Papas Chirrionas - Spicy Chorizo Potatoes for Brunch

12:15 AM

The base of this recipe is from Diana Kenndy's The Art of Mexican Cooking and it is a complete joy - when the sauce hit the pan, I literally let out an "Oh my god!" - the smell was so heady, so thick, so just plain amazing that I knew I was in for a major treat.

"Chirriona" is a sexually charged word meaning, depending on context, a homosexual or a flirtatious woman and so Diana Kennedy calls these Papas Chirrionas a "lusty dish". I lightened things up a bit - using less pasilla chiles and more tomatillos than Kennedy's recipe and opting for sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes and yams have long had sexual connotations - Elizabethan English thought they were straight up aphrodisiacs*. If Kenndedy's Papas Chirrionas make a "lusty" brunch dish, Sweet Potatoes (Camotes) Chirrionas must be THE thing to make for your object of affection if you are lucky enough to find them at your place for breakfast. This is quick but exotic and perfect with a cold Mexican beer -  keep the party rolling you chirriona, you!

I've made the recipe both ways - regular potatoes and sweet - and there is just something about the sweet potatoes in this sauce, topped with a little chorizo, that's plain amazing.

Papas or Camotes Chirrionas 
(Potatoes in Pasilla-Tomatillo Salsa)

1 pound red potatoes or sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons canola or corn oil
1/2 medium onion, finely sliced
2 chiles pasillas, stems removed
4 small tomatillos
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2/3 cup water
3 eggs lightly beaten with salt

For Garnish:
1 heaped tsp dried oregano, Mexican if you have it
crumbled Cotija cheese
chorizo sausage, cooked and crumbled

Put the potatoes in a pot with enough salted water to cover; boil for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a heavy skillet over high heat until it is very hot then put the chiles in the pan, pressing them flat for several seconds and then flipping and pressing the other side. You'll notice the chiles change color a bit and become opaque when they are done. Remove from heat and submerge chiles in hot water; let sit for 15 minutes.

In same hot skillet, toast the tomatillos, turning them over as they blacken on a side. Eventually they will blister and might burst a little - you want them good and toasted and softened.

Drain the potatoes and heat the oil in a frying pan. Add potatoes and cook for 10 minutes or so, turning over from time to time. Now add the onion and continue frying until the potatoes are nicely golden brown.

Put the toasted tomatillos, soaked chiles, garlic, and water in a blender and pulse until well mixed but not too smooth - the sauce should be nice and thick.

Pour the sauce into the frying pan with potatoes and fry over very high heat until the sauce is reduced - about another 4 minutes. Stir in the eggs and mix until the eggs are set - just another 2 minutes or so.

Serve in bowls sprinkled with oregano, chorizo, and cotija cheese.

* Source:
M.F.K. Fisher, "Let the Sky Rain Potatoes," pg. 22 of the 1954 edition of The Art of Eating.

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