Sunday, May 1, 2011

May's Forges ---> Queso Oaxaca & Chorizo

With a nod to the victory at the Battle of Puebla by Mexico, we are going south of the border this month to forge both Queso Oaxaca and fresh Chorizo.  As always, you are welcome to use any recipe you choose, but we'll provide you with one for each, if you'd like to use it.

We'll be making the fresh version of chorizo this month, which is commonly referred to as Mexican Chorizo.  I make it and store it in bulk, but if you want to stuff it in casings, then go for it.  I do plan on trying this one day so that I can hang it and dry it, but until then..this recipe for chorizo is the one I adapted from Antojitos and use all the time. 
Homemade Chorizo
adapted from Antojitos via girlichef
yield: ~1 1/2 lb.

3 chiles de árbol
7 pasilla chiles
1/2 c. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 c. white vinegar
1 Tbs. kosher salt
2 tsp. cumin, ground
2 tsp. Mexican oregano, dried
1 1/2 tsp. cloves, ground
1 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
1 lb. ground pork

Layer the chiles, onion, and garlic in a non-reactive bowl or shallow dish.  Add the bay leaf.  Pour in the vinegar and cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap.  Set aside, at room temp, for 1 hour.

Remove and discard the bay leaf.  Transfer the chile-vinegar mixture to a blender and process to form a rough paste.  If it is too thick to move easily through the blender, add ~1 Tbs. of water at a time 'til it moves freely.

In a bowl, mix together the chile paste, salt, cumin, oregano, cloves, & pepper.  Add the pork and mix until the paste and spices are evenly distributed.

Put the raw chorizo in a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 5 days.  If keeping longer than 5 days, transfer to freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months.

*If you want to test for seasoning before letting it age in the fridge, simply cook a little blob in a skillet and taste the cooked product.  Adjust seasoning as necessary.


I had a bit of a problem finding an actual recipe for Queso Oaxaca...and can't quite figure out why!?  BUT.  Since Queso Oaxaca is basically mozzarella (like string cheese) rolled long and formed into a "knot" shape, I figured we could go with a mozzarella recipe...adapting it to the classic Oaxacan cheese shape.  I have seen some knots that are tighter and some that looks loose, but once they are chilled, you are able to either slice them or pull stringy cheese chunks from them.  If anybody does know of an actual recipe for Queso Oaxaca, then by all share!!
photo credit: jlastras via flickr
Queso Oaxaca
adapted from (the microwave mozzarella recipe in) The Home Creamery
1 gallon whole or low-fat milk
2 tsp. citric acid powder
1/4 tsp. liquid rennet
1/4 c. cool water (55°-60° F)
Pour the milk into a large, heavy-bottomed pot and add the citric acid, stirring for 2 minutes. Bring the milk to 105° F. (It doesn't matter whether you stir.) Check the temperature with a thermometer. Remove the pot from heat. 

In a small cup, dissolve the rennet in the water. Add this mixture to the milk and stir for 30 seconds. Cover the pot and let stand for 15 minutes.

Using a wide, shallow ladle, scoop the curds carefully into a microwave-safe bowl and pour off and press out the excess liquid.

Microwave on high for 1 minute. Pour off excess liquid, being careful because it will be very hot. Turn curd and microwave on high for 30 seconds longer. Remove cheese from microwave. Drain off excess whey. Repeat process, draining and pressing off excess whey... until no whey is left.

Using a wooden spoon (or your hands...super careful, it's hot), stir and stretch the cheese for about 10 minutes or until it's stringy and shiny. If itcools too much, it will become hard to stretch. If this happens, reheat the cheese for 30 second intervals until it becomes pliable again. 

Pull, stretch, and shape into a knot by wrapping the strings around each other.  Refrigerate.


If you find or have any recipes that you already use...or try and like...please feel free to leave links in the comment section.  Now let's forge!

1. Natashyas Chorizo

2. queso oaxaca

This linky list is now closed.


Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Yay, fun forges! I am intrigued by the Mexican chorizo. Up here we see the dry Spanish version more prevalent.
I might need some coaching on the chilies, being from the Great White North!
And I am excited/nervous to try a mozza-like cheese - third time's a charm!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

My chorizo is up! Happy Mother's Day. xo

Suitcase Sallie said...

Love, love this post! Thanks!

Foodycat said...

I've just made the cheese - wow! This may be the coolest thing I have ever done.

Foodycat said...

... DON'T store it in water! Mine started to disintegrate in it!

girlichef said...

YIKES! Okay, thanks for letting us know...I'll go in and remove that step!