Thursday, February 7, 2013

Parcel Food--Chorizo Con Papas

For the third time this winter I am on the road, driving around my town, looking for the mailman. For the third time I know that I will dine well on delicious food for the next few days. For the third time since we were inundated by the monster hurricane, Geeta has sent me a package of food. A plethora of family favorites. I call it Parcel Food and that is a story in itself.

Some years ago her father came to visit her and her sister Suju. Suju, a nurse by profession who works long hours, circumvented culinary difficulties by ordering meals, much to her father's chagrin! Aggrieved, he unflatteringly labeled these deliveries as parcel food. Indian home delivery is succinctly called so, as the package comes wrapped in brown paper and string. The appellation has stuck. Given an opportunity I give her a good-natured ribbing for carrying out this "travesty," as home-cooked meals were of paramount importance to her father!

My parcel is of a different ilk. It comes with the knowledge that Geeta's  food expresses love, care, and concern. The chef is my dear, dear friend. It's funny how you meet someone and know in an instant that you will always be friends. I met Geets twenty-six years ago. We had recently moved to New York. An invitation to dinner has evolved into a lifelong friendship. We finish each others sentences, we laugh at each others mistakes, and take comfort in miseries. She lives half way across the country, but I can hear her thoughts as if she stands by my side. We chat daily about the mundane issues of life, a movie we both hated, a book we loved, the most recent being Anna Quindlan's Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, seeing our mirror selves in most chapters. But best of all we work seamlessly together in the kitchen!

Years of laboring in tiny cooking spaces has made us appreciate the finer things that go with our now spacious kitchens. In our comfortable milieu we prepare small sit-down dinners for five or a festive buffet for fifty. We plan menus and shop together, acting the perfect sous chefs! As I write this, she messages me a picture of a ridiculously expensive burger! We are joined not only at the hip and the mind, but also at the hand with spoons entwined..

I know she loves spicy Mexican .. so here is a simple taco recipe I intend to make when she comes to visit this month.

Chorizo Con  Papas
Makes enough filling for 6 to 8 tacos

1 pound Mexican Chorizo
2 Yellow Onions
2 Potatoes
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Canola oil
Corn Tortillas
Avocado, sliced
Sour Cream
Pico De Gallo

Remove the casings from the sausage and roughly chop.

Cut the onions in half, peel skin, and thinly slice crosswise.

Set potatoes in a pot of water and boil until done. Peel and cut into 1-inch cubes. 

Heat oil in a large saucepan on a medium flame till you see a sheen on the surface, about 30 seconds.

Saute onions for 5 minutes till light brown.

Add sausage and brown for 10 minutes, breaking into small pieces as you stir.

Cover saucepan with a lid, lower flame, and simmer for 10 minutes. The sausage and onions should have browned.

The potatoes go in at this point, along with the salt. Stir, replace the lid, and simmer for 5 minutes more to let spices seep into potatoes.

The taco filling is ready!

Heat corn tortillas till warm, either wrapped in a paper towel in the microwave, or on a comal.

Spoon the filling on to the tortilla, top with avocado slices, a dollop of sour cream, and pico de gallo.

Spicy heaven in a bite...


I use a spicy Mexican chorizo, but that can be substituted with any sausage.

I also use corn tortillas but other family members prefer flour tortillas..equally interchangeable.

Many care packages have come my way since the disaster. My brother surprises us with a months worth of prepared food. Neighbors bring meals and desserts, along with requisite wine. Parcel food comes in a multitude of packages. I misquote Shakespeare to say, "If food be the music of love, play on."