When I was a young college freshman, with not much money and even less spare time, I spent a large portion of a weekend at home in the kitchen of Maria Martinez, whose daughters are dear friends. Under her tutelage, I learned to make real enchiladas from scratch and incredible tortillas, which she rolled into perfect circles using an old dowel. But the dish that became a permanent part of my repertoire was a simple protein-packed dish she whipped up as an afterthought. Pepper-packed chorizo, a couple eggs, some pinto beans, and a pinch of salt rendered an incredibly flavorful dish. My late-night burrito habits would never be the same.
Mexican chorizo differs from Spanish chorizo, which is considered a fine piece of charcuterie, in a few key ways. Spanish chorizo is cured, so it doesn't need to be cooked before you eat it, while Mexican chorizo is typically sold raw in a casing like sausage. It is flavored with paprika, chili peppers, and vinegar, which gives it a signature tang. I've had trouble finding chorizo since moving to Manhattan, but decided to try Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo yesterday; it was good, but lacked the punch of flavor that the traditional Mexican imports. However, since Mexican chorizo is traditionally made from fatty bits of pork, the soy version was definitely much more diet friendly.
Egg & Chorizo Bean BurritosServes 4
This recipe uses half a package of chorizo, but it could easily be doubled. The finished beans store well in the fridge for at least five days; a quick microwave and perhaps a splash of water are all that's needed to reheat this burrito filling to perfection.
5 to 6 oz. chorizo
2 large eggs
1 can refried beans
1/3 cup water
1/2 tbs. oil
1/2 tsp salt
dash black pepper
cotija or other cheese
1. In a large frying pan or pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Squeeze chorizo out of casing and sauté until slightly browned, using a stiff spatula or wooden spoon to break up large pieces. Quite a bit of fat will render out of the chorizo if you use the pork variety; you can drain some of it off, but it has such great flavor I like to leave it in.
2. Crack eggs directly over hot chorizo. Scramble eggs with chorizo, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. When eggs are thoroughly cooked and no runny yolks or whites remain, reduce heat to low and add refried beans and water. Stir until eggs, chorizo, and beans blend together, add salt and a bit of black pepper, if desired.
3. Serve in warm tortillas, topped with a squeeze of lime juice, sour cream, cheese, and lettuce.