Pork and Poblano Stew.

this most recent one came from simply recipes; carla picked it out, and it looked fine to me. we made it last night, and i was pretty happy – lots of great flavor. i think it helped that i got a particularly nice bit of pork shoulder from our butcher.

  • 4 to 5 poblano chile peppers (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo, minced
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 quart chicken stock (use gluten-free stock for gluten-free option)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn (no need to defrost if frozen)
  • 1 large (about 1/2 pound) sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes)
  • Sour cream for garnish
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Toasted shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for garnish

1) Char / broil the chiles; skin, stem, and seed them, then chop into 1-2 inch pieces. One main switch – neither of the two grocers I visited had poblanos! So I made an audible and toasted and rehydrated some anchos instead. I chopped them much more finely, as they are a bit less pleasant to eat big pieces of.

2) Heat oil in a dutch oven, then brown the pork, salting liberally.

3) Remove the pork – add onion and cumin to the dutch oven, cooking until translucent (~5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook another minute.

4) Add the chopped chipotle (I used 2 rather than 1, and was very happy with the spicyness level), along with the pork and the poblanos. Then add the stock and oregano, and simmer covered for about an hour.

5) Add the sweet potato and corn, then cook for 45 more minutes, until sweet potato is cooked through.

You can garnish with sour cream, cilantro, and or pepitos, though we did none of those last night. I thought this was a very savory, delicious stew. It took a chunk of time for sure, but the end result made me pretty happy.

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Mexican Quinoa Salad.

this one was a quick lunch that was found on the nourishing gourmet. it turned out really nice and easy, but next time we make it, it needs black beans.

1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin
2-3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sea salt
half a bunch of cilantro
5 cups of cooked quinoa (about 2-2.5 cups dry)
2 corn on the cobs (2 small cans)
1 bunch of spinach

Mix the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, cumin, garlic and salt together in a small jar. Toss most of it with the quinoa and corn in a bowl. Serve with spinach; you can leave some dressing behind to add as you eat if you eat some later, as we did.

The recipe calls for cooked (wilted) spinach, but we tossed it in raw as we ate it during the week. No big thing. The recipe also says to lightly cook the corn in some oil on the stove – I don’t recall if we did this either. Nothing fancy going on here, but it was a pleasant lunch.

Smoky Peanut Mole.

mole! it’s been a while since the last mole experience, but it’s spring break (so we have extra time) and we had some friends over for dinner (so we wanted to impress). thus, a return to mole. the fact that rick bayless described this is as a very simple mole did make it a bit more appealing. you can buy bayless’s books like we did, but the recipe is also online here via food and wine magazine.

Ingredients

2 medium (about 1 ounce total) dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
4 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1/2 small white onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
8 ounces (about 1 medium-large round or 3 to 4 plum) ripe tomatoes
1 cup dry roasted peanuts, plus a few tablespoons chopped for garnish
2 slices firm white bread (or 1/2 dry Mexican bolillo roll), torn into pieces
2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded
1/8 teaspoon allspice, preferably freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
About 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup fruity red wine
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
Salt, about 1 1/2 teaspoons, depending on the saltiness of the broth
Sugar, about 1 tablespoon

  1. Tear the ancho chiles into flat pieces, then toast a few at a time on an ungreased griddle or skillet over medium heat: press flat with a metal spatula for a few seconds, until they crackle and change color slightly, then flip and press again. (If they give off more than the slightest wisp of smoke, they are burning and will add a bitter element to the sauce.) In a small bowl, cover the chiles with hot water and let rehydrate for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even soaking. Drain and discard the water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy, medium-size (4-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven) over medium. Add the onion and garlic cloves, and fry, stirring regularly, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Scrape into a blender jar. Set the pan aside.
  3. Roast the tomato on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes, then flip it and roast the other side; cool, then peel, collecting all the juices with the tomato. Add the tomato to the blender, along with the peanuts, bread, chipotles, drained anchos, allspice and cinnamon. Add 1 1/2 cups of the broth and blend until smooth, stirring and scraping down the sides of the blender jar, and adding a little more liquid if needed to keep everything moving through the blades. Press the mixture through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in the pot over medium-high. When hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle sharply, add it all at once. Stir as the nutty-smelling, ruddy-red amalgamation thickens and darkens for about 5 minutes, then stir in the remaining 2 cups broth, the wine, vinegar and bay leaves. Partially cover and let gently simmer over medium-low heat for roughly 45 minutes, stirring regularly for the flavors to harmonize. If necessary, thin the sauce with a little more broth to keep it the consistency of a cream soup. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 1/2 teaspoons, and the sugar. Cover and keep warm.

this came together with relatively little pain. we made the sauce in advance and let it sit, then fried up some shredded pork and added a healthy ladel-ful of this to the pan and served as tacos. the result was pretty delightful – as with all moles, the sauce has a real depth of flavor and complexity. the peanut shines through, and there is a touch of heat from the chiles, and it’s all just magic and rainbows. a big winner, and easy enough that hopefully we’ll do it again sooner rather than later.

Creamy Corn Soup with Roasted Poblano Chile (October 30, 2011)

rick bayless time! recipe is online here, as well as in the wonderful “mexican everyday” cookbook that features “easier” recipes than some of the other ones.

this was a pretty easy recipe, all things considered. so much so that i was honestly a little skeptical as to how it would turn out. but one should not doubt rick bayless.

# 1 large fresh poblano chile
# 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
# 1 small white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
# 2 cloves garlic, peeled
# 3 cups corn kernels, cut from about 5 cobs or frozen
# 1 tablespoon corn starch
# 1 quart milk
# 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or 8 oz. cubed ham
# Salt to taste
# Cilantro for garnish

Roast the poblano directly on the open flame of a stovetop or under a broiler until charred and blackened all over, 5-10 minutes depending on method. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel until cool enough to handle.

In the meantime, heat the oil over medium heat in a 3-quart saucepan and add the garlic and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden. Transfer to a food processor along with the corn, cornstarch, and 1 1/2 cups of the milk. Process into a purée and transfer back to the saucepan, straining out the corn kernel skins if desired. Bring to a simmer, whisking frequently.

When the chile is cooled somewhat, rub off the blackened skins, pull out the stem and seeds, and rinse to complete the job. Cut into 1/4-inch strips or pieces, then stir into the simmering soup along with the chicken and remaining milk. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, if necessary, stirring as you go. Serve with sprinkled cilantro and avocado, if desired.

in my preparation i added more garlic (of course), used canned corn, used ham, and did not strain the corn puree. this thing is full of awesomeness. it has the warm richness of a corn chowder, but the chile really does make all the difference here. it’s not spicy in any serious way, but there is definitely a great presence there of chile.

this is a fantastic recipe, and one i will definitely make again!

Raw Tomatillo Salsa (September 4, 2010)

it’s no secret that carla and i are obsessed with rick bayless’s mexican food. the catch usually is that his recipes tend towards the complicated, work-intensive side. and while they usually pay off, sometimes you want something easy. i wanted an easy salsa to make with some pork carnitas i was making this weekend, and bayless obliged. this is as easy a recipe as you can find in bayless’s catalog:

http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/view?recipeID=193

Raw Tomatillo Salsa
Salsa Cruda de Tomate Verde

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Recipe from Season 7 of Mexico – One Plate at a Time
Ingredients

4 medium (about 8 ounces total) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
1 large garlic clove, peeled and quartered
Hot green chiles to taste (I like 2 serranos or 1 jalapeno), stemmed and roughly chopped
1/2 to 2/3 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro
Salt
Directions

Combine tomatillos, garlic, chile and cilantro in a blender jar or food processor. Add 1/4 cup water and a generous 1/2 teaspoon salt. Process to a coarse puree. If using a blender, begin blending on low, at first pulsing to get the mixture moving evenly through the blender blades. Pour into a salsa dish and thin with a little more water if necessary to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency. Taste and season with additional salt, if you think necessary. Serve right away.

i made this one pretty much exactly as the recipe called, using the 2 serranos as my peppers. it’s a great, easy salsa, with good heat and a nice bit of light sweetness from the raw tomatillos. i might go a little easier on the water, as i think there’s a touch too much, but other than, simple and perfect.

Tres Leches Cake (July 20, 2008)

From Carla’s birthday extravaganza!

INGREDIENTS

* 5 eggs
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 2 cups white sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter
* 2 cups milk
* 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
* 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
* 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
3. Cream butter or margarine and 1 cup of the sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla extract, beat well.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter or margarine mixture 2 tablespoons at a time, mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
6. Combine the whole milk, evaporated milk, and condensed milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
7. Whip whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup of the sugar together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated, enjoy!

carla only used 1 and 1/2 cups of milk for this; it was still plenty moist. the taste of the strong mexican vanilla she used really took it to a whole new level. very delicious!

Mini Tacos (July 20, 2008)

From Carla’s birthday extravaganza!
these appetizers were a super-hit, and were VERY easy to make. highly recommended!

INGREDIENTS

* 24 wonton wrappers
* 1 pound ground turkey
* 1 (1.12 ounce) package Taco Seasoning Mix
* 2 tablespoons Picante Sauce
* 1/2 cup Salsa
* 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Press wonton wrappers into mini-muffin cups.
3. Cook turkey in skillet until browned. Drain off fat. Stir in taco seasoning mix and picante sauce.
4. Spoon beef mixture into wonton cups. Top with salsa and cheese.
5. Bake about 8 minutes or until wontons are golden brown.
6. Serve immediately with additional salsa. Garnish with sour cream and sliced ripe olives if desired. Makes 24 appetizers.

we did this with turkey; the original recipe called for ground beef. when i say these things were gone fast, i mean it.