17 July 2010

Chorizo tacos for vegetarians

I live in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood in my Colorado town, which means I always have access to delicious food. Of course, there are some cutesy Tex-Mex places with decent food and margaritas that go down like Kool-Aid, and those places are not bad when your parents are visiting. But I prefer the brightly colored, glorified chicken coops where the menus are in Spanish (can’t understand a word), the hot sauces are homemade, and not one single menu item reminds me of growing up in the Midwest (Chi-Chi’s, you should be outlawed).

At these places, which I would like to believe are authentic, you can get the best tacos (pictured above). They are so simple—two small heated corn tortillas stacked on top of one another with a little pile of super-hot chorizo garnished with chopped red onion and cilantro, lime slice on the side. It’s perfection. My favorite taco place is inside Jerry’s, the small grocery store up the street from my house. I get them with a glass of mel√≥n, sweetened cantaloupe-flavored water.

The chorizo is really so special, I think, because it’s so spicy and bright in flavor. It is also greasy and made from who knows what reconstituted bits of animal no one else would eat. So, I have figured out a ridiculously simple way to make a meatless version of these beautiful, beautiful tacos at home.

Meatless Ode to Jerry’s Chorizo Tacos

1 package Morningstar Farms Recipe Starters Grillers Recipe Crumbles (fake ground beef)
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce, or to taste (this stuff’s hot, friends!)
Salt to taste
Corn tortillas
Finely diced red onion
Chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges

Heat a tablespoon of canola oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan. When oil is shimmering, add the soy crumbles (no need to defrost first) and stir constantly until “meat” is thawed and moistened with oil. Add cumin and stir well to coat. Then add the Sriracha, a bit at a time, stirring and tasting often to make sure the heat level is edible for you. Add salt to taste.

To assemble tacos, lay down two warmed corn tortillas per taco (if they get cold they become brittle and break wide open). Pile “meat” mixture in the middle and garnish with chopped onion and cilantro. Squeeze lime over taco just before eating.