One of the biggest perks about moving to the west coast is the good Mexican food. I actually don’t understand how Chipotle is even profitable in this state, when the local taco trucks and burrito joints are so vastly superior.
As part of my evolution into a taco snob, I have sworn off those yellow boxed taco kits, with the stale corn shells, baggies of sauce, and that weird spice packet. My taco kit looks like this:
On the left, handmade soft corn tortillas, from Primavera, in Sonoma. On the right, chorizo from Fatted Calf, located in Napa and made from happy, organic, local pigs. Both were purchased at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market.
So my local meal as part of the Dark Days challenge this week was tacos. Because the chorizo was quite pricey, I mixed it with some sweet potatoes to stretch it a little farther. The sweetness of the potatoes complimented the spice and the starchiness worked really well with the fat. On the side, a quick citrus and radish salad made from local Persian limes, satsuma mandarins, radishes, and pomegranate seeds. I mixed them together and sprinkled them all with a bit of salt and a bit of sugar.
Chorizo and Sweet Potato Tacos
8 oz Mexican chorizo (the raw, loose kind, not the Spanish, smoked and cured kind)
2-3 sweet potatoes, diced into small chunks, about 3/4 of an inch
Peppers – I used a couple small sweet chiles, almost like baby gypsy peppers, finely minced. If you want something spicier, toss in a jalapeno or serrano.
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
Half of a medium onion, chopped
A bunch of cilantro
A lemon or a lime
Corn tortillas (recipe should make about 8-10 tacos)
Combine the onion and cilantro with a generous sprinkling of salt. I used a mortar and pestle to pound them together. If you don’t have one, you can whiz them in the food processor, or just chop them together, and maybe press on them a bit with a fork to release some of their oils. Add to a bowl and hit off with a squirt of lime juice and a bit of zest. Set aside.
In a large skillet, warm a bit of olive oil – a tablespoon or so. Add the sweet potatoes and saute for 5-10 minutes until soft. If they start to stick, don’t add more oil. Just add a quarter cup of water or so, as needed. Basically, you want them cooked before you add the chorizo, since that will cook quickly. But you don’t want to use a lot of oil because the chorizo is fatty.
Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, add the garlic and peppers. Saute for about a minute.
Add the chorizo to the sweet potato mixture, breaking it up with your wooden spoon. Cook for a few minutes until the chorizo is thoroughly cooked. If it starts to dry out or stick, add a splash or two of water.
To serve, warm up the tortillas and fill with a couple spoonfuls of the chorizo-potato mixture. Top with the onion-cilantro mixture and serve.