Even though we still occasionally eat cheese, with the help of those lactase pills, I don’t use it as much anymore, looking for ways to eat the kinds of things we like without it. I had some venison chorizo in the freezer from the day I made that frittata, and these tacos seemed like a good follow-up use for it.
I’m going to cooked the diced potatoes in a cast iron skillet without boiling them first. Kind of like how I cook raw fried potatoes, only those are sliced. I want both the chorizo and the potatoes to have some crispiness, although I will mash a little of the potatoes into the meat to get those chorizo spices into the potatoes, too. I still have some roasted poblano peppers in the freezer from last summer’s garden, so a few of those will go in as well. In place of crema to cool it down, I’m using some ready-made guacamole and mild salsa.
I’m still thinking whether to use white corn tortillas (my preference) or flour tortillas; I have both, so I guess it will be a mealtime decision, or it will be a to each his own meal.
Tonight, we both had white corn tortillas; tomorrow, whole wheat flour tortillas (because, of course, I made too much).
Mexican Venison Chorizo and Potato Tacos
- 1 lb venison-pork chorizo (recipe) or any Mexican chorizo
- 2 roasted poblano peppers, diced
- 1 lb potatoes, diced (I used red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled)
- 1 medium to large yellow or white onion, chopped
- oil and butter, as needed
- salt & pepper to taste
- taco-sized tortillas, corn or flour
- toppings: avocado or guacamole, salsa, crema, lettuce or fresh cilantro
- In a large cast iron skillet, heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat, depending on the fat content of your chorizo. Mine is very lean. When the pan and oil are hot, brown the chorizo, breaking it up with a fork or wooden spoon. Stir in chopped poblanos and let cook until the meat is browned well and any moisture is evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove chorizo to a platter.
- Lower the heat to medium and add another two tablespoons of oil and two tablespoons of butter until the butter is melted. Add diced potatoes and onions to the pan, spreading out to a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and let cook for 15 minutes. Remove lid and turn potatoes over to brown other side. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes or until potatoes are done and lightly browned.
- Return chorizo to pan and stir in, scraping up any browned bits of potato and meat, mashing some of the potato with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Serve in tortillas with your favorite toppings.
Another recipe from my old Joy of Cooking (1967), “Breast of Chicken Cockaigne” uses a small amount of both oil and butter in a quick simmer, then relies on a short rest in a covered pan to finish the cooking. If nothing else, it reminds cooks that a chicken breast is best when not overcooked. Why Cockaigne? Here’s what the authors say about it in the forward to the cookbook:
…in response to many requests from users of “The Joy” who ask “What are your favorites?,” we have added to some of our recipes the word “Cockaigne,” which signified in medieval times “a mythical land of peace and plenty,” and also happens to be the name of our country home.
The method is really a form of poaching in fat, with enough moisture created in the covered pan to keep the meat from browning and to keep the meat extra moist. If you love poached chicken, you must really try this one instead of the one where chicken is immersed in water. The one item missing from this method is seasoning, which I guess is not a mistake. Just be sure to use or offer seasoning on serving. I’m using the chicken in a pasta salad that you can see in the next post.
Barely dusted with flour
Oil and butter
Poached and sliced
Breast of Chicken Cockaigne
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts—mine weighed about 1/2 lb each
all purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil (I used olive oil)
Note: the recipe calls for 1/2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil for each breast.
- Bring the butter and oil to “the point of fragrance” in a large skillet. The recipe does not suggest the level of heat to use, but since you are not supposed to let the meat brown, I used medium heat on my gas stove. I put the chicken in when the butter started to foam, but before it sizzled.
- While the fats are heating, pat the breasts dry, then lightly flour. I took the term “dust” to heart and barely floured the breasts—just enough to keep them dry. I let them sit on paper towels until the fats were ready.
- Place the chicken in the pan and move it around so the flour does not stick, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 15 minutes. On my burner, low is not a true simmer, but is a little higher than that. Mostly, you want to occasionally move the chicken so it doesn’t stick or brown, but not so often that you are releasing too much of the built up steam. I turned the breasts over every five minutes and they never browned.
- Leaving the cover on, turn off the heat or move off the burner on an electric stove, and let sit in the covered pan for another 10 minutes.
- Just for you, I tested the breasts with a thermometer, because I knew you wouldn’t believe me, and the breasts were at 160° after the final resting.
If you have some of the really large breasts being sold these days, increase the times as needed.