This recipe was inspired by my favorite combination of flavors from the parrillada mixed grill platter at Carboncito’s, my favorite restaurant in Playa del Carmen. The star of these tacos is the mushrooms, with the chorizo providing a faint background of salty, crispy pork. The soft, earthy mushrooms contrast beautifully with the crisp crackle of the chorizo, and the light combination of lime, cilantro, and cotija cheese provide a welcome relief from the heavy, enchilada sauce-sour cream-and-jack-cheese drowned “Mexican” food so common North of the border.
The key to this dish’s success lays in the preparation of the chorizo. Start with an uncured, bright red Mexican-style chorizo, and after each stir, press the mixture back into the pan evenly. The goal is to get the ground chorizo to begin to crisp up into a meaty, crunchy, dusty mixture. The chorizo also provides much of the seasoning for the whole dish. Between the sausage and the salty cheese, you certainly won’t need any additional salt, but some additional ground black pepper and a few shakes of cayenne can be added if you like it a little spicier.
Finally, a note on tortillas: some decent, thick corn tortillas would certainly be more authentic, but I don’t feel any shame in using flour. I like to grill them directly on the gas burner, turning often, so the tortilla warms and gets a few satisfying blackened blisters.
Spicy Mushroom & Chorizo Tacos
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 4 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
- 4 ounces oyster mushrooms, sliced
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 lb Mexican chorizo, casings removed
- 1 can chopped green chilies (4.5 oz)
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- Flour tortillas
- Refried beans
- A handful of chopped cilantro
- Grated Cotija cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a saute pan. Add mushrooms, and salt and pepper, to taste. Saute until mushrooms soften and begin to brown.
In a separate cast iron skillet of or saute pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add chopped onions. When onions begin to soften, add crumbled chorizo sausage, garlic, cumin, black pepper, cayenne (optional) and green chilies, including liquid. Chop and work the chorizo with the edge of a spatula, until all large pieces are broken up. Stir and simmer over medium heat until all liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. After liquid has evaporated, turn heat to high, and allow chorizo mixture to crisp, stirring and flattening in pan every minute.
To assemble tacos: Spread approximately 1 tablespoon of refried beans onto warmed tortillas. Add chorizo mixture, and then mushrooms. Top with cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, and squeeze with lime immediately before serving.