As someone always looking for super simple ideas for putting a filling meal on the table—especially one that my whole family will eat and that’s tailored to their personal dietary quirks—I was surprised that I’d never come across chori pollo (chorizo chicken) until recently. Since then, it’s become one of my absolute new favorites.
Chori pollo can be found on many a Mexican restaurant menu, so perhaps I’ve been in the dark this whole time because we don’t often eat out. And when we do patronize a restaurant, we tend to stick to a handful of places that we already know we enjoy, none of which happen to be Mexican. But when searching for some inspiration on how to use up the leftover chorizo I had in the fridge, I stumbled across this dish—and I’m so glad I did.
Fundamentally nothing more than a combination of shredded chicken, chorizo, caramelized onions, and cheese, this is one of the most humble, unassuming dishes I’ve ever come across—but boy does it pack a wallop of flavor! I think a big part of its allure is how deceptively simple it is to transform the seemingly modest handful of ingredients into a cohesive, delectable dish.
Once the low-carb, keto-friendly, naturally grain-free ingredients are layered in a vessel, they’re baked until the cheese gets all melty and delicious. The preparation is absolutely straightforward, yet the taste is surprisingly complex. You can get it on the table in under thirty minutes, but I’d still make it if it took twice as long. Maybe I was famished at the time, but I found it truly addictive. And the best part? The whole family loved it! It’s pretty hard to go wrong with spicy meat and melted cheese. For me, it’s the ultimate comfort food.
I tend to stay on the lower-end of dietary carbohydrate intake, so this dish was perfect for my needs. I paired it with nothing more than some tomato, lettuce, sour cream, and avocado, along with a side of spicy sauerkraut for added flavor and boosted nutrients.
Desire something with a bit more substance? You can use it as an excellent taco filling, pair it with a side of Mexican-style rice and beans, serve it as a snack with a big bowl of tortilla chips, or make an incredible breakfast of chori pollo and eggs. Added bonus—it reheats well and makes great leftovers (if you don’t devour it all, that is). But it’s also an ideal way to use up any leftover chicken (or turkey, for that matter, so keep it in mind next Thanksgiving). If you want to get it on the table even faster, a store-bought rotisserie chicken would work wonders!
Any way you serve it, I trust that choro pollo will become your latest family favorite and a go-to on busy nights. Enjoy!
Chori Pollo (Chorizo Chicken)
Prep time: 10–15 minutes
Cook time: 20–30 minutes (the latter, or a bit longer, if you’re cooking the chicken)
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, sliced or diced
8 oz. uncooked bulk chorizo
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or more, if you like extra heat)
1¼ cups shredded queso blanco or Monterey Jack cheese
Garnish ideas: avocado, salsa, sour cream, shredded lettuce, tomato
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Set aside a baking dish large enough to fit all the ingredients. (Alternately, you can make in individual dishes, if desired.)
- Melt butter in a large, shallow pan. Add onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook until caramelized and tender, about 7–10 minutes. Remove onions from pan and set aside.
- Add chorizo to pan, breaking it up with a spoon. Fry until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add cooked chicken and spices to pan. Cook for 2–3 minutes, until the chicken is heated through and the spices are fragrant. Add a splash of water if mixture seems dry.
- Spread chicken in the base of your baking dish or individual dishes. Top with cooked chorizo, then scatter with caramelized onions. Top with shredded cheese.
- Bake until hot and cheese has melted through, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Image from Briana Goodall.