Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac

I’ve been making this Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac for well over a year now since Joanne posted it, and have no idea why I haven’t blogged about it yet. It is AMAZING! It’s no secret that I like baked pasta, cheese, and Southwestern/Mexican food, and this dish fits the bill for all three of those categories. Saaaweeeet!

Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac | thepajamachef.com

Or more accurately, sweet ‘n spicy. This version of chile mac features a hearty sweet potato sauce, some spicy chorizo sausage, and just enough cheese to be yummy but not too indulgent/unhealthy. I mean, I love a super cheesy dish as much as the next girl, but there are other flavors I like too… and this dish brings it! If you have all the ingredients at your disposal and are currently snowed/iced/frozen in, then I highly suggest you make this today! If not, then by the end of the week, stat!

Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac | thepajamachef.com

I’ve been trying to figure out what my favorite part of the dish is, and the sad answer is… I don’t know! The spicy meat pairs so well with the smooth sweet potato sauce that neither is overwhelming. Ben isn’t a huge sweet potato guy but this is one dish he really can get into. For the most part, I followed Joanne’s original recipe, but of course I had to add my own little twist, my own little departure from regular ‘ole chili mac… and that is to toss everything in the oven for just a bit, to create some crunchy noodles and a nice layer of melted cheese. By jove, I’ve got it! The crunchy noodles are my favorite part. Crunchy, cheesy, spicy, sweet potato covered noodles, that is! Enjoy! 🙂

Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Chicken Tinga Tacos
two years ago: Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce
three years ago: Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 40 minutes
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from Joanne via Marcus Samuelsson

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes [approximately 2 pounds]
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-6 ounces shredded cheese [sharp Cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack], divided
  • 8 ounces small whole wheat pasta [shells or macaroni]
  • 8 ounces chorizo
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
  • sour cream, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Scrub sweet potatoes and pierce all over with a fork. Place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 10-12 minutes, or until cooked through.

While sweet potatoes cook, prepare pasta according to package directions.

When cooked sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and place in a large bowl. Add milk, chipotle chiles, and a generous amount of pepper. Mash and stir in half of the cheese, then add pasta to sweet potato mixture.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat, then add chorizo and cook 4-5 minutes until brown, stirring to crumble. Add to bowl with sweet potatoes and pasta. Stir together along with half of the green onions and cilantro, then transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Top with green onions and cilantro and serve with sour cream [if desired].

Notes: preparation time can be reduced for this dish if you bake the sweet potatoes ahead of time.

 

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Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream

I am SO ready for spring. It’s been cold all week, and then last night we got several inches of snow. Not as much as some parts of the country, but still… I am over winter. Entirely. My sister thinks winter is the greatest, and even planned her wedding for December hoping for snow [and there was… see!]. In that case, snow was cute and pretty and fun. In this case, in March, snow is not fun. In my opinion, the only good part about this sort of weather is that it is perfectly aceptable to wear cozy warm sweaters, ridiculously old and soft sweatpants, and boots everyday. Not necessarily altogether now, but you get my drift. And for dinner, it is perfectly acceptable to have soup almost every night. At least, until your husband tires of it. Thankfully, he didn’t tire of soup before we enjoyed this fabulous Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream created by Joanne. I already have one black bean soup recipe that I adore… now I have two! One vegetarian, one meatatarian.

Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream | The Pajama ChefMy go-to black bean soup is thick and chunky with black beans, onion, and spinach, and gets most of its flavors from a variety of spices and chicken broth. This recipe is much simpler, and, as the name implies, heavy on the chipotle flavor. Heavy on the awesomeness, more likely. The actual soup recipe only has six ingredients: chorizo, carrots, onions, chipotle peppers, vegetable broth, and black beans, so the chipotle flavor really does dominate. Chorizo and chipotle peppers are a fabulous combo, but I wasn’t initially sure how the carrots would work in the mix, but it turns out that carrots with a bit of spice are pretty phenomenal.

Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream | The Pajama Chef

What really makes this soup pop though is the avocado cream. It’s like a creamy guacamole… but is all in all pretty healthy since the cream comes from avocado and Greek yogurt. It’s jazzed up with lime juice and cilantro, and I added a dash of crushed red pepper. Umm, yum. The whole soup, avocado cream and all, is pretty spicy but nothing I couldn’t handle. I thought it got even better, and almost a little sweeter as it sat in the fridge for a couple days. Like many dishes, the flavors improved over time. I wish I could have had a big bowl for dinner last night in the snow, but alas… I had to settle for Panera instead [tomato soup + fuji apple chicken salad!]. Panera’s good, but homemade’s better. Enjoy!

Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream [adapted from Eats Well With Others]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces chorizo
  • 4 large carrots, diced
  • 2 large onions, diced [I used 1 red and 1 white]
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups cooked black beans

for the avocado cream

  • 1 small ripe avocado, cut in half and pit removed
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • crushed red pepper

Directions:

Heat a large [4+ quart] saucepan over medium heat, then add chorizo to the pot. Break it up with a wooden spoon, then cook through. If the pan looks really greasy, wipe out some of the grease with a paper towel, then add carrots and onions, and cook until soft. Stir occasionally. Stir in the peppers, then cook for a minute until fragrant.

Add the vegetable broth and black beans to the pot, then cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then simmer for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare avocado cream by combining the avocado, Greek yogurt, cilantro, and lime juice in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Season with crushed red pepper as desired.

Puree about 1/3 of the soup with an immersion blender if desired [I forgot to do this], then serve soup topped with avocado cream.

Time: 45 minutes.

Yield: 5-6 servings.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Chorizo and Potato Tacos

So, I used to have this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad fear of chorizo. I would drool over yummy, flavorful looking Mexican dishes online or in cookbooks, only to read the recipe list and see that fateful word: “chorizo.” I would sigh and move on, sure that chorizo wasn’t for me. I mean, for one, it was spicy and for two, a sausage taco? Umm, no thanks. So I just bypassed all chorizo recipes and moved on with my life. But one day things changed.

I honestly don’t know what came over me–but in an instant at the grocery store I thought, well, maybe I should just try this chorizo thing. Then I can truthfully say I don’t like it and really move on with life.

When I came home from campus the very next day, I pulled out my trusty Rick Bayless cookbook, Mexican Everyday, found an innocent looking recipe, and got to work. With the exception of yelling for help when it came time to cut the casing off of the chorizo, preparation of these Chorizo and Potato Tacos was a cinch! Twenty minutes later, plate on the table and fork in hand, I closed my eyes, said a prayer, and dug in, expecting the worst.

Well, the worst never came. Instead I had a mouthful of flavorful meat with just a little bit of kick, sauteed fresh vegetables, and creamy potatoes. This isn’t so bad, I thought to myself, looking over at Ben chowing down happily. The spiciness that I had so feared was dulled by some cilantro stirred in at the end and was refreshingly contrasted by the cool, crumbly, mild Queso Fresco that topped the warm filling. In a flash, our plates were cleared and leftovers were nonexistent. Whoa. Talk about a surprise.

I have no idea what my fuss over choirzo was about, but it’s in the past now. Seriously, it’s not scary at all. I certainly will be on a quest to find more ways to enjoy chorizo in the future, and I’ve love your help on that.

If you enjoy chorizo, what’s your favorite way to serve it? If you don’t enjoy it or haven’t had it before, tell me why!

Chorizo and Potato Tacos

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 20 minutes
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from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

Ingredients:

  • 7 1/2 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed
  • 1 tablespoon oil, if necessary
  • 3/4 cup sliced yellow onion
  • ~1/2 cup chopped green Carmen [or Bell] peppers
  • 3 cups new potatoes, grated through your grater’s largest holes
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
  • sliced tomatoes, for serving
  • Queso Fresco, for serving
  • your choice of tortillas, flour or corn, for serving

Directions:

Place chorizo in a large skillet over medium heat and cook for about four minutes. Stir frequently and break up into clumps, until some of the fat starts to render and sausage is half-cooked. Increase heat to medium-high and add oil if sausage isn’t rendering any.

Add onions and peppers and cook, stirring constantly until softened, about three minutes.

Place potatoes in the pan over mixture and cook covered until soft, approximately five minutes. Stir every so often and reduce heat if mixture starts to brown long before potatoes are soft.

Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and gently fold in cilantro. Serve with warmed tortillas, tomatoes, and Queso Fresco.