The excitement of third year of medical school was upon us while we were in orientation. No more spending hours in the library, listening to boring lectures all day, or reading about cases in textbooks. It was time to actually see real patients, work with great doctors, and actually be hands-on while we were on the floors. However, going from the optional class attendance at 9 a.m. to reporting on the floors by 6 a.m. meant that we definitely had to make an adjustment to this new lifestyle. As we are experiencing the beginnings of our new rotations, some things have become noticeable. First, being awake and present at all times throughout the day was hard to do: caffeine is a must. Second, the food situation was tight, as some days we only found ourselves eating for 20 minutes when the resident told us. But most importantly, we got to experience what we would for the rest of our lives and loved every minute of it.
This week’s recipe comes from a little bit of Pinterest searching and our own creativity. We realized that we would have to start making quick meals for lunch and dinner now that we were busy with third year. Potato and chorizo tacos with our own pico de gallo is a quick and easy way to bring together leftovers and create something tasty and healthy. The stuffing also makes for a good taco salad the next day!
Potato and Chorizo Tacos
12 corn tortillas
3 poblano peppers
2 potatoes, diced
1 16 oz chorizo sausage (We used Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo and it was delicious and spicy.)
1 tomato, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
¼ cup green onions, chopped
8 oz sour cream
Oaxaca cheese, long thin slices
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp taco seasoning
1 avocado, long slices
salt to taste
The filling will take the longest to make, but luckily you can multitask. Peel and cut the potatoes into one inch cubes and boil in the microwave for about eight minutes. While you wait for the potatoes, add 1 tbsp of oil to a pan, wait for it to heat, and then remove the chorizo from the casing and add to the pan.
Once the potatoes are boiled, remove from microwave and drain excess water. In a second pan, add 2-3 tbsp of olive oil, wait for it to heat and add the potatoes. The goal is to crisp the potatoes so that they add a nice texture to each bite. Once the potatoes are crispy on all sides, add to the chorizo. Put in your spices (cumin, taco seasoning and salt … if you’re a daredevil and want extra spice, feel free to add chili powder).
Set aside the filling.
Now you can focus on the condiments. The pico de gallo is super easy to prepare. Chop the tomato, green onion, red onion and squeeze some lime juice, and you are done!
Next, thinly slice the Oaxaca cheese in long strips and set aside. Do the same for the avocado.
Almost done! The last addition is charred poblanos. It adds a lot of depth in terms of flavor and trust us, it is worth spending the extra five minutes making it. In a pan add some oil and let it heat. Put the poblanos in the pan and add some weight (push down with a spatula). Let it cook on all sides. You are looking for a blackish char on the poblano skin. Remove from the pan and add a pinch of salt. The peppers should be tender to the touch and should fall apart as you try to peel them.
And finally, assemble! Take a warm corn tortilla, add the potato-chorizo filling, load on the crunchy fresh pico de gallo and mild Oaxaca cheese and avocado. Peel off strips of charred poblano pepper and add right on top for some smoky flavor and top off with a dollop of sour cream.
As medical students, we often find ourselves attending countless hours of lecture, studying late at night in the library, and eating junk from the hospital cafeteria. We forget that there is a life outside of the bubble that is medical school! Read our column to take a break from the work and exist outside of medical school.