Mac & Cheese with Smoked Ham and Roasted Poblano

Classic comfort food on cold and rainy day.

Organic macaroni, extra sharp Vermont white cheddar, extra sharp Wisconsin yellow cheddar, caramelized onions, heirloom garlic, smoked ham, roasted poblano peppers and local, pastured half & half.  Seasoned with sea salt, black pepper and Piment d’Espelette, topped with fresh breadcrumbs and baked until golden brown and bubbly..

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

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!

Southwestern Ham Hash with Fried Eggs and Homemade Ancho Ketchup

Here’s an easy and inexpensive way to use up a bit of leftover ham..

Ham Hash, Fried Egg and Ancho Ketchup

For the Ancho Puree (makes 3/4 cup)

1 cup filtered water
3 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 2 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and allow to steep 20 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth.

Combine 2 parts homemade ketchup with 1 part ancho puree, more-or-less to taste.  Refrigerate up to 1 month.

For the Hash

1 tablespoon butter
2 slices ham, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 small red potatoes, cut into 1/4 dice
1/2 small Spanish onion, diced
1/4 cup poblano pepper, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 scallions, sliced
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Boil the potatoes in lightly-salted water until not quite tender.  Drain, and shake the pan until that the potatoes take on a slightly “fuzzed” texture.

Heat butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and fry until lightly browned.  Add potatoes, peppers, ham and garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until browned and slightly crusty.  Mix garlic salt and spices together in a small dish and use this mixture to season the hash to taste.  Add scallions and parsley and stir to combine.

To serve, spoon hash onto a serving plate and top with a fried egg.  Dress with ancho ketchup and serve hot.

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

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!

Roast Squash Coloradito

Roasted sweet dumpling squash stuffed with poblano peppers, Spanish onions, smoked bacon and toasted corn, served over a spicy mole Coloradito..

Roast Squash Coloradito

Roast Squash Coloradito

For the Sauce

Simmer 1/4 cup mole Coloradito paste (a somewhat complicated combination of Ancho and Guajillo chiles, almonds, sesame seeds, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, banana and pumpkin seeds) with 3/4 cup vegetable stock.  Keep warm.

For the Roasted Squash

Split, trim and seed one or more small, suitable baking squash (such as the thin-skinned sweet dumpling variety, shown here).  Scoop out and discard the stringy fibers, leaving 1/2 inch flesh.  Brush with ghee or melted butter, season with salt and smoked pepper and roast in a 375 degree oven until tender and caramelized, about 40 minutes. Keep warm.

For the Filling

4 pieces of un-cured smoked bacon, cut into large dice
1 Poblano pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 red bell or sweet pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Cook the bacon in a heavy skillet until nearly crisp.  Add vegetables and continue to cook until barely tender.  Fill the cavity of the squash with the vegetable mixture, season with salt and pepper and return to the oven until heated through, about 7 minutes.

To Serve

Spread mole in the center of a warmed plate and place roasted squash on top.  Toss some toasted pumpkin seeds and a little chopped cilantro at it and serve immediately.


This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays!