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Monday, February 20, 2012

The elusive green chorizo

Posted by on 02.20.12 at 12:51 PM

chorizo verde taco, El Gallo Bravo #2
  • Mike Sula
  • Chorizo verde taco at El Gallo Bravo #2
Behold, the green chorizo taco at El Gallo Bravo #2. Friend of the Food Chain Andy Rader alerted me to this curiosity, a specialty of Toluca, Mexico, where ideally it's made with poblanos, serranos, cilantro, and spinach powder. Rick Bayless has a recipe, and From Belly to Bacon blogger Mark S. made some that looks pretty tasty, but at EGB #2, it looks like a leprechaun took a position over a tortilla. Crumbly and somewhat arid, its irradiated viridescence is reminiscent of Vienna Beef hot dog relish. The lady of the house said this effect is achieved with the application of green food coloring. Ultimately, it's interesting, but really nothing special.

The cockfighting collection, on the other hand, is top notch:

fighting cocks, El Gallo Bravo #2

I checked in with the other El Gallo Bravos around the north side—they're all loosely related—but only one other claimed to have it. El Gallo Bravo Original on Kedzie—home of the crazy cactus plate—has had a sign in the window for a $1 chorizo verde taco for some time. I checked in every day for two weeks and the jefe repeatedly told me he was out of it—but promised he'd be making some that very afternoon. The next day: nada. And again. And again.

The only thing to do was inquire of sausagemeister Rob Levitt at Butcher & Larder. He says his regular Mexican chorizo recipe uses roasted poblanos and pickled serrano, for a vinegary bite. It ain't green—using spinach powder, he opined, was "silly," as it imparts a pastiness that isn't worth the visual effect. It is an excellent sausage, however, cuminy and vegetal, summoning Proustian memories of gringo taco nights, minus the viscid orange grease, modified corn starch, autolyzed yeast extract, "natural flavor," and sulfites.

Mexican chorizo, Butcher & Larder

Butcher & Larder, 1026 N. Milwaukee, 773-687-8280

El Gallo Bravo #2, 3909 W. Belmont, 773-481-3244

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