When the dust has settled over the Super Bowl your guests won’t be yakking about that game-changing runback or the most outlandish commercial—they’ll be recapping your Tex-Mex blowout.
This festive spread from Northeast Portland barbecue-inspired cantina La Taq (the sister operation of Podnah’s Pit) dominates the party playing field with deceptively simple recipes: spicy, smoky salsa; perfectly balanced, textbook guacamole; and chorizo-spiked queso with far more integrity than the ol’ Velveeta standby. Touchdown.
La Taq Guacamole
- 6 avocados, halved
- ¼ cup diced yellow onion
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Add avocados, onion, and cilantro to a large bowl and, using a potato masher or fork, mash until there are no big chunks of avocado remaining. Add salt and lime juice, and mix well.
Spicy Salsa Roja
- 5 jalapeños
- 1 lb can San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup water
- Kosher salt
- Fresh-ground black pepper
Turn broiler on high. Place jalapeños on a cookie sheet and position on the top rack, turning the peppers every few minutes until charred all over, about 15–20 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, and roasted jalapeños to a blender, add water, and pulse until chunky. Season with salt and pepper, and add water as needed for consistency.
- 2 lbs shredded Oaxaca cheese (Don Froylan brand)
- 2 lbs fresh chorizo
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Coat a 9-by-9-inch baking dish with the olive oil. Heat a large, deep-sided, nonstick skillet over medium-high for 1 minute. Add chorizo* and cook for 4 minutes, breaking any big chunks apart. Add Oaxaca cheese, and cook together for 3 minutes more. Remove cheese and chorizo mix to the baking dish. Turn broiler on high and cook for about 5 minutes, or until top of cheese is golden brown. Wanna go for extra points? Serve the queso with warmed tortillas from local outfit Three Sisters Nixtamal.
*Vegetarian? No problema! Instead of chorizo, add ½ cup thinly sliced yellow onion and cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add either 2 lbs fresh mushrooms (chanterelle or shiitake, sautéed), or 10 poblano peppers (broiled, then steamed in a paper bag, peeled, deseeded, and diced), and cook another 3 minutes before adding the Oaxaca cheese.
Oregon's Top Tortilla Chips
Carmen’s ($3.40 at local supermarkets) Sturdy, round masa chips made in Eugene // Juanita’s ($2.40 at local supermarkets) Blistered, crackling wedges deep-fried in Hood River // Hot Mama Salsa ($6 at local farmers markets) Flaky, small-batch triangles made from fresh tortillas courtesy of one of PDX’s best salsa makers