Green Chili Stew with Fried Black Beans and Garlic Roasted Chicken

Hatch chilies and roasted tomatillos are simmered in chicken stock thickened with fresh corn flour and served with cumin-fried black beans and garlic-roasted chicken..

Green Chili Stew with Fried Black Beans and Roasted Chicken

For the Beans

1 cup dried black beans
3 cups filtered water
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon leaf lard
1/4 teaspoon epazote
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Rinse beans and pick over.  Put in a bowl, cover with cool water and allow to soak overnight.  Drain, rinse and put into a heavy saucepot with 3 cups of filtered water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving some of the liquid and set aside.

Toast cumin in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant.  Add lard, onions and tomatoes and cook until onions are brown and tomatoes have lost their shape.  Add beans, a little bean cooking water, oregano and epazote and simmer, uncovered until tender, about 20 minutes.  Add a little water if necessary to keep beans from drying out.  Mash beans with the back of a wooden spoon and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Chicken

fresh chicken pieces
1 tablespoon pastured butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Melt butter over medium heat then add garlic, paprika and chipotle and allow to steep 15 minutes.  Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Brush liberally with butter mixture and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in a 375 degree oven, turning twice until juices run clear, about 35 minutes.

For the Green Chili Stew

1 pound tomatillos
1/3 pound fresh Hatch or Anaheim chilies
1 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white onion, minced and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon piloncillo or rapadura (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse corn flour
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Remove stems and husks from tomatillos and rinse. Split in half across the equator then place face down in a heavy skillet and roast until browned.  Transfer roasted tomatillos to the bowl of a food processor and coarsely pulse together with chilies, cilantro, garlic and onion.  Transfer mixture to a heavy saucepan, add 1/2 cup chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, add vinegar and piloncillo and simmer 20 minutes.  Add corn flour, stir and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon fried beans in the center of a serving plate,  Ladle green chili stew around the perimeter, then arrange pieces of roasted chicken over the top.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and dress with crèma Mexicana or sour cream.

Easy Raw Chevre

Hi, I’m Wardeh (‘Wardee’) from GNOWFGLINS. I was thrilled when Ren asked me to guest post on his blog. It took me awhile to decide what I would share, but I finally settled on my recipe for a no-mess, can’t-go-wrong, delicious, and beneficial cheese – raw chevre.

Chevre, a soft spreadable cheese from raw goat milk, is one of the easiest cheeses to make. My family started raising our own milk goats in the late spring of 2009. I’ve made many batches of chevre since then – at least one per week, though sometimes more. We consume it daily, either plain or in other dishes, but I’ve also managed to fill the freezer with finished batches at a fantastic rate.  Want some?

Not only delicious, raw cheeses are incredibly good for us. They are full of beneficial bacteria and enzymes. Often, people who are lactose-intolerant can eat raw cheese. This is because during the culturing stage, bacteria consume much of the lactose. The cheese also contains lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose, which helps if there is any lactose left. It is marvelous that raw dairy foods bring with them the necessary enzymes to aid digestion.

I’ve made it my mission to find easy-to-make cheeses. Chevre fits the bill not only because it is simple and almost hands-off, but because it only requires a 1/2 gallon of raw goat milk to make it. By the way, you can make chevre with raw cow’s milk. The process will be the same, just you can’t call it chevre any more. This recipe makes 2 to 3 cups of chevre. I do it bag-style, rather than in little cup molds.


Stage 1: Culturing

Put the milk in a half gallon or gallon size jar. The milk’s temperature doesn’t matter. I usually start chevre with milk warm from milking, but I’ve also done it with milk cold from the refrigerator. Sprinkle the mesophilic culture on it and stir in with a wooden spoon (not metal).

Put the 1/4 cup of water in a little jar or cup. Add one drop of the double-strength liquid rennet. Stir well. Take one tablespoon of this solution and add it to the jar of milk. Stir well. If using regular strength liquid rennet, mix one drop of it with the water, but add 2 tablespoons of the solution to the milk and stir well.

This solution will keep in the refrigerator for one or two weeks. If it smells disagreeable, toss it. (It will smell like nothing when it is still good.)

Cover the jar of milk with a cloth napkin and secure with a rubber band. Let sit out at room temperature to culture for 24 hours.

Stage 2: Dripping

Place the colander inside a pot or bowl. Make sure it is big enough to catch up to a quart of the whey that will drip out. Layer the two pieces of cheesecloth in the colander.

The milk should now be thick and gelled, much like a firm yogurt. Transfer these curds into the cheesecloth. It is okay if they fall apart. Do it gently, but don’t be concerned about keeping them all in one piece.

Tie up the opposite corners of the cheesecloth, making a bag to enclose the curds. Lay the ends of the cheesecloth on top of the bundle of curds in the colander. Don’t let the ends of the cheesecloth hang out of the colander, or the whey will drip down into a puddle on your counter (true story).

Leave this setup out at room temperature for 24 hours, during which time the whey will drip out and the curds will thicken.

Stage 3: Collecting

Untie the cheesecloth and check the consistency of the cheese. You may let it hang longer if you wish the cheese to thicken more. At this point, it is usually spreadable and soft, thicker than mayonnaise but not dry.

Transfer the chevre to a clean bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Stir. Adjust amount of salt to taste. Refrigerate.

Save and refrigerate the whey that drips out; it may be used in lacto-ferments.

Mix It Up

Besides spread plain and salty on scones or toast, I like to use chevre in some other yummy ways.

It has become my family’s favorite creamy salad dressing. Combine 1 cup of chevre with 1 cup of raw milk and 4 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar. Blend well, adding salt, pepper, garlic, and other herbs (parsley, dill, and chives are good) to taste.

I mix the chevre with a seasoning salt such as Herbamare, or my homemade version of it, for a delicious vegetable dip.

And it makes a great sour cream substitute. Blend the chevre with enough raw milk to make it the consistency you desire. It will thicken up in the refrigerator.

And that’s it! Chevre is a great cheese that anyone can make and everyone likes. I’ve enjoyed having this opportunity to write at Edible Aria; Ren’s blog is one of my favorite blogs, not just because of the fantastic foods he makes, but because he’s a sincere and caring person.

You can find me at my blog, GNOWFGLINS, where I write about how my family embraces “God’s Natural, Organic, Whole Foods, Grown Locally, In Season.” I’d love to see you there.

Criques au Caviar

Delicate potato pancakes topped with crème fraîche and domestic caviar..

Criques au Caviar

For the Crème Fraîche

6 oz fresh heavy cream
2 oz cultured buttermilk

Gently heat heavy cream to 105 degrees (use a thermometer), then remove from heat and stir in buttermilk.  Transfer to a glass jar, cover with a napkin and allow to stand at room temperature until thick, about 24-36 hours.  Transfer to the refrigerator and age for 24 hours.  Use within 7-10 days.

For the Criques, (about 6 2-3 inch pancakes, adapted from a recipe by Jacques Pépin)

1 cup Yukon gold or fingerling potatoes
1 large farm-fresh egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 spring onion, slivered
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon cultured butter
fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Peel and dice potatoes and transfer to the bowl of a food processor.  Add egg and pulse until smooth.  Stir in baking powder and onion and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Heat butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering, then pour batter into 2-3 inch pancakes.  Allow to cook undisturbed until the edges begin to brown and the pancake releases itself from the pan.  Flip and cook until golden brown, then transfer to a wire rack hold in a warm oven until ready to plate.

To serve, dress criques with a bit of smoked salmon or applesauce perhaps, or my favorite, crème fraîche and caviar.

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.

Thai Spiced Mango Tapioca Pudding

Fresh ginger, Thai basil, kaffir lime, lemongrass, fresh mango, tapioca, cream, coconut milk and cayenne..

Thai Spiced Mango Tapioca Pudding

Thai Spiced Mango Tapioca Pudding (adapted from a recipe by Elizabeth Falkner)

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1/2 tablespoon fresh galangal, peeled and sliced
4 Thai basil leaves
2-3 sprigs fresh cilantro
1-2 small kaffir lime leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemongrass, sliced
1 cup filtered water
1/2 cup fresh cream
1/4 cup organic palm sugar
1/3 cup Bot Bang (Thai pearl tapioca)
1/2 cup heavy coconut milk
1 small fresh mango, diced
cayenne pepper

Combine ginger, galangal, basil, cilantro, lime leaves and lemongrass in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 3-4 times.  Transfer to a heavy saucepan and add 1 cup cold water.  Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes.  Strain liquid into another heavy saucepan, pressing on the solids with the back of a wooden spoon to release as much liquid as possible.

Add cream and sugar to the decoction and bring to a boil.  Stir in tapioca, reduce heat and simmer, stirring often until reduced in volume by about a third, about 1/2 hour.

Stir in mango, cover and allow to cool 10 minutes.

To serve, spoon pudding into a glass or shallow plate and sprinkle with cayenne pepper.  Garnish with basil and crystallized ginger.