When I moved to Arizona seven years ago, I wasn’t prepared for the culinary experience that was being opened up to me….at least in comparison to the little town where I was born and raised. Phoenix offered foods I never had the opportunity to try. There was a wide array of Asian cuisines; Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Korean, and Thai. Hawaiian was always a fun dinner. There was a restaurant who’s menu centered around the Cornish pasty. And Navajo fry bread was to die for. There were “health food” restaurants and even a paleo restaurant (before I knew what paleo was). And one of my favorites was a little “burger fusion” joint!
Experiencing all of that deliciousness was a turning point in my life, but those cuisines aren’t what the desert southwest is known for. When you travel to Arizona, you expect to have authentic Mexican food. And I was not disappointed!
Daniel, who grew up with these foods, introduced me to so many fun and flavorful dishes. With each area we moved to, we would find our favorite little “hole in the wall” Mexican restaurant. It got to a point where I would gauge the quality of the restaurant by how good their chili verde was. Taco Tuesdays (or burrito Wednesdays, depending on the restaurant) were a regular thing, as were trips to Food City to get Cochitos and fruit empanadas.
But the one item that was a regular staple in our refrigerator was Mexican chorizo, a spicy uncooked sausage that is best when fresh. Huevos con chorizo y papas, or chorizo and eggs with potatoes, was a very common Saturday morning breakfast in our home. Because of the flavor of the chorizo, very little additional seasoning was needed. Just add a bit of chopped onion and diced tomato and you were good to go! Chorizo is a little bit of a greasier sausage, and that fat that came off of the chorizo infused the eggs and potatoes with so much flavor!
Fast-forward six years to when we moved back to my hometown of Lancaster, PA. I was absolutely tickled pink to see the culinary explosion that had happened in my absence. It helped to ease the feeling that we would be missing out. We even managed to find not one, but two fantastic little Mexican restaurants! Daniel does get homesick on occasion, and being able to go grab some familiar dishes helps ease the ache.
The only thing we haven’t found is a truly authentic Mexican chorizo (aside from what the restaurants serve, and we haven’t been able to convince them to sell us any). We have found some that are close enough, but sometimes close enough doesn’t cut it because you can taste the other cultural influences in there. But in a pinch, they sometimes fill the void.
Then, several months back, a crazy thought occurred to me….why couldn’t I make my own chorizo? It couldn’t be that complicated. I had tried before, even if I did fail somewhat miserably (that’s what happens when you have a pre-made spice packet and only a vague understanding of what goes into the sausage). My culinary boundaries have been expanded over the last seven years and since starting our paleo journey, I have made dishes I never dreamed of cooking!
One of the wonderful things I have discovered about Mexican food is that it is mostly paleo, by nature. With an emphasis on fresh meats, tomatoes, chilies, and spices, it’s hard to go wrong. Daniel and I joke that it’s all the same ingredients in every dish; it’s just the ratio or how they are presented that changes (seriously, it’s much more than that, but you do see a common thread).
So, over the last few months I have been analyzing and trying recipes….and I think I have come up with my own version that is pretty darned close. But before I give you the recipe, I have just a few tips. And always remember, adjust any seasonings to your taste. That’s what I did when putting this recipe together! Good food is always in the eye of the beholder.
- If you decide to make an all beef chorizo, opt for an 80/20 grass-fed ground beef. The extra fat from the beef is what adds that little extra something to the chorizo. If you opt to grind your own beef or pork, make sure it is a cut that has adequate fat. If all you have on hand is a leaner cut of meat or mince, just add a little extra fat to the pan.
- Many of the recipes I came across called for ancho or aleppo pepper. Ancho pepper is basically dried poblano pepper. Aleppo pepper, on the other hand, is a middle eastern pepper, so I don’t know how the flavor would influence the chorizo. However, you can use regular old chili powder, which is what I reference in the recipe. When using chili powder, I do add a bit of cayenne pepper to the mix, for a little bit more heat. But, if you use ancho pepper, just use the same ratio.
- Do not be afraid to use your hands to mix the chorizo! You want all of those spices incorporated thoroughly for the best flavor.
- If possible, allow the uncooked chorizo to sit in the fridge overnight. This allows the flavors to really incorporate into the meat, or “develop”. That being said, you can use the chorizo right away, also. Just allow it to rest for a half hour or so after mixing and toss it in the pan. It’s still just as delicious!
- Potatoes are not included in this recipe, mostly because Daniel and I don’t typically eat potatoes anymore (one potato converted in the body is roughly equivalent to 19 teaspoons of sugar). However, if potatoes are a part of your paleo journey, feel free to add them!
Huevos con Chorizo (Mexican Chorizo with Eggs)
An authentic Mexican chorizo recipe paired with eggs for a traditional southwest breakfast
- 1 pound grass-fed ground beef or pork
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- tallow or lard for cooking, or a flavor-neutral oil such as evoo or avocado oil
- 1/2 cup white onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup tomato, diced
DirectionsPlace your ground beef/pork in a large mixing bowl. Add all of your spices and vinegar. With a wooden spoon, begin incorporating the spices and vinegar into the meat. Once they begin to incorporate, use your hands to start “kneading” the spices further into the meat (use kitchen prep gloves, if necessary). Continue mixing the sausage mixture by hand, until the spices are fully incorporated into the meat. You will notice that the meat no longer has any pink showing through the deep red of the chili powder. Cover your bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When you are ready to use the chorizo, heat your fat/oil over medium high heat in a medium sized skillet. Add the diced onions and saute until they start to become translucent. Add your chorizo to the pan and cook thoroughly. Add the diced tomatoes to the chorizo and stir until they are distributed. Allow the mixture to cook until the tomatoes begin to soften.
While you are waiting, crack your eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk lightly. Add the eggs evenly to the pan. Don’t mix them, yet! Allow the bottom to begin to set. Once the eggs have begun to set, use a spatula to gently mix the chorizo and eggs. Once mixed, allow to cook 2-3 more minutes. You do not want the eggs to brown. Turn off the heat and place a lid on your pan to allow the eggs to finish cooking in their own heat. Once the eggs are set to a soft scrambled consistency, transfer them to your plates and enjoy!