December 8, 2009

Rick Bayless' Crusty Chorizo and Black Bean Tortas with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa & Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I am on a new recipe roll this week! Man alive, I haven't had three new recipes in a row for quite awhile. (Okay, really two new recipes since Sunday night's concoction barely counts as an actual recipe.) This dish was originally slated for Thursday night, but I did some rearranging to have it tonight. Why you ask???? Partly because I am really curious to try it, and partly because my super-sonic-pregnant-nose is tired of smelling the uncooked bulk pork chorizo in my fridge. I am going to pair these sandwiches with some Baked Sweet Potato Fries and call it good.

Rick Bayless' Crusty Chorizo & Black Bean Tortas with Fresh Tomatillo Salsa aka Tortas de Chorizo y Frijoles Negros
From: Copyright 2005, Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday

8 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed (about 1 cup)
3-4 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil (divided use)
Two 15-ounce cans black beans
Salt to taste
4 bolillo rolls, crusty French rolls or submarine sandwich rolls (6-7 inches long, 3 inches wide)
6 ounces queso fresco or other fresh cheese such as feta or goat cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and cut into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 cup Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (recipe to follow)

Set a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat and add the chorizo. Cook, breaking up the clumps, until browned and thoroughly cooked, about 8-9 minutes. Add 1-2 Tbsp of the oil (depending on how much fat the chorizo has rendered) and the beans. As the beans come to a simmer, mash them to a smooth paste with a Mexican bean masher, old-fashioned potato masher or the back of a large cooking spoon. Cook, stirring nearly constantly, until the consistency of very soft mashed potatoes--expect about 10 minutes after adding the beans. Taste and season with the salt if you think necessary. Keep warm over the lowest heat, covered to keep the beans soft and moist.

Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium. Slice the rolls open. use fingers or a spoon to scrape out some of the soft bread in the center of each half, making a small hollow. Brush the insides with the remaining 2 Tbsp oil, then lay them cut side down on the griddle or skillet to crisp to a rich golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Smear about 1/2 cup of the chorizo-bean mixture over the bottom half of each roll. Top with slices of the cheese and the avocado. Spoon on the salsa or dash on the hot sauce. Set the top of each roll in place, and you're ready to serve.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
From:Copyright 2005, Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday

4 medium (8 ounces total) tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
Hot green chiles to taste (2 Serrano *OR* 1 jalapeno), stemmed and roughly chopped (For less heat, seed & devein some or all of the chile peppers)
About 1/3 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
Salt to taste

Set a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lay in the garlic and tomatillos, cut side down. When the tomatillos are well browned, 3-4 minutes, turn everything over and brown the other side. The tomatillos should be completely soft.

Scrape the tomatillos and garlic into a blender or food processor and let cool to room temperature, about 3 minutes. Add the chiles, cilantro, and 1/4 cup water. Blend to a coarse puree. Pour into a salsa dish and thin with a little additional water if necessary to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency.

Scoop the chopped onion into a strainer and rinse under cold water. Stir into the salsa. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 tsp.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Adapted from #43469

2-3 large sweet potatoes or yams, cut into fries
1 tablespoon of Chili powder
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of corn starch
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
2 teaspoons of salt
Canola oil to coat

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Put cut fries into large ziploc bag with oil and spices and shake to coat.
3. Once well coated, open bag and add corn starch. Shake again until all are coated w/ corn starch.
4. Place fries onto baking sheet leaving space between fries; make sure to use baking rack to elevate fries off bottom of baking sheet for crisper results.
5. Put in oven for 10 minutes and then flip them over.
6. Place back in for 10 more minutes.
7. They should be soft on the inside and browned on the outside.
8. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve with Spicy Lime Mayo (optional--recipe below).

Spicy Lime Mayo
Adapted from #120459

1/4 cup of light mayo
1/4 cup of light sour cream
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1-2 Tablespoons of lime juice
Pinch of salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate and let flavors combine for at least 1/2 hour before serving.

Jen's Notes:
I don't think I will make the Spicy Lime Mayo tonight due to the dairy content, but I still wanted to include it in my post. It is really good, and definitely worth trying with these fries!

The Results:
This was another fan-freakin'-tastic recipe! It was simple ingredients that, when combined, were soooo utterly tasty. We L-O-V-E-D these sandwiches!!! The husband and I fought over who got to eat the leftover half that our son didn't finish (we split it). Seriously, I don't think I have ever had a bad Rick Bayless recipe. They all seem to be awesome. The salsa was a perfect was spicy and flavorful. The sweet potato fries were also a great side dish to go with these sammies. Really, I just can't say enough good things about this meal. We will certainly have this again.

On a technical note...I do want to point out that the directions for the salsa say to just "stem" the chile peppers,which is what I did. This made the salsa "light your hair on fire" spicy. Also, I noticed that I actually mis-read the recipe; I used 2 Serrano AND 1 jalapeno pepper (instead of 2 Serrano OR 1 jalapeno pepper...oops). I think next time I will seed and devein one or more of the peppers to get more of a balanced heat. As it stood, it was really spicy(which now makes sense because I added too many chiles)(even with the excessive heat, that did not detour us from breaking out the chips and eating it straight from the bowl). I love spicy food, but the pregnancy-induced indigestion was a little hard to deal with. With that said, I still would rather suffer the discomfort than to skip the salsa. It was one of the best homemade salsas that I have ever tasted!

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