Tag Archives: tortillas

Mexican Venison Chorizo and Potato Tacos

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

  • Servings: more than two people can eat!
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
  • 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
Preparation
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Serve in tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder and Sweet Potato Hash

A snowy cold January Sunday seemed like a good day to have the oven on for eight hours.

I usually make pulled pork in a slow-cooker (about 5-6 hours on high), but was in the mood for some crispy pork to put in wraps with a little sweet potato hash. I followed this recipe from Serious Eats, which also allowed me to use that nice big baking sheet and rack that I used for the Thanksgiving spatchcocked turkey, and the recipe couldn’t be any simpler to follow—just an oven temperature + a length of time + a little salt and pepper. Unlike the original recipe, I used the top or butt portion of the shoulder, not the picnic portion with the shank bone, so I’m guessing my 8 lb shoulder, with just a blade bone, had more meat on it. Neither did I use a shoulder with the skin attached, which I don’t really want, but it had a good fat cap that turned out nice and crispy by the end of the cooking time.

I wanted something different than the common barbecue sauces, and decided on some oven-roasted sweet potato hash. It was a good call.

I did make a drizzling sauce of chipotles in adobo sauce whizzed up in the blender with honey and a little olive oil. Just a little of that goes a long way, but it was an interesting flavor alongside the sweet potatoes. Be sure to get a close up view of the roasted pork below and notice how much leftover pork we have!

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder and Sweet Potato Hash

  • Servings: 8 lbs of meat serves a lot of people
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 250°; place a sheet of parchment paper over rack on rimmed baking pan.

Ingredients
  • 1 pork shoulder, about 8 lbs, either the butt or picnic cut will do; get one with the skin on if you like that
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium onions, halved then sliced
  • olive oil for tossing vegetables
  • Optional: your favorite herbs for tossing vegetables
  • Optional: tortillas, shredded lettuce, sauce
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven at around 7:30 A.M.
  2. Salt and pepper the roast all over and place roast on parchment on roasting rack.
  3. Place roast in oven at 8:00 A.M. and set timer for 8 hours. It will be done at 4:00 P.M.
  4. Remove roast and loosely cover with foil while you make the potatoes.
  5. Raise oven temperature to 400°; meanwhile toss diced potatoes and onion with olive oil to coat. Add herbs if desired.
  6. Spread potatoes and onions on parchment-lined baking pan and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until browned and beginning to get crispy.
  7. Alternatively you could cook the hash in a cast iron skillet.
  8. Shred the meat with forks, trying not to eat all the crispy edges yourself.
  9. Pile shredded meat, potatoes, and some shredded lettuce in the tortillas of your choice. Good as is or with some drizzling sauce.

Drizzling sauce (hot): In a blender pulse until smooth, 1 small can chipotles in adobo sauce, 2-3 tablespoons honey, 2 teaspoons olive oil. You can adjust taste with salt and a splash of vinegar—I did.

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Asian-Marinated Country Style Ribs

Although this is another slow-cooked grill recipe, you could certainly make it in the oven in a roasting pan or even in a slow cooker. I just needed a change from my usual rub flavors of chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and brown sugar. I still want the same tender, pulled pork in the end, but I’ll combine it with some Napa cabbage in a tortilla for a kind of fusion soft taco, drizzled with a honeyed hot sauce.

This marinade is wet, but thick, so it sticks to the meat better during the long cooking process.

Asian-Marinated Country Style Ribs

  • Servings: makes about 8 tortillas
  • Difficulty: easy
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Set up grill for indirect heat. I used the snake charcoal method to keep the heat between 250°-300° for at least 3 hours.

  • 3 lbs country style pork ribs—these are cut from the pork shoulder and may or may not have bones
  • Marinade:
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
    • 2 large garlic cloves, grated
    • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, unsweetened
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1 tablespoon Asian hot sauce, like sriracha or chili-garlic sauce
  • Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • tortillas, fajita or soft taco size
  • Drizzling sauce: 2 tablespoons Asian hot sauce, like sriracha or chili-garlic sauce; 2 tablespoons honey; 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  1. Combine marinade ingredients and pour over ribs in large zippered plastic bag. Marinate for at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.
  2. Place ribs on pre-heated grill over drip pan. Cook with lid closed for about 3 hours or until tender.
  3. Shred ribs into bit-sized pieces.
  4. Serve on tortilla with Napa cabbage, drizzled with hot honey sauce.

The Predominately White Meal

This post contains recipes for white beans, chicken wraps, and Anaheim pepper salsa.

I know that the reasons for eating a meal of color are more serious than, say, not wearing white after Labor Day, but I’m bucking the nutritionists today and serving up a predominately one-color meal. Generally you look in the fridge and pantry to see what you have and today it was all white—chicken breasts, sour cream, Monterrey Jack cheese, cotija cheese, white beans. On most days, we put together a meal by looking for foods of other colors—oranges, reds, greens—not only to add color variety, but a variety of nutrients. I’m cool with that, but today, I’m just going off the beaten path and seeing what happens with a one-color meal.

As it turned out, I couldn’t avoid a little green, and then a little red, but they did show up nicely against the rest of the pale palette. It would have been neat to find white lettuce and white salsa, but the stuff they call white salsa is either a mayo-based or bechamel sauce and not that appealing to me for a chicken wrap.

Chicken Wraps with Anaheim Pepper Salsa and White Beans

  • Servings: 2-4 or 10 wraps
  • Difficulty: moderate
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I’ve rated this recipe as moderate, only because cooks unfamiliar with cooking dried beans might find that step complicated.

White Beans

1/2 lb great northern beans

3-4 cups water

chicken bouillon or stock

2 cloves garlic, grated

salt & pepper to taste

1 small can (4.5 oz) chopped chiles

Cook the beans using the quick soak method:

  1. Rinse and sort beans. You’re looking for any stray stones or dirt in the beans. It has been a long time since I have found either of these, but it is possible, and you don’t want to bite into a stone.
  2. Add beans to saucepan with 3 cups water. Do not add any seasonings yet, especially salt, which can toughen beans and make them difficult to cook through. Bring the beans to a boil, then turn off heat and cover for 1 hour.
  3. Bring beans to a second boil, then simmer, covered for 1 hour. Pay attention during the last half hour to whether too much water has cooked away. This could depend on a number of factors, such as whether you have a true simmer burner or one that is a little higher.
  4. The beans are just about always cooked enough before the second hour is up so that you can add the rest of the ingredients during the last half hour. Check beans for doneness, if you are concerned, by spooning out a few and blowing on them in the spoon. If the bean skin curls up and breaks, they are done.
  5. Add bouillon per directions for 3 cups of water (I use Better Than Bouillon® chicken base) or drain the beans and replace the water with chicken stock. Some people say that replacing the cooking water cuts down on post-eating gas. You’ve been warned.
  6. Add the garlic, seasonings, and can of chilies and simmer for another half hour, or longer if you want to cook down the liquid. I like the beans to have a little sauce and not be too dry.

Chicken Wraps

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4-8 8″ flour tortillas, warmed (I did not pick up white ones to carry the meal theme further 😦 )

1 head Bibb lettuce or any soft lettuce with large leaves

1 cup grated or crumbled Cotija cheese

1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

Red pepper salsa (below)

This is a quick dish that is all construction after cooking the chicken. You could even make it with chicken pulled from a rotisserie chicken from your grocer. I like to cook chicken breast for wraps in large pieces and then slice when putting them together. Cooking them this way prevents overcooking and retains juiciness. Still, the whole breasts can be pretty thick, so I like to first slice them horizontally through to make two thinner pieces—that left me with four pieces to cook from the two breasts. I sauteed them over high heat in a little olive oil until just done, which I determine by slightly pressing on the thickest end until it just starts to not give. Then I let them rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes before slicing.

  1. Slice the cooked chicken breasts in in thin strips.
  2. Mix the two cheeses together—easier than adding them separately to the wrap.
  3. Line a tortilla with a large leaf of lettuce, add chicken, cheese, salsa and sour cream. Roll up with the bottom end folded in and the top open.

Anaheim Pepper Salsa

This turned out to be a happy accident from ingredients I had around the house. I had about 4-5 roasted, peeled, and seeded red Anaheim peppers in the freezer and wondered how a predominately pepper salsa would taste, instead of the typical tomato salsa. Very good.

Place the following ingredients in a food processor and blend to a salsa consistency:

4-5 Anaheim peppers, peeled and seeded

1 medium garden tomato

2 cloves garlic

1/2 medium white onion

2 tablespoons dried parsley

cumin and dried oregano to taste

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper to taste—I think I used at least 1 teaspoon of salt, maybe a little more

The salsa seemed a little flat, even with salt, so I added 1-2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, which was just the right note of brightness to compliment the peppers. I did not use cilantro, not only because I didn’t have any, but because I don’t really like it. In this salsa, parsley was the right taste without being overpowering like cilantro. My peppers, which had ripened to red, were a little zippy, but not with that kind of heat that overpowers flavor. I’m definitely putting pepper salsa in my list of favorites. I ended up with enough to put about 1 1/2 cups in the freezer in three containers.