For a subtle effect, select a mild to medium-hot chile, such as a serrano or jalapeño. For more intense heat, try a habanero or a Scotch bonnet, using half the amount called for in the recipe.
1/4 cup corn or other vegetable oil
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 to 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh chile of choice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped hard-cured chorizo or cured ham
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano (or 3/4 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp. dried)
1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, chile, and chorizo or ham and cook until vegetables have softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Stir in oregano and thyme and cook until onion is translucent. Taste for seasoning and add salt if desired.