If you’re like me, there are certain things you don’t fear making from scratch.
Like dressings, simple syrups, sauces, and the occasional pizza crust.
But homemade chorizo? Cue a daydream where you’re playing a starring role in the scene from Seinfeld where Jerry walks into his apartment to find Kramer and Newman filling sausage casings to the sound of jazz music…
If the words “homemade chorizo” sent you into the same sitcom musing, let me put your mind at ease. I’m not about to show you how the sausage is made. Not like that, at least.
Have you ever spotted several different varieties of chorizo in the grocery store and asked yourself, what’s the difference? Here’s the basic run-down: Mexican chorizo is ground, fresh, and needs to be cooked, whereas the Spanish form is cured and made from chopped pork.
Basically, one type of meat is transferred from its package to your cast iron before it’s ready to serve, and the other is moved directly from a charcuterie board to your mouth.
Both gain their signature red hue from smoked paprika, but the Mexican chorizo we’re getting our hands dirty with today also gets a tasty kick of spice from earthy cumin, pungent and slightly sweet coriander and cloves, and a generous pour of tangy apple cider vinegar.
The prominent heat comes from chopped chipotle peppers in adobo, tangy smoked and dried jalapenos that have been reconstituted in a flavorful tomato sauce. And believe me when I say that the contrast between a teaspoon and a tablespoonful will really make a difference in how, and if, your stomach will ever speak to you again.
Well, if you’re sensitive to spicy foods, that is.
Side note: if, again, you’re like me and you keep intensely flavored, lesser used ingredients in plastic storage bags in your freezer, I beg of you not to confuse the remaining tomato paste with the leftover chipotles in adobo sauce.
That will really ruin your marinara.
Back to the tacos. Now that you know that homemade chorizo is nothing more than flavorful sausage you can prepare in a snap, let’s talk about combining it with potatoes. Chorizo and potato tacos, or tacos de chorizo y papa, are a classic taco stand treat.
Lucky for you, this version doesn’t involve any waiting in line.
The pork lends its salty fattiness to the potatoes, and in return, the starchy spuds bring the texture with their golden brown, crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-in-the-middle magic.
The other beautiful benefit of this dish is that it’s such a smack in the mouth, you don’t need to go wild with the garnishes.
A few sharp, crunchy chopped onions, a fistful of fragrant, citrusy cilantro, and a boatload of lime to cut the fire are all you need. Though some bright pico de gallo and creamy sour cream never hurt anyone’s feelings at a fiesta…Print
Homemade chorizo infused with smoky, fiery, slightly sweet spices joins up with crispy potatoes in these craveworthy tacos.
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo
- 4 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon chili powder seasoning blend
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- Pinch ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola
- 12 corn tortillas (or flour), warmed
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup chopped white onion
- Lime wedges
- Salsa and sour cream (optional)
- In a large saucepan over high heat, cover the potatoes with at least a few inches of cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and coarsely mash the potatoes.
- Add the pork, garlic, chipotle peppers in adobo, 3 teaspoons salt, chili powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, cloves, oregano, and vinegar to a large bowl. Gently massage the spices into the pork.
- Add the potatoes, and knead delicately into the chorizo, leaving some visible chunks intact.
- Add the oil to a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and wait for it to shimmer. Working in batches so you get an even sear, add the chorizo-potato mixture in an even layer with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Cook undisturbed until a crust forms on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn the mixture in sections and continue cooking until evenly browned and cooked through, about 5 more minutes. Set the cooked portions aside and repeat with the remaining mixture.
- To assemble the tacos, top each warmed tortilla with a scoop of the potato-chorizo mixture and garnish with a generous portion of cilantro and onions. Serve with lime wedges, salsa, and sour cream.
- Category: Tacos
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: chorizo, potato, taco
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Cook the Potatoes
Peel and quarter the potatoes.
In a large saucepan over high heat, cover the potatoes with several inches of cold water and then bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the water is at a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Drain the potatoes in a colander and then coarsely mash them. You want them to be broken up, but they should still have plenty of texture.
Step 2 – Measure the Spices and Make the Chorizo-Potato Mixture
Gently massage the spices into the pork, and then add the potatoes. Leaving some chunks intact, delicately knead the potatoes into the chorizo.
Step 3 – Cook the Chorizo-Potato Mixture
Place a large, heavy-bottomed skillet – like your favorite cast iron pan – over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the chorizo-potato mixture in an even layer and sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of salt, working in batches if necessary so you can get an even sear.
Cook undisturbed until a crust forms on the bottom, for about 5 minutes. Continue cooking, turning the mixture in sections, until it’s fully cooked and evenly browned. This will take about 5 more minutes.
Towards the end of the cooking process you can either lower the heat or rotate the pan if some parts of the mixture seem to be getting brown too quickly, before the meat has cooked through on the inside.
Set the cooked portions aside and repeat with the remaining mixture.
Step 4 – Prep the Garnishes and Assemble the Tacos
Warm the tortillas until they are lightly charred all over, either directly over a gas flame or in a dry pan over medium heat.
Chop the cilantro and onions, and slice the limes into wedges.
To assemble the tacos, top each warmed tortilla with a scoop of the potato-chorizo mixture, and then garnish with a generous portion of cilantro and onions. Serve with salsa and sour cream if you like, and don’t forget the lime wedges!
When Sausage Meets Spuds
If you’ve ever had especially fiery chorizo in the past, remember that making things from scratch is all about taking the flavors into your own hands.
Not a fan of super spicy foods? Cut back on the heat level by only using a minimal amount of chipotle. Or if you’re a spice nut, crank it up and toss in some cayenne just to show your taste buds who’s boss.
If you can’t find Yukon gold potatoes, aim for a different variety of waxier (as opposed to starchier) spuds. Floury varieties like russets fall apart more easily when they are boiling and don’t keep their shape as well as the waxy types when they are mixed and cooked with the meat.
If this recipe has you craving more, get your Taco Tuesday on with these other handhelds next:
- Slow Cooker Pork Tacos
- Shrimp Tacos with Green Onion and Cilantro Crema
- Crunchy Beef Tacos with Zesty Homemade Seasoning
In the great debate over corn versus flour tortillas, where do your toppings land? Share your personal preference for taco vehicles in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 3, 2011. Last updated on May 3, 2021.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”