Serious Eats: Drinks
Hangover Helper: Choriqueso
I didn't happen to have a hangover to deal with a couple weeks back during a quick visit to Cincinnati with Laura Arnold (A.K.A. the Cincinnati Nomerati), but if I did, it would have trembled with fear as we dug into the huge plate of choriqueso at Taqueria Mercado downtown. I can't attest to the authenticity of the dish, but conceptually, it's a nearly flawless and peerless plate of junk food: hot, oily, warm-spiced, slightly sour chorizo sausage combined with gooey, oozy, melted cheese.
How does it differ from that other Mexican junk food classic queso fundido con chorizo (see my recipe here)? Well, not by much, the main difference being the ratio of gooey, fondue-like cheese to chorizo.
At Taqueria Mercado, they go one step further into junk food territory by using Land O' Lakes Extra Melt processed American cheese. It's like the tangier, oozier, gooier cousin of the American cheese we're all used to, and it's ideal for the task. Laura is so smitten with it that she regularly resorts to methods of questionable legality in order to obtain industrial sized blocks of the stuff. Last I spoke to her, she was fretting over the fact that she was down to her last two pounds.
Personally, I prefer the slightly stretchier quality of a more natural cheese like the stretchy Mexican cheeses from Oaxaca, a good quality young American Jack, or even some low-moisture mozzarella.
The dish really relies on the quality of the chorizo, so unless you can find some good, tart, Mexican stuff (not to be confused with the dry-cured Spanish chorizo or mildly seasoned South American chorizos), you've got to make it on your own. Fortunately, it's very very easy.
It together with a minimal number of ingredients in a matter of minutes (especially if you have good store-bought chorizo), which is awesome, because ideally you'll be nursing a terrible pounding headache when you finally decide to give it a shot.
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About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Managing Editor of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.