17 September 2011

Double Take: Chorizo, Beef, and Poblano Tacos with Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce

Chorizo, Beef, and Poblano Tacos wtih Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce

You know my aversion to bell peppers? For some reason I can replace them with poblano peppers with no problems. It's great. So I was quite disappointed when I could not find a poblano pepper in Germany. So I went for two years trying to avoid using peppers (sometimes failing miserably, see Chicken Cacciatore). Now I am back in the land of poblano peppers and am thrilled. So to celebrate Mexican Independence Day (September 16), Tabitha and I made these tasty little tacos. Things happened, like they do, and unfortunately we did not get these posted by Mexican Independence Day, but that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy them!

Chorizo, Beef, and Poblano Tacos with Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce
adapted by Melanie and Tabitha, original source: Savour the Senses

Cheese Sauce
5 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk (we used 1%, see note below in THOUGHTS)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 3/4 cups grated pepper jack
½ cup of your favorite salsa (optional)

Taco Filling
1/2 lb chorizo
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 tbsp parsley
1/4 tbsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 yellow onion (minced)
1 poblano chile (diced)

Taco Toppings/Extras
3 green onions (sliced)
lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado sliced or chopped for topping (optional, any combination is fine)
6 soft taco tortillas
A bag of your favorite tortilla or corn chips

  1. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk the flour into the mixture, stirring constantly until it begins to turn golden (about 3 minutes).
  2. Add the milk very slowly into the mixture and continue to whisk until all the milk is incorporated and the roux is thick and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the next 5 ingredients, salt through the garlic, to the sauce and continue to stir for two minutes. Add the cheese, a handful at a time and whisk until the cheese is melted before adding the next handful. Continue whisking until the consistency is smooth. Turn to simmer, cover and keep warm for the tacos, adding the salsa to the sauce a few minutes before serving (if using).
  4. In a large skillet, cook the chorizo, ground beef, onion, and poblanos, making sure to break up any large clumps (about 5 minutes).
  5. Add the seasonings and continue to sauté until the onions are soft and the meat has cooked through and released it's fat (about 5 minutes). Drain the fat from the meat mixture using your favorite method. Add the meat mixture to each taco, drizzle with cheese sauce, top with green onion, tomatoes, avocado, and lettuce, then serve. You'll need the chips to eat up all that yummy cheese sauce. This recipe makes a lot cheese!

Pile your base of filling and cheese on the tortilla, then go to town
adding your favorite toppings! The creamy avocado paired
perfectly with the spicy cheese and meat. 

These tacos do have a nice kick to them, so if you are heat wary, leave out or decrease the amount of poblano to the original recipe's ½ of a poblano and maybe use ¼ pound of chorizo and ¾ pound of ground beef. For the sauce, leave out the cayenne. If you like a little heat, just change the sauce or the meat, but not both.

If you've never cooked with chorizo before, do try it. Tabitha really liked it, but I think I've decided that I would prefer the tacos without the chorizo. It's fine, it wasn't gross, it was inedible, it just wasn't my favorite. So, try it the first time and decide from there what will work best for you and your tasters.

NOTE: When you add milk very slowly to a roux, it swells up and stays very thick the whole time. That's what happened for us this time. By the time we added the original one cup of milk, the roux was still too thick to run at all, which meant we skipped the ten minutes of thickening time. By the end of the night, we'd added very close to a second cup of milk, so the recipe above reflects that. If you don't have a very thick roux, only add one cup of milk. The plus side to making the thick roux by adding the milk slowly is that you don't have to worry about breaking up any clumps. It's very smooth and this was consequently the best cheese sauce (when judging on texture) either of us has ever made.

Make-again-following-our-changes-and-possibly-leave-out-the-chorizo: 1 vote!

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