It’s been forever since we had a taco Tuesday around here. For weeks, I had “tortillas” on my shopping list, having run out of my usually sturdy supply. Finally, one Saturday morning, I could take it no more. Having found a few sacred tortillas in the back of the freezer as well as a package of top quality jalapeno cheese sausage, I decided to put it all to use for one helluva lunch.
This particular taco is incredibly simple with three primary ingredients: jalapenos, sausage, and cheese. I wondered if it was in fact too simple, with no stellar, surprising, delightfully pretentious ingredient to take it to the next level. But no, simple it is, and delicious it was.
The sausage is a particular beef smoked sausage from a Texas company (Kiolbassa, if you’re interested), and I’ve used it plenty of times before, including last fall’s jalapeno cheese sausage kolaches – or the best breakfast you’ll ever have. It’s smoky with just a hint of heat, but more importantly, it includes the essence of jalapeno without overpowering it. To in fact overpower it, I added a healthy heaping of pickled jalapenos. If you like to toe the line between bravery and insanity, replace them with fresh ones.
Then the cheese sauce. I would not go so far as to call it a bonafide queso, because it doesn’t have the drippy, oily, addicting consistency that you’d find in sketchy hole in the wall Tex-Mex place. However… I know every single ingredient that comprised it, and while not in the least bit healthy, it sure was delicious. Its cheesiness is complemented by a slow simmer with your favorite salsa, adding some of the queso-y spice you want without dropping a dozen jars or spices in your pantry while hunting for the freaking cumin.
I used my handy dandy spinning puzzle trivet cutting board from Ode to Wood to prep and chop the sausage, and then poured the dreamy cheese sauce into the matching and adorable wooden trivet bowl. The boy and I were out and about all afternoon when I made these, working on the garden and having a battle of wits with the janky lawnmower, so I just laid out the taco fixings on the actual board and we munched easily, grabbing a mouthful o’taco as we went about our sunny Saturday.
While eating, the boy had a brilliant idea that I wish I had incorporated but didn’t… Make these into a breakfast taco. You could scramble the eggs completely separately and layer them in, or do it migas-style, cooking it together with the sausage and a bit of jalapeno. I’m still peeved I didn’t do it, but if you make these definitely give it a try and see if it transforms your brunch.
Have a happy Taco Tuesday, friends! I promise not to to quite so long without another dreamy tortilla concoction ever again.
Cheesy Jalapeno and Sausage Tacos
- 6 flour tortillas
- 4 links jalapeno sausage
- 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos
For the cheese sauce
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar
- 1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup favorite salsa
- Salt and pepper to taste
- To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. Whisk in the flour and whisk until golden, about three minutes over medium high heat.
- Add the milk in increments, whisking constantly until smooth. When you see the first bubble of heat come up (as in the first sign of a boil), remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the cheese until smooth. Add the salsa and stir in completely.
- Chop the sausage into quarters lengthwise. Chop into small cubes from there. Cook in a skillet over medium heat until crisp on the edges and heated through. Strain off the oil.
- Heat the tortillas individually in a skillet or all at once in the microwave. Layer with a spoonful of sausage, then top with fresh cheese sauce and a few pickled jalapenos.
- If the cheese sauce becomes hard, simply microwave about 20 seconds at a time and stir between each interval until heated through.