A Year Of... interesting things

Poblano, Potato, and Chorizo Tacos

A meal so good I’ve been asked to make it again almost weekly.

We’ve had all kinds of tacos – the beef tacos used to rule supreme – but after this adventure, move out all other meats: we have a new king, Chorizo.

Mexican chorizo - it’s an important difference because the origin of this delicious pork sausage is Spain and Portugal. However, that version is a bit different as it’s fermented, cured and smoked and can be sliced as you would slice salami.

We saw a version of that Spanish/Portuguese chorizo in the Caldo Verde - Portuguese Greens Soup.

The Mexican version is made with chili peppers, surprisingly uncommon in traditional Mexican cuisine, and it’s closer to what you’d typically think of a sausage. And obviously it’s spicier, but not a burning heat more of an delicious, enchanting aftertaste.

Poblano, Potato, and Chorizo Tacos

The grease on the taco above was a mistake in the cooking process: I used too much chorizo.

Recipe

There’s a lot of variation in the sausage itself - depending on brand, so I am experimenting to see which yields the best result.

The recipe calls for 3 ounces of chorizo, but I’d honestly use twice that amount for how delicious it is.

Either way, it produces a large amount of grease, so I think it would help if one were to increase a bit the amount of potatoes. I’d say one extra cup of cubed potatoes for each 3 extra ounces of chorizo.

Speaking of which, I would recommend increasing the time you spend cooking the potatoes in the first phase (see below). The second time I made the recipe I cooked them till they started browning, almost close to country potato fries. It added a bit of crunch to the taco and also soaked more of the grease.

Ingredients

  • 2 poblano chiles
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups diced white potato (depending on how you feel about potatoes, I’d use more - 1 extra cup per 3 oz of extra chorizo)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 ounces Mexican raw (use double - it’s delicious!)
  • chorizo, casings removed
  • 3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 ounce Manchego cheese, shredded (about 1/4 cup)
  • 8 lime wedges

Preparation

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Cut poblanos in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes.
    Place poblano halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand.
    Broil 8 minutes or until blackened.
    Place in a paper bag; fold to close tightly. Let stand 5 minutes.
    Peel; coarsely chop.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
    Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.
    Add potato; cook 5 minutes (I’d say cook till they’re done), stirring occasionally.
    Remove potato; place in a large bowl.
    Add onion to pan; cook 3 minutes.
    Add poblano, corn, red pepper, and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
    Add onion mixture to potato.
    Add chorizo to pan; cook 1.5 minutes (adjust this based on how long it takes to propertly cook), stirring to crumble.
    Return potato mixture to pan.
    Stir in stock and salt; bring to a boil.
    Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until potato is tender, chorizo is done, and liquid almost evaporates.
  4. Working with 1 tortilla at a time, heat tortillas over medium-high heat directly on the eye of a burner for about 15 seconds on each side or until lightly charred.

Arrange about 1/3 cup potato mixture in center of each tortilla; top with 1/2 teaspoons onions and 1/2 teaspoons cheese.

Serve with lime wedges.

Serves 4 (serving size: 2 tacos and 2 lime wedges)

  • Calories 348;
  • Fat 14.9g (sat 5.8g, mono 6.5g, poly 2.69);
  • Protein 11.4g;
  • Carbs 46.6g;
  • Fiber 6.1g;
  • Iron 1mg; sodium 447mg; calcium 146mg

Cycle 5 - North & Central America - Canadian Meat Pie (Tourtiere)

I feel I should be apologizing to any Canadians coming across this post for butchering what seems to be a delicious dish and a variation, with French influences, of the meat pies of the United Kingdom (Guinness pie - yum).

I understand it’s normally done as a proper pie - crust bottom and top - but the recipe I had uses a ramekin and crust only on top. I guess it’s healthier that way.

Tourtiere - Canadian Meat Pie

I messed it up in experimenting with the crust and instead of using pie crust like the recipe calls for, I use biscuit mix.

Because Texas.

Don’t get me wrong - it’s still delicious, but I think the biscuit mix (freedom biscuit not the Commonwealth kind) drained some of the moisture from the mix. Or maybe we’re too used with the somewhat similar-looking shepherd pie and the metric ton of gravy is contains.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough
  • 1 pound ground pork

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
    Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan.
    Sprinkle pork with salt, cinnamon, red pepper, and cloves; sauté 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.
    Using a slotted spoon, remove pork from pan.
    Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.
    Add onion, carrot, celery, and potato; sauté 5 minutes.
    Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute.
    Return pork to pan.
    Stir in flour, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
    Add broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a boil.
    Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat; stir in chives.
  3. Place 1 cup pork mixture into each of 6 (8-ounce) ramekins.
    Roll pie dough to an 11-inch circle.
    Cut 4 (5-inch) dough circles.
    Combine and re-roll dough scraps.
    Cut 2 (5-inch) circles.
    Place 1 dough circle on each ramekin, tucking edges inside.
    Cut an X in the top of each circle; coat lightly with cooking spray. Place ramekins on a baking sheet.
    Bake at 400F for 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Serves 6

Note: If you don’t have ramekins, spoon the filling into a 9-inch pie plate, and top with the entire pastry.

  • calories 420;
  • fat 22.2g (sat 7.6g, mono 9.8g, poly 2g);
  • protein 17.5g;
  • carbs 36.5g;
  • fiber 2.4g;
  • cholesterol 54mg;
  • iron 1.8mg;
  • sodium 489mg;
  • calcium 45mg

Fall Vegetable Curry

I’m perfectly away that March is in Spring, but all the “fall vegetables” in this curry - a variation on a Chana Masala theme - are available right now and most of them even in the house.

Fall Vegetables Curry

It’s a recipe that’s delicious, quick to make and given it’s vegetarian, it also makes for a great Friday meal during the time of Lent.

Recipe

Takes about 15-20 minutes of prep to a total of 25-30 minutes total.

The difference for me was substituting some sweet potatoes with regular potatoes, and the latter take a bit longer to cook.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced peeled sweet potato (or 1/2 cup sweet and 1/2 cup regular potatoes)
  • 1 cup small cauliflower florets
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
  • 1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt- added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups hot cooked basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt (mix in some carrots and cucumbers for a delicious topping)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of cashews

Preparation

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
    Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat.
    Add sweet potato to pan; sauté 3 minutes.
    Decrease heat to medium. Add cauliflower, onion, and curry powder; cook 1 minute, stirring mixture constantly.
    Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to a boil.
    Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender (test the potatoes - they take the longest), stirring occasionally.

Serve over rice and with yogurt. Sprinkle with cilantro and cashews.

Serves 4 (serving size: 1 cup curry and 2 tablespoons yogurt)

  • calories 231;
  • fat 3.9g (sat 0.9g, mono 1.6g, poly 0.9g);
  • protein 10.4g;
  • carbs 40.8g;
  • fiber 8.6g;
  • cholesterol 2mg;
  • iron 2.5mg;
  • sodium 626mg;
  • calcium 106mg

Dak Bokkeum - Korean Stewed Chicken with Spinach

Delicious recipe, if a bit spicy. Good kind of spicy.

Definitely a remake. A multiple-time remake.

Dak Bokkeum - Koread Stewed Chicken with Spinach

Recipe

Takes about 30-40 minutes of prep time, to a total of about 1.5 hours.

The recipe calls for 1 small bag of spinach; I would suggest using only half or 3 quarters and adding one or two big potatoes, cubed, to the mix right at the beginning of the cooking phase.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup gochujang (Korean Chile paste) (so delicious I’ve been eating it on bread)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2-inch) slices green onion bottoms
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic (can add more, but it’ll be even spicier)
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch strips (use chicken breasts - easier to deal with)
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2-inch) slices green onion tops
  • 1 (5-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach (I used only half and added potatoes instead)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Preparation

  1. Combine first 8 ingredients (through the crushed red pepper) in a large bowl.
    Stir in chicken.
    Cover and marinate 30 minutes.
  2. Place rice in a medium saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above rice.
    Stir rice; drain.
    Repeat procedure twice.
    Add 1.5 cups water to drained rice in pan.
    Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
    Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
    Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes.
  3. While rice cooks, bring 1/3 cup water to a boil in a Dutch oven.
    Add chicken mixture; bring to a simmer.
    Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
    Uncover and simmer 10 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.
    Remove from heat; stir in green onion tops and spinach.
    Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Serve with rice. Serves 6 (serving size: 1 cup chicken mixture and 3/4 cup rice)

  • calories 433;
  • fat 12g (sat 2.2g, mono 3.9g, poly 3.6g);
  • protein 33.5g;
  • carbs 45.2g;
  • fiber 29g;
  • cholesterol 125mg;
  • iron 6.3mg;
  • sodium 649mg;
  • calcium 54mg

Steamed Pork Buns

I didn’t get these right. Not even close.

And yet, even in their not-even-close state, they disappeared faster than any other food I made. I was lucky to have had the change to eat one. One!

In short, they’re absolutely delicious and we can control the size and make them the size of a sizeable sandwich and thus get a whole meal in one or make them smaller and move into almost appetizer territory.

Either way, they’re a knockout.

Steamed Pork Buns

Recipe

They’re not the quickest to make as the dough itself takes about 1 hour to rise.

Luckily they can be frozen once prepared so the second time we only take the time required to steam them.

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1 lbs pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic (I’d use double, at least)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Dough:

  • 1 cup warm water (100F to 110F)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 14.6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3 1/4 cups) (easier to go by weight than volume)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Preparation

  1. To prepare filling, rub five-spice powder evenly over pork.
    Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
    Coat pan with cooking spray.
    Add pork to pan; cook 14 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145F, turning pork occasionally.
    Remove pork from pan, and let stand 15 minutes.
  2. Cut pork crosswise into thin slices; cut slices into thin strips.
    Place pork in a medium bowl.
    Add onions and next 7 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt); stir well to combine.
    Cover and refrigerate.
  3. To prepare dough, combine 1 cup warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
  4. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
    Add flour, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms.
    Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
    Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).
    Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top.
    Cover and let rise in a warm place (85F - can use proofing drawer or oven), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
  5. Punch dough down; let rest 5 minutes.
    Turn dough out onto a clean surface; kneadin baking powder.
    Let dough rest 5 minutes.
  6. Diyide dough into 10 equal portions, forming each into a ball.
    Working with 1 dough ball at a time (cover remaining dough balls to keep from drying), roll ball into a 5-inch circle.
    Place 1/4 cup filling in center of dough circle.
    Bring up sides to cover filling and meet on top.
    Pinch and seal closed with a twist.
    Repeat procedure with remaining dough balls and filling.
  7. Arrange 5 buns, seam sides down, 1 inch apart, in each tier of a 2-tiered bamboo steamer.
    Stack tiers; cover with lid.
  8. Add water to a large skillet to a depth of 1 inch; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
    Place steamer in pan; steam 15 minutes or until puffed and set.
    Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 10 (serving size: 1 bun)

  • Calories 259;
  • Fat 6.1g (sat 0.9g, mono 3.2g, poly 1.5g);
  • Protein 14.3g, Carbs 35.7g; Fiber 1.6g, Cholesterol 27mg;
  • Iron 2.9mg; Sodium 343mg; Calcium 54mg