Making your own chorizo is easier than you might imagine. Chef Saad likes the smoky, dried-cherry-like flavor that guajillo chiles add to the meat mixture, as well as the clean heat of chile árbol. For the queso fundido, he uses a blend of three cheeses: the creamy queso quesadilla, Monterey Jack, and grated Cotija, whose nutty flavor has led to its being dubbed Mexican parmesan.
Lobster and Chorizo Queso Fundido
For the guajillo paste (optional)
- 4 dried guajillo chiles
For the chorizo
- 2 chiles de árbol, seeded
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 3 slices bacon (about 3 oz.), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup black garlic cloves (about 1 oz. or 13 cloves), finely chopped
- 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbs. guajillo paste, or chipotle in adobo, seeded and minced
- 1 Tbs. paprika
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
- Kosher salt
- 1-1/2 Tbs. duck fat or olive oil
For the queso fundido
- 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1-1/2 Tbs. seeded, minced jalapeño
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Ground white pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour; more if necessary
- 1/4 cup silver tequila
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup coarsely grated queso quesadilla
- 1/4 cup coarsely grated Monterey Jack
- 3/4 cup coarsely grated Cotija
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup ground corn tortilla chips; more whole for serving
- 12-1/2 oz. fresh or frozen cooked lobster meat
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Tortilla chips, for serving
Make the guajillo paste
- In a 2-quart saucepan or a kettle bring 3 to 4 cups of water to a boil.
- Toast the chiles in a 10-inch skillet until some brown spots appear and they soften slightly, about 1 minute per side.
- Transfer the chiles to a medium bowl, cover with the boiling water, and soak for 10 minutes.
- Drain the chiles, reserving the water. Seed the chiles and coarsely chop; transfer to a blender or food processor. Pulse to a smooth paste, adding reserved soaking water by the tablespoon as necessary. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to several months.
Make the chorizo
- In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat toast the chiles de árbol until softened slightly, about 1 minute per side. Move to a cutting board, finely chop, and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the pork, bacon, black garlic, vinegar, guajillo paste, paprika, coriander, cumin, white pepper, and 1/2 tsp. salt to the bowl with the chiles de árbol and mix.
- In the 12-inch skillet melt the duck fat over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the pork mixture, and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it darkens, about 8 minutes.
Make the queso fundido
- In a 4- to 5-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, jalapeño, and garlic and cook until they begin to brown slightly, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp. white pepper and the cumin and continue cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Gradually add the flour while whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in the tequila and cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and whisk in the queso quesadilla, Monterey Jack, and 1/4 cup of the Cotija. Season to taste with salt and additional white pepper. Whisk until the cheeses melt and become smooth, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat the broiler to low, about 475°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground tortillas and the remaining 1/2 cup of the Cotija. Mix to combine and set aside.
- In each of eight 8-oz. baking dishes, spread 1/4 cup of the chorizo mixture, equal amounts of the lobster, 1-1/2 tsp. lime juice, and about 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture. Top with 1 Tbs. of the tortilla and Cotija mixture, transfer to the broiler, and broil until golden and heated through, about 1 minute. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve immediately with the tortilla chips.