Did someone say “challenge”? Bring it on! I can’t help it if I have a bit of a competitive streak. Besides, who’s gonna pass up a chance for free sausage?
OK, let me backtrack for a second…I was invited to enter this thing, and I thought why the heck not? The sausage varieties, especially the buffalo with chipotle, which sounded like a dressed-up version of Mexican chorizo, sounded tasty enough. As luck would have it, I was not only chosen to participate in the recipe contest, but I got the buffalo sausage to work with. And they say it was random.
Anyway, I figured that nobody could resist melty cheese, so *ahem* here’s the winning recipe…
Please vote for it here! The poll will be open from June 8th through the 12th.
By the way, if you would like to try some of that buffalo with chipotle sausage for yourself, visit Marx Foods. (The sausage itself was of good quality but a bit on the sweet side, and, to my taste, it could've been a whole lot spicier.) Otherwise, just use fresh Mexican chorizo.
Queso Fundido con Chorizo
1 tablespoon canola oil
6 ounces bulk Mexican chorizo, crumbled
½ yellow onion, diced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon pure chile powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 cup shredded Monterey jack
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Heat a medium, heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the sausage and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, tossing about 2 times, until nearly cooked through and crusty and brown in spots.* Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic, chile powder, cumin, and Mexican oregano and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
Preheat the broiler. Add the jack and cheddar to the sausage mixture and toss to combine. Divide among 4 individual baking dishes, arrange the baking dishes on a baking tray, and broil for about 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Sprinkle the fundidos with the cilantro and serve immediately.
Serves 4. Serve with plenty of Guajillo Salsa to spice it up, warm flour or corn tortillas for scooping, and possibly some Traditional Margaritas. Makes a great appetizer for any Mexican or Southwestern meal. If you can’t find bulk chorizo sausage, get some links of chorizo and remove the casings. Dried Mexican oregano, which has a unique floral character, can be found at some gourmet grocers and (usually for less than a dollar) at any Mexican market. If you can’t find it, just omit it from the recipe; don’t substitute common oregano. Also delicious with smoked cheddar.
*Searing the chorizo in this manner adds tons of flavor to the finished dish. For everything you ever wanted to know about searing, plus dozens of fabulous searing recipes, look for my book Seared to Perfection in stores in the fall of 2010.