Chicken and White Bean Salsa Soup

A healthy and flavorful soup to brighten a blustery day.

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Ingredients:

  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons crumbled dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package frozen cut spinach
  • 2 16-oz. cans great northern beans
  • 2 quarts roasted salsa verde

Process:

Bring chicken stock to boil over a medium heat in a large pot. Stir in cumin, oregano, pepper, and salt. Add chicken breasts. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, reduce heat to simmer, cover pot and cook until the chicken is fully cooked and easily shreds, approximately 1 hour.

Remove chicken from broth and set aside to cool.

Add frozen spinach to broth over medium heat and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and add the beans and salsa verde.

Shred cooled chicken and add to broth.

Cover pot and simmer over low heat for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Serve immediately.

Makes approximately 5 quarts.

Serving suggestion:

Serve with green chile bread with red chile pod sauce, and a green salad topped with fresh fruit on the side.

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Roasted Salsa Verde

Roasted tomatillo and green chile salsa. Make it once and you’ll be addicted. We use it in place of salad dressing on green salads and use it as a base for an incredible soup that is in a post to follow.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 roasted green chiles (or 1 5-oz. can diced green chiles)
  • 1 pound (about 12) fresh tomatillos, husked
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and chopped or pre-chopped equivalent
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro

Process:

Slice tomatillos in half and place under broiler, skin side up, until they begin to blister slightly. Set them aside to cool. Stem and seed the chiles and coarsely chop them.

In a blender (I use a Kitchen Ninja), combine the tomatillos, green chiles, water, garlic, and salt, and puree until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the onions and cilantro. Transfer to storage container and refrigerate.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Red Chile Pod Sauce

Nothing better than homemade red chile pod sauce. Excellent dipping sauce for quesadillas or green chile bread. Use it to make enchiladas or use it to make a braising sauce for pork deshebrada. I even use it as a base for my raspberry chipotle barbeque sauce.

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Ingredients:

  • 30 or so large dried red New Mexico chile pods
  • 3 to 5 chiles de arbol (more, if you like a spicier chile sauce)
  • 4 cups water plus 1/2 cup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced and peeled or equivalent of pre-minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar

Process:

Stem the chile pods, including the chiles de arbol and slit them open. I use kitchen shears. Remove as many seeds as possible and cut chiles into 1 inch strips. Rinse chiles briefly under cold water. and place in large bowl or pan that can be covered.

Bring the 4 cups water to a boil and pour it over the chile pieces. Cover and let stand, stirring occasionally (maybe twice) until cool.

Place chiles and water in blender (I use a Kitchen Ninja…it is incredible). Blend until the chile puree is smooth. Strain the puree through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. Add 1/2 cup water to blender to clean blades and container. Add to puree in strainer. Force the chile puree through the strainer with a stiff rubber spatula. Seeds and tough bits of peel will remain in the strainer and can be discarded.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook uncovered, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring and mashing the flour mixture, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the chile pod puree, chicken broth, salt, cider vinegar, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, stirring once or twice, for 20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, and transfer to a storage container. Makes about 3 1/2 quarts.

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Green Chile Bread

At the end of summer, I order 25 pounds of fresh green chiles grown in Hatch, New Mexico to roast at home. If you’ve ever had Hatch chiles, you’ll understand.SONY DSC

Twist the basic no-knead bread recipe by adding fresh roasted New Mexico green chiles and ground chipotle flakes. Perfect for making green chile and grilled cheese sandwiches or dipping in fresh red chile pod sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle flakes or powder.
  • 3 New Mexico green chiles, diced.
  • 1 3/4 cup whey.

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, salt, chipotle powder. Add the whey and green chiles and stir until blended. The dough will be a bit rough and sticky.

Cover bowl with plastic cover or plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 to 18 hours at room temperature. (Our house is around 76 degrees. Around 70 degrees is considered optimal.)

Dough is ready when bread has more than doubled in size and bubbles will appear on top.

Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it.

Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.

Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal.

Return dough and towel to clean bowl (it’ll help keep its shape) and cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours.

When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

About half an hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. I use cast iron and lightly coat the inside with shortening, just enough for a shiny patina and add a light sprinkling of kosher salt.

When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Remove towel from top of dough and turn dough into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.

Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake for approximately another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.

Remove from pan and cool on rack.

A Different Kind of Pumpkin Bread

You’ll fall in love with this bread. It makes great turkey sandwiches and is a great side for butternut squash or pumpkin soups. Chop it up into small cubes and stale it out in the oven to make wonderful croutons for soup.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (non-bromated)
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast (quarter of a packet, if using packets)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups whey (from making strained Greek yogurt or Yo-Cheese)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) Calabaza pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (not pictured, they missed the photo shoot)

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In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt, spices, pecan pieces and dried cranberries. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and whey. Add to dry ingredients.

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Stir until blended. The dough will be a bit rough and sticky.

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Cover bowl with plastic cover or plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 to 18 hours at room temperature. (Our house is around 76 degrees. Around 70 degrees is considered optimal.)

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Dough is ready when bread has more than doubled in size and bubbles will appear on top.

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Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it.

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Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.

Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal.

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Return dough and towel to clean bowl (it’ll help keep its shape) and cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours.

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When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

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About half an hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. I use cast iron and lightly coat the inside with shortening, just enough for a shiny patina and add a light sprinkling of kosher salt.

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When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Remove towel from top of dough and turn dough into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.

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Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake for approximately another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.

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Remove from pan and cool on rack.SONY DSC

When cooled, cut a slice and spread some of the Ginger and Honey Yo-cheese on it and then top with a dollop of my cranberries. Heaven!

Tonight I used the bread to make open-faced turkey, bacon and warm Gruyere cheese sandwiches that were topped of with my cranberries. I melted the Gruyere cheese under the broiler on top of the bread, then placed a couple strips of bacon on top, then a couple slices of turkey, then a dollop of my cranberries. Again, Heaven! 

No-Knead Bread – The Basics

This recipe was inspired by Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery, New York City. “It requires no kneading. It uses no special ingredients, equipment or techniques. And it takes very little effort — only time. You will need 24 hours to create the bread, but much of this is unattended waiting, a slow fermentation of the dough that results in a perfect loaf.”

This is my basic bread recipe. It’s a little larger and denser than those made by Jim Lahey, but the process is basically the same. This is a good everyday bread.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (non-bromated)
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast (quarter of a packet, if using packets)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups whey (from making strained Greek yogurt or Yo-Cheese)

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In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add the whey

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and stir until blended. The dough will be a bit rough and sticky.

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Cover bowl with plastic cover or plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 to 18 hours at room temperature. (Our house is around 76 degrees. Around 70 degrees is considered optimal.)

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Dough is ready when bread has more than doubled in size and bubbles will appear on top.

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Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it.

Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.

Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal.

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Return dough and towel to clean bowl (it’ll help keep its shape) and cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours.

SONY DSCSONY DSC When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

SONY DSC About half an hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. I use cast iron and lightly coat the inside with shortening, just enough for a shiny patina and add a light sprinkling of kosher salt.

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When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Remove towel from top of dough and turn dough into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.

SONY DSCCover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake for approximately another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.

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This is the basic bread recipe. Feel free to jazz it up by adding various spices, nuts or dried fruit. Suggestions anyone?

Cut it up in chunks and serve with olive oil blends. Slice it up and serve with softened butter or a Yo-Cheese spread or your favorite jam or jelly.

 

 

Ode to Cast Iron

 

Yes, that is the voice of angels you’re hearing. Or, just maybe, I’m the only one who hears the angels sing every time I see cast iron cookware!SONY DSC

This is one of my most used cast iron pots. I use it to make everything from bread to red chile pod sauce to pork deshebrada.

It is the miracle cookware. I have a broad range of skillets, griddles and Dutch ovens.

Cast iron to me is what Windex is to Gus Portokalos (see the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” if you didn’t get that reference).

Enough said.