Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pick-y Eaters

As I believe I have mentioned before on this blog, I am not a huge fan of BBQ sauce. I can't remember any occasions in my earlier more finicky years where I enjoyed a meal that was drowned in the smoky condiment. In fact, I distinctly recall turning my nose up at any dish that contained BBQ sauce. But there was one exception to this rule. Every time my family grilled out in the backyard the first thing to hit the grill were several links of Patton's hot sausage. Since chicken for a family of six took so long to cook I think this was my mom's way of pacifying her vulture like children. As soon as the sausage was ready she would bring the links to the chopping board and cut them into half-inch pieces. Then she would cover the links in barbecue sauce and place six toothpicks in six separate pieces. At this point she would bring the dish out in the backyard and each family member would grab their toothpick and their sausage piece as she made her rounds. After stopping at each family member she would make her way back around the bunch allowing for a second helping. She would continue this until the sausage was gone or until no one accepted her offer. I think this was her way of ensuring that everyone got their fair share and the younger kids didn't get left out. If you only had one toothpick then you couldn't engage in more than one piece at a time. She was a very even-handed mother of four.

Despite the fact that I didn't dig on barbecue sauce I always participated in this pre-BBQ chicken ritual. It was part of a family food tradition and I didn't want to be excluded. Even though I reference the routine like it was a thing of the past, this tradition has never gone away. The barbecues have moved to a different house. The backyard has changed from a pool setting to the pier on the lake. Mom doesn't police the sausage pieces to kid ratio any longer. And there are waaaaaay more than six toothpicks these days to accommodate our ever growing clan. But we still have that individually sliced sausage appetizer with one toothpick per family member every time we have a family barbecue.

Chorizo Pasta with Chipotle Cream Sauce
Loosely adapted from Food Network

  • 1 ounce olive oil
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2 links of chorizo sausage, cut in bias slices
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Chipotle Sauce, recipe follows
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 9 ounces cooked bowtie or penne pasta
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, grated
  • 1 tablespoon diced scallion

1. Make Chipotle Sauce.

Chipotle Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in blender, puree, cover and refrigerate.

2. In saute pan over high heat, add olive oil and sausage links. Sear links until browned. Remove sausage from pan and drain on paper towels. Add onions and bell peppers to the pan and cook until softened.

Lower heat to medium. Return the sausage to the pan.

3. Then add cream, chipotle sauce, salt and pepper.

Add cooked pasta and the cheese. Toss to combine.

Serve in pasta bowl and garnish with , scallions or parsley and more grated Parmesan.


Molly Jean said...

I think that's a lovely tradition! Traditions make a family strong... even if you didn't enjoy the condiment ;)

Your pasta looks fab. Drew loves chorizo we'll have to try this!

Anonymous said...

Oh mom only let you take one piece of sausage per turn! Mom let me take two or three each turn ;)

I am glad the stories are back :) I enjoyed this blog!

Your sister,


A said...

Wow, I am going to make this in the next 2 weeks . . . Huge chorizo, chipotle & BBQ fan!! This recipe can't go wrong!!

Krista said...

What a sweet story!

This pasta dish looks amazing! I definitely want to try it.

Kerstin said...

What a fun tradition!

I've used chorizo once and it was way too greasy for my taste - is it always like that? I'm wondering if I should try it again!

Elizabeth said...


I used Spanish Chorizo (there is also Mexican Chorizo) and I didn't find it too greasy. Although I might not be the best judge considering my favorite treat is McDonald's french fries ;-) If you keep your eye out though you can sometimes find chicken Chorizo at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's that would be less greasy.

Maris said...

Sounds really delicious and different! I like taking different types of flavors and combining them.

Kerstin said...

Thanks Elizabeth! I don't remember which version we tried, but I'll look for the chicken version, that sounds really good!

Spryte said...

I LOVE family food traditions!!

Your mom is so cool!