A churro’s a churro is a churro, right? Thankfully, no! This savory chili cheese churros recipe are churros like you’ve never seen them before.
I’m guessing when you think of churros you think of the sweet kind, still warm from the oil, crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. Dusted with cinnamon and sugar these treats so irresistible I find myself thinking up occasions just to make them.
Savory Chili Cheese Churros? What the….
That’s when it dawned on me that churros need not be relegated to the end of a meal, why can’t we start with them instead? These savory chili cheese churros are like the most delicious cheese straw with an undeniable chewy center. They are filled with chile flavor from dried guajillo chiles but aren’t burn-your-mouth-off spicy, just a nice gentle heat that balances out the savory, sharp cheddar cheese.
Dried guajillo chiles are mild, brick red chiles that can be found in the Latin section of most grocery stores or at a Latin market. To use them, remove the stem and seeds while then soak them in boiling hot water until they become soft.
How To Make Savory Churros
Making savory churros is basically the same as the making the sweet version but with the addition of a chili puree. The guajillo chiles get soaked in steamy, hot water until nice and soft and then they are blended until very smooth. You’re going to strain this mixture into a saucepan and add oil and some salt. This very loose chili puree is like the water in a regular churro recipe.
From here the churros process starts to resemble one very familiar to anyone who has made them (or any kind of cream puff pastry) before. The liquid mixture starts to simmer; the flour is added and stirred. Keep stirring until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and the flour has time to cook just enough to take on a toasted flavor.
Scrape this mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat the egg in on a setting high enough to really incorporate some air without the whole business shooting shotgun-style out of your bowl (medium-high is probably what you’re looking for). Add the grated cheese and that’s it!
Now it’s time to pipe. You can either pipe the savory chili cheese churro dough directly into the hot oil, cutting into lengths with scissors as you go or pipe the dough on to a greased sheet pan up to a day in advance. Use a sturdy piping bag and a small star tip. If you pipe them in advance, keep them covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. Then you can fry them in hot oil just before serving—they are best served fresh from the oil.
The final touch is a generous sprinkling of Mexican Cotija cheese (or Feta works too) over the top, a little bit of flaky sea salt, and some minced cilantro. Then all that’s left is to stand back and watch them disappear.
Savory Chili Cheese Churros
These savory chili cheese churros are like the most delicious cheese straw ever with subtle spice and an undeniable chewy center.
- 7 stemmed and seeded guajillo chiles
- 1 1/4 cups boiling water
- ¼ cup vegetable oil, plus 2 more quarts for frying
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup grated aged Cheddar Cheese (for a milder flavor use Mexican Panela Cheese)
- Crumbled Cotija or Feta Cheese
- Minced cilantro
- Flaky Sea Salt
- Pour boiling water over chiles in a heatproof bowl. Submerge chiles under the water with a second, smaller bowl and let soak until soft, about 30 minutes.
- Pour chiles and water into a blender and blend until smooth. Strain, reserving liquid.
- Place chile water in a medium saucepan and add ¼ cup oil and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add flour and beat with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms and starts to peel away from the sides of the pan.
- Transfer dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Start mixing on low, add the egg, and then increase speed to medium. Beat for 2 minutes. Add panela cheese and beat just until incorporated.
- Place a star-shaped tip in a heavy-duty piping bag (a small tip works best as they cook faster). Fill piping bag up ¾ of the way with dough, and twist the end until it pushes the dough into the tip.
- Fill a deep pot with 2 quarts of oil and attach a deep-fat fry thermometer to the side if you have one. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F.
- Meanwhile, pipe churros onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, cutting with scissors into 6-inch long tubes. Place churros in the refrigerator while you wait for the oil to heat.
- Once oil is ready, carefully place churros in hot oil, 4-5 at a time, moving them around a little so they don’t stick to the bottom. Let fry, turning once until crisp and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining churros.
- To serve: Place on a serving tray and sprinkle with Cotija, cilantro, and sea salt.
- Cook’s Note or helpful tip (optional): Churros can be piped, covered and kept in the refrigerator up to a day in advance.
One More Thing
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