Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mexican Supper with Ancho Chili Salsa and Chorizo Queso Dip

So I get this really highfalutin magazine called "Bon Appetit" that often has yummy recipes, but tends to call for really random ingredients--some cut of meat that would cost your pay check, some vegetable or herb you have never heard of that "you can find at your local speciality food store" (pshh! like I have one of THOSE around here!). Anyway, so I do actually sometimes find workable recipes in it, and this week I came across an amazing idea--a Mexican feast!

Now this doesn't mean you get to go out and buy your taco "kit" or your fajita "kit" and some Tostitos chips and you're good to go. NO...this means you get to use awesome, real ingredients to make something funky, fresh, and REALLY Mexican. Trust me, you'll go for this. 

These recipes are simple, cheap, and don't require any ingredient that you've never heard of (at least I hope...).

This Ancho Chile salsa is really sweet and tangy, with a definite spiciness to it (I would say it qualifies as "medium" spicy compared to store-bought stuff). The queso is also really something. It's uh-mazing with chorizo in it (who would have thought?).

I also made a delicious steak with grilled vegetables to go with our tortillas and sauces, and I will tell you what I did for that at the end. 

Ancho Chile Salsa:
-1 1/2 oz. dried chiles de arbol
-1 1/2 oz. dried ancho chiles (both types can be found in the Mexican section where all the spices are)
-1 medium white onion, chopped
-4 garlic cloves, peeled
-1 Tbsp. kosher salt
-1/2 cup white vinegar

Toast the chiles in a dry pan over high heat, turning often, until fragrant. This should take 3-5 minutes. Let them cool slightly.

Next, pull out the stems and seeds (you may need to cut the stems out of the ancho chiles). Place the chiles, onion, garlic, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of water into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until very soft.

Puree the chile mixture in a blender until smooth. Mix in the vinegar, and let it cool while you start on your queso dip.

Chorizo Queso Recipe:

-1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
-6 oz. chorizo, casings removed
-2 1/2 cups half and half (or use half milk, half heavy cream, like I did)
-8 oz. Mexican melting cheese or Velveeta (I KNOW! The pros even use it!), cubed
-8 oz. Monterey Jack, grated
-8oz. sharp cheddar, grated
-Mexican Cojita Cheese/Crumbling Cheese
-Cayenne Pepper
-chili powder

First, add your vegetable oil to a pan and cook your chorizo until crispy--about 8-10 minutes. This stuff is amazing, and I have no idea why I never used it before! So flavorful and tangy! Set it aside on some paper towel.

In a large saucepan add in the velveeta/melting cheese and your milk/cream to the pan.

Stir occasionally until the cheese melts completely, about 8-10 minutes. Next add in the Monterrey Jack and cheddar and stir until smooth.

You can keep the cheese sauce over the heat until you are ready to serve up. Stir in 1/4 tsp. of chili powder and of paprika, and 1 tsp salt. Taste. Pour into a serving dish and sprinkle the chorizo on top, and then some Cojita cheese.

Grilled Steak and Vegetables:


-2lb. skirt steak, cut in 4 pieces
-4 garlic cloves
-1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime (about 2 limes)
-1/4 cup olive oil
-3 Tbsp. smoked paprika
-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
-1 Tbsp. ground cumin
-1 tsp. kosher salt
-1 tsp. onion powder

Puree all ingredients (except the steak, of course) in a blender. Pour into a large zip-lock bag. Add in your steak and turn to coat. Refrigerate for about 4 hours or until ready to grill.

When ready to grill, remove steak from marinade and scrape off any excess. Salt and pepper both sides. Grill on medium for about 3-4 minutes per side for medium doneness. Let cool for a 5-10 minutes before slicing, to let all the juices settle.

Grilled Veg:

-1 cabbage, quartered, core intact
-1 bunch scallions, trimmed
-1 white onion, halved with some root end attached
-1/3 cup chopped red onion
-3 Tbsp. lime juice
-1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Rub olive oil and salt over the vegetables. Grill cabbage for about 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, same for the onion. The scallions will only take about 4 minutes.

Chop up grilled vegetables into pieces, discarding the core and stems of cabbage and onion. Toss in a bowl with other ingredients.

Serve with steak and tortillas.

I added some peppers and cojita cheese on the side for some more toppings. Use whatever you like!

The Final Product! A Mexican feast! Oh, and don't forget those Tostitos...you are probably going to want to mop up as much of that queso as possible...

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