Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cazuela de Chorizo y Queso

...or Mexican Lasagna

...or Lowering the Bar

This time of year, I usually have to make a concerted effort to pull shit out of the freezer ahead of time so we have some dinner options. Once in awhile, though, I get too ambitious (really, just once in awhile), and pull 5 meals' worth of meat out of the freezer and then just, oh forget about it for a week. Then it's a harried scramble of profanity to cook it all in time. These are the times when I either have stroke of utter genius, or completely phone it in with this Hamburger Helper-esque abortion. This meal was the latter.

This time we had a venison backstrap, some ground turkey, and about 18 inches of Mexican chorizo in the mix. Whoa, turns out the carnicería near our house has really fucking good chorizo! Unfortunately, this was discovered after I already turned it all into a red-headed stepchild of Bolognese, using some leftover green and yellow bell peppers, some roasted jalapeños (from the freezer) and some onions. Diced it all up, fried it in the delicious orange chorizo grease. Added some Mexican oregano and a bit of cumin. One more run through the fridge - oh, here's a little container of sliced black olives, a half a can of black beans and one more sad kohlrabi (peeled and diced). In they go. I threw in a can of El Pato Mexican tomato sauce, and to cut the heat, I added some regular ol' stewed tomatoes.

I had a package of Trader Joe's no-boil lasagna noodles, a package of shredded cheddar/jack, and a hunk of cotija that had about ten minutes left on it. I had a tub of expired (but not-yet-sour!) cottage cheese, which I blended with some cilantro scavenged from the garden, and it was a reasonable facsimile for ricotta.

Gah, even the photos came out bad!

Oh god, what an embarrassing mess this was. A fucking mess! But oh, hey I almost forgot? Greasy, spicy sausage, sheets of pasta and gooey cheese all fresh from the oven ALWAYS TASTES GOOD. I win. Take that, Creepy Anthropomorphic Talking Glove!

36 comments:

Peter M said...

Are you high? The photo's good, the ingredients jibe (save for your kohlrabi) and I'd lick the plate...Hell, the redheaded 'tard would lick the plate.

This lasag-nee is good, don't be so hard on yourself!

glamah16 said...

I agree with Peter. Ypu pulled it all together like most busy working people. With not so shabby ingrediants. Shows your a damn good cook, but you knew that didnt you;-)

Heather said...

That's pretty easy for you to say, Mr. Escargots and Ms. Duck Confit! :D

I was just making fun of myself a little, it was really good (and we had leftovers for dinner again! with salad from a bag and ranch dressing!).

Peter G said...

I think its a great concoction Heather! Well done for using leftover bits and pieces creatively. And please the pics came out beautiful...looks delicious and thats whats important!

MrOrph said...

Peter, +1

You, WIN!

cookiecrumb said...

Shut up!
That's food. Yeah.
(Show off.)

peter said...

Dreadful flying glove? SPLENDID!

Your half-assed toss-offs are a million times better than how most of America eats on any given night and you know it.

Manggy said...

Red-headed stepchild of Bolognese! Bwah! Sorry to disappoint you but it looks good from where I'm sitting :) Maybe because I too know that sausage+pasta+cheese is always good :)

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Nice save. There was a time when I looked forward to hamburger helper nights...

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Why red-headed? ;) I don't care about the colour of its hair: he can come over to our house anytime.

Emiline said...

I don't know - I'm going to have to agree with Peter...and Courtney, that the pictures are good. Yeah, cheese, meat and pasta are always good. :)

I've never tried questo cojita before. I just tried queso fresco, and I really like it! It's mild and salty...I can see it going in a lot of dishes.

That duck confit did look good, didn't it?

canarygirl said...

OMFG. AWE. SOME. post woman! And I have to second Peter's (um, peter m)comment. I lol at your writing, and at his comment. heee! Looks fab, chica. :)

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I can't even begin to tell you how delicous that looks!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I am so with you Heather, this is some good eats. I think you have nothing to worry about - to me this is real food!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Not every dish can be a beauty pageant winner, but for all the knocking it, I think it looks great and I'd still be all over this.

Ben said...

I also think this lasagna looks good. I would probably use less chorizo just because I have an ongoing fight with the scale, but I need to indulge every once in a while, right?

kittie said...

I've never seen such a poncey name for such a shocking plate for food. You mean you actually put that crap in your mouth?? Dear dear...

oh ok then... blah blah blah, looks great really... what the others said.... grumble..... :P

Heather said...

Petah - Hey, and now my fridge is nice and clean! And I have more room in my freezer. :)

Donald - I really shouldn't be telling you to "hang in there" when I'm fixin' sausage and cheese casserole over here. :P

(That's the Way the) Cookiecrumb - It totally is food. Err, was.

Jube - That glove gives me night terrors.

Mark - Sausage, pasta and cheese are the Holy Trinity.

Marc - Oh, I used to beg my mom to let us have cheeseburger mac. I might have to make that the fancy way sometime.

JS - The delicious, orange chorizo grease made it red-headed. :P

Emililne - Cotija is quite a bit like ricotta salata, but much easier to find (and to afford).

Nikki - You are too kind, really. Lasagna is one of those things - even when it's bad, it's good. :)

Rachel - You don't have to, really. This one's a gimme.

Jenn - At least I cooked, right? It's not like I opened a bag of pre-made Indian food (I totally do that sometimes).

Mike - It still reminds me so much of a Betty Crocker recipe, that I just have to laugh. :D

Ben - This would probably have benefited from more veggies, and maybe some spicy ground turkey instead of chorizo. Achiote makes it orange!

Kittie - Who do I think I am, anyway? ;)

Foodycat said...

The problem is of course, that even if you tried you will never again capture the magic. People will point and laugh and say "She was good once" and you will have to turn vegetarian from shame.

I think it looks and sounds delicious and exactly what I feel like if it weren't too hot for cooking indoors.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Sounds like a great combination!

Brittany said...

Should I be ashamed of myself for thinking that sounds fucking delicious?

I guess not, as many of your commentators agree.

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

I swear I already commented on this??? Anyway, isn't it always like this, some of the best meals you could never recreate or write a recipe to!!!

Nikki Miller-Ka said...

Love the little sprigs in the pic. I like this on-the-fly-let's-see-what's-in-here cooking from you.

Norm Schoen said...

I love the "Failure Pile" and I have to say that the bacon on the maple bar idea needs a patent....yum!

We Are Never Full said...

i'm w/ peter- what the f you smoking girl? those pictures look REALLY good. in fact, that was what i was about to type as this comment before i read that last bit of the post. that looks like the classiest, most gourmet mexican lasagana i've ever seen. DELISH. hamburger helper abortion - HHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

Jeff said...

I am freaking drooling over here. For a shit pot hope it turns out dish you did damn good.

Leif erik Sundstrom said...

Yo that brought back some memories. My moms used to make something very similar, and probably even more ghetto, she called Mexican Spaghetti. My sister and I used to joke and call it El Spaghett-o de Mexico.
I'm loving your blog by the way. Read too often not to comment more. But I do here by swear to comment much more frequently from here on out, hell I even stuck you on my bookmark toolbar. How's that for flattery?!

Tonight I'm makin brown sugar cured - pan roasted grouper, with fried fingerlings and lamb sausage, topped with a lil summer squash and tomato stew. wanna come over for dinner?

-Leif
tastevin.typepad.com

Lo said...

mmm. Sometimes disasters are postively delicious.

No apologies here, babe. It looks fabulous!

Heather said...

Foodycat - We've gotten a bit of a cooler spell, but it doesn't save me from being a complete sham.

Jen - Sometimes a casserole really hits the spot, even in the summertime. :)

Brittany - Have no shame! I mean, have you no shame?

Judy - Haha I swear you had already commented too! I could recreate this, but I don't know if I'd want to. :P

Nikki - Those lil' sprigs were (bolted) cilantro from the garden.

Norm - Sadly, that patent would go to Voodoo Donuts, not to me. ;)

Amy - I probably shouldn't joke too much about such sensitive subjects, but red squishy shit on a plate just always looks like that to me.

Jeff - It wasn't that I was afraid it wouldn't turn out, it's that it felt like I was leaving a huge Cleveland steamer on Latino cuisine.

Leif - What, you aren't using my blog as your home page? (That dinner sounds pretty fucking nice.)

Lo - Some disasters are delicious? Tell that to the victims of Katrina.


(JOKING! Gah, I got a case of the Fridays.)

Zen Chef said...

What mess!??
This is what i want for breakfast! It's awesome!! I name you the ice-box Goddess. Wear the title with pride my dear. You rock!

giz said...

AMEN to everyone's comments. Rustic is home cookin'

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Who cares about style and class? If the taste fits, it's a winner. And besides, cheese and chorizo can never be wrong.

Oakley Rhodes said...

Hey there, I'm been trouncing around the internets trying to say hi to other Portland food bloggers. I've added you to my blogroll, and have to say I love the cottage sheese as ricotta idea. Whenever I have to buy ricotta for a dish, I end up finding it months later in the back of the fridge - I just don't use it enough - but I always have extra cottage cheese. Which, at any given point, may or may not be expired as well :)

Here's to leftovers and fridge clearing!
-Oakley at Lemonbasil

Bellini Valli said...

Cheesy and gooey are definitely an asset Heather:D

cook eat FRET said...

are you sure that wasn't a paula dean recipe?

mama_nata said...

OMG, I have not thought of Mexican Lasagne since fine dining at Williams College...what that recipe was doing in rural WASPy Mass I'll never know...if they had made it with chorizo I might even have gone back for seconds...so maybe it's good they didn't...the best part was always the canned pickled jalapenos tucked in with love...ahh food memory.