Our Chorizo Corn Maque Choux recipe takes the classic Cajun side dish and turns it up a notch with the addition of Spanish chorizo and crisp asparagus. Every bit is creamy, savory, smoky and ever so slightly spicy. Make it a meal by serving it with pan-seared fish, seafood or chicken.
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Why This Recipe Works
Maque Choux is a side dish loaded with fresh sautéed vegetables and Cajun flavors. It usually features smoky bacon, corn, lima beans and occasionally sweet bell peppers. Our recipe stays true to the tradition with a few fun upgrades. For starters, we swap bacon for Spanish-style chorizo—the dried aged variety that’s packed with smoked paprika.
We also go ahead and add a few sweet bell peppers as well as a jalapeño for a bit of a kick. And finally, we opted to use asparagus instead of lima beans for a crisp, toothsome bite.
Maque Choux vs Succotash
Succotash is a Southern-style dish featuring corn kernels, lima beans and red or green bell peppers. The name succotash is derived from a Naragansett Indian word, msickquatash, meaning “boiled whole kernels of corn.”
Maque Choux is a Cajun side dish made of onions, corn and peppers. The most notable difference, is that maque choux is usually cooked in rendered bacon grease, imparting the sweet side dish with rich smokiness. It’s also generally flavored with a combination of Cajun seasonings.
For any pan-frying you do in the kitchen we recommend you use a high-heat cooking oil such as avocado oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil or vegetable oil. We prefer refined avocado oil, but use what you like and have on hand. I don’t recommend using olive oil.
We wanted to give our maque choux a savory twist. Instead of bacon we’re using Spanish-style chorizo which infuses the vegetables with smoked paprika and adds a lovely chew to the entire dish. Spanish-style chorizo is dried and sold like salami. Find it at your local butcher or cheese shop. If you can’t find chorizo, opt for bacon or pancetta. Do not use Mexican-style chorizo which is sold fresh.
In an effort to stay somewhat true to the Southern roots of this dish, we’re using jalapeño for a little heat. If you like spice, mince the entire pepper—ribs, seeds and all. Or go even bolder and use a serrano. If you prefer things on the milder end, remove the ribs and seeds before mincing the pepper. If you want more heat at the end, you can always mince up the ribs and seeds and add those to the dish to taste.
Not a traditional ingredient in maque choux but definitely a delicious one. For this recipe and cooking technique, we recommend using thick asparagus spears instead of thin spears. Thicker spears hold up to the cooking process and retain that beautiful crispness. If you can only find thin spears, reduce the cooking time of the asparagus to 2 minutes instead of 4.
Variations on Maque Choux
- Use lima beans instead of asparagus for a very classic version. You could also add some minced celery for a crisp Southern crunch.
- Fresh diced tomatoes would be a great addition—especially during the summer.
- Add some fresh parsley or cilantro to the mixture right before serving. You could also add some fresh thyme when you add the garlic.
- Use some minced yellow onion instead of scallions.
- For a dairy-free option, use canned coconut milk instead of heavy cream. A dash of lime zest and lime juice would also be delicious.
- If you can’t find dry aged chorizo you can also use bacon or pancetta.
- Make it vegetarian and skip the chorizo altogether. If you do this, use butter instead of oil to cook the vegetables in.
- If you’re a spice lover, swap out the jalapeño pepper for a spicier serrano or use a hefty pinch of cayenne pepper.
How to Serve Maque Choux
- We like to make it a meal by serving it with pan-seared Chilean Sea Bass. For an even heartier meal, serve with basmati rice as well.
- For another fish option, serve this side dish with pan-seared salmon or lime-grilled shrimp.
- If fish is out, our pan-seared chicken breast would be a great pairing as well.
- Make this a one pan meal by sautéing some andouille sausage in addition to (or in place of) the chorizo sausage. Or you could grill the andouille sausage and serve it over the maque choux.
You definitely can use frozen corn if sweet corn is not available of in season. Since it already cooks for such a short time in the skillet, you won’t need to adjust the cooking time at all. We don’t recommend thawing the corn ahead of time, just throw it in the skillet and defrost it with the rest of the vegetables.
If you can’t find fresh ears of corn, we recommend opting for frozen before using canned corn—it’s just not the same. If that’s your only option, just be sure sure to drain the corn before adding it to the skillet.
Chorizo Corn Maque Choux
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil
- 4 ounces dry Spanish chorizo, casing removed and cut into ¼-inch dice (1 cup)
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped, white and light green parts separated from dark green parts
- 1 jalapeño, minced
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 2 ears sweet corn, shucked and kernels cut from cobs
- 1 large garlic clove, chopped
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Heat 2 teaspoons avocado oil over medium in a large sauté pan. Add chorizo and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chorizo to a bowl. Reserve drippings in skillet.
- Add bell pepper, scallion whites and light green parts, and jalapeño. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook until peppers start to soften, about 3 minutes.
- Add asparagus; increase heat to high and cook 4 minutes.
- Add corn and garlic, decrease heat to medium and cook until corn is vibrant yellow, about 1 minute. Deglaze with vinegar then reduce heat to low and stir in cream. Season with additional salt and pepper taste.
Photos by: Megan McKeehan