Vegetarian (or NOT) Soft Tacos with Guacamole
- 8 ounces (1 cup) Mexican chorizo sausage (optional)
- 3 medium (about 3/4 pound) red potatoes
- Salt, to taste
- 2 medium poblano chilies (can use red bell peppers or 1 of each)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion
- 2 soft, ripe avocados
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 lime
- 10 fresh cilantro sprigs
- 12 corn or flour tortillas (corn is preferred in Mexico)
- About 1 cup salsa or a bottle of hot sauce
Chorizo: With a small knife, slice down the side of the chorizo casing. Remove the casing and discard.
Potatoes: Peel. Cut in half, then cut the halves into 8 pieces.
Onion: Cut off the top and bottom and discard. Cut in half from top to bottom. Peel off the papery outside layers and discard. Cut the halves into slices about 1/4 inch thick.
Cilantro: Bunch the leaf end of the sprigs together. Cut across the bunched leaves with a sharp knife, slicing them thinly. Stop cutting when you only have the stems left. Discard the stems.
Cook the chorizo
Scoop the chorizo into a medium skillet. Set over medium heat. Cook, stirring regularly to break up clumps, about 4 minutes, until thoroughly cooked. If there is lots of rendered fat, tip off and discard the excess. Set the chorizo aside.
Cook the potatoes
Scoop the potato pieces into a non-metal bowl. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high (100%) power for 4 to 5 minutes, until completely tender.
Roast the chilies
Roast the chilies by placing them directly over a gas flame (no pan), or 4 inches below an electric broiler, turning occasionally with tongs until evenly blackened all over. Place in a plastic bag. Allow to cool. Peel off and discard the blackened skin. Pull out the stem and seed pod; discard. Tear open the chilies and rinse off the seeds and bits of black skin. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces.
Make the filling
Pour the oil into a very large (12-inch) skillet. Set over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring regularly, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring regularly, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chilies and chorizo. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes more. Taste and season with salt if necessary (if not using chorizo, you will need about 1/2 teaspoon salt). Keep warm over very low heat.
Make the guacamole
To cut the avocados in half, start at the pointy stem end and circle around the pit. Twist the sides in opposite directions and pull apart. Using a large spoon, scoop out the pit and discard. Scoop the avocado flesh from the skin. Discard the skin and put the flesh in a medium-size bowl. Crush the garlic through a garlic press into the avocado. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice; you need about 2 tablespoons. Add to the avocado. Add the chopped cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mash together with a bean masher, potato masher or back of a spoon. Taste and season with salt if you think it needs more.
Heat the tortillas. Scoop the filling mixture and guacamole into individual serving bowls. Set on the table along with the salsa or hot sauce and tortillas, and let everybody assemble their own soft tacos. Makes 12 tacos, enough to serve 4.
Adapted from Rick & Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures, by Rick Bayless & Lanie Bayless, with Deann Groen Bayless (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2004).