Monthly Archives: October 2009

Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos

Smoky pulled pork, pickled red onions, avocado and crumbled goat cheese on roasted jalapeño tortillas..

Pork Tinga Tacos
Pork Tinga Tacos (Tacos de Tinga Poblana)

For the Pickled Onions (adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz)

3/4 cup organic white vinegar
3 tablespoons rapadura
pinch of sea salt
1 bay leaf
5 allspice berries
5 whole cloves
a small, dried chile pepper
1 star aniseseed
1 clove garlic, bruised
1 large red onion, peeled, and thinly sliced into rings

Bring all ingredients except onions to a boil in a non-reactive saucepan. Reduce heat and add the onions. Simmer 30 seconds, stirring continuously.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator for up to 3 months.  Pickled onions may be eaten the day they are made, but taste best after 3 days in the refrigerator.

For the Tinga Poblana (adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless)

2/3 pound pulled pork (I’ve used yesterday’s leftover Cuban pork)
1 red potato, cut into 1/4″ dice
1 Roma tomato, cut into 1/4″ dice
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 tablespoon leaf lard or pastured butter
1 cup chicken stock
1-2 chipotle chiles en adobo, chopped, plus 1-2 tablespoons sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon smoked chile powder (optional)
sea salt

Sauté diced potatoes and cumin seed in a tablespoon of leaf lard until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, chipotle en adobo and oregano and cook until tomatoes have released all their water, about 5 minutes.

Add pork, chicken stock, chile powder and Worcestershire, cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add chicken stock as necessary to keep the pork from drying out.  Season to taste with sea salt.

To serve, place pork mixture in the center of a tortilla (steamed corn or freshly griddled flour tortillas) and dress with pickled red onions.  Add slices of fresh avocado, crumbled goat cheese and chopped cilantro.

Lechon Asado (Cuban Roast Pork)

Mojo-marinated, slow-roasted pork shoulder with sour orange juice, cumin, oregano and fresh peppers, served with black beans and saffron rice..

Lechon Asado (Cuban Roast Pork)
Lechón Asado (Cuban Roast Pork)

For the Mojo (Cuban Marinade, Three Guys from Miami)

8-10 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon oregano
1 cup sour orange juice, or 1/2 cup orange juice plus 1/4 cup each fresh lemon and lime juice

Use a large mortar and pestle to mash all the ingredients (except orange juice) into a paste.  Transfer paste to a bowl and combine with the orange juice.  Allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

For the Pork

Marinate the pork in the mojo for 4 hours (refrigerated).  Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry.  Heat some fat in a Dutch oven set over medium heat, then brown the pork well on all sides.  Transfer the pork to a plate and pour off all but a tablespoon or two of fat from the Dutch oven.

Toast a tablespoon of whole cumin seeds in the Dutch oven, then add a cup of chopped red onion, 3 minced garlic cloves and 1/3 cup of Cubanelle, bell and/or jalapeño  peppers and sauté until softened and fragrant.

Nestle the pork shoulder (fat side up) in the vegetables, then pour in 1 cup of chicken stock and the marinade.  Add some wedges of lemon and lime and a palm-full of chopped fresh oregano. Cover and cook in a 200 degree oven until fork tender, about 3-4 hours depending on the size of the roast.

Remove from the oven, uncover and let stand 20 minutes.

For the Rice

Cook long-grain aged basmati in chicken stock until tender, adding water-soaked saffron during the last few minutes of cooking.  Season to taste with salt & pepper and garnished with chopped parsley.

For the Beans

Soak black beans overnight in filtered water before preparing in the usual fashion.  Stir in some of the vegetables from the Dutch oven during the last 15 minutes of cooking.

To Serve

Spoon rice onto a serving plate then top with beans.  Use 2 forks to pull the pork into chunks and place alongside the rice and beans.  Spoon some of the vegetables and pan juices over the pork and serve immediately.

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This post is part of the Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays!

Rustic Roast Chicken with Sweet Peppers and Sausage

Pastured chicken, sweet peppers, sausage, fresh herbs and garlicky croûtons. One of my personal favorites..

Rustic Roast Chicken
Rustic Roast Chicken with Sweet Peppers and Sausage

For the Bone Broth (adapted from a recipe by Thomas Keller)

5 pounds chicken parts such as necks, bones, backs, wings and feet
1 gallon cold, filtered water
1 3/4 cups carrots cut into 1-inch cubes
2 heaping cups leeks cut into 1-inch pieces (white and light green parts only)
1 1/2 cups Spanish onions cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bay leaf

Keller writes “As with all stocks, the goal is to remove impurities while extracting as much flavor and gelatin as possible from the bones, and the maximum flavor from the vegetables and aromatics.  You do this not only through gentle heat, but through gradual heat transitions as well; in other words, you don’t start with hot water, you begin with cold and bring it slowly up to heat”.

Rinse the chicken parts thoroughly under cold water to remove any remaining blood.  This helps to ensure that the resulting stock is clear, not cloudy.

Put all the bones into a large stock pot and add a gallon of cold water, just enough to cover the bones.  Slowly bring the liquid to a simmer and begin to skim as soon as the impurities rise to the top. Continue to simmer and skim until as much of the impurities have been removed as possible.

Add the vegetables and bay leaf and continue to simmer and skim for 45 minutes.  This recipes produces a lightly-flavored, gelatinous stock suitable for soups and braising.  For a stronger stock, simply continue to simmer and skim until the liquid has been reduced by 1/3 in volume.

Turn off the heat and let the stock rest 10 minutes to allow any particles left in the stock to settle to the bottom.

Ladle the finished stock through a strainer lined with a tea towel into a suitably large container, then transfer into quart jars set in a pan of ice water.  Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator to keep for up to 3 days.

For the Vegetables

Split a number of sweet peppers, Spanish onion and plum tomatoes in half lengthwise and place cut side down in a skillet or on a parchment paper-lined tray.  Roast in a 375 degree oven until blistered but not blackened, about 30 minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool enough to handle, then pull the skins off the peppers and tomatoes.

Coarsely chop the vegetables with fresh basil and oregano and set aside.

For the Chicken

Split large breasts and thighs into 2-3 pieces each and season lightly with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.  Melt a couple of tablespoonfuls of chicken fat in a heavy skillet.  Add the chicken as soon as the fat is shimmering but not smoking, and brown well on all sides.  Transfer chicken to a plate.

Cut 1-2 pieces of Italian sausage on a deep bias so that there is a lot of exposed surface area.  Brown the sausage in the same pan that you used for the chicken.

Arrange chicken and sausage in a Dutch oven containing 1 cup of bone broth as shown below.  Scatter roasted vegetables over the top, and drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and place uncovered in a 375 oven until the chicken has finished cooking, about 15 minutes.

For the Croûtons

Steep a clove of garlic in pastured butter for a few minutes, then toss in roughly-torn pieces of bread and fry until golden brown.  Add chopped parsley and give the croûtons one more toss before setting aside.

To assemble, arrange alternating pieces of chicken and sausage on a plate and top with vegetables.  Tuck in some croûtons here and there, then drizzle all with some of the roasting juices.  Garnish with additional chopped herbs and serve immediately.

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday

Blackberry Mascarpone Pancakes

Marion blackberries, fresh mascarpone, soaked and sprouted flours, vanilla bean paste, pastured butter and eggs and a dollop of maple butter..

Blackberry Mascarpone Pancakes
Blackberry Mascarpone Pancakes

For the Mascarpone

1 pint farm-fresh cream (not the ultra-pasteurized stuff from the grocery store)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Put the cream into the top of a double boiler set over shimmering (not boiling) water.  Once the cream is warm, stir in the cream of tartar and stir continuously until the cream reaches 180 degrees F as measured by a thermometer.  Immediately remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.  Pour into a bowl lined with cheesecloth or a clean towel, cover and allow to stand at room temperature for 24 hours.  Use within 2 days.

For the Soaked Flour

6 oz organic whole wheat pastry flour
3 oz filtered water
1 tablespoon buttermilk (can substitute whey or yoghurt)

Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl, cover loosely and allow to stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

For the Pancake Batter (informed by a ratio by Michael Ruhlman)

6 oz soaked flour
2 oz sprouted whole wheat flour
2 pastured eggs
2 oz cultured butter, melted
2 tablespoons mascarpone
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (substitute vanilla extract)
1 1/2 tablespoons rapadura
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1 scant teaspoon fine sea salt
buttermilk as needed
Marion or other blackberries, halved if large

Whisk the mascarpone until fluffy, then whisk in the remaining wet ingredients.  Combine the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then combine with the wet ingredients.  Thin with buttermilk until thick but pour-able.

Method

Heat a comal or cast iron skillet over a little less than medium heat.  Grease lightly with butter, then place small clusters of blackberries around the pan.  Let the berries sizzle a bit, then ladle the batter over the top.  Cook until golden brown, turning once.  Serve hot from the pan with a dollop of maple butter.

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This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays

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Tuesday Twister

Another Tuesday, another look back at what’s been twisting in the kitchen lately.  My gosh, where does the time go?

1) Black Bean Tamales Fresh corn masa spread on soaked husks and filled with cumin-fried black beans.  Served with fire-roasted tomato salsa and chile con queso..

2) Traditional Maryland Fried Chicken There’s a reason why this dish is still on the menu 130 years later!

3) Elderberry Syrup If the drug companies could patent nature, you can be sure they would be selling us barrels-full of elderberry syrup right now..

4) Kentucky Bourbon-Glazed Chicken Most popular post of the past week.  Must be the booze.

5) Lemon Poppyseed Cookies A personal favorite.  I brought these to work so as not to eat them all myself  :-)

6) Beef Heart Chili I’ve been wanting to do something with beef heart and tallow for a long time.  For me, the result was near-revelatory!

A week full of blessings.  I’m particularly grateful to some very generous friends, and very pleased to post in support of The Tuesday Twister.  Please join me as I head off to GNOWFGLINS to see what real life, real food inspiration awaits!

ps don’t forget to toss a recipe in the hat for a chance to win a great new cookbook from Thomas Keller!

Beef Heart Chili

I’ve been making and eating chili for a very long time now (some examples here and here), but I can honestly say that this is the most intensely-flavored, beefy-tasting pot I’ve ever had.  The secret?  Well, there are a couple.

Beef Heart Chili
Beef Heart Chili

Let’s look at the ingredients..

Chili Ingredients
its all about the ingredients

This is a fairly mild chili, but you can certainly increase the heat with jalapeño or Serrano peppers if you desire.

Clockwise from the bottom-left, we have 70% lean coarse-ground grass-fed beef, chiles Chipotle Dorado, New Mexico and Ancho, beef tallow, white onion, ripe plum tomato, Mexican Oregano, annatto seeds, cumin seed, sea salt, black pepper, long-neck garlic, coarse corn flour and freshly-ground beef heart.

Start by splitting the chiles with a scissors and removing the stems and seed clusters.  Its a good idea to wear gloves while doing this- I keep of box of recyclable medical gloves for this purpose.

Lay the split chiles out flat on a dry comal or heavy skillet along with some whole cumin seeds and toast over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 8 minutes.  Don’t let anything burn or it will be bitter.

Transfer the toasted chiles, cumin and annatto seeds to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into a semi-fine powder.  Set aside.

Melt beef tallow in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering, but not smoking.  Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, add ground beef and heart and sear until well browned.  Transfer meat to a Dutch oven, then sauté onions and garlic in the same pan.

Add the onions, garlic, oregano and diced tomato to the meat along with about 2 cups of filtered water for each 1 1/2 pounds of meat.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Stir in the corn flour and simmer another 15 minutes.  Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper if necessary and serve garnished with finely minced tomato, white onion and cilantro.  Offer beans and/or tortillas on the side if you wish.

Beef heart is very high in iron, riboflavin, selenium and vitamin B12 and high in niacin, phosphorus and zinc, and has an extraordinary amount of cancer-fighting CoQ10.  The appearance, texture and taste are indistinguishable from that of high-quality ground beef, except that it has a beefier flavor than hamburger.