Archive for the ‘Stews/Soups’ Category

Poblano Albóndigas with Ancho Chile Soup

March 12, 2011

Our soup season is slowly coming to an end, so I was hoping to crank out a few batches of this warming comfort food before spring and the grill take over. This recipe was in Bon Appetit and the moment I saw it, I knew I had to try it.

Soup itself can sometimes not be considered a meal (a la Seinfeld) but this hearty soup has meatballs, rice and fried tortilla strips. Sounds like a meal to me!

It is work, so I would do it when you have a little time (like the weekend) but it is well worth the effort. The smoky flavor of the poblanos and ancho chile powder with the tangy punch of the lime and cilantro make this dish layered in its flavors. And – hint – make extra of the fried tortilla strips because they are fantastic! (also, I sprinkled some salt on them after I took them out of the oil for extra flavor).

The wonderful thing about this dish is not only is it amazing the first time around, but it makes fantastic leftovers. Go ahead and make the full batch, and give yourself lunch for the next few days.

So, as warm, hearty soups start trickling out of your recipe mix as the weather gets warmer, try this one before you put your dutch oven to rest.

4 servings

2 large fresh poblano chiles (9 to 10 ounces total)
1 pound ground beef (15% fat)
1/2 cup coarsely grated zucchini
1/4 cup finely grated onion
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 large egg, beaten to blend
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican), crumbled
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, coarsely grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons pure ancho chile powder or pasilla chile powder* (do not use blended chile powder)
9 cups low-salt beef broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 cup coarsely grated zucchini
1/4 cup long-grain white rice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
4 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
Chopped fresh cilantro

Line large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Char chiles over direct flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag and steam 10 minutes. Stem, seed, and peel chiles, then chop finely (should yield about 3/4 cup).

Place chiles in large bowl. Gently mix in beef and all remaining ingredients. Using moistened hands and scant tablespoonful for each, roll meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on sheet.

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion with any juices and garlic. Sauté until onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add chile powder and cumin; stir 1 minute. Add broth and oregano; bring to rolling boil. Reduce heat to very low, just below bare simmer, and cook 10 minutes.

Stir zucchini and rice into broth. Increase heat to medium and drop in meatballs, 1 at a time. Return soup to simmer. Cover and cook gently until meatballs and rice are cooked through, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat to avoid boiling, about 20 minutes. Add 1/4 cup cilantro and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Season soup with salt and add more lime juice by teaspoonfuls, if desired.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat 1 minute. Add half of tortilla strips. Cook until crisp, gently separating strips with tongs, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer strips to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining tortilla strips, adding more oil if needed.

Ladle soup and meatballs into bowls. Top with tortilla strips and cilantro.


Brazilian Feijoada

February 26, 2011

Due to an upcoming trip to a land of spit- roasted pig and beans, this Brazilian dish felt like a good precursor. It is pronounced fay-zwah-da (my Brazilian friend says it MUCH better than I do!) and is traditionally served on special occasions. Thanks to the lovely invention of the slow cooker, this dish was possible with little hands-on time on a weekend.

At first I was a bit skeptical. There were no spices other than salt and pepper – and just onions, chicken broth, garlic and meat/beans. I felt like it had the potential to be bland, until I realized you sear all the meat in bacon grease before putting it in the slow cooker, add a ham hock for flavor, and let them slow cook for a full 8 hours.

I am still unsure how this dish came from Cooking Light, but I will turn my head in denial because it is AMAZING. The flavor is so rich and comforting. I put orange juice in my rice (since you serve the dish with orange wedges) and it gave a good light citrus flavor to balance out the heaviness of the dish.

I have never been to Brazil, but this dish alone makes me want to take a trip immediately and have this dish in the land in which it was invented. If my slow cooker attempt was this good, I can only imagine what the real thing tastes like!

Bon Appetit!

Serves 8

2 cups dried black beans
4 slices applewood-smoked bacon
1 pound boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed (about 2 pounds)
3 cups finely chopped onion (about 2 medium)
1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (9-ounce) smoked ham hock
1 tablespoon white vinegar
8 orange wedges

Place beans in a small saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil; cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Sprinkle pork evenly with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. Add pork to drippings in skillet; sauté 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Transfer pork to a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Sprinkle ribs evenly with 1/8 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add ribs to skillet; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Place ribs in slow cooker. Add drained beans, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, onion, and next 3 ingredients (through ham hock) to slow cooker, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours or until beans and meat are tender.

Remove ribs from slow cooker; let stand 15 minutes. Remove meat from bones; shred meat with 2 forks. Discard bones. Discard ham hock. Return beef to slow cooker. (if your dish is like mine, the meat had already fallen off the bone and I could just shred in the slow cooker!).

Stir in vinegar and crumbled bacon. Serve with orange wedges and rice.

Lamb and Chickpea Tagine

March 6, 2010

So far to date, I have only made one recipe with lamb. I know, it is obvious that it scares me a bit – especially since the only recipe I have used lamb in is pastitio (using only ground lamb). But, I thought I would continue to ease into the meat, and try a lamb stew.

Previously I blogged about a Moroccan stew that is one of our winter favorites. This one looked a bit similar, but had lamb, a few different spices and the addition of honey. It was a cold winter night (hopefully one of our last) so I gave it a try.

The stew is so hearty and warming, it makes you feel cozy inside – the cilantro is a bright addition to the heavy dish and the pistachios (although I originally I thought were odd) gave a great flavor and crunch. I served it over couscous in true African tradition, but you could certainly serve without.

I got this recipe from Cooking Light and it came with a wine pairing so I thought I would try the two together. I was happy when I found the wine at my local Biggs and on sale for $20. It is a Rodney Strong 2007 “Knotty Vines” Zin from Sonoma County. If you can find it, I would recommend it with the tagine – it has a deep fruit flavor that complements the sweet and spicy nature of the dish.

SPECIAL NOTE: “Tagine” is named after the pot in which the stews are cooked in Northern Africa. It is truly unique – like a Dutch oven but with a cone-shaped lid. Most of us don’t have one, so a Dutch oven works perfectly!

4 Servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lamb stew meat
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons honey
2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped pistachios
2 tablespoons small fresh cilantro leaves

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add lamb; sauté 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove lamb with a slotted spoon. Add onion, salt, pepper, and cumin to pan; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return lamb to pan; stir in tomato paste and honey. Cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broth, raisins, and chickpeas; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium, and cook 50 minutes or until lamb is tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with pistachios and cilantro.

Turkey Chili

January 31, 2010

There is always that recipe that you are known for – the one your friends always ask you to bring over without fail. For my husband, it is his turkey chili – our game time favorite.

I must preface this by saying we love sports in our household. I wouldn’t consider myself a tom boy, but growing up, my father and I always watched football and basketball. And now, with the dawn of fantasty football, I cannot get enough (combining my competitive nature and love of football is a dangerous combination!). My husband, like most husbands, loves any and all sports. But, he has a special love for those associated with his hometown of Cleveland.

So, when the Browns are playing, you better believe we will be going to a get together – and you better believe my husband will be bringing his chili, the perfect football food.

My husband won’t let me blog this one without giving credit to the true recipe originator – his friend Greg Fisher.

Enjoy, and go Browns!

Serves 4

1 lb ground turkey
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 can whole or diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cocoa

Heat up ground turkey with onion and garlic, brown meat. Drain fat. Put in bigger pot and stir in remaining ingredients, simmer for an hour or more.

Green Chile Pork Posole

March 11, 2009

img_01731Originally from Mexico, Posole has crossed borders and is incredibly popular in the southwest US. In fact, many New Mexicans eat posole on Christmas Eve as a ceremonial dish for celebrating life’s blessings.

Although, it doesn’t need to be a holiday to prepare this robust stew. The dish has many variations – red tomatoes vs. tomatillos, chicken vs. pork. But no matter which way you make it, it will be filled with rich Mexican flavors.

This recipe originally comes from Utah’s Red Mountain Resort & Spa, as written about in Bon Appetit. The recipe takes about 1.5 hours and I suggest you don’t try to skimp on the one hour of simmer time included – it really helps blend and reduce the flavors. There is only about 30 minutes of prep since the rest is simmering, so I even made it on a Monday night. It is very easy and full of flavor.

I know posole is also made with red tomatoes, but I suggest sticking with the tomatillos on this one. Their tangy twist give the stew a true depth of flavor.

4 Servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1-pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 15-oz cans white or golden hominy, drained
12 ounces fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, coarsely chopped
2 7-oz cans diced mild green chiles, drained
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus additional for garnish

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and garlic. Saute until soft, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Add pork to pot; cook until no longer pink on outside, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add 5 cups broth and next 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer uncovered until meat is tender, broth is reduced to a thick sauce, and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Thin with additional broth, if desired. Stir in 1/4 cup cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls, sprinkle with additional cilantro and serve.

Starting to brown the pork...

Starting to brown the pork...

Husking the tomatillos

Husking the tomatillos

Moroccan Stew

February 9, 2009

africanstew13So, I will start this post by saying that I went to Williams Sonoma with my friend Emily this morning for one of their free cooking classes. It was all things chocolate – just in time for Valentine’s Day – and although we had to stand for an hour, I recommend you check out their schedule. People were of varying levels, some barely knew the difference between milk chocolate and semi-sweet and others probably have cocoa trees growing in their backyard! I learned lots about the processing of chocolate, which chocolates goes best with which wines, etc. And, best of all, we got to taste test!

The recipe I will share with you today is one of my favorites for a cold winter’s night. Yes, it requires a slow cooker, but I do about 30 minutes of cooking about 2/3pm and don’t have to touch it again until dinner time – perfect for a Sunday. It is a traditional African stew with chicken, garbanzo beans and lots of veggies, although you could certainly mix up the meat and even some veggies to your own taste. I got it from a cookbook my grandma gave me, modified after making it many times.

TRADITIONAL AFRICAN STEW – makes enough for 4
1 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1.5 pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into small pieces
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 zucchini, sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon powdered tumeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnimon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons raisins
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Saute onions, ginger and garlic in medium large skillet over medium-high heat in 1 tablespoon olive oil until limp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a slow cooker. Add 1 additional tablespoon olive oil to skillet and brown chicken on both sides.
While chicken is browning, add carrots, potato and zucchini to slow cooker. Place browned chicken on top of vegetables.
In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, tumeric, salt, pepper, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle over chicken. Top chicken pieces with raisins and tomatoes. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours then keep warm until service. Add garbanzo beans and cilantro for 30 minutes before service.
Serve alone as a stew or on top of couscous.

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