Squash and chorizo play very nicely together. In these tacos, I use the sausage more as a flavoring than a main ingredient; you get so much substance from the squash, you really don’t need a lot of meat. This is one of my favorite winter meals, one I make often because I love the combination of sweet, tender pieces of squash with spicy chorizo, which has an oiliness that’s balanced by the other ingredients and a gritty texture I adore. (I know “gritty” isn’t usually a positive when describing food, but chorizo just is, and I don’t mind a bit.) I like that these tacos are veggie-heavy but have the flavor and texture of a good, meaty, decadent food truck taco. Having tried both vegetable-only and meat-only tacos, this blend of ingredients is completely my speed, a best of both worlds situation.
If you have trouble finding chorizo, a spicy andouille or merguez sausage should work really well as a substitute. Use whichever tortillas you like, soft or hard-shell, and add a little cheese if you want, though I usually eat these tacos without. On your next taco night (or if you’re cooking for a Super Bowl party this weekend!), instead of making the usual ground beef version, try these squash and chorizo tacos and see if you don’t agree with me about them being the perfect blend of flavors and textures.
Squash & Chorizo Tacos (makes about 6)
- 1 tsp. canola or grapeseed oil
- 1/4 lb. chorizo, removed from the casing
- 3 c. peeled butternut squash, cut into 1″ cubes*
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 c. water or stock
- tortillas, flour or corn, soft or hard-shell, warmed in the oven
- diced avocado
- fresh cilantro
- sour cream
- diced tomatoes (optional)
- shredded Monterey Jack or crumbled cotija cheese (optional)
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and then the chorizo; use the back of a spoon to break the sausage up into crumbles as it cooks. When it has cooked most of the way and released a good deal of oil, use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the pan into a bowl, leaving the oil behind. Reserve the browned chorizo for later use.
Add the squash cubes to the pan and stir to coat with oil. Cook for about 5 mins. without stirring so they will brown slightly on one side. Flip them to a different side and cook for another 5 mins., then add garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and salt to the pan, stirring to coat the squash in spices. Add the water to the pan, lower the heat slightly and cover; cook for 10 mins. Use a fork to test whether the squash is cooked through; it may be necessary to add a little more water and cook for longer. When the squash is fork-tender, return the chorizo to the pan and gently combine the sausage and squash. Taste and add more salt, if necessary.
Place a few spoonfuls of filling in the center of each tortilla; top with avocado and fresh cilantro, or the toppings of your choice. Serve immediately.
*You can peel and cut your own, or buy the handy already-cut squash available in many supermarkets these days. Sometimes the bagged squash cubes need to be cut into smaller pieces to cook well in this recipe.