Translation: Melted cheese with roasted peppers and chorizo. Verdict: Yum.
If any of you have watched Top Chef or Top Chef: Masters you know who Rick Bayless is. He's been a favorite celebrity chef of Johnny's and mine because he's local so his restaurants and Frontera products are accessible and he's mastered one of our favorite cuisines: Mexican. The attention to detail and love that Rick pours into learning Mexican food is really impressive, as is his sharing of the craft. Rick and his wife lived in Mexico and studied every little in and out of local cuisine.
Since 2003 Rick has hosted Mexico: One Plate at a Time on PBS, which Johnny and I have a few seasons of on DVD and it's better than anything currently on Food Network. He's written five award-winning cookbooks, one of which we own a signed copy of. (No, we weren't lucky enough to witness the signing, Johnny's SIL won it in a gift basket and generously gave Authentic Mexican Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico to us!)
He's also really respectful and responsible in his ingredient usage. He was a founding member of Chefs Collaborative for environmentally friendly practices, and he uses only sustainable seafood. Him and his staff started the Frontera Farmer's Association, his charity of choice on Top Chef: Masters, which provides grants to local family farms.
As you can tell, I really like and respect Rick, so imagine my delight when I tweeted him for chorizo suggestions from our cookbook and he tweeted me back with two recipes and their page numbers! I love that I got a personal recommendation from the cookbook author and chef himself! He's such a cool guy, he tweets often and makes himself accessible to his fans, answering questions left and right.
This recipe made enough to fill 6 tortillas and was a little deceiving in the fact that so little can be so filling! Johnny had three, I had two, and it was plenty!
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 fresh chile poblano, roasted, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced
4 oz (1/2 cup) chorizo sausage
8 oz (2 cups) melting cheese *see note
Roast the poblano over the open flame of a gas burner until the skin is blistered and black. If you do not have a gas stove you can cook these under the broiler of your oven.
Carefully rinse the skin off under water and remove the seeds and membrane. Slice into strips.
Turn the oven to 375° and set a pie pan or ramekin inside to heat while the oven comes up to temperature.
In a medium skillet heat half the oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and cook about 8 minutes until the onion is slightly browned. Add the pepper strips and cook until they're softened, then remove everything to a bowl.
In the meantime slice the cheese into small 1/2 inch cubes and place in an even layer in the warmed pan. Bake for about 10 minutes so the cheese can evenly melt. *Note: Rick has taken great consideration in identifying everything in the back of this book, down to which ingredients and sometimes specific brands, he recommends. I used an authentic Chihuahua cheese a local company makes, but otherwise he suggests Monteray Jack or mozzarella.
Add the second tablespoon of oil to the skillet and add the chorizo, frying until done, about 10 minutes. Drain off excess fat. This was the first time both Johnny and I tried chorizo and it was delicious!
Remove the hot cheese pan from the oven and drain excess fat if necessary. Spread the chile and onion mixture along with the chorizo over top. Place back in the oven for another couple minutes to heat everything.
Scoop onto warmed tortillas (again I bought from a local company that makes them fresh and delivers to stores) of your choice. Johnny opted for corn and I went for flour. The sausage is surprisingly subtle, with complexity and a hint of heat. The poblanos, once roasted and their seeds removed, are not hot, but full of chile flavor. Since being slowly sauteed the onions have a sweetness that lends itself to the other bolder ingredients.