One-course meal: Mexican rice, chorizo salad

Tex-Mex Rice Salad
Makes 4 servings for lunch and 6-8 as part of a buffet

Rice salads make satisfying one-course lunches or great side dishes for a buffet. They are best served when the rice is freshly cooked and still a bit warm, or at room temperature. They can be made a day ahead and refrigerate, but try to let the salad warm to room temperature before serving.

Ingredients:
  • ¾ pound chorizo sausage
  • ½ cup chopped Almonds
  • 4 cups freshly cooked converted rice
  • 2 anaheim or poblano chiles, fire-roasted and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, fire-roasted and diced
  • 1 cup diced Fontina, Jake, or Swiss cheese
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (1 cup)
  • 6 green onions or scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 basket cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
    Salty and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preparation:
  1. In a heavy skillet, fry the sausage over medium- high heat for 5-7 minutes until most of the fat is rendered and the meat begins to brown Break the meat up with a fork into ¼-inch pieces as it cooks.

  2. Transfer the cooked sausage to a sieve set over a bowl to drain off the fat.

  3. Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until they are lightly brown, shaking the pan as they color. Transfer to a bowl, and reserve.

  4. In a large bowl, mix the rice with all but ¼ cup sausage, the chiles, bell pepper, cheese, cilantro, green onions, and all but 12 of the half tomatoes. combine the garlic, oil, and lemon juice and add to salad.

  5. Toss and taste for salt and pepper.

  6. Garnish the salad with the remaining cherry tomato halves, the toasted pine nuts, and the remaining chorizo.
Home made Chorizo
Makes about 2 pounds

Chorizo is the spanish word for sausage, so it can be a bit confusing when you find the word referring to different types of sausages made in Spain, Mexico, South America, and (with slightly differing spelling) in Portugal (chouriço) and Louisiana ( chaurice).

The Mexican version usually contains ground pork mixed with lots of cumin, pure chile powder, and fresh hot peppers, such as jalapeño.

Again, as with many peasant sausages, there are variations depending on the place of origin or family traditions. Some chorizos contain cinnamon; others tequila; and some are served fresh and lightly spiced; others are dried, pungent, and decidedly funky. The recipe below is a basic one that you should feel free to vary and embellish with your own personal touch.

Since it's usually used in bulk, chorizo is an easy sausage to make in a food processor. Wrap ½-to-1 pound quantities in foil, label, and freeze until needed.

We prefer to use pure ground dried chile powders for heat in this recipes. Pure chile powders are found in most Hispanic markets. If unavailable, use a good-quality commercial chile powder blend. Use chorizo as a filling for enchiladas or tacos, in sauces, or fried with eggs or rice.

Ingredients:
  • 1½ pounds ground pork butt
  • 1 bunch (4 to 6 ounces) fresh cilantro, chopped (1 cup) (optional)
  • 1 fresh Serrano,jalapeño, or other hot chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon New Mexico or other ground dried chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
Preparation:
  1. In a large bowl add meat, cilantro, chile, vinegar, chile powder, paprika, salt, cumin seeds, ground cumin, black pepper, cayenne, and coriander.

  2. Mix together with hands, and chill overnight. Package and place in the freezer or refrigerator and use in 3 days.

  3. Chorizo will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days, or in the freezer for 2 months.
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