Tonawanda News

March 18, 2013

HAYNES: Cast-iron and pork a match made in heaven

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — As a native Texan I’m a little ashamed to admit I’d never owned a cast-iron skillet until a couple weeks ago. 

I’ve never made my great-grandmother’s drop biscuits using one. I’ve never fried up some bacon, chicken or other equally unhealthy Southern dish in one, sure to make my tiny apartment smell delicious for hours — or even days.

I was inspired to finally bite the bullet and invest the surprisingly inexpensive $20 on a 12-inch skillet by a frittata recipe I stumbled across recently. I haven’t been able to stop thinking that delicious-looking eggy concoction that seems to be a catch-all for any leftover veggie, meat or cheese you might have hanging around in the fridge. 

Apparently the best way to make a frittata is by using a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, but I get ahead of myself. This article isn’t about a frittata. I fear my new kitchen gadget isn’t quite seasoned enough to handle eggs, so I decided to tackle a chorizo, pork, poblano sandwich instead.

I came across this recipe on the Series Eats website, but in all honesty, I think you could pretty much wing it. 

Since I was taking the skillet out for a spin for the first time, I used a little more oil than the recipe called for, a suggestion I stumbled upon through the exhaustive Internet research I did before making my purchase. Worked out well for me, though I’ve included only the “normal” amount of oil you should use in the recipe below. 

The result for a slightly zesty — not too hot — sandwich full of flavor. It’s easy to prepare and even reheat, and the use of the cast-iron skillet only complicated things in that I could only barely lift the thing with one hand when I needed to scrap its contents out onto a dish. These things are heavy!

Chop up your chorizo and veggies ahead of time and this is a quick, no-brainer for a weeknight dinner.

Chorizo, pork and poblano sandwich

1/4 cup olive oil

2 links (6 ounces) chorizo, finely chopped

2 poblano peppers, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon smoked paprika (or more, to taste)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1 pound ground pork

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 sandwich rolls, split in half lengthwise

1/4 cup mayonnaise

4 ounces queso blanco, crumbled

Heat 2 tablespoons over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the chorizo, peppers and onions and cook until chorizo gets slightly crispy.

Add paprika, garlic and lemon zest to skillet and cook an additional 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a dish.

Add remaining oil to skillet and once hot, add ground pork, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and cook until no longer pink. 

Increase heat to high and add chorizo mixture and lemon juice, cooking until combined and crisp, about 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer to a dish and cover with foil to keep warm.

Split sandwich rolls, and spread mayonnaise on each open side. Place open-side down on skillet until golden.

Scoop pork mixture into rolls and crumble queso blanco on top.

— Recipe adapted from

Contact features editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116.