Brunch Two Ways: Chorizo

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March 1, 2013 by caitlinvaclark

Its almost the weekend! Hang in there, just a few more hours. Are you thinking about entertaining this weekend? I’m pretty much always thinking about having people over, but need to work on that whole friends-in-a-foreign-country thing first. I’m not lame, I swear. Love Chris’ coworkers, but they work too much! One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is host a casual brunch get-together. Today I have two brunch recipes starring chorizo: one that you can whip up in a matter of minutes and another which takes a bit of advance planning and careful timing but has such a wow factor.

The first is easy-peasy: Chorizo Breakfast Tacos. I discovered this incredibly simple but so flavorful dish when Chris and I were in San Antonio, TX last spring. We spent a few days in Alamo town as part of an “attempt to see America” before moving here to London. Ultimately, it became a food tour of Texas. Wondering where you should get brisket in the famous BBQ capital of Lockhart, Texas? Well, I can tell you. We tried two different places during the one hour we spent passing through the town. Kreuz Market, by the way, was the winner! Ridiculously good. No frills. Just all about the meat. You get meat by the 1/4 pound wrapped in butcher paper. They won’t even put their brisket on sandwiches for you. It is possibly the best bite of meat in all of Texas. Just saying.

The other goal of our trip was to gorge ourselves on Tex-Mex. Chris went into the trip wondering if it were possible for him to OD on the stuff. He thought not, and he was correct. Apparently my husband can eat food wrapped in tortillas at any time of day. The breakfast tacos proved to be a huge favorite. And soooo cheap. We had our best breakfast at a little dive spot called Oasis Mexican Cafe.

If you are thinking of brunch entertaining, a breakfast taco bar is a great way to go. Depending on how big your crowd is, I’d cook up three kinds of scrambled eggs: these chorizo ones, some mixed with pico de gallo, and some with black beans and scallions. Then serve with all the traditional taco toppings. And perhaps some tequila sunrises???

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Or you can get a little fancy with chorizo for brunch. This dish, which I’m calling Eggs Benito (thank my husband for that one) is somewhere between huevos rancheros, tamales, and Eggs Benedict. I use corn bread or muffins as the base, then a black bean salsa, perfectly poached eggs, and top the whole thing off with a chorizo cheese sauce. It is so yummy but does take a few more steps, so definitely save it for leisurely weekend entertaining. Or you could even use it as a breakfast for dinner, like we did the other night.

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So first for the breakfast tacos, make sure you get Mexican chorizo, which is raw and not in casing. Crumble the sausage while it cooks.

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Pour in your eggs and slowly scramble, sweeping the bottom of the pan continually. Once the eggs have just set, turn off the heat and sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top. Cover and let the cheese melt.

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Serve with fresh, creamy, and cooling avocado slices and, of course, a mug of steamy wake-me-up coffee for an easy way to start your weekend!

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Now, to make the Eggs Benito start with a cornbread muffin, but with a secret ingredient. Add 2 tsp of smoked paprika to your cornbread batter. Honestly, if I were in the US, I would just use Jiffy cornbread mix, which I think is the best mix for savory cooking because it’s not too sweet.

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Make a black bean salsa by mixing together drained black beans, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and perhaps some chipotles and lime juice. For this version, I actually used some of my leftover ramps chimichurri (a recipe that will be appearing on a guest post series that I’m doing on London’s amazing food-filled hot spot, Borough Market at: thetortoiseshell.tumblr.com ).

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Next, I cook up the cheese sauce, starting with a classic béchamel: 1 Tbs butter, 1 Tbs flour, 1 cup of milk. Simmer until thick then add lots of yummy cheddar cheese and crumbled chorizo!

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Now all you need are perfectly poached eggs. My method is to fill a high-sided pan with water and a few tablespoons of white vinegar, bringing it to a simmer. I like to use small bowls or ramekins to crack my egg into, then submerge the bowl into the water. As you start to pour the egg into the water, use a large spoon to catch the egg under water, keeping the egg from spreading out.

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Cook the eggs for 3 1/2 minutes, then remove with a slotted or mesh spoon. Place on a paper towel to drain before putting on your food. You don’t want a soggy base! Follow this trick and you’ll have a perfectly poached egg every time.

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Chorizo Breakfast Tacos

Serves 2

1 tsp butter

3 oz. Mexican chorizo

5 eggs

2 Tbs. milk

Pinch of salt

2 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

4 small flour tortillas

1 avocado, sliced

Heat the oven to 200˚F.

In a medium sized skillet, melt the butter, then cook the chorizo (there should be no casing) over medium heat. Crumble as it cooks until the sausage is just cooked through, about 4 minutes.

While the chorizo cooks, whisk the eggs, milk, and salt, breaking the yolks and scrambling. Wrap the tortillas in tinfoil and place in the oven.

Once the chorizo is cooked, pour the eggs into the skillet. Slowly stir, sweeping the bottom, until the eggs just set. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the cheese over the eggs. Cover for a few minutes until the cheese has melted and you are ready to serve.

Divide the eggs among the tortillas and top with avocado.

Eggs Benito

Serves 4

For the cornbread:

½ cup butter, melted

2 eggs

3 Tbs sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

2 tsp smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Whisk together the butter, eggs, sugar, and buttermilk. Add the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda, and paprika. Once just mixed, divide among 8 greased muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes.

For the salsa:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ red onion diced

1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 Tbs chipotle in adobo, chopped and with juices

Juice of one lime

Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together for the salsa and set aside.

For the sauce:

3 oz. Mexican chorizo

1 Tbs butter

1 Tbs flour

1 cup milk

¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a small skillet over medium heat, cook the chorizo, crumbling, for 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes. Then whisk in the milk and stir constantly until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the cheese. Once melted add the chorizo and keep the sauce warm.

For the poached eggs:

8 eggs

2 Tbs white vinegar

Fill a large high-sided pan with 3 inches of water and the vinegar. Bring to a soft simmer. Using a small ramekin or bowl, crack each egg individually into the bowl. Submerge the bowl in the water and pour the egg out into the water, using a large spoon to keep the egg close to itself. Cook 4 eggs at a time for 3 ½ minutes. Remove with a slotted or mesh spoon. Dry on a paper towel.

Assemble the dish by splitting the corn muffins and place two on each plate. Scoop salsa onto the muffins. Place 2 poached eggs on the muffins and spoon the cheese salsa on top of the eggs.

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