Growing up, my mother cooked up some wonderful Chorizo. Ours came in a can, packed in lard, from Spain. Relatives passing through on their worldly travels always remembered to bring a can – knowing how much my Dad loved the stuff with his eggs in the morning.
I haven’t had that Chorizo in years, dispute internet searches. It came in a short, square yellow can and the lid needed to be pried off using a butter knife. Inside were short, plump sausages packed in natural casing. These weren’t cured-dried at all – they cooked up like ground beef – all crumbly and hot and just plain yummy. Today I use a similar chorizo in bulk (casings removed) that I buy at the Latin markets. Although similar in the dark red color, it’s still not quite the same.
Chorizo and eggs have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Always a treat, always delicious. Whenever I look back over the years and think about Chorizo with scrambled eggs, I remember fondly my friend Jan, from Junior High (middle school) and her family. These were Texas transplants with a fondness for Mexican food.
Up until Jan moving into our little neighborhood, I thought if you were a Christian, you were Catholic. Mind you, my narrow-perspective was not without reason. For one thing, children don’t really give race or religion much though. They take in the world around them as the “norm” – excepting everything at face value. Prejudices and misconceptions are not ideas from birth but rather taught either by example or lack of exposure. Yes, I knew there were different religions in the world as a whole. I simply assumed all Christians were Catholic – that the two were interchangeable words meaning the same thing. (I had come to this conclusion entirely on my own; despite the fact that my Grandfather was a retired preacher. I just never stopped to think it through any more than I had given Uncle Tom and Aunt Ann a second thought growing up. They were German – Aunt Ann complete with a heavy German accent. Neither of my parents were German and yet growing up I did not question the relationship).
Had I grown up in the South, I might have thought Baptist were “American” Christian, while Catholics were their Irish or Italian counterparts. After all; Hollywood pumped out movies with Catholic characters – Bing Crosby, Spenser Tracy and Pat O’Brien all played priests so well. Rosalind Russell was one terrific Mother Superior. There were movies that told the life stories of many of our beloved saints. Pat O’Brien went so far as to invite America into his home to pray the Rosary with his family when he hosted the Joyful Hour on television. The first President that I can recall clearly was John Kennedy. I remember so well the First Family returning from Mass, heads veiled, Rosaries in hand. They looked every bit like my own family on a Sunday.
Even afternoon talk show hosts such as Merv Griffin poked fun at their Catholic roots. Although I attended public school, nearly all of my classmates were the same children that attended Saturday Catechism classes, and we all made our first communion together. When Jan and her family moved into our neighborhood, I discovered that not all Christians were Catholic – far from it. My parents were pretty cool, allowing me to spend an entire summer attending Church with Jan’s family. After church, her mother would cook up what they called Scrambled Eggs and Sausage Burritos. It was – you guessed it – chorizo and egg. (I don’t know if it was that they were transplants from Texas with its heavy Mexican influence that equated Sausage with Chorizo. Again, never thought to ask).
In its simplest form, a warm flour tortilla filled with eggs and chorizo makes a great “grab and go” breakfast. This yummy scrambled egg recipe should be served with potatoes of some sort on the side. For an out of this world filling meal (delicious even as dinner), skip the potatoes and instead serve Chorizo con Huevos with an assortment of sides such as warm flour tortillas, sliced avocados, Mexican Style or Spanish Rice and Refried Beans. There’s a great Mexican Restaurant not far from here that serves Chorizo con Huevos as a dinner entrée with rice, beans and fried potatoes. Talk about filling! It’s one of my favorite dishes.
For a variation to the basic recipe, try adding some chopped onions and bell peppers to the chorizo once the sausage is well-crumbled and nearly browned. A little cheese can also be folded into the mix once the eggs have cooked. Grated Pepper Jack cheese would add a nice, spicy finish.
The sky is the limit – so go for it!
Tips to remember: Always use good quality chorizo. The best can be had at your Latin or Mexican markets. Be sure to serve your eggs with a side of breakfast potatoes – roasted, fried, skillet hash browns – it doesn’t matter the style, so long as there are potatoes on the plate. Don’t forget the tortillas. And if you really want to go all out, a side of refried beans is always welcome.
Chorizo con Huevos – Basic Recipe
1 lb Bulk Chorizo meat (good quality from a good Latin Market Meat Counter)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat. Crumble sausage and brown in skillet, breaking up any chunks. (Like browning ground beef).
Add eggs, one at a time to skillet. Season with salt and pepper.
Fold and “scramble” eggs into browned sausage.
When eggs are nearly cooked through, remove from heat and continue to scramble, using the residual heat of the skillet to complete the cooking process without drying out the eggs.
Plate scrambled eggs and serve as desired.