Posts Tagged ‘spicy’

Curried Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard

Yield: 8 to 10 side-dish servings; 6 main-course servings.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, then minced
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth as needed
2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into
1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
1 bay leaf
1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/3 cup finely chopped tamari almonds, for garnish (optional), available in health food stores
1/4 cup chopped scallions, for garnish.

1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder and jalapeño. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

2. Stir in 4 cups broth, sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. (If lentils seem dry, add up to 1 cup stock, as needed.) Stir in chard and salt and pepper, and continue cooking until lentils are tender and chard is cooked, about 30 to 45 minutes total.

3. Just before serving, stir in cilantro, lime zest and juice. Spoon into a large, shallow serving dish. Garnish with almonds if desired and scallions.

RECIPE NOTES: I am not a fan of swiss chard, so I used spinach instead. I added several diced carrots to the dish as well as the potato and that was delicious. At the end of the cooking time I dumped in a cup of cooked wheat berries (i keep them in the freezer). It adds more nutritional value to the dish and a nice nutty and chewy texture.
I cooked this for at least an hour and I think it could have cooked much more as the lentils still seemed a tad chewy. It’s hard to determine how much time is needed, but the potato was getting mushy and I didn’t want to cook it too much longer for fear they would fall apart. The spinach, if used, can be stirred in just a few minutes prior to serving; it won’t need much to make it wilt. It can be eaten alone, no doubt; we love the rice; so for us that was perfect. We did not top it with almonds.

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Green Chili
4 lbs of boneless pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb of poblano peppers (about 5)
4-10 serrano peppers stems removed and sliced
4-10 jalapeno peppers stems removed and sliced
1 lb tomatillos cut in 1/8ths (6 to 8 )
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic
6 tablespoons of cumin
2 tablespoon of Mexican oregano
2/3 to 1 cup of cilantro
2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of dark beer
1/4 cup of masa harina
Salt and white pepper to taste
Peanut oil, olive oil or lard for frying

1. Roast the poblanos in the oven at 400 degrees, until blackened, and then place in a paper bag for about 20 minutes. After this, the skins should come right off. Then dice the peeled poblanos.
2. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, fry the onion in peanut oil until cooked, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes more. Turn off the pot.
3. In an iron skillet, lightly brown the pork on each side in lard (or the fat of your choice) for a couple of minutes and then add to the soup pot. You will probably have to do this in batches.
4. Once all the pork has been lightly browned and added to the soup pot, add two cups of chicken broth and 1 cup of dark beer. Also throw in the pot the tomatillos, 3 tablespoons of cumin, 1 tablespoon of Mexican oregano and half of your sliced jalapenos and serranos. (I varied the number of jalapenos and serranos based on heat—the more you add the hotter it will be. If you don’t want it too fiery, just stick to four of each.)
5. Turn on the stove to medium and bring chili to a boil and then turn heat down to low.
Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
6. After an hour, add 3 tablespoons of cumin, 1 tablespoon of Mexican oregano, 1/3 cup of cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook for half an hour uncovered on low, stirring occasionally. At this point, you’ll probably notice a nice brown oil slick on the top of the pot. I skim the fat by sticking in a ladle and dragging it over the surface. This isn’t foolproof, but it gets rid of most of the fat.
7. After half an hour, throw in the rest of the green chiles and poblanos in the pot and add another 1/3 cup of cilantro. Cook for another half an hour to 45 minutes.
8. In a separate dish, mix the masa harina with some of the chili liquid until a thick paste is formed. Slowly stir this into the chili until it’s well incorporate without any lumps. Continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Goes great with sour cream, tortillas and cilantro.

(From Homesick Texan blog)

RECIPE NOTES: Do I have to admit I didn’t use hardly any heat in this?? I used three jalapeno and no serrano and this batch was spicy enough to start my eyebrows sweating. Adjust accordingly, but beware- go overboard and you’ll feel it. For less heat and more flavor, remove the seeds and ribs of the peppers; that’s where most of the heat resides.

I seeded and cored the peppers, lay them flat on a cookie sheet, rubbed them with a little oil and put them under the broiler to blacken them, then into a bowl that was covered in plastic.

I used the same pot to cook the onions and brown the meat; you can’t go wrong with the flavor you get from that fond that develops with browning. Cook the onions and garlic then remove to a bowl; brown the meat and add to the bowl as you cook. Dump it all back in when your ready to simmer. I also dusted the meat chunks with seasoned flour. The poblanos went in at the end, I barely cooked them at all, only for maybe 10-15 minutes. The tomatillo and jalapeno were cooked down to near nothing by the time it was all said and done. I did not use any beer, but I am curious how that would add to the flavor. I also used a little flour along with the masa harina for thickening.

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Stir Fried Chicken in Lettuce Leaves

From Food and Wine magazine, April 2007

1# boneless skinless chicken, cut into strips
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 T. fresh ginger, finely minced
½ t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 T. vegetable Oil
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in bowl, let stand for 10-15 minutes

For the sauce:

¼ c. Chinese black bean sauce
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. sugar
1 T. cornstarch dissolved in 2 T. water
2 T. dry sherry (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in small bowl.

Pour two tablespoons of oil into sauté pan and heat until smoking. Add chicken (watch for splattering!! Use a screen, or cover initially) and allow to cook on one side until almost cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Toss chicken and cook about 3 minutes more. Stir sauce and add to pan, stirring continually. Cook for about 2-3 more minutes.

Serve with shredded carrot and mint in lettuce leaves. Use butter lettuce or green leaf. Crushed peanuts are optional, but highly delicious.

RECIPE NOTES: The original recipe for this dish calls for boneless chicken thighs. If you like your chicken dark, go for it. I doubled the sauce recipe because we like food like this to be saucier, by all means cut it back if you prefer less sauce. I did not have sherry on hand and the dish was delicious regardless. The carrot originally is served shredded and cold, but I used the side dish and it was fine. The addition of chopped peanuts was wonderful.

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Honey Chipotle Chicken from Santa Fe Hot and Spicy Recipes by Joan Stromquist
4 chipotle peppers in adobo, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. fresh cilantro
1/4 c. honey
2 T. stoneground mustard
2 t. ground cumin
Juice of 3 limes
1 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. vegetable oil

Place all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth, scraping sides as needed. Sauce can be used to marinate chicken prior to cooking; reserve about a cup to brush on chicken as it grills, or use to dip when its finished.

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I could perhaps subtitle this post “The Wait Coulda Killed Me” to get the point across that this dish takes time, people. The particular recipe I followed said to marinate the meat for 48 hours. That’s one heckuva long time to wait for something so good.

But it was worth it. Woweeee…. was it worth it.

Other recipes call for a 24 hour marinating period. The next time (heavy emphasis on ‘next time’ because it was THAT good!) I will only allow it to languish in its spicy and nose numbing marinade for a day before sending it off to the slow cooker. I can’t wait that long again for this delight.

Carne Adovada is described as ‘traditional New Mexicao pork in adobo sauce’. I found the recipe in a long forgotten cookbook that Mike had when we married called ‘Sante Fe Hot and Spicy- Hot New Recipes from Santa Fe Chefs’. On the back of the book it says “Attention Chile lovers, if you like fiery food, here’s the book for you, Kate and Mike.” All right, no, it doesn’t have our names on it, but it seems to be geared towards our culinary tastes so I took a generous creative leap there. This multi step recipe first has you create a simply eye watering concoction of dried chile peppers with various and sundry other items that you simmer in a pot and then put through a food processor, turning it into a rich, thick sauce that you pour over cubed pork shoulder and allow it sit for two days. Once it has sufficiently soaked up all that capsaicin, you cook it slowly until it is meltingly tender and so aromatic that it drives you just plain mad in your quest to stuff it shamelessly into your mouth; rich sauce dripping down your chin.

I admit that, yes, I did this. No apologies either. No one saw me so it doesn’t count.

I expected that the finished product would be blazingly hot, but what I tasted was a pleasant zing that left my mouth tingly but still with all its nerve endings intact. The meat….oh, that meat was so achingly tender that it simply broke into great slivers in my mouth as easily as an empty egg shell cracks under pressure. One could just push an errant finger into a large chunk and it would break apart; no knife, no fork or even a spoon was needed. With our homemade tortillas, some cheese and shredded lettuce, it was a meal that caused us all to swoon in delight. My sweet little carnivore had salivated over it all afternoon and was joyously rewarded with an intense protein high after two good sized burritos. Feed him meat and he’s all yours. He even mowed the lawn and whacked the weeds around the whole house without any complaint because HE KNEW what was for dinner. Meat+Mom= Griffin Love.

I followed the chile sauce recipe fairly closely, using Ancho and New Mexico dried chiles. The processing of the solids is very messy…..don’t wear good clothes and go in batches. You will need to strain out all the chile skins and any seeds that get into it. I had my meat all cut up and strained the sauce right into the pan with the meat. Still, I made an all encompassing mess, splattering my counter tops with red splotches that made my dish rag look like it had been used to clean up a murder scene. Thank goodness for bleach. I actually had the bright idea of putting the meat into a crockpot liner to marinate, which then went seamlessly into the crockpot to cook when it was ready. Sometimes my brilliancy amazes me. When it came time to put it all together, I left out the extras to go in the marinade as I wanted it to be mild enough for Griffin to eat. Follow the recipe, or sub in what amounts you are comfortable with, but if this is something you think you would love to death, please do yourself a favor and make it. You will not be disappointed at all.

Red Chile Sauce
3/4# dried chile peppers; ancho, New Mexico, guajillo…..you pick your heat level.
1 large onion, chopped
8 cloves fresh garlic, smashed with skins removed
2 t. dried oregano
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. kosher salt

De-stem and de-seed chile peppers; place in large stock pot and cover with hot water. Soak for 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to pot, bring to a boil then simmer over low heat for half an hour. Drain off solids, reserve liquid. Allow to cool slightly, then process solids in batches in a food processor using reserve liquid for proper consistency. Strain through a wire sieve, pressing on the solids to extract the liquids. This should make about a quart.

Carne Adovada
3-4 pounds pork shoulder or butt, cut into 1/2″ cubes and trimmed of most fat.
4 c. Red Chile Sauce (just use the amount a batch would make)
2 New Mexico dried chile peppers, destemmed, deseeded and crumbled
4 t. red pepper flakes
2 sticks cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in glass bowl and stir to mix. Cover and chill for 24-48 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove cinnamon before cooking. Cooking method: This can be done in a crockpot on medium for about 4 hours or low for longer; it also can be brought to a boil on the stove then transferred to a 350 degree oven and baked, covered, for 2 hours.

NOTE: When the meat is done, plenty of liquid will be in the pot with any fat that cooked off. Allow the meat to sit and cool, then pour off the thin liquid that has accumulated, leaving the solids in with the meat. If you chill it thoroughly, the fat will be easier to remove. This step is entirely optional if the fat content does not bother you.

Serve with tortillas, avocado, shredded lettuce, cheese etc…… or simply grab a spoon and shovel it in.

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