New Mexican Posole

Pork PosolePork Posole from scratch
This is a beautiful recipe. We have made it several times over the past couple years and each time it surprises me how good it really is. The warmth of the spices and the rounded flavors from the fatty pork, combined with the brightness of the cilantro hit the spot every time. It’s home in a bowl. This weekend looks to be dark and rainy for a lot of us across the Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma region and I can think of no better recipe to make for staying inside and taking comfort in being home than this one. ¬†Serve it with tortillas or cornbread for extra comfort!

These past few weeks have been hard. One or more of us has been sick since the very beginning of March. We’ve had the flu, some weird pink eye thing, a cough that lasted three weeks, the stomach flu and double ear infections – twice. I’ve felt at times over these weeks that it doesn’t really matter what I cook – everyone is just going to either not be in the mood to eat, barf it up, or wish they just had a cracker, anyway. It’s so hard to keep going and to keep doing what you love when life starts throwing crap your way. It’s so easy to give up and get fast food every day. (And I did.) But then, you feel worse. And so you go through the cycle again and it just doesn’t get better until you step back and plan ahead and make a few meals a week that FEEL good and nurture your body AND your spirit. (That can include cookies.) You don’t have to do it every day – but a couple times a week, it’s worth the effort. And it pays off in really good leftovers. ūüôā

I hope you are all well this week. And if you’re not, seriously, text me and let me know and I’ll bring you some soup.New Mexican Posole

Posole

New Mexican Posole

  • 1 ¬Ĺ pounds hominy
  • 3 ounces dried red New Mexico chiles (about 10 large chiles)
  • 4¬†pounds pork shoulder, not too lean, cut in 2-inch chunks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled, halved and stuck with 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted until fragrant and coarsely ground
  • 2 cups finely diced white onion, soaked in ice water, for garnish
  • Lime wedges and cilantro for garnish

Drain hominy and put in large soup pot. Cover with water and bring to boil. Let simmer briskly for 30 minutes.

Toast dried chiles lightly in cast-iron skillet or stovetop grill, just until fragrant. Wearing gloves, slit chiles lengthwise with paring knife. Remove and discard stems and seeds. Put chiles in saucepan and cover with 4 cups water. Simmer 30 minutes and let cool. In blender, purée chiles to a smooth paste using some cooking water as necessary. Purée should be of milkshake consistency.

Season pork generously with salt and pepper. After posole has cooked 30 minutes, add pork shoulder, onion stuck with cloves, bay leaf, garlic and cumin. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches, then return to a brisk simmer. While adding water occasionally and tasting broth for salt, simmer for about 2 1/2 hours more, until meat is tender. Skim fat from surface of broth.

Stir in 1 cup chile purée and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning. (At this point, posole can be cooled completely and reheated later. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.)

To serve, ladle posole, meat and broth into wide bowls. Pass bowls of diced onion, lime wedges, cilantro and oregano, and let guests garnish to taste.

*recipe adapted from the New York Times Cooking

Curried Cream Corn

Curry Cream Corn
Every summer we come up with a corn dish to bring to cookouts and to utilize the crazy cheap ears of corn available from about May through August. As this summer is coming to a close, I wanted to share a recipe that is summery and yet has the warmth in flavor of the fall season just around the corner. As the weather cools, I start thinking of slow simmering stews and soups and braised meats and one really great way to shake the flavors of your kitchen up a bit is to introduce Asian and Indian flavors into your meals. We often use coconut milk when making rice to accompany a Thai dish and sometimes we throw curry powder into a soup to give it that depth of flavor we love in Indian cuisine. For this creamed corn, we combined all three: a curry, coconut milk, Southern creamed corn dish that delivers in flavor and comfort.

This recipe won’t necessarily be “printer friendly” as it’s a “little of this and a little of that” type of recipe. I honestly don’t recall the ratios, but we adjusted and tasted along the way and that’s part of the fun in cooking, in my opinion. Use your own preferences to guide you! We have some lemongrass growing in the backyard (I was so surprised it did well, but it’s BEAUTIFUL – highly recommend you plant some!) and so that’s thrown in there, too. This is not one cuisine or another, it’s just a bunch of flavors we all love! I hope you will love it, too!

Curried Cream Corn

Curried Cream Corn

3 or 4 ears of corn
1 large, sweet yellow onion, chopped (about a cup)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon sweet curry powder
1 stalk of lemongrass, split in two and bruised with the butt of your knife to release the flavors and oils
2 kafir lime leaves
fresh cilantro and basil, about a cup total, chopped
squeeze of lime

Slice the corn kernels from the cobs (use a serrated knife to make this easier and be careful!)
In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil until shimmering. Toss in the onion and cook until soft and starting to brown.
Add enough coconut milk to cover the corn – this may be the entire can (shake the can really well before opening!) or it may just be half. It kind of depends on how big your corn cobs were. We don’t want the corn to be positively swimming, but just enough liquid to cover the kernels.
Let the corn and coconut milk come to a boil and then add in the curry powder, lemongrass and lime leaves. You can find kafir lime leaves at most Asian supermarkets in the refrigerator section. They like to keep them cold. If you can’t find it, it’s not going to ruin anything, but it adds such a bright, interesting flavor!
Reduce the heat and let the corn and coconut milk and spices simmer for a while, adjusting the seasoning with salt and pepper as you like. When the liquid has reduced just a bit, stir in the chopped cilantro and basil and adjust the seasoning again to your taste with a squeeze of lime and salt.

I’ve got a great use for leftover creamed corn coming up later this week, so stay tuned!

 

 

Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup

Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup - spin on the traditional Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup
I placed Olive’s bowl at the table first so it would have time to cool down while I got mine and Matt’s ready. I started hearing Olive saying, “Mmm!” and “This is so good and juicy, Mama” and at first I assumed she was putting on another one-act play because Olive hasn’t been too enthusiastic about meals, lately. ¬†Certainly not enthusiastic enough to compliment the food. ¬†Usually, it seems as if she just merely tolerates food until she can get down and play again. ¬†And as I thought back while she was inhaling this soup, I remembered the last time she was this enthusiastic about food, it had very similar ingredients in a potato curry Matt made. ¬†She is apparently our Asian flavor lover. ¬†And I love that. ¬†I love that she won’t bat an eye at cilantro, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and lemongrass. ¬†She will certainly protest if I try to get her to eat…lettuce, or something else benign like that. ¬†But big, bold flavors are her bag (as long as it’s not SPICY!) And the occasional chorus of “mmm” and “this is good, Mama,” is so few and far between that I make mental note of the dishes that inspire that response in her. ¬†I never thought I’d care so much about someone’s opinion of food until I had a child. ¬†But sharing food and sharing a JOY of food is precious and even more so when that person is family.

We’ve done a few spins on classic dishes in the past¬†and have loved the results. We’ve done biscuits and curry “gravy” and a green chili corn chowder and loved the fusion of classic American dishes and flavors from other cultures. ¬†I made up a spin on the classic Campbell’s Chicken and Rice you may have grown up eating, but instead, included all the flavors we love from Asian cultures. ¬†It was super comforting and would be fantastic for a cold, rainy day like we’re having today. ¬†I didn’t have coconut milk, but I think it would be a fantastic addition in place of the heavy cream. ¬†This soup is built with lots and lots of taste-testing along the way. ¬†Every soup should be, I think. ¬†So I’m giving approximate ingredient amounts, but I encourage you to taste and add things you love for yourself. ¬†We added Sriracha (of course) and lots and lots of cilantro as a garnish and some tasty frozen Vietnamese egg rolls for a side and enjoyed the heck out of this dish. ¬†I hope you do, too! ¬†Happy Monday.

Chinese Chicken and Rice

Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup

2 cups shredded chicken from two chicken breasts or 4 chicken legs/thighs (bone in)
2 kaffir lime leaves
A two inch piece of peeled ginger
2 stalks lemongrass, split
1/2 white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk)
salt to taste
1 cup jasmine rice
1 carrot, diced small

In a large stock pot, add¬†the (raw) chicken (bone-in) and cover with water till it’s submerged by abut 2 inches. Add the kaffir lime leaves (can be found at most chinese markets in the freezer or fridge section – this isn’t¬†essential but it gives the soup that¬†thing that I can’t describe but it’s wonderful), ginger, lemongrass, onion and garlic and bring the water to a boil. ¬†Let the chicken boil until the internal temp registers at least 165 when inserted into the thickest part of the meat. ¬†Remove the chicken, let it cool, and pull off all the meat. ¬†Return the bones to the pot and let it continue to boil while you cook the rice.

In a small saucepan, add 1 3/4 cups water, a tablespoon of olive oil, the diced carrot and a pinch of salt and the cup of rice.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, stir and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes until tender.

Remove the chicken bones, the lemongrass and onion and discard. ¬†Return the shredded meat to the pot. ¬†Add the vinegar, sugar, fish sauce¬†and salt to the broth until it tastes…right. ūüôā This is the point where you need to trust your palate. You may like it with more vinegar or more sugar, more fish sauce, whatever. ¬†I tasted and adjusted and then added the heavy cream.

Spoon rice into bowls and ladle the chicken soup on top.  Garnish with LOTS of cilantro and serve!