Category Archives: Soups & Stews

Homemade Green Pork Chile

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green pork chile

green pork chile

Late summer ushers in a garden favorite… chilis!  Yes, as warm days wind to a close, these spicy peppers make an appearance at road-side stands, farmers’ markets,  CSAs, grocery stores, and even backyard gardens across the country.  You see, chilis are an important part of a southwestern fall classic; green pork chile.

Now just any chili won’t work in this luscious dish.  My personal favorite are hatch chilis.  But if you do not have access to them, Big Jim and Anaheim work well.  You could even toss in a few jalapenos or a poblanos into the pot, but just make sure they are roasted.

Green Pork Chile

  • 2 lbs. of smoked pork, cubed
  • 1 1/2 lbs. of Hatch chilis, roasted/deseeded/skins removed & chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs of potatoes, cubed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 – 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 3/4 C. tomatillo salsa
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • water (optional)

In a large stock pot over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic until translucent.  Add the cumin, chilis, oregano, and salt.  Stir to combine.

roasted Hatch chilis

roasted Hatch chilis

Next, pour in the stock.  Bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes and the tomatillo salsa.  Cook until the potatoes are done (about 15 – 20 minutes).

Take a stick blender and blend part of the soup, leaving some vegetables in cubes or you can completely blend the mixture to your desired consistency.  (Personally, I like a thick chile).

Now add the pork, put a lid on the pot, and reduce the heat to low.  Allow the green chili to cook for another 45 minutes, lifting the lid to stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot.  If mixture is a little too thick for your taste, add in some water to thin.

smoked pork butt

smoked pork butt

Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired.

Remove chile from heat and serve.

NOTE: this is great eaten as a soup.  You may also serve it over cooked rice, burritos, or thick-cut wedge fries.

Decadence in a Bowl: 100 Clove Garlic Soup

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One of my favorite foods from the garden is garlic.  Not only is it easy to grow and harvest, but the flavor has me dreaming about those little green shoots that pop up in February.  Oh  garlic… how do I love thee?  Minced into salsa.  Roasted and slathered across a baguette.   Sautéed with scrambled eggs.   Tossed into pasta.  And you are the secret ingredient in my bechamel sauce.  But now I have a new way to love you.  Soup!  Simple.  Straightforward.  Garlic soup.

A bumper garlic harvest had me scratching my head on how to use this bigger than usual crop.  Wow.  We would be eating garlic for months and still have plenty.  But as I cleaned and sorted bulbs, a faint memory came into focus.  There I was in Prague, at a quaint little restaurant, on a late summer day.  In front of my was a hearty hunk of homemade bread and a steaming bowl of garlic soup.  The aroma was heady and flavor was fantastic.  Best of all.  It was garlicky!

With a clear vision of what I wanted to create, I set about the task of making garlic soup from scratch.

100 clove garlic soup

100 clove garlic soup

100 Clove Garlic Soup

  • 100 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 C. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. dried thyme or chives
  • 5 C. yellow onions, diced
  • 5 C. vegetable stock
  • 1/2 C. cream (or half and half)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges (optional)

Place 80 garlic cloves in an oven-proof pan.  Coat cloves with 1/4 C. olive oil.  Stir the cloves so each is coated with olive oil.  Cover pan with lid or foil.  Roast in a pre-heated oven at 375F.  Bake for 30 – 36 minutes until the garlic is fork-tender and is golden.  (Do not let them brown)!  Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle the cloves.

Place a stock pot over medium heat.  Add the butter and 2 Tbs. of olive oil.  After the butter has melted, add onions and stir to combine.  Allow to cook for 5 minutes, then add the remaining 20 cloves of raw garlic.  Stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking of the garlic with onions.  Add the dried herbs and vegetable stock.   Add the roasted garlic cloves.   Cover the stock pot and reduce the heat slightly and allow the mixture to cook for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove the pot from heat and take off the lid.  Use and immersion blender to puree the soup.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Put stock pot back on the stove, add cream and bring to a simmer.  Once the soup reaches a simmer, remove from heat.

Ladle into bowls and serve a wedge of lemon with each bowl.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the soup.  This soup is also fine without the lemon… but the lemon adds something extra to the flavor.

100 garlic cloves

100 garlic cloves

Croutons are wonderful with soup or slices of a good, crusty bread.

This soup is truly for the garlic lovers.   The roasted flavor comes through nicely and pureed soup has a wonderful texture.

So next time you are wondering what to make when you have a lot of garlic on hand, think soup!  It is luscious on the tongue and the flavor will have you going back for seconds!  Enjoy.

 

 

Posole Verde:Flavor in Every Bite

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onions, mushrooms, and posole simmering

onions, mushrooms, and posole simmering

One of the things that I enjoy about winter is the assortment of soups and stews.  They are thick, hearty, and packed full of flavor.  Yet, one main ingredient that I reach for over and over again in my pantry is posole.  It provides such texture and corn flavor unique to this particular ingredient.

While posole is traditionally made with pork,  I decided to make a non-meat version.  For those of you who want pork, simply add some pork shoulder that you have cooked until it is fall-off-the-bone tender.  Posole is available in grocery stores throughout the southwest part of the United States in both dried and canned forms.  If you can’t find dried, look for canned hominy (usually found in the ethnic aisle of most major stores).

Posole Stew

  • 12 oz. pkg dried posole (cooked until tender)
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 16 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced (I like cremini, shiitake, and oyster, though white button will be just fine)
  • 4 oz. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 4 C. vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt

To soften the posole, either soak it overnight in water or pressure cook it until tender.  In a large pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter.  When the butter begins to foam, add the onions and mushrooms. Stir in the bay leaves, thyme, cumin, and salt.  Saute until the onions are translucent.  Add the cooked posole and stir to combine.   Add the vegetable broth.   Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for approximately 45 more minutes.

Verde Sauce

  • 1 fresh poblano, seeded
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, seeded
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, including stems
  • 8 oz. fresh tomatillos, husks removed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 C. onion, diced
  • 1/2 bunch of radish leave (from a bundle of fresh radishes)
  • 1/2 C. vegetable stock
  • juice of 1 1/2 limes
  • 1 tsp. salt

Place all of the ingredients in a blender.  Blend until the mixture is smooth.  If it is quite thick, add a little water to thin.  Once the verde sauce is blended, pour into a pan set over low heat.  Gently cook the sauce for about 5 minutes at which time the sauce will darken slightly.  After the sauce had darkened, add to the posole mixture.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes over low heat.

Remove the bay leaves prior to serving.

posole verde ready to eat

posole verde ready to eat

Toppings for Posole Verde:

  • minced cilantro
  • sliced fresh radishes
  • lime wedges (squeeze a wedge over each bowl of soup)
  • tortilla chips
  • guacamole
  • pepitas

I like to add a little of each, though the soup is fine on its own.  Or mix and match toppings to your taste.  Both the cilantro and lime juice add a nice bright flavor to the soup.

So there you have it friends.  A fresh, hearty soup with a brightness that will have you going back for seconds.  Enjoy!