While this is not a traditional Mexican dish, the chorizo, sweet vegetable, raw onion, cilantro and chili pepper combine to make this warm winter salad a feast of colors, fresh crunchy textures and pungent notes.
Use your favorite Mexican chorizo. Good chorizo can be found at the Panamerican Grocery in Columbia Heights (202-545-0290). Or look for Logan's brand fresh, uncooked chorizo in the meat department at large grocery stores or in Latino markets. If you prefer a less spicy sausage, substitute Salvadoran chorizo.
Servings: 4 - 6
- 2 3/4 to 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces fresh, uncooked Mexican chorizo (casings removed), coarsely chopped (see headnote)
- 1 jalapeño pepper (stemmed), seeded if less heat is desired
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion
- Leaves from a scant 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potato pieces and reduce the heat to medium; cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until almost tender. Drain, and transfer to a baking dish large enough to hold the pieces almost in a single layer.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together the oil, orange juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes and toss to coat evenly. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning them after about 10 minutes, until the potato pieces have started to brown and the sauce has almost evaporated. Transfer to the stove top (off the heat).
Meanwhile, cook the chorizo in a medium skillet over medium-high heat; use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it into smaller pieces as it cooks. After 5 to 6 minutes, when the sausage has nicely browned and crisped, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to the baking dish with the hot sweet potatoes, distributing it evenly.
Finely chop the jalapeno pepper to yield 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons, depending on how much heat you like. Add it (to taste) to the baking dish along with the red onion and cilantro, and toss gently to combine.
From Patricia Jinich, cooking teacher and chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington.
Tested by Monica Norton.
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