This recipe is adapted from a Rick Bayless recipe that I found in a Williams-Sonoma booklet in 2002. It has been a consistent winner over the years, but I got bored with it and decided it needed something …. something to take it up a notch or two. Hmmm, chorizo!
Disclosure: I am a reluctant fan of chorizo. Tom loves it, but I don’t like to think about what it is made from, and I also hate cooking with it … too much grease. But thank goodness for Trader Joe’s. They sell a delicious soy chorizo (soy chorizo should also be available at your neighborhood grocery store) that has all the spicy goodness of chorizo without the mess. When I told my friend, Joanne, that I was going to add soy chorizo to this recipe, she made a face and mumbled something I couldn’t quite catch in Spanish. (Joanne’s family have several restaurants in Mexico City, so I guess using soy chorizo could be considered sacrilegious.)
This recipe is easy, can be made ahead and then assembled and baked at the last minute for your guests. I use whatever salsa I have in the pantry, but my go-to favorites are either Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde or my new favorite, Roasted Tomatillo & Mango Salsa. If you haven’t tried this salsa yet, it is the bomb. I guess there wasn’t enough room on the label to list all the good stuff in here…in addition to the tomatillos and mangos, it includes black beans, onions, corn, red bell peppers, dried chipotle, cumin, and Ghost chili peppers. Yes, far down on the list of ingredients but just enough to add a kick to the salsa. If it still isn’t hot enough for you (and I bow down to you for that!), try adding a couple of squirts of Trader Joe’s Green Dragon Hot Sauce.
I bake this dip in a cast iron skillet lined with cornhusks that have been soaked overnight in water, so they don’t catch on fire. It makes a nice presentation and, in the unlikely event there are any leftovers, the dip is excellent over scrambled eggs for breakfast.
Cornhusks, soaked overnight in water (available in Mexican grocery stores or in the Mexican section of most markets)
½ c. toasted pecan pieces (or toasted pine nuts)
6 oz. goat cheese
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 oz. soy chorizo
1 c. of your favorite salsa (if using fresh salsa, be sure to drain it first)
4 oz. crumbled Queso Fresco
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Corn tortilla chips for serving
To determine the number of cornhusks you will need, lay the cornhusks, slightly overlapping, in the bottom of a small cast iron skillet or an 8” round baking dish. Soak those cornhusks, plus 3 extra to go on the top, in water overnight.
Remove the chorizo from the casing and fry in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. If using real chorizo be sure to drain completely. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese and cream cheese with a fork. Add the cooked chorizo and nuts and combine thoroughly with a fork. Using a small spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl and roll the cheese into a ball.
Lay the wet cornhusks, slightly overlapping in the bottom of the pan. Put the cheese ball in the center and add more nuts if you want. Pour the salsa over the cheese and cover the mixture with the remaining cornhusks, tucking the ends loosely under the cheese ball.