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Cheesey Chorizo and Caramelized Onion Dip
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Where oh where do I begin with this dip?  Maybe with the fact that it was originally made and posted as a tribute to football-loving men but that the first time I ate it was with a bunch of my best girlfriends.  Yep, that’s about right.  I should also say that in the 6 weeks since the first time this dip was consumed (errr…devoured), it has shown up, not so surprisingly, again in my house two more times.  And each time, I swear people think this dip makes me a genius in the kitchen.

I’m certainly not feeling like a domestic kitchen goddess recently since I’ve come thisclose to royally screwing up two cheesecakes in the past two weeks but this cheesey chorizo and caramelized onion dip makes up for all of those mistakes.  The dip, in and of itself, is one sent from the heavens.  It’s base is a mixture of sweet caramelized onions, spicy chorizo sausage, cream cheese, and mozzarella cheese and when baked, you’ll need to to exercise the utmost restraint.  You’ll want to bathe in this dip.  You’ll want to huddle in a dark corner with this dip and a bag of Fritos.  You’ll not want to share.  But if you want to spend the next 48 hours in the gym working this dip off your holiday hips, I suggest you pass the spoon.

Spicy Chickpea & Chorizo Empanadas
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Clearly, one of the best parts of taking classes at King Arthur Flour is the opportunity to learn all kinds of baking tips and tricks.  I’ll talk more about this in a future post, but part of our 3rd day at Blog & Bake was dedicated to learning how to make pie dough.  And whether you make yours in a food processor or stand mixer (and especially those of you who still buy your pie dough – for shame!), you should know that making pie dough by hand is really the only way to really know how it should turn out.

These spicy chickpea and chorizo empanadas were the end-products of our handmade pie dough speed class and I’ve been dying to share this recipe with you ever since making them!  Honestly, it was the first time I had used lard (or shortening) in pie dough and while I held my breath with uncertain expectations, I am now a total convert.  And if you follow Megan’s blog, Stetted, she may tell you about her pie dough made with all lard (no butter); I wasn’t that brave.

And as much as I fell for the whole wheat cinnamon raisin scones, I think these empanadas were my true favorite of the event.  Big hunks of lard and butter are left scattered throughout the empanada dough in order to create a gorgeously flaky final product and the best way to really achieve this is to make the dough by hand so you have total control over how you work the fats into the flour.  Important stuff, people.  The chickpea and chorizo filling is a cinch to throw together (maybe 5 minutes of your time) and it is just awesome – smoky, hearty, and just a little sweet from the unexpected addition of raisins.  I’ll admit to adding a little cinnamon to the dough which swirled its way in as I was mixing and the flavor just blossomed in the dough as the empanadas baked; a nice little chance I took there, if I do say so.

So…pie dough by hand?  The antithesis to worrying about warming the butter?  Have no fear and trust the experts (King Arthur Flour, that is) because this recipe works perfectly!  You should also know that this pie dough recipe is fabulous for sweet creations too, aside from pie of course, and my bench partner for the afternoon, Carrie of Bakeaholic Mama, made some outstanding cinnamon-sugar pop tarts with her batch of dough.  We swapped half of her pop tarts for half of my empanadas and I couldn’t have been happier with how versatile this dough is – dinner and dessert from one recipe!

Queso Fundido with Chorizo
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Before seeing queso fundido posted here and there around the interwebs in the past few months, I don’t ever remember previously coming across it.  Not on a restaurant menu or in a cookbook, in magazines, or on blogs.  And even though the recipe was completely new to me, I knew I’d love it.  I mean…it starts with queso and damn, I know that means cheese.  I have no idea what fundido means but doesn’t it sound like a happy word??  (Actually, according to my Google search – go figure – it means molten or melted.)

And omgosh, this is a happy cheese dip.  Smoky chorizo (thanks for the suggestion, Annie!) is mixed in with handfuls of cheese and more of the usual Tex-Mex suspects: onion, tomato, jalapeño, and cilantro.  The chorizo actually cuts through all the cheese and adds a bit of needed “heft” to the dip.  It’s a glorious combination of ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes to pull together.  And it was gone almost as quickly.  Along with nearly an entire bag of chips.  Salads really do pay off when dinner looks like this one.  Our dip did turn out just a little runny and I’m pretty sure it’s because of the excess liquid from chorizo so make sure you drain it off before adding the tomatoes, onion, and jalapeño.  But honestly, this didn’t detract from the cheesy goodness at all.  The recipe calls for “Mexican melting cheese” (see the recipe below) of which I could not find during my change-of-dinner-plans-on-whim grocery store trip, though I’m sure stores like Whole Foods or ethnic food marts definitely carry one of them.  If you’re still planning out a menu for Cinco de Mayo on Saturday, add this one to it…otherwise, it works just as perfectly with a beer for dinner in front of the baseball game on a random weeknight.

Queso Fundido with Chorizo

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive or canola oil
  • 2 chorizo links (about 6 oz total), ½-inch diced
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large jalapeño or 2 large serranos, seeded and diced
  • 3 tbsp tequila (optional – we forgot to add it)
  • 8 oz Mexican melting cheese like Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero (or a combination of Monterey Jack and sharp cheddar)
  • ½ cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in an 8- or 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes; drain off most of the liquid. Add the tomato, onion, and jalapeño and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to soften and brown, about 7 minutes. Add the tequila (if using) and cook, stirring, until reduced to a glaze.
  2. Sprinkle in the cheese. Stir slowly and constantly until just melted then stir in the cilantro. Serve immediately in a warm dish with chips for dipping.

Source

source: adapted from Rick Bayless in Fine Cooking and Fiesta at Rick’s via Annie’s Eats

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2012/05/queso-fundido-with-chorizo/