"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Winter Food

Because Blogger no longer allows me to post at Table I'm sharing this recipe with you. I shared it with Ash Bowen. Now I go public.

Pozole Verde

Traditionally, this sort of thing is made with pork. The preferred
cut is shoulder/butt, which has plenty of fat, but I've used any part
of the pig. If you're using pork, begin by simmering the pork (if you
have bones, even better) to make a light stock. At this stage, you
can add peppercorns, onions, carrots if you want, but it's really not
necessary. Also, if you prefer to skip this step, it's fine, the only
real difference is that you'll end up with a slightly less unctuous
final product.

At this point I'm assuming that a) you made stock, or b) you have some
canned or frozen (homemade or bought) chicken stock on hand or c)
you're just gonna say "fuck it" and use water.

Next step. Roast 5 poblano/pasilla chiles until charred and black.
You can do this directly over a gas flame, in a hot cast-iron skillet
on the stovetop, or under the broiler. Once the chiles are black all
over, put them in a plastic bag for ten minutes or so to steam off the
skins. They should come off easily. Don't worry if you don't get all
the black bits off. Open chiles, discard seeds and membranes, and
chop into small pieces.

In the meantime, either roast (broiler is easiest here)or boil about 8-10
tomatillos. When cool, puree in a blender and set aside.

Now chop a bunch of onions. When I say a bunch, I mean, oh, say 3
good sized white or yellow onions. And when I say "chop" what I
really mean is thinly slice, though you could mince or dice or chop.
It's really up to you. Saute in vegetable oil (or the fat of your
choice) along with about six thinly sliced cloves of garlic. Let the
onions and garlic cook down until soft and almost soupy. You don't
want to brown them, but it's okay if they get a little golden. At
this point, add either chicken or pork, cubed. If you're using raw
chicken or raw pork (if you didn't make the stock), you want to brown
it well. If your pot isn't big enough, you may have to remove the
onions and set aside so you can get a good sear on the meat. If
you're using a big enough pot, you can simply move the onions off to
the side.

Once the meat is browned, add the reserved chopped chiles, the
tomatillo puree, and enough water or stock to cover everything by a
few inches. Add lots of fresh ground pepper and simmer for about 20
minutes. Obviously, the longer you cook the soup, the more flavorful
it becomes (as it reduces). Taste from time to time and decide when
it's done cooking. It normally doesn't need any longer than an hour
total time, but it's really up to you. I cook it uncovered so it can
reduce a bit. During the last 15 minutes or so of cooking, add two
cans of pozole (hominy). I like to use one can of yellow and one can
of white, but it's up to you. Canned hominy is all I ever use, though
if you are a real stickler for authenticity you could use dried
hominy. I imagine you'd have to add it sooner, however.

I like to add a little Mexican oregano or thyme as well. Of course,
taste for salt. I don't advise salting earlier because how much salt
you'll need will depend upon whether you're using stock or water.

I like to serve this in a deep bowl, with fresh sprigs of cilantro and
lime wedges for each diner to add tartness to taste. A good simple
meal can be made from a bowl of this alongside a simple cheese

This keeps well in the fridge for several days, and like many soups
and stews, the flavor improves with aging. By day three (if it lasts
that long) it'll be fantastic.

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