Black Bean Tamales, Roasted Tomato Salsa and Chile con Queso

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


Black Bean Tamales, Roasted Tomato Salsa and Chile con Queso

For the Chili con Queso

1 1/2 cups fresh whole milk
1 1/2 cups grated raw cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons pastured butter
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 red Fresno pepper, minced
1 tablespoon sweet dairy whey
1/2 teaspoon smoked chili powder
1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Heat butter in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat.  Add peppers and cook until softened.  Add milk and bring to a strong simmer, stirring often.  Add whey (this gives the sauce a tangy taste) and stir to combine.  Add cheese a little at a time, stirring as it melts.  Season with smoked chili powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in cilantro and parsley and keep warm.

For the Tomato Sauce

2 plum tomatoes, cored and halved
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small white onion, diced
1-2 small green chiles, diced
pinch of non-refined sugar (optional)
salt and pepper

Roast, grill or broil tomatoes until partially black and blistered.  Allow to cool enough to handle, then sauté together with garlic, onions and chiles until most of the water has evaporated.  Add sugar if using, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Keep warm.

For the Filling

1 cup black beans, soaked overnight
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 small clove garlic
1 tablespoon leaf lard
salt and pepper

Cook black beans in chicken stock until tender.  Drain and set aside, reserving liquid

Sauté onion, garlic and cumin in lard until fragrant.  Add beans and mash with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add bean cooking liquid as necessary to form a thick but spreadable paste.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

For the Dough

1 1/2 cups coarse corn masa (not cornmeal)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, warm
1/4 cup leaf lard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

6 8-inch enconchada-style corn husks, soaked

Whip lard until fluffy, then blend in masa, salt and baking powder.  Slowly mix in chicken stock until a moist, consistent dough is formed.

Spread dough as evenly as possible over one side of each husk, about 1/8 inch thick.  Place a large spoonful of fried bean mixture in the center of the dough.  Fold the sides of the husks so that they overlap in the center, forming a long cigar-like structure.  Fold the empty part of the husk under so that it rests against the seam.

Bundle tamales together and steam standing upright until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

To serve, ladle tomato sauce into the center of a plate, carefully unwrap the tamales and arrange around the perimeter.  Spoon chile con queso over the top, and garnish plate with bits of diced onion, red pepper and cilantro.  Drizzle hot sauce and serve immediately.


This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays

Roasted Chicken Posole Soup

Achiote roasted chicken, homemade chicken stock, posole corn, yellow onions, fresh chile peppers, smoked chile powder, lime and vermicelli.


Roasted Chicken Posole Soup

Soak 1 1/2 cups dried posole overnight in cool, filtered water.  Drain and put into a Dutch oven with 1 quart homemade chicken stock.  Cover and simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add 1 yellow onion, chopped, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 large jalapeño, chopped, and a cup of mild red, yellow and orange peppers cut into varying shapes and sizes.

Add leftover roast chicken (skin removed) cut into large chunks 1 teaspoon smoked chile powder and 1 tablespoon toasted cumin seed and simmer until posole is tender, about 1 hour.  Add additional chicken stock as needed.

Add crumbled saffron and cooked and drained vermicelli and simmer another 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh lime and/or wedges of avocado.

Rosemary Chicken Liver Skewers

(you might also like this recipe)

Local, pastured chicken livers pan-fried on rosemary skewers with garlic smashed purple potatoes and mushroom & onion gravy..

Rosemary Chicken Liver Skewers

Rosemary Chicken Liver Skewers

For 2 servings

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

3 medium purple potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1-2 cloves Chesnok or other strong garlic, minced
1 tablespoon pastured butter
2 tablespoons fresh whole milk
sea salt and cracked pepper

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Pour off all but 2 ounces of water and keep hot until 5 minutes before ready to serve.  To finish, pour off any remaining water and stir in butter and garlic.  Mash with a flat-faced potato masher and thin slightly with milk.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mushroom and Onion Gravy

1 tablespoon pastured butter
1 palm-full pearl onions
1 palm-full large brown mushrooms, quartered
1 oz Armagnac or brandy
4 oz roasted chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons roux
sea salt and cracked pepper

Sauté mushrooms and onions in butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until well browned.  Off-heat, de-glaze the pan with 1 oz Armagnac or brandy.  Return to heat and add chicken stock.  Reduce slightly, then whisk in a little roux to tighten.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Whisk in a knob of cold butter just before serving.

Rosemary Chicken Liver Skewers

12 oz fresh, pastured chicken livers, cleaned, rinsed and patted dry
4 6-inch rosemary skewers
1 tablespoon rendered chicken fat
1 tablespoon pastured butter
sea salt and cracked pepper

Thread 2-3 plump chicken livers onto each of 4 6-inch rosemary skewers.  Set on paper towels and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper.

Sear livers on all sides in chicken fat and butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until nicely browned and medium-rare to medium doneness.  Add 2 tablespoons chicken stock and allow to sit 2 minutes.

To serve, mound smashed potatoes in the center of a large plate.  Place 2 skewers on top of the potatoes then spoon gravy over the top.  Garnish with bits of herbs and greens.


This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays

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Chicken a la King

Tender pieces of pastured chicken simmered in bone broth with fresh cream, sherry, nutmeg, peas and mushrooms.  Invented in the late 1800’s, this retro dish is every bit as good now as it was then..

Chicken à la King

Chicken à la King

To make roux, melt 4 oz. pastured butter over medium-low heat until it just begins to sizzle.  Add 5 oz. by weight sprouted wheat or spelt flour and whisk to combine.  Stirring continuously, continue to cook until it smells like baked bread, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

To make topping, toast a piece of sprouted wheat or spelt bread in the toaster, then tear it up into small pieces and sauté in butter and parsley until golden brown.

Gently simmer chunks of pastured chicken (I’m using thighs, skin removed) in chicken stock with a little sherry and fresh thyme until just done.

Lightly sauté halved pearl onions, wild mushrooms and a bit of red bell pepper, then stir into the chicken.

Add fresh cream, green peas and freshly-grated nutmeg and simmer 5 minutes.

Whisk roux into the chicken and simmer, stirring continuously until thickened, 3-5 minutes.

Season to taste with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.

To serve, simply spoon chicken mixture into a deep dish and top with toasted bread crumbs.

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Dancing Mushroom Shiromiso


Known as the Hen of the Woods mushroom in North America, the Maitake (dancing mushroom) is revered for its anti-cancer properties and ability to regulate the body’s blood pressure and insulin levels.

Here’s a delicious way to load up on minerals, vitamins, protein and amino acids..

Maitake Miso

Dancing Mushroom Shiromiso

If not available locally, whole Maitake mushrooms can be ordered from Mountain Rose Herbs

Whole, dried organic Maitake (grifola frondosa)
Fresh scallions, sliced
White miso paste
Organic spinach powder
Homemade chicken bone broth, vegetable stock or filtered water
Low-sodium tamari
Dried organic celery root
Dried hijiki

Soak dried Maitake in filtered hot (not boiling) water for 20 minutes.  Set re-hydrated mushroom aside to drain.  Reserve soaking liquid.

Drizzle mushroom with clarified butter, sprinkle with pepper and spinach powder and roast in a 350 degree oven until golden brown (about 25 minutes).  The mushroom should be slightly crispy on the edges.

Meanwhile, bring reserved soaking liquid and chicken stock to a rapid boil and cook until reduced in volume by 1/3.

Reduce heat and add tamari (be sure to use traditionally-fermented tamari that doesn’t contain hydrolyzed protein) celery root, scallions and hijiki (a wild brown sea vegetable).  Simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove broth from heat and stir in white miso paste.

Ladle broth into a bowl or deep plate then place the roasted Maitake on top.