Tag Archives: cinnamon

Chicken Mole Rojo and Green Chili Bomba with Fried Plantains

Local, pastured chicken is seasoned with cracked cumin, sea salt and black pepper, then quickly roasted before being lacquered with a densely-flavored, traditional red mole.  Topped with toasted sesame seeds and minced onions & cilantro, and served with stock-simmered bomba rice with onions, green chiles and fried plantains..

Chicken Mole Rojo and Green Chili Bomba with Fried Plantains

Mole Rojo Clasico (recipe by Rick Bayless)

5 ounces (2-3 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1/2 cup (about 6 1/2 ounces) sesame seeds
1/2 cup rich-tasting pork lard or vegetable oil, plus a little more if necessary
3 ounces (about 6 medium) dried mulato chiles, stemmed, seeded & torn into large pieces
2 ounces (about 4 medium) dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded & torn into large pieces
2 ounces (about 5 medium) dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded & torn into large pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) unskinned raw almonds
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) raisins
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon anise, preferably freshly ground
1/8 teaspoon cloves, preferably freshly ground
1 slice firm white bread, darkly toasted and broken into several pieces
1 ounce (about 1/3 of a 3.3-ounce tablet) Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
Salt
unrefined sugar to taste

On a rimmed baking sheet, roast the tomatillos 4 inches below a very hot broiler until splotchy black and thoroughly soft, about 5 minutes per side.  Scrape into a large bowl.  In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, stirringly nearly constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes.  Scrape half of them in with the tomatillos.  Reserve the remainder for sprinkling on the chicken.

Brown other mole ingredients.  Turn on an exhaust fan or open a kitchen door or window.  In a very large soup pot (I typically use a 12-quart stainless steel stock pot or a medium-large Mexican earthenware cazuela), heat the lard or oil over medium.  When quite hot, fry the chiles, three or four pieces at a time, flipping them nearly constantly with tongs until their interior side has changed to a lighter color, about 20 or 30 seconds total frying time.  Don’t toast them so darkly that they begin to smoke—that would make the mole bitter.  As they’re done, remove them to a large bowl, being careful to drain as much fat as possible back into the pot.  Cover the toasted chiles with hot tap water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to insure even soaking.

Remove any stray chile seeds left in the fat.  With the pot still over medium heat, fry the garlic and almonds, stirring regularly, until browned (the garlic should be soft), about 5 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, remove to the tomatillo bowl, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot.

Add the raisins to the hot pot.  Stir for 20 or 30 seconds, until they’ve puffed and browned slightly.  Scoop them out, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot, and add to the tomatillos. Set the pan aside off the heat.

To the tomatillo mixture, add the cinnamon, black pepper, anise, cloves, bread and chocolate.  Add 2 cups water and stir to combine.

Blend, strain, cook.  Into a large measuring cup, tip off the chiles’ soaking liquid. Taste the liquid:  if it’s not bitter, discard all abut 6 cups of the liquid. (if you’re short, add water to make up the shortfall).  If bitter, pour it out and measure 6 cups water.  Scoop half of the chiles into a blender jar, pour in half of the soaking liquid (or water) and blend to a smooth puree.  Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a large bowl; discard the bits of skin and seeds that don’t pass through the strainer.  Repeat with the remaining chiles.

Return the soup pot or cazuela to medium heat.  When quite hot, pour in the chile puree—it should sizzle sharply and, if the pan is sufficiently hot, the mixture should never stop boiling.  Stir every couple of minutes until the chile puree has darkened and reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about a half hour. (I find it useful to cover the pot with an inexpensive spatter screen to catch any spattering chile.)

In two batches, blend the tomatillo mixture as smoothly as possible (you may need an extra 1/2 cup water to keep everything moving through the blades), then strain it in to the large bowl that contained the chiles. When the chile paste has reduced, add the tomatillo mixture to the pot and cook, stirring every few minutes until considerably darker and thicker, 15 to 20 minutes. (Again, a spatter screen saves a lot of cleanup.)

Simmer.  Add the broth to the pot and briskly simmer the mixture over medium to medium-low heat for about 2 hours for all the flavors to come together and mellow. If the mole has thickened beyond the consistency of a cream soup, stir in a little water.  Taste and season with salt (usually about 4 teaspoons) and the sugar and keep warm.

For the Green Chili Bomba (adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless)

1 cup bomba rice (a special type of Spanish paella rice)
3 cups rich chicken stock
1 cup yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons rendered chicken fat
1/4 thinly-sliced green chiles
sea salt

ripe plantains
butter or peanut oil

Place the rice in a strainer and rinse under cold, filtered water until the water runs clear.  Allow to drain 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock until steaming.

Heat the chicken fat in heavy, high-walled skillet until shimmering.  Add the rice and stir constantly until it floats freely in the hot fat.  Add onions and chiles and cook 8 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add chicken stock and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to low and cook without stirring 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and let stand 15 minutes.  Fluff the rice with a fork just before serving.

To prepare

Season chicken joints with salt, pepper and cracked cumin and roast in a heavy skillet in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Remove pan from oven, dunk chicken in mole and return to pan to the oven for 30 minutes at 325 degrees.  Remove pan from oven, baste chicken with more mole and allow to stand 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, fry slices of ripe plantain in hot peanut oil or butter until deep golden brown on both sides.  Set aside to drain.

Arrange chicken on one side of plate and spoon a little mole over the top.  Garnish with toasted white sesame seeds, minced onion and cilantro.  Arrange rice next to the chicken and garnish with fried plantains.  Serve hot.

Tulsi Chai

Revered in India for over 5,000 years as an adaptogenic balm for body, mind and spirit, modern research suggests that tulsi may be effective in supporting the heart, blood vessels, liver and lungs and may also help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar.

A soothing and healing decoction of holy basil, green tea, fresh ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg with fresh milk and a touch of raw honey.

Tulsi Chai

Makes about 2 cups (adapted from a recipe in The Herb Companion)

1/2 cup fresh holy basil leaves, compacted or a scant 1/4 cup dried
2 cups cold, filtered water
2 rounded teaspoons green tea
2 green cardamom pods, crushed
one 1/4 inch-thick slice fresh ginger
one 2 inch length Ceylon cinnamon
2 whole cloves
freshly-grated nutmeg
honey to taste
milk to taste

Bring water to to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add basil, cover and simmer 3 minutes.  Stir in tea and spices, cover and steep 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then pour through a fine-mesh strainer.  Stir in milk and honey to suit and garnish with grated nutmeg and crystallized ginger.   May be served warm or cold.

Portuguese Linguiça and Fava Bean Stew

Linguiça is a meaty-flavored, brined and lightly-smoked Portuguese sausage made with pork butt, oregano, and paprika.  Reminiscent of feijoada or a small cassoulet, it is combined here with uncured, smoked bacon, garlic sausage, onions and fava beans and simmered with tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg..

Portuguese Linguiça and Fava Bean Stew

Serves 2

2 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock
1 large link Portuguese linguiça, sliced
1/4 cup garlic sausage, diced
2 slices uncured, smoked bacon, diced
1/2 Spanish onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry fava beans, blanched and peeled (use fresh when in season)
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 4″ stick of cinnamon
1 whole nutmeg seed, abraded
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 cup celery, diced
1 Roma tomato, diced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Fry bacon until nearly crisp.  Add onions, linguiça, garlic sausage and cumin and sauté until very well browned.  Pour off grease and transfer meat to a strainer and allow to drain thoroughly.  De-glaze pan with a little stock, scraping up all the brown bits with the back of a wooden spoon.

Add cinnamon, garlic, nutmeg, celery and the rest of the stock, reduce heat and simmer until beans are nearly tender, about 45 minutes.

Remove cinnamon and nutmeg and add the meat, tomatoes and tomato paste, celery leaves and parsley and simmer 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, then ladle into bowls.  Drizzle a little good olive oil over the top and serve hot.

Belgian Chocolate French Toast with Roasted Bananas and Whipped Cream

Homemade Belgian chocolate bread is soaked in custard, then fried in cultured butter and served with roasted bananas and whipped cream..

Belgian Chocolate French Toast with Roasted Bananas and Whipped Cream

For the bread (measure flour by weight, liquid by volume)

6 oz organic pastry flour
2 oz sprouted wheat flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 oz non-refined sugar
4 oz cacao powder
4 oz Belgian chocolate, shaved
4 oz filtered water
4 oz plain kefir or yoghurt
2 large eggs
4 oz melted butter

Mix the dry ingredients (except Belgian chocolate) together in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, kefir and butter.

Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.  Don’t over-mix.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into a buttered 4×8 loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees until just set, approximately 45 minutes. Don’t overbake.

Allow loaf to cool on a rack for 15 minutes.

For the Custard

2 pastured eggs
1/3 cup fresh milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and beat with a fork until frothy.

For the Whipped Cream

1/4 cup fresh heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt

Use a whisk or hand mixer to whip all ingredients together until thickened.

For the Bananas

2 small bananas, split lengthwise
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon granulated maple sugar

Place the bananas cut-side down on a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with maple sugar and roast in a 375 degree oven until golden brown and partially caramelized.

To Prepare

Soak thick slices of day-old chocolate bread in custard until completely saturated.  Carefully to transfer to a rack and drain for a few minutes.  Heat butter in a heavy skillet oven medium heat and fry soaked bread until light golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Place skillet and bread in a 375 degree oven and bake 7 minutes.

Place French toast on a plate and slide roasted banana on top. Garnish with whipped cream and serve immediately.

Santa Fe Hot Pot

Human occupation of New Mexico stretches back at least 11,000 years to the Clovis culture of hunter-gatherers, who left evidence of their campsites and stone tools. After the invention of agriculture the land was inhabited by the Ancient Pueblo Peoples who built houses out of stone or adobe bricks. They experienced a Golden Age around AD 1000 but climate change led to migration and cultural evolution into the modern Pueblo peoples who lived primarily along the few major rivers of the region. (Wikipedia)

A contemporary New Mexican-style pork stew with dried beans, toasted chilies, onions, peppers, onions and sweet potatoes with cinnamon, cloves, green garlic, cumin and corn flour..

Santa Fe Hot Pot

Serves 2

1/3 cup mixed dried heirloom beans such as yellow Indian woman, tepary, pinquito & black
4 cups chicken stock, divided
1/2 pound braised feral hog (substitute leftover pork belly or pork shoulder roast), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons leaf lard (substitute bacon grease)
1/4 cup mild chili powder
2 dried New Mexico chilies, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground cloves
1 large tomatillo, husked, rinsed and chopped
2 red Fresno chilies, sliced
1/2 Spanish onion, chopped
1/4 cup poblano pepper, chopped
1 bulb green garlic, including leaves, chopped
1/3 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon smoked black pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon corn flour (not corn meal)
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Rinse, pick over and soak a variety of dried beans overnight. Place in a pot with 2 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, about 1 hour.

Heat lard in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add diced sweet potatoes and cook until browned along the edges and somewhat tender.  Add onions, fresh and dried chilies, peppers and green garlic and sauté until softened.

Add tomatillo, pork, beans, stock, pork, chili powder, paprika, cinnamon and cloves, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.  Add corn flour, stir and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Ladle into bowls and serve with wedges of lime and corn chips or cornbread.

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

Lamb Keftedes

A traditional Greek offering of local, pastured lamb, toasted spices and fresh herbs, garlic, lemon and extra-virgin olive oil..

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Lamb Keftedes

Makes about 8-10 Meatballs (adapted from a recipe by Michael Symon)

1/4 cup white onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup day-old bread, torn into cubes
1/4 cup fresh, whole milk
1/2 pound freshly-ground lamb, 75% lean
1 pastured egg
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon nibs
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
sprouted wheat flour for dusting
clarified butter
fresh oregano, torn
fresh mint, torn
1 fresh lemon

Toast the cinnamon, cumin and coriander in a dry skillet until fragrant, then set aside to cool.  Meanwhile, sauté the onion with a pinch of salt in a little clarified butter over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic  and cook until softened, about another 2 minutes. Set aside.

Soak the bread in the milk.

Grind the toasted spices and cinnamon together in a mortar, then combine with the black pepper and nutmeg.

In a mixing bowl, combine the onions, garlic and lamb.  Squeeze out the bread and add to the lamb along with the spices, pepper and torn oregano.  Mix everything together by hand.

Form the meat mixture into golf ball-sized balls then roll in the flour, gently shaking off any excess.

Heat clarified butter in a heavy pan over medium heat, then add the meatballs to the pan.  Pan-fry until golden brown and crusty on the outside, then drain briefly on paper towels.

Arrange the meatballs on a plate, drizzle with olive oil then season with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.  Garnish with lemon zest and oregano and serve with olives and lemon wedges.

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