Tag Archives: Pennywise Platter Thursday

Classic Chile Verde

Hefty chunks of heritage pork and white onion are seared in a spoonful of seriously hot lard (gasp!) then slowly simmered in their own juices with stock, roasted tomatillos, Poblano and jalapeño peppers, garlic,  cilantro and lime.  Served with fresh white corn tortillas on the side..

Classic Chile Verde

Classic Chile Verde (adapted by recipes by Diana Kennedy and Simply Recipes)

1 pound fatty pork loin or shoulder, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 white onion, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 fresh red or orange Anaheim, Poblano or other mild fresh chile (for color, optional)
2 fresh green Anaheim, Poblano or other mild fresh chile
1 fresh jalapeño pepper
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon clean white leaf lard
2 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 pound fresh tomatillos
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 scant teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse under cold water to remove sticky residue. Split tomatillos in half across the equator and arrange cut side up in a foil-lined skillet.  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt then roast along with the green chiles in a 450 degree oven until softened and partially charred.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, melt the lard in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until shimmering.  Add the pork, onions and red or orange pepper and fry without moving until deep golden brown on one side.  Use a tong or slotted spoon to turn the pork and onions over and continue to cook until well browned on the other side.  Reduce heat to medium low, add the garlic and cook one minute.   Add the stock and oregano cover and slowly simmer 60 minutes.

Peel the chiles, discard the stems and seeds and add to a blender or food processor along with the tomatillos and cilantro.  Pulse until mostly smooth, leaving a few small chunks.  Pour blended mixture into the pork and stock and stir to combine.  Simmer  partially covered, stirring occasionally until pork is fork tender, about 30 minutes.  Add lime juice and season to taste to salt and pepper.  Ladle into bowls and serve hot with freshly made corn tortillas.

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

Elote Particular

This variation of Mexico’s popular street food elote (roasted corn on the cob) uses freshly-ground chili powder,  pastured butter, lime, sea salt and homemade crema Mexicana with toasted cumin and cilantro..

Elote Particular

For the Chile Powder (all amounts may be adjusted according to taste)

2 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and split
2 arbol chiles, stemmed, seeded and split
1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon cacao powder

Toast the chiles on a dry comal over medium heat until fragrant, about 45 seconds per side. Take care not to let the chiles burn, or they will be bitter.

Once cooled, add the chiles and the rest of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse into a fine powder.  Store in an airtight container up to 3 months.

For the Cumin Crema

1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/3 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro

Toast the cumin in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Allow to cool, then crush in a mortar or spice grinder and set aside.  Freshly-toasted cumin tastes nothing like that jar of powdered stuff that’s been in the back of your cabinet for 2 years..

Using an instant read thermometer, warm the cream on the stove to 98 degrees then remove from heat, cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.  Transfer the now  somewhat thickened cream to the refrigerator and chill 4 or more hours.  Stir in cumin, salt, cilantro and lime 20 minutes before serving.

For the Corn

Pull back the husks and remove the silk.  Put the husks back in place and tie closed with kitchen string.  Plunge into a pot of lightly-salted boiling water, cover and parboil 5 minutes.  Transfer the corn to a wood-fired grill and cook turning often until tender, about10-15 minutes depending on size, etc.

Peel back the husks and slather the corn with butter, chili powder and crema. Use the husks as a handle to eat the corn popsicle-style, offering cotija cheese and lime wedges on the side if desired.

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

Brazos de Dios Chili Cheese Grits

Locally-milled corn grits are simmered in homemade vegetable stock, then combined with farmhouse cheddar, fried onions, fresh peppers, garlic, cumin and cilantro and topped with smoky chipotle chili sauce..

Brazos de Dios Chili Cheese Grits

For the Sauce

1 cup fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 chipotles en adobo, diced
1/4 cup Spanish onion, diced
1/2 tablespoon peanut oil
sea salt

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly browned.  Add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt as needed.

For the Grits

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 cups homemade vegetable stock
1 tablespoon pastured butter
1/2 Spanish onion, chopped
1/2 large poblano pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 cup sharp cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
several sprigs fresh cilantro, torn

Heat the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the cumin seeds and fry 30 seconds.  Add the onions, peppers and garlic and fry until lightly browned, then remove from heat.

Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and slowly whisk in the corn meal. Cook and stir until thick, adjusting consistency with additional stock if needed.

Add 2/3 of the cooked vegetables to the grits, along with any remaining melted butter. Fold in the cheese and cilantro and stir to combine.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, then cover and let stand 5 minutes.

To serve, spoon grits onto a plate or into a bowl and top with spoonfuls of chipotle sauce. Spoon remaining vegetables over the top, then garnish with a little more cheese and cilantro.

Omnivore’s Option

Add 1/4 pound seasoned, browned ground bison or pastured beef to the chipotle chili sauce.

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

Wood-Fired, Ancho-Rubbed Sirloin with Fried Plantains and Frijoles Charros

Grass-fed sirloin (Bastrop Cattle Co.) is rubbed in a mixture of ancho chilies, fresh garlic, Mexican oregano, comino and piloncillo, then quickly seared over a wood fire.  Served with salt & pepper-fried plantains and home-cooked frijoles charros (cowboy beans)..

Wood-Fired, Ancho-Rubbed Sirloin with Fried Plantains and Frijoles Charros


For the Rub (adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless)

2 cloves garlic, peeled
3-4 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 tablespoon piloncillo
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon half-sharp paprika
2 teaspoons sea salt

Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into a semi-fine powder.

For the Beans (adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless)

1 cup dried pinto beans
1 tablespoon leaf lard
1/2 yellow onion
1 small sprig epazote

2 thick slices bacon, diced and fried
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
1/2 fresh poblano pepper, charred and diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Rinse and pick over dried beans.  Cover with 1 quart of cool, filtered water, lard, onion and epazote.  Bring to a hard boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender, about 2 hours, adding the tomatoes and peppers about 30 minutes out.  Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary to keep from drying out.

Add bacon, salt and cilantro during the last 10 minutes of cooking, discarding the epazote before serving.

For the Plantains

1 plantain, very ripe but still firm
1 tablespoon peanut oil or butter
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Heat butter or oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Season plantain slices with salt and pepper then fry until golden brown. Set aside to drain.

For the Steaks

1 4oz breakfast sirloin per person
1 1/2 teaspoon spice rub per steak

Pat steak dry, then evenly coat on all sides with spice rub. Grill over a wood fire for about 2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing against the grain about 3/8 inch-thick.

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


Sopes de Pollo Poblano

Yesterday’s leftover roasted chicken is slowly simmered in a deep red chili sauce with strips of fresh poblano, cumin and garlic, then spooned into a fried masa boat and topped with crisp white onions, fresh cilantro, avocado and bits of fresh cheese..

Sopes de Pollo Poblano

For the Sopes

8 oz fresh corn masa for tortillas
sea salt
1/4 cup asiento (dark lard)

Using a few drops of water if necessary, knead masa and salt together into a smooth dough.  Roll into a ball, wrap and let stand 1 hour. Divide dough into 2 large or 4 small balls then press into to ovals about 1/4 inch thick.    Flip the dough onto a hot dry comal and cook until slighty crisp and brown in spots, then use a spatula to transfer the tortilla to a clean surface.  Working quickly, use your fingers to pinch up a border about 1/2 high  around the edge, forming a boat.  Place the sopes into a well-greased skillet and brush liberally with melted lard. Shallow fry over medium heat until golden brown.

For the Pollo Poblano

2-3 pieces of roasted chicken, torn into long strips
2 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
4 New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 small poblano, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips
salt

Briefly toast the chiles and cumin in a dry skillet, then transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Add garlic and pulse to combine, then slowly add water and process into a smooth, thin paste.  Pour chile paste into a saucepan and add torn pieces of chicken and strips of poblano. Cover and simmer until heated through, about 20 minutes.

To serve, spoon chicken mixture into hot sopes and garnish with minced white onion, cilantro, fresh cheese and avocado slices.

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

North African-style Kefta Kebab with Vegetable Couscous

Local, pastured lamb is ground with cinnamon, coriander, cumin and mint before being skewered, seared and flash-roasted with fiery harissa..

Kefta Kebab with Vegetable Couscous

For the Harissa

8-10 dried red chili peppers such as arbol (hot) or ancho (mild)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
rose water

Split the chilies and remove the stems and seeds.  Toast briefly in a dry skillet then set aside to cool.  Toast the whole spices until fragrant, then pour into the bowl of a food processor.  Add chilies, garlic and oil and pulse into a thick paste.  Adjust consistency with water and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

(the following are adapted from recipes by Claudia Roden)

For the Couscous

Pour 1 cup couscous into an oven dish.  Gradually pour in 1 cup warm salted water and allow to stand 10 minutes.  Mix in 1 tablespoon olive oil, then rub the grains between your hands to break up any lumps.  Place the dish into a 400 degree oven until steaming hot (about 15-20 minutes).  Stir in 1/2 cup hot vegetable stock, then toss with additional olive oil, chopped parsley and mint.  Add a little salt if you think it needs it.

For the Lamb

1/2 pound freshly-ground lamb, about 75% lean
1/3 small onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
small handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Roll seasoned lamb into large balls, then thread onto skewers.  Press lamb into something resembling a short, thick cigar.  Allow to stand 20 minutes, then sear over medium-high heat until well-browned and a crispy outer crust has formed.  Paint the kebabs with harissa, then flash in a 400 degree oven until pink on the inside, about 10 minutes.

To serve family-style, place a bowl of vegetable broth in the center of a serving dish and spoon couscous around the perimeter.  Drizzle the couscous with a little oil and/or broth to keep it moist, then arrange lamb kebabs over the top.  Offer a pinch pot of ground cumin on the side.

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