I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sure where this dish falls into the (traditional) Mexican food canon – probably outside of it – the dish itself is a hybrid of two dishes; both of them worlds apart: Choriqueso and Mac and Cheese.
Choriqueso (sometimes called Queso Flameado) is a dish from (or, rather is thought to have originated in) Northern Mexico; variations of the dish would eventually make their way to the southwest; becoming the popular Tex-Mex dish ‘Queso’. The original dish is essentially melted cheese and fried bits of chorizo often lit ‘aflame’ (flameado) or baked in small clay pots and served with fresh tortillas. Yes, like a Mexican ‘Fondue’.
Mac and Cheese is a uniquely American staple based on a dish encompassing both Italian & French techniques – famously brought to this country by Thomas Jefferson way way way back – the dude was obviously sold on cheese and noodles.
But that’s enough of a history lesson; This dish is simply a (vegan) melding of the two.
The foundation of this recipe is old school vegan through and through; I first learned of (homemade) Vegan Mac & Cheeze back in 2004 on an internet forum and after a few attempts toying with various incarnations – it became a staple. (Mind you, this was long before the wide availability of ‘fake’ cheese products so the thought of blending cashews and nutritional yeast to make a ‘cheeze’ sauce was mind blowing to me.) This forms the basis of this recipe and essentially any cheezy sauce I’ve made since then. Sometimes old school ain’t nothing
Respectively, The ‘chorizo’ part of this recipe can be made using soyrizo – I use homemade Temprizo (my recipe can be found here). Additionally, if you wanted to ditch the noodles all together, simply up the amount soyrizo and you have yourself a (vegan) from scratch version of the Choriqueso mentioned above.
You’ll need a blender with some power to grind the cashews down enough as to achieve a smooth sauce; of note, the longer you soak your raw cashews the easier it will be to make a smooth sauce.
The recipe makes about 4 servings but is easily doubled or tripled.
Coditos con Choriqueso; Soyrizo Mac & Cheese
Cheeze / Queso Sauce
1 Cup of Water
1/3 (heap) cup raw cashews (soaked for at least an hour if not more)
(Heap) 1/4 Cup Nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 heap TBS of cornstarch
1 Heaping Cup of Soyrizo / Temprizo
8 ounces of macaroni noodles
1. Set your cashews to soak in cool water (for at least an hour if not more)
2. Cook your macaroni noodles according to package directions until al dente
3. Drain and rinse cashews.
4. Add all (Cheeze Sauce) ingredients except cornstarch into a blender and blend for a few minutes or until all ingredients are blended thoroughly.
5. Taste mixture and adjust salt level – you’ll want it to be a little on the salty side as the cornstarch will even out the saltiness a bit
6. Add Cornstarch and blend until all is incorporated. Set aside.
7. Fry your soyrizo / Temprizo until crispy (about 5 minutes on medium high heat or until most of the liquid has cooked away) – set aside.
8. Heat a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat.
9. Add your blended sauce mixture and whisk or stir slowly until it starts to thicken. 2 – 4 minutes.
10. Add your cooked noodles to (thickening) sauce mixture.
11. Lower heat to low and stir to incorporate.
12. Add 3/4 of your cooked soyrizo / temprizo and stir to incorporate.
13. After a few stirs; you’re ready to eat.
13.5 I add the remainder of the cooked soyrizo / temprizo to the top of each bowl.