OH, man!!! Was this an explosion of flavor! It all started when bassist extraordinaire Mr. Floyd Pepper of King Giant gave us a batch of his homemade smoked salsa that blew my mind at a Cinco De Mayo show where I was slinging Tacos Al Pastor! Around the same time, the super cool folks at Green Meadow Farm in PA, including my long time friend Melanie, sent me a bag of "Biquinho" peppers. Little smoky wonders that throw down a new dimension to anything you're using dried peppers in! I was playing around with cornbread in the test kitchen. The smoky salsa paired so well, I decided to build a side dish around it. I had all these little Biquinhos lying around, and I thought, aha! Chorizo! There is a definitive lack of authentic Mexican chorizo in my neck of the woods, but cashing in on my California roots, I decided to make some chorizo myself! Any of you remotely familiar with the show know about my love affair with grilling....well, if you haven't had cornbread cooked in cast iron on the grill, you're missing out. The crust gets a crunchiness to it that adds a new dimension to the cornbread. But what if you cooked some fresh chorizo first, and poured the cornbread batter right into chorizo and flavorful grease?! My assumptions were correct. Then I added Floyd's salsa, crumbled Oaxaca cheese, snipped chives, and cilantro. DAYUMN, that salsa really tied the room together!!! Check out the video! It also features original music from Mr. Justin Chaplin, guitarist for Mantis Toboggan!!!
Here are the necessary methods and ingredients:
You can store by a good quality Mexican chorizo. You can use your own recipe by Gawd. You can even sub out your favorite veggie chorizo substitue (Trader Joe's makes a delicious alternative), or you can make mine!!! If you're making mine, you'll want to make it a day ahead to give the flavors time to mingle.
Toast in a skillet 2 dried Ancho chiles, 2 dried Guajillo chiles, both with ribs removed and torn into pieces. I also added in 15 Biquinho peppers, this is totally optional, as they are hard to come by (Unless you order from Green Meadow!). Toast for a minute or so, careful not to burn. A real fragrant aroma's gonna start invading your nose holes....relish this! Add water to cover the chiles, and bring to a boil. Move from heat and let sit in the water while you move onto the meat! Take a pound of ground pork...add a tbl of ground cumin, a tbl oregano, 1/4 tsp cinammon, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, a tsp of salt, and a few turns of fresh cracked pepper. Let the pepper mixture soak about 10 minutes. Chop up 4 or 5 cloves garlic and put into a blender. Add 1/4 cup cider or red wine vinegar. Remove chiles with slotted spoon and add to blender. Puree until a smooth sauce forms. Add to pork mixture. Blend all ingredients together. Divide into two equal portion, wrapped in plastic wrap like jelly rolls! Cylindrical in shape. Put one in the fridge to mingle overnight, and save one for some eggs or tacos or something!
NEXT DAY: Turn on some King Giant, make yourself a Bloody Mary and let's get down to businesss. Fire up your grill (or your oven to 350) for direct and indirect heat. Place a cast iron skillet on a grate directly above your coals. When nice and hot, add chorizo. Move it around, sip your drink, soak it all in! While the chorizo is cooking, let's mix up the cornbread!
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 Cup flour, 1 cup corn meal, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, an a 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk to combine. Add in 1 lg egg, beaten, and 1 cup buttermilk. Stir it up circle pit style!!! Let is sit while the chorizo finishes cooking.
Do not pour out the grease in the skillet from the chorizo, this is gonna help form a super good crust on the bottom and sides of your cornbread. When chorizo is done, pour cornbread batter directly over the sausage. Spread around evenly if necessary. Move over to indirect heat, close lid on grill, and let cook undisturbed for about 20 minutes. Start checking then. Depending on the temperature inside the grill, it might take longer. When a skewer or toothpick inserted directly in the middle comes out clean, you're done!
Remove from grill and let set about 10 minutes. Slice into 6 to 8 wedges. Top warm cornbread with your favorite salsa. A good smoked salsa roja with some chipotle works well. Even a good salsa verde works good here too. If you have a favorite recipe, use that. Unless you can track down Floyd for a jar of his magic salsa! Top with a flavorful crumbled cheese. I used Mexican Oaxacan cheese, mild, soft and similar to mozarella. For something a bit sharper, use Cotija cheese. Top with some fresh chopped cilantro and snipped chives! You're good to go. A perfect brunch dish, a lite lunch, a side dish with some flair.
"Here's to music, here's to food!!!" \m/