonings. However, I'm not so sure any of its necessary though when it comes to pimento cheese and chorizo tacos. By the time you add spiced meat, salsa, and all the other flavors in,  what you're really tasting is the cheese and the meat, accented by the salsa.
Chorizo

So I wondered, could I cheaply and easily reproduce these tacos which were selling like crack without all the complicated nonsense? Sure I could!. There are a couple things to remember though about using chorizo (or Mexican pork sausage). In the United States chorizo comes in both dried and fresh. Some taste rather horrible, some rather good. Finding the appropriate brand of chorizo to fit your personal taste-buds can make or break this recipe. For instance, I highly recommend you steer clear of chorizo in inedible plastic casings most commonly found in large supermarkets. Look for chorizo made from premium pork cuts, rather than what the industry calls trimmings (nose, lungs, snout, etc.). In addition Chorizo has to be cooked long (about 10 minutes) and hot. Chorizo likes hot temperatures to crisp the meat, frying itself in its own oil.

For the cheese I chose your standard grade Velveeta melting cheese block. I also made a batch of pico de gallo (the most difficult part of making these ) to garnish the tacos. This is a very simple and quick (hybrid) Mexican dinner that you're going to love. If you'd like to go the full monty simply pick up some pimentos on the pickle aisle of your local grocer and add to your melted cheese. Voila, you have pimento cheese and chorizo tacos (though technically the red color in chorizo is because of red peppers aka pimentos).

Ingredients:
  • Soft taco shells (corn or flour)
  • 1 lb of chorizo (makes about 8 tacos)
  • Velveeta cheese
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Your favorite salsa (if you like)
Method:
  1. Cook chorizo till parts are crispy (approx. 10 minutes on medium-high to high)
  2. Take tortilla, add melted Velveeta cheese, cooked chorizo, and top with pico de gallo.
  3. Microwave if necessary (30-45 seconds) to melt cheese and/or warm tortilla.
  4. Add your favorite salsa and enjoy!