Chorizo verde in Chicago has been one of my white—er, green whales for years now. The vivid emerald-green links of this Toluca specialty hang all over the streets in Mexico City, but for all the splendor of Chicago’s universe of taquerias, it’s been a puzzling rarity here. Taco scholar Titus Ruscitti tells me that up until now he only knew of it being served at Invicto in Naperville and at Restaurant Amatepec on 51st in Gage Park.
I didn’t know that last month when Bertha Garcia told me she was thinking about putting it on the menu at Xocome Antojeria. I lost sleep at the prospect.
Last week I got the message: “I would like for you to be the first person to try out the green chorizo. I will finally be adding it to the menu.” I had plans to eat doughnuts that day but instead sped down to Archer Heights.
Garcia not only made me the first chorizo verde taco but she gave me a lesson. Nobody in Toluca uses spinach powder to make green chorizo, as I stated long ago. Instead they use wild greens called quelites, which come up in cornfields after the rain. That’s not happening here, of course, but Garcia laid out a chorizo verde kit for me and outlined her recipe: ground pork, chopped; a bit of vinegar; cilantro, poblanos, cumin, cloves, allspice, black peppercorns, and hierbas de olor, that bouquet garni of dried avocado leaves, thyme, and oregano sold at every self-respecting supermercado. But the most crucial ingredients, she says, are sesame seeds and pepitas. Garcia is also serving a chicken version for her customers who abstain from swine.
Also: whether it’s a taco or a torta, never put red salsa on your green chorizo, says Garcia. It’s unseemly. Salsa verde only.
A chorizo verde taco built on Garcia’s blue corn tortilla and topped with cilantro, avocado, and salsa verde has the same color scheme as the Joker—classic, not Joaquin’s. But it is a similarly symphonic performance—the pork sizzling off the plancha breathes gusts of herbaceousness in its warm, corny cradle. Go get it.
Xoxcome Antojeria, 5200 S. Archer, 773-498-6679