Tag Archives: corn tortillas

Tex-Mex Enchiladas

22 Oct
Tex-Mex Enchiladas

Tex-Mex Enchiladas

It’s been a gloomy, rainy, and WINDY few days here on the high desert, and my taste buds wanted comfort food. And when you’re a Texas gal like me, sometimes that translates into Tex-Mex. I had some leftover shredded carne asada beef in the freezer, and of course the obligatory package of dried ancho chiles in the pantry. (What, you don’t keep those hanging around, just in case??) So of course, enchiladas are on the menu!

My Texas buddy Adam provided the inspiration for these, because Adam is connoisseur of all food Tex-Mex. No really, he is! I grabbed this recipe out of his archives, because a good enchilada sauce is timeless. Do yourself a favor and read his post about it, you might be enlightened!

Tex-Mex Enchiladas
Adapted from Joe Gracey’s Tex-Mex Enchiladas, via The Unorthodox Epicure

2 cups homemade chicken broth, or water
3 large dried ancho chiles
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, chopped (reserve 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Ground black pepper, and salt, to taste
1 tablespoon honey, if needed
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
3 cups grated Monterrey Jack cheese
3 cups shredded cooked meat, heated through (can be beef, chicken, pork, whatever you have!)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Sour cream, for topping

Tear the tops off the ancho chiles and remove as many seeds as possible. Place the chiles in a sauce pan of simmering chicken broth until rehydrated and soft, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté the onion in a large skillet with a tablespoon of oil until softened.  Add the garlic in the last couple minutes.

Remove the chiles when softened, reserving the liquid. Add them to a food processor or blender along with the cooked onions and garlic and blend to a purée.

In the same skillet, stir in 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons flour and cook until starting to turn golden brown. Pour the chile purée into the skillet, along with the reserved chile liquid. Stir in the cumin, oregano, and salt and pepper. Sometimes the ancho chiles can be bitter (haven’t figured out why yet) so add a tablespoon of honey and a bit more salt to mellow it out, if needed. Bring to a simmer and then cook on low for about 30 minutes. Add additional water if it gets too thick.

When ready to assemble: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using tongs, dip a tortilla into the enchilada sauce on both sides, then place on a plate. Top with 2 tablespoons cheese and 2 tablespoons of meat, roll up and place seam side down in a greased baking dish. Repeat until baking dish is full. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining grated cheese along with the reserved onion. Heat in the oven for 10 minutes until cheese is melted and dish is bubbling. Remove and top with cilantro and offer sour cream on top, if you want. Serve with pinto beans and Mexican rice.

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Carne Asada Street Tacos: Sous Vide or Grilled

5 Mar
Carne Asada Street Tacos

Carne Asada Street Tacos

I had a gorgeous hunk of flank steak in our freezer from our quarter cow we bought last year, and carne asada street tacos were calling my name! Typically skirt steak is used for these tacos, but I figured the leaner flank steak would work just as well provided it was marinated in a citrusy sauce for a spell.  I decided to cook this via the sous-vide method, but grilling the steak would work just as great.

Total thumbs up all the way around for the tacos! We had plenty of leftovers for another dinner even with my daughter eating three of them in one sitting. I made some fresh pico de gallo to serve these with along with the avocado, but you can use any condiments of choice for these tasty tacos.

Carne Asada Ingredients

Many of the delicious Carne Asada ingredients

Carne Asada Street Tacos: Sous Vide or Grilled
Adapted from Serious Eats

3 whole dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
3 whole dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 whole chipotle peppers, canned in adobo sauce
3/4 cup fresh juice from 2 to 3 oranges (I used Cara Cara)
2 tablespoons fresh juice from 2 to 3 limes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
6 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Sea salt, to taste
1.5 to 2 pounds flank or skirt steak
Warm corn or flour tortillas, lime wedges, diced onion, additional fresh cilantro (or Pico de Gallo), and avocado, for serving

Place dried ancho and guajillo chilies in a glass bowl and cover with boiling water. Let steep for 20 minutes until soft and pliable. Drain water, then transfer chiles to a food processor or blender.

Toasting the Cumin and Coriander

Toasting the Cumin and Coriander

Toast the ground cumin and coriander in a hot dry skillet until fragrant and add to the chiles. (You could toast the seeds and grind yourself, but I’m not that fancy.)

Ready to Process the Marinade

Ready to Process the Marinade

Add the rest of the ingredients except steak and condiments. Blend until a smooth sauce has formed. Transfer half of the sauce to a gallon-sized zip-top bag and refrigerate or freeze the other half in a sealed container for future use.

BONUS! Here’s my quick recipe for homemade Pico de Gallo. Double or triple as needed:

Pico de Gallo

1 Roma tomato, chopped
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 jalapeño or serrano chile, finely diced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, and let marinate for an hour or so. That’s it!

For cooking via sous-vide method:

Add steak to the marinade in the bag, squishing around to coat.

Steak in Marinade

Steak in Marinade

Vacuum-seal the bag using the water immersion method. Set temperature on the sous vide to 131 F, then place the bag in the pot and cover with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation. Cook for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, preheat a cast-iron pan on high. Remove the bag from the sous-vide pot, then remove the steak from the marinade and wipe off excess. Discard marinade. Char the steak in the hot pan for a minute or two on each side until well-browned. Transfer to a cutting board and slice thinly against the grain.

Serve immediately with warmed tortillas and garnishes.

Sliced Carne Asada Flank Steak

Sliced Carne Asada Flank Steak

For cooking on a grill:

Add steak to the marinade in the bag, squishing around to coat. Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat your grill on one side to the highest temperature. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

Remove steak from marinade and wipe off excess. Place directly over the hot side of the grill. If using a gas grill, cover; if using a charcoal grill, leave open. Cook, turning occasionally, until steak is well charred on outside and center registers 110°F on an instant-read thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain.

Serve immediately warmed tortillas and garnishes.

 

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Mexican Poblano Burger Soup

16 Oct
Mexican Poblano Burger Soup

Mexican Poblano Burger Soup

After we got back from our trip to the coast for our anniversary, I harvested the last of my chile peppers and the wee tomatillos and poblanos I managed to eke out with our short summer weather. Half the hot peppers had turned red while we were gone, but that’s OK as I like spicy!

Cooking is quite the challenge one-handed, but I’ve figured out some hacks to where I don’t ask for much assistance any more in food prep. Dicing a fresh onion is the hardest I’ve found, but luckily I have a bag of diced onion in the freezer that I brought home from a work potluck, which can be used in soups and stews.

Tips: A mini food processor can be used for a rough dice of carrots, celery, and onion, and a pair of kitchen shears does quick work on green onions. I do have limited use of my left thumb and forefinger, so I place the green onion between those two fingers and snip away!

This soup was the culmination of wanting to use my peppers and tomatillos in something as well as a large leek that needed to be cooked stat. I roasted the poblanos, tomatillos, and a serrano until charred, then had my daughter peel and mince them for me. I then scrounged the freezer and pantry and came up with a half pound of burger, black beans, and golden hominy. Combined with my homemade beef stock, a filling Mexican-style soup was on the horizon!

I’m still limiting my prep photos until I have two hands again but this is a pretty straight-forward soup recipe. Note: I used all my very small poblano peppers and tomatillos in this, but have adjusted the recipe below for standard grocery-sized produce.

Pepper and Tomatillo Harvest

Pepper and Tomatillo Harvest

Mexican Poblano Burger Soup

1 large leek, halved lengthwise and sliced
3 peeled, rinsed and roasted tomatillos
1 large roasted and peeled poblano, minced
1 roasted and peeled serrano pepper, minced
1/2 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
4 cups homemade or low sodium beef stock or broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can golden hominy, drained and rinsed
2 soft corn tortillas, diced large
Juice squeezed from a large lime wedge
Tortilla chips, sour cream, and cilantro for garnish (optional)

Roast and prep the peppers and tomatillos. In a soup pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef and leeks in 1 teaspoon olive oil until burger is browned and leeks have softened. Add the minced garlic in the last minute of cooking them.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the garnishes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes until the tortillas have dissolved and soup thickens, stirring occasionally.

Ladle into bowls and serve with desired garnishes. This soup was even better the next day!

Mexican Poblano Burger Soup

Mexican Poblano Burger Soup

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

 

Marcos Pollo Tacos

3 Apr
Marcos Pollo Tacos

Marcos Pollo Tacos

We have a local restaurant that serves an amazing Mexican chicken dish called Marcos Pollo. It’s a creamy/spicy dish filled with chicken and mushrooms and served with rice and beans and tortillas. I decided to recreate this as best I could, and my husband thought it was spot on! Aside from telling me it was delicious, he wants me to add more mushrooms, increase the sauce, and make the chicken cubes smaller next time. Ever the critic, isn’t he? 😀 But I did agree with him except the chicken chunk size. I like a nice mouthful of chicken with each bite!

Marcos Pollo Tacos

3/4 to 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons paprika
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons minced chipotle in adobo sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock, reduced to 1/4 cup
1/2 sweet onion, cut and sliced in quarters
4 to 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced thick
1/2 cup heavy cream, Mexican crema, or Half and Half
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon corn starch mixed with 1 teaspoon cold water
Cilantro, for garnish

Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes, then mix with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the paprikas and minced chipotle in adobo in a non-reactive bowl or zip-top baggie. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a small saucepan, then lightly boil until the stock has been reduced to about 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and set aside. This took about 20 minutes.

Chicken and Onions Browning

Chicken and Onions Browning

Meanwhile, slice the onions and mushrooms. After chicken stock has reduced, add the chicken and onions to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to a clean bowl and set aside.

Deglazing Mushrooms

Deglazing Mushrooms ~ I haven’t quite mastered an in-focus pouring shot…

Add the other tablespoon of oil to the skillet then cook the mushrooms until golden brown, about another 5 to 7 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the reduced stock.

Add the chicken and onions back to the skillet, then stir in the cream and sour cream until combined. Next add the corn starch/water slurry, then simmer and stir until the sauce has thickened.

Creamy Spicy Chicken and Mushrooms

Creamy Spicy Chicken and Mushrooms

Remove from heat and serve over cooked rice, black beans in warmed corn tortillas. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Marco Pollo Tacos

Marcos Pollo Tacos

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Unorthodox Enfrijoladas

12 Aug
Enfrijoladas Adam Holland

Enfrijoladas ~ photo by Adam J. Holland ~ The Unorthodox Epicure

Well, these are not really unorthodox, they are actually quite authentic. But this new recipe came to me from my good foodie friend Adam J. Holland, who has a most interesting foodie blog called “The Unorthodox Epicure” with a fun sidebar called “Confessions of an Aspiring Food Snob.” He is neither unorthodox nor snobby, that I can tell. But he’s a fellow Texan and cooks some great authentic Tex-Mex as well as authentic Mexican food, therefore he’s OK in my book, ya heah????

I made these last night, and hoo-boy, were they delicious! My entire family enjoyed them. It took hardly any prep time and cooked up pretty darn quick. That’s a win-win in my book! I halved the recipe since there are only three of us, but it still ended up making 8 Enfrijoladas (although I did add both grilled chicken AND cheese to the insides of them). There was one left in the end. All thumbs up. Thank you Adam!

I did take some initial prep photos thinking I might actually do a blog with my own photos on this, but a crazy thunderstorm rolled through as we were cooking this all outside on the propane burner/grill, so by the time we got it all moved inside there was no time with a hungry family to do any more foodie shots after having do all that and preheat the oven.

So sit right back, click on the link below, and enjoy his blog and recipe:

The Unorthodox Epicure Enfrijoladas Recipe

Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy

14 Jun
Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy

Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy

I was on a mission to both redeem and console myself after the prior night’s dinner disaster. I was wanting some Tex-Mex. Gooey, cheesy, spicy Tex-Mex. The kind of stuff you get at those mom and pop shops in the little towns scattered between the wide-open roads and ranches of Texas.

I’ve made plenty of Tex-Mex dishes in the past, and have a standard chile con carne recipe used for a lot of them. But mostly, when I cook up a Tex-Mex dish I don’t rely much on a recipe. It’s my take that any taco, burrito, tostada, or enchilada are just different shapes and cooking methods for pretty much the same ingredients, right?

Spices for Chile Gravy

Spices for Chile Gravy

But there was one dish I had yet to conquer, and that was the Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy. And what better place to start than the recipe from the Enchilada Queen herself, Sylvia Casares? She hails from the small town of Brownsville, Texas and currently owns two enchilada restaurants in Houston as well as offers cooking schools and catering.

I found a scaled-down version, time-wise, of her recipe in Texas Monthly magazine. I took my time and cooked everything linearly, instead of concurrently. Basically, I didn’t do any “meanwhile” cooking. But please, feel free to multitask on this one, I was enjoying each individual process so that I could become more familiar with each step for the next time I make these.

When the enchiladas came out of the oven, I was all set to take a plated shot (as best I could, as they come out of the pan pretty messy), but when I went to pick up the plate to move it to the table, it slipped out of my hands! In my spastic move to keep it from tumping upside down onto the floor, I smashed my other arm right on top of the plate, making a mess of not only the plate, but my shirtsleeve. The dish didn’t crash to the floor, but I was left with a pretty pitiful-looking plate of enchiladas and beans. And a dirty shirt. Thank goodness I had the foresight to wear an old camping shirt for this foray. I just sighed and thought “forget it, I’m hungry.” And sat right down to eat the mess.

 The Ill-Fated Shirt

The Ill-Fated Shirt

Ohhhh, but it was sooo good! I got a thumbs-up from the hubby and two thumbs up from my daughter. Even when she had the leftovers the next day she said “Mom, these are really really good! Are you going to make them again sometime?” The answer is a definite Yes!

I’m giving you the full recipe below as printed in Texas Monthly, but I did scale it down a tad since the dish I use for enchiladas only holds 9 rolled tortillas, which makes about two meals for my family of three. The full version makes 12 enchiladas. Suggested serving sides are refried beans and Mexican rice.

Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy
From Sylvia Casares via Texas Monthly

Prepare the Chile Gravy
1 1/2 cups white onion, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves
1/4 pound lean ground beef
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup flour
2 cups beef broth (I used homemade)
3 tablespoons chile powder (I used half New Mexico Red and half Ancho)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine onion and garlic in a blender (or food processor) and purée on high for about one minute or until smooth.

Onion Garlic Puree

Onion Garlic Puree

Add purée, ground beef, and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes (skim froth from surface). Note from me: Don’t freak out if your onion/garlic/meat mixture turns a bit green in the first part of cooking it. It’s a natural reaction and all turns brown eventually.

In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat until hot. Lower heat, add flour, and stir continuously until the roux turns a light golden brown.

Heat beef broth and 2 cups water over low heat in a small saucepan or in a microwave oven. Combine all spices and add to flour mixture along with broth and ground beef and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes or until mixture is the consistency of gravy.

Authentic Chile Gravy

Authentic Chile Gravy

Let rest for at least 10 minutes before using. Makes about 5 cups.

Prepare the Tortillas Dipped in Guajillo-Árbol Chile Sauce
7 guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
2 árbol or ancho chiles, stems removed (I used Ancho)
12 corn tortillas

Put chiles and 1/2 cup water (I used about 1 cup) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, adding water if needed. Let cool 15 minutes.

Chile Peppers Cooking

Chile Peppers Cooking

Purée the chiles and water in a blender or food processor on high speed until liquefied. Pass the purée through a strainer to remove any skins.

When almost ready to assemble the enchiladas, dip tortillas in the guajillo-árbol chile sauce one at a time and put on a plate. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

Guajillo-Ancho Chile Sauce

Guajillo-Ancho Chile Sauce

Assemble the Enchiladas
1 cup vegetable oil
Chile Gravy
Tortillas Dipped in Guajillo-Árbol Chile Sauce
5 cups grated cheddar cheese (reserve 1 cup for garnish) (I used cheddar for the tortillas and Monterey jack for the top)
1 cup white onion, diced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Place one tortilla at a time in the hot oil and quickly turn with tongs or a nonstick spatula. Total time in oil should be about 5 seconds. Stack on a plate and use immediately in next step.

Enchiladas Smothered in Chile Gravy

Enchiladas Smothered in Chile Gravy

Distribute a row of about 1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) of cheese down the middle of each tortilla. Roll up and place side by side in a 9-by-11-inch baking pan. Pour the chile gravy over the enchiladas and garnish with reserved grated cheese and diced onion. Bake until sauce bubbles and cheese is melted, 10 to 20 minutes; do not allow to brown. Makes 12 enchiladas (serves 4 to 6).

Enchiladas Ready to Bake

Enchiladas Ready to Bake

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Paul’s Not-Street Tacos

22 Aug
Paul's Not-Street Tacos

Paul’s Not-Street Tacos

I kidded my husband about these. He said he was making “street tacos” for dinner the other night, but in reality they weren’t really street tacos because  they had black refried beans, gaucamole, and Cotijo cheese in them instead of just cilantro and onion. HOWEVER, they were very delicious all the same. I probably gave him too much of a hard time since he’s been cooking for the past two weeks while I have been putting in a lot of hours on a very demanding project at my work. That being said, I have had no time to pull the recipe from him for this, so instead will just let you enjoy the photos and let your imagination figure it out this time. The steak meat was delicious and tender, his homemade guacamole was fantastic, and his refried black beans had bacon in them! Perhaps I will have a chance to post the recipe at a later date (but don’t hold me to that!)

Speaking of a later date, I’ll be wrapping up my part of the project late Friday, and Saturday we (meaning ME!) will be taking a much-needed break and heading to fish and crab and read books and relax for a week on the river at the coast. So I will “see” you on the flip side. Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend next week!

Paul's Not-Street Tacos

Paul’s Not-Street Tacos, Up Close and Personal

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas Suizas

23 Mar
Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas Suizas

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas Suizas

I wanted to try a new spin on my standard Chicken Enchiladas, and a fresh bag of spinach in the fridge armed me with the perfect ingredient for this filling dish of creamy Tex-Mex delight. This can easily become a meatless main by tripling the spinach and adding a bit more cheese to the filling, if you so desire. I was quite satisfied with the outcome of my first try at these, but next time around I’ll make them spicier by adding another can of diced green chiles, or perhaps adding some fresh diced  serrano pepper to the onions when they are cooking. If you’re not into spicy, then this probably has the perfect balance of heat and cream.

I almost always cook the chicken for this ahead of time during the day, debone and shred the chicken breast, then add the bones back to the pot and simmer for another hour or so to make another batch of chicken broth for the freezer. I did do this as I was getting short on chicken broth in the freezer, but by all  means, if you are pressed for time, feel free to use a rotisserie chicken or any other leftover cooked chicken you may happen to have available to shorten the prep time.

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas Suizas

2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder (or regular)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup light or regular sour cream
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Ground black pepper, to taste
9 to 10 corn tortillas
Spray oil

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter or substitute
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup light or regular sour cream
1 or 2 6-ounce cans diced green chiles
Additional sour cream and cilantro, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add the shredded chicken, ancho chile powder, cumin, 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese and the sour cream, combine, and set aside. In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and chopped onions. Cook for a few minutes until the onions start to soften. Add the minced garlic and stir for a minute more. In batches, add the chopped spinach until wilted through. Take off heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes, then add to the bowl of chicken then stir to combine.

Sauteed Spinach and Onions

Sauteed Spinach and Onions

Lightly spray one side of a corn tortilla, then set on a plate oil side up. Spray the next tortilla and stack on the first one. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cover with a paper towel, then microwave for 45 seconds. Spray a casserole dish lightly with oil. Now assemble the tortillas by spooning about 1/4 cup chicken and spinach filling down the center, roll up, and place seam side down in the dish. Repeat until casserole dish is full. Mine can only handle 9 tortillas.

Now time to make the sauce. Melt the butter in the same skillet, then add the flour to make a paste. Slowly whisk in the half and half, and keep whisking until creamy. Here is where I had a brain glitch, and forgot to pour in a little of the warm chicken broth to the sour cream first and mix it in so that the sour cream wouldn’t curdle. Alternatively, you could slightly warm it in the microwave. The main thing is not to add the sour cream cold to the mixture. Ah well, my sour cream curdled, but once I added the other half cup of shredded Swiss cheese, it smoothed out. Oh, yeah. Add the Swiss cheese now, plus the diced green chiles. Stir until mixed well, then pour on top of the assemble enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until bubbling and starting to brown on top. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes, then plate and serve with additional sour cream and cilantro.

Dish of Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas Suizas

Dish of Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas Suizas

Creamy Poblano Tortilla Soup with Chicken and Hominy

23 Jan
Creamy Poblano Tortilla Soup with Chicken and Hominy

Creamy Poblano Tortilla Soup with Chicken and Hominy

Well I preempted a post about my husband’s amazing spicy beans and rice dish for this crazy good soup I made. As you may already know, I’m on a soup kick lately, which I do in spurts. This soup has such amazing textures and flavors that I felt compelled to share it next instead. Somehow I ended up finding a creamy Poblano soup recipe while surfing the net well over a week ago for who knows what, I don’t even remember now. So on my next grocery trip, I bought a Poblano (also known as a Pasilla) pepper for it, then threw in a Serrano pepper into the bag for good measure that day. Then the week dragged on, we ate a variety of meals, then I discovered the peppers hidden under the lettuce in the veggie drawer almost a week later. GASP! I was so worried they were expired. But the foodie spirits were with me and they were still nice and crisp and fresh and ready to use. I had to go back in my browser history to find the dang recipe, as all the keywords I used in my search to find it again didn’t bring it up. Whew, I found it! The recipe came from a defunct restaurant on a website that hasn’t been updated in several years, but I ended up finding several variations of the recipe on other sites. So now I present you my take on this.

What makes this soup so interesting is the method to achieve the creaminess. You grind up corn tortillas in a food processor or blender with some spices and flour, then use that to make a roux. This roux then makes the creamy base for the soup along with chicken broth, with a tad of sour cream thrown in at the end. So you get an incredibly creamy soup but with the corn tortilla taste instead of the blander all-flour taste. One of the recipes called for adding corn “cobettes,” but I added yellow hominy instead. It’s all corn. I made this twice as difficult to make because I cooked the chicken for the soup from scratch, which then made the chicken broth for the soup. As always, feel free to substitute canned or boxed low-sodium chicken broth and some leftover or rotisserie chicken to save yourself the time in the kitchen. But I really enjoy making chicken broth from scratch (even though I have still have about 6 quarts of turkey and chicken broth in the freezer!).

Poblano, Serrano, Onion, Avocado, and Ground Tortilla Mix

Poblano, Serrano, Onion, Avocado, and Ground Tortilla Mix

As a side note, when I was de-seeding and chopping up the Serrano pepper (with latex gloves, yes!), my eyes started watering and I literally started choking. Yowza! That was one hot pepper, I could tell! So I only used 1/4 of the pepper instead of the whole one I was planning on. Good call, me-thinks. You can omit the Serrano altogether, too, if your family doesn’t like too spicy. In the end, my daughter inhaled the soup (but no it wasn’t a seconds or thirds soup for her) and my hubby said he really liked the flavors, but got confused by the textures. He asked if there were dumplings in it. (That was the hominy.) Sigh. But MY rating is  four-star plus!

Creamy Poblano Tortilla Soup with Chicken and Hominy

3 white or yellow corn tortillas (6-inch)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon Ancho (aka Dried Pasilla) chili powder or regular
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Lots of ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 Poblano (or Pasilla) pepper, chopped
1/4 to 1 Serrano pepper, finely diced (or omit)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons butter or substitute
4 cups homemade chicken or turkey broth, or low sodium subbed
1 cup yellow or white canned hominy, rinsed and drained (freeze the rest)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2  to 2 cups cooked chicken, cut bite-sized
Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Fresh diced avocado

Start out by slicing up the tortillas into manageable chunks for your food processor or blender. Add those to your device then add in the chili powder, cumin and ground pepper. I only have a blender, so it was a bit trickier. I used the “pulse” mode, and pulsed all that a few times, then had to scrape it down, then kept pulsing and repeating the scraping until it was the texture of a coarse cornmeal, as shown in photo below.

Spicy Ground Tortillas and Flour Mixture

Spicy Ground Tortillas and Flour Mixture

In a deep-dish cast iron skillet (or sturdy dutch oven or soup pot) heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the chopped onion, Poblano, and Serrano peppers. Cook for just a few minutes then turn down to medium heat, add the minced garlic, and stir for a total of about another 8 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Now add the  butter, let it melt, then add that cormeal-ish flour mixture to the pan and stir and mix and smoosh down like crazy for the next 5 minutes or so, to form the “roux.” The main thing is to keep stirring constantly and mixing around so nothing burns in there.

Making Corn Tortilla Roux

Making Corn Tortilla Roux

At this point, verra slowly, and I mean slowly, start drizzling in the chicken broth while you whisk and stir. Just keep adding it slowly until about half of it has been added and totally mixed in smoothly. Once that is done, you can now add the rest of the broth then crank up the heat to bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn down to a simmer then add the hominy and cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Last, mix in the sour cream, bring up to a simmer again, then cook for another 10 minutes but don’t let it come to a boil again. Well, that’s it! Ladle into bowls and serve with chopped avocado and shredded cheese. Yowza that was good! I can say Yowza twice in my post, right? OK make that three times. I hope you enjoy this!

p.s. This is my first post using my new camera skills! No flash, no ucky yellow tone from overhead lightbulb. I’m enjoying my camera again!

Calabacitas (Pork and Zucchini Stew with Tomatillos)

28 Mar
Calabacitas

Calabacitas

My cousin and her son are coming for dinner tonight, and armed with the fact that they like Mexican food I began scouring my recipe books for something to serve other than my stand-by chicken enchiladas. While they are most delicious, I was thinking of something with pork and tomatillos. I adapted this recipe from Lisa Fain’s Homesick Texan Cookbook. It had pork and tomatillos, AND it looked like a good candidate to be cooked in a crock pot instead of over the stove, since I had to prepare it during my lunch break. Calabacitas means zucchini (or little squash) in Spanish, and the traditional stew is cooked with red tomatoes and zucchini. This version uses tomatillos, which are a small green tomato-like fruit. It also has yellow squash along with the zucchini, which coincidentally I had bought last week to take on our trip to the coast but forgot them. I checked them over and they still looked fresh enough to use so my mind was set. The only thing I didn’t have readily on hand were the tomatillos, but the grocery up the street has a huge Mexican section with bins of tomatillos, and was able to quickly pick them up at lunch. Oh, and I also used some white hominy instead of corn as called for, as I think hominy gives a more complex depth to stew or chili over corn. My initial taste test after it’s been simmering a few hours confirms I made a good choice. I’ll be serving this  in bowls over rice with black beans and warmed corn tortillas on the side.

Calabacitas

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into bite-sized chunks
Black pepper
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 Serrano chiles
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 pound tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and quartered
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 pound zucchini, sliced and halved
1/2 pound yellow squash, sliced and halved
1 15 ounce can hominy (white or gold)
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons lime juice
Corn tortillas for serving
Cooked rice for serving

Browning the Pork

Browning the Pork

Season the pork with black pepper. In a heavy pot or cast iron skillet, heat the oil on medium and brown the pork on all sides until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. I had to do this in batches, as you don’t want to overcrowd the skillet or the pieces won’t brown up properly. Remove the pork and place into a crock pot. Add the onions to the pot and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for about one more minute. Pour this into the crock pot with the pork. Now take about a cup of the chicken broth and deglaze the hot pan, scraping up the crispy bits from the bottom. Pour this into the crock pot along with the rest of the chicken broth and ingredients except the lime juice, tortillas and rice. Mix well, and cook on high for about three hours, then turn to low or warm until ready to serve. Just before serving, stir in the lime juice. Ladle into bowls over rice, and serve with corn tortillas.

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