Chorizo and Queso Asadero

Never in a million years did I ever think I’d buy a Tex-Mex cookbook, but that’s just what I did recently. I’m the proud owner of Amá, by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock, published in 2019.

I need to explain. I moved from sunny Southern California, where I enjoyed “fresh” Mexican cuisine, to Dallas, Texas, in 1978 for my first professional job. One day colleagues invited me to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. There, I had my first taste of Mexican food as I never knew it. I ordered taquitos, after really struggling with the menu. I expected…… well, not what I got, which were deep-fried tortilla “cigars” and inedible.

One colleague leaned over to me, observing that I hadn’t really touched my lunch, and whispered, “Not a fan of Tex-Mex, are you?!” I had never before heard the term.

Obviously, Tex-Mex is a mixture of the cuisines of Mexico and Texas. I wouldn’t call it “fusion,” because it’s really it’s own kind of food. My first impression of it was that it was the opposite of fresh – no cilantro, avocados, fresh salsa and pico de gallo, just lots of fried food with no flavor.

Tex-Mex is the cuisine that chef Josef Centeno grew up with in San Antonio, Texas. From the cookbook, “It’s the food that fuels the delicious, inventive, cross-cultural dishes he serves at his (four) restaurants in Los Angeles. It’s the casual, irresitable food he cooks with his family. And now it’s the food you can cook at home, too. Tex-Mex was largely dismissed by the culinary elite in the 1970’s as inauthentic Mexican food. But that’s the point. The only thing authentic about Tex-Mex is that it isn’t authentic: It evolves and adapts.”

I guess I rejected it as well, but it wasn’t good. If you read the cookbook, the chef’s story and the food he grew up on were were very different than the deep-fried taquitos I first experienced. Chef Josef Centeno chose to honor the kind of food he grew up with, and opened Bar Amá in 2012 in Los Angeles, California, named after his great grandmother. Author Betty Hallock is a writer, editor, and cookbook author.

This recipe is in three parts – first, the home-made chorizo, which was Grandma Alice’s recipe. Secondly, the queso. The third essential element is Amá spice mix; recipe listed below, made from 8 different dried chile peppers.


This chorizo and queso combination is so good I might make it again for my birthday! This is Grandma Alice’s queso fundido, basically, which she served as a snack or for breakfast, because it was loved so much by the family. “Who doesn’t like a panful of melted cheese with crisped chorizo?” I do.

Grandma Alice’s Chipotle Chorizo

1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3 whole cloves
2 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
2 tablespoons Amá spice mix
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 pounds ground pork belly or ground pork shoulder
1 large garlic cloves, grated
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Toast the cumin, coriander, and cloves in a small dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Grind with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to a fine powder.

With your fingers, break up the bay leaves into small pieces, add them to the spices, and grind to a fine powder. Add the chile powder, spice mix, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme and cinnamon, and grind until everything is well combined. Set aside.

Put the ground pork in a large bowl. Add the garlic, vinegar, and half of the spice mixture and, using gloved hands, work it into the pork. Add the rest of the spice mixture and work it into the pork until fully incorporated and the meat is red from the spices.

If you have the time, let the chorizo sit, covered, in the refrigerator overnight, so the flavors come together.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through and crisped and the fat is rendered, 6 to 8 minutes. Use immediately or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Queso Asadero

1/2 cup Grandma Alice’s chipotle chorizo
4 ounces queso asadero, grated
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 lime
6 flour or corn tortillas, warmed in a skillet

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the grated queso asadero over the chorizo, stir until the cheese starts to melt, and remove from the heat. Transfer to a serving dish.

Scatter the onion and cilantro on top and squeeze the lime over all. Serve immediately with the tortillas.

Amá Spice Mix

8 dried arbol chiles
5 guajillo chiles
5 dried New Mexico chiles
5 chipotle chiles
4 chiles negro
4 mulato chiles
4 pasilla de Oaxaca chiles
4 cascabel chiles
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Following are the chile peppers in the ingredient list shown left to right.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the chiles on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant and brittle, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Remove and discard the stems and seeds from the chiles. Tear the chiles into large pieces, grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder, and mix with the salt.

Store in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag at room temperature for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 1 year.

By Published On: October 12th, 202340 Comments on Chorizo and Queso Asadero

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Bernadette October 12, 2023 at 7:10 AM - Reply

    This looks like a fantastic cookbook. I can see whey you purchased it.

    • Chef Mimi October 12, 2023 at 7:15 AM - Reply

      There are some really great recipes in it!

  2. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen October 12, 2023 at 8:15 AM - Reply

    That’s quite a variety of chilis! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many types around here. But it sounds really intriguing.

    • Chef Mimi October 12, 2023 at 8:40 AM - Reply

      I have to mail order some less common chile peppers, even living in Oklahoma!

  3. Katherine Snyman October 12, 2023 at 11:33 AM - Reply

    This hits all the right notes for me! We love chorizo and flavourful dishes like this!! I might need that cookbook too!

    • Chef Mimi October 12, 2023 at 1:19 PM - Reply

      This was so good! The cookbook has a lot of promise.

  4. Debra October 12, 2023 at 7:59 PM - Reply

    I can smell the aroma of these wonderful spices! Your observation about the difference between SoCal Mexican and Tex-Mex is true, and I love our many easily obtained options. But when I hear of Tex-Mex I’m always intrigued. Recently we streamed an older season of Top Chef that had the competing chefs in Texas and I recognized that I recognized that I don’t really know this cuisine. And I would like to–it all looks delicious. This chorizo and queso asadero is a great place to start. Yum!!

    • Chef Mimi October 13, 2023 at 8:11 AM - Reply

      Texas is a very interesting country! I mean, state!!!! I enjoyed living there. I think the Tex-mex quality has improved since I first lived there because people have begun demanding higher quality.

  5. Sherry Mackay October 12, 2023 at 11:53 PM - Reply

    definitely not a fan of tex-mex but these flavours sound good mimi!

    • Chef Mimi October 13, 2023 at 8:12 AM - Reply

      I really enjoyed the spice mixture made from chile peppers.

  6. Tandy I Lavender and Lime October 13, 2023 at 1:13 AM - Reply

    What an amazing array of ingredients. It looks and sounds tasty.

    • Chef Mimi October 13, 2023 at 8:12 AM - Reply

      Very heavy and rich, delicious, addicting.

  7. Charlie DeSando October 13, 2023 at 10:54 AM - Reply

    I like that spice blend at the end, I’ll have to give it a try

    • Chef Mimi October 13, 2023 at 7:40 PM - Reply

      It’s good! All the seasonings were great.

  8. Ann Coleman October 13, 2023 at 2:15 PM - Reply

    Looks great to me! I’m always surprised I like Tex Mex, but I do.

    • Chef Mimi October 13, 2023 at 7:40 PM - Reply

      Well good! It’s come a long way, I have to say…

  9. Jeff the Chef October 14, 2023 at 9:57 AM - Reply

    I love chorizo and I love queso, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never had them together – certainly not in this context. As always, I love your cookbook recommendations! Thanks!

    • Chef Mimi October 14, 2023 at 12:17 PM - Reply

      You’re welcome! It’s a good one, with all of my favorite flavors and ingredients!

  10. Healthy World Cuisine October 14, 2023 at 8:31 PM - Reply

    Everything from scratch! Made with love and it shows. So much flavor and delicious spices. Going to be headed to a Mexican grocery provisions store in a month so will bookmark your recipe for later.

    • Chef Mimi October 15, 2023 at 9:22 AM - Reply

      Oh fun! I hope you can find all of the chile peppers. But amazon helps me out with that!

  11. Linger October 16, 2023 at 11:18 AM - Reply

    There is so much deliciousness going on in this recipe I can hardly stand it. The flavors, the textures, the aroma. Wow. What an explosion of goodness. I’ve never ventured to make chorizo, but looking at this recipe, why not. I can’t imagine how much better this is than store bought. Then you bring queso into the mix. It’s just beyond lovely.

    • Chef Mimi October 16, 2023 at 5:39 PM - Reply

      What a nice comment! And so true. Beyond lovely!

  12. Karen (Back Road Journal) October 16, 2023 at 11:21 AM - Reply

    I have to say Mimi that this recipe is a true labor of love.

    • Chef Mimi October 16, 2023 at 5:40 PM - Reply

      It was a lot of work, but so worth it!

  13. October 16, 2023 at 4:40 PM - Reply

    I love this kind of food – American, Mexican, Tex-Mex or whatever you want to call it. I doubt if I would make my own chorizo or that spice blend with all of those peppers – wish I could try it :)

    • Chef Mimi October 16, 2023 at 5:40 PM - Reply

      I agree! And Southwestern as well. Such fabulous ingredients!

  14. David Scott Allen October 16, 2023 at 11:58 PM - Reply

    It’s odd that I’m so close to Texas but know little to nothing about Tex-Mex food! This recipe sounds wonderful — the chorizo is so different from our Sonoran chorizo.

    • Chef Mimi October 19, 2023 at 10:16 PM - Reply

      Can I say that you’re not missing out on too much? Tex food has evolved to Southwestern, but you also have that in Arizona – like Mark Miller. Oh my I always wanted to go to his restaurant. Tex-Mex has improved a lot, but it’s just not the same as what you probably have.

  15. Anonymous October 18, 2023 at 4:12 AM - Reply

    Mimi, if there’s one thing I miss most living in Sweden, it’s Tex-Mex food. We can even get the ingredients locally and online is iffy. So, I’m eating this dish vicariously via your images and description…

    • Chef Mimi October 19, 2023 at 10:14 PM - Reply

      Oh no. I’m so sorry. I’m assuming this is Ron, Mr. LITP. It was really challenging for my daughter to get any kind of salsa and hot sauce when she lived in London years ago. We’d have to do expensive care packages. But, I visited often. Fortunately, no sriracha burst in my suitcase!

  16. carrietalkingmeals October 18, 2023 at 6:33 AM - Reply

    I love that you made your own chorizo and the combination with queso is what I dream about at night, lol!! Love this recipe :)

    • Chef Mimi October 19, 2023 at 10:12 PM - Reply

      Hahahahahahaha! I know what you mean!!!

  17. spicedblog October 18, 2023 at 6:36 AM - Reply

    Holy cow – this is my kinda recipe! It’s surprising how easy it is to make chorizo at home – and it’s so tasty. I’m glad you gave Tex-Mex another try. Like any cuisine, a bad version is bad enough to turn you off entirely…but a good version? Well it makes you buy a cookbook!

    • Chef Mimi October 19, 2023 at 10:12 PM - Reply

      Right. My experience was from over 40 years ago, and Tex max really was awful back then. Even Texas food hadn’t really evolved beyond chicken fried steak and bbq. It’s all better now!

  18. Raymund October 18, 2023 at 4:54 PM - Reply

    This combination of chipotle chorizo and melted asadero cheese sounds incredibly delicious. It’s evident that this dish is filled with rich and flavorful ingredients.

    • Chef Mimi October 19, 2023 at 10:06 PM - Reply

      Yes, And might I add Very Rich!!!

  19. ingoodflavor October 23, 2023 at 7:32 PM - Reply

    I’m partial to the Portuguese chorizo (called chourico), but I like them all. I’ve never tried making it though. The one you made looks and sounds delicious!

    • Chef Mimi October 24, 2023 at 8:51 AM - Reply

      I bought that once for a recipe, and it’s very good, too. Mexican is very different, but it has its place!

  20. Frank | Memorie di Angelina October 30, 2023 at 8:02 AM - Reply

    Queso fundido, especially when it’s laced with chorizo, is one of my favorite flavor bombs. I’m impressed you made your own chorizo! Or rather Granma Alice’s.

    Hyphenated cuisines are always interesting to study and experience, even if they don’t always produce wonderful eating in my experience. But then sometimes they do, especially when talented cooks put their minds to it.

    • Chef Mimi October 30, 2023 at 11:00 AM - Reply

      Hyphenated cuisines? Hysterical! Texas is a truly weird and wonderful state in which to live. I miss it sometimes. I think their Tex-Mex has improved since we last lived there. At least in my book.

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