Red Pozole

Red PozoleSummer Soup Supper
When the weather starts to get warm, the last thing people think about for dinner is a bowl of soup. I mean who wants soup when it’s 90 degrees outside, right? And I agree for the most part. But, there is at least once exception to that rule. At least in my mind…

There are few dishes that are as quintessentially Mexican than a bowl of pozole. It’s a hearty, filling bowl of pork or chicken with hominy and the flavors of chili and lime. Pozole is everything you could want when you just have to have the flavors of Mexico. And, it is just as appropriate in winter when you need to something flavorful and filling to warm you up as it is in the warmer months outside on the patio for a relaxing dinner with a margarita. Just grab some from the fridge, give it a gentle warm up and enjoy a great meal al fresco with some fresh radishes from your garden—if you are lucky enough to have them.

Obviously, this is a make-ahead weeknight dinner as it takes more time to put together than we usually have on a Wednesday night. But, if you make this your Sunday project, all you need to do is prep the garnishes to add to your bowl for a fast and satisfying dinner. Any leftovers can be put in the freezer for another night.

Red Pozole Recipe
Adapted from the Mexican Food Journal
Yields 12 servings

This recipe yields an ample 12 servings—plenty to enjoy for dinner with leftovers for future meals. Pozole makes a rich and satisfying dish with your choice of meat in a mildly-spicy chile broth. Fresh garnishes complete the dish. Read more…

Tomatillo Enchiladas

Tomatillo EnchiladasThe Whole Enchilada
On average, I roast chicken at least once a week—and I never roast fewer than two. The main reasons for that are about to turn 17 in in a couple of weeks. But, the real motivation is having leftover cooked chicken opens the door to many different dinner ideas. My favorite? Enchiladas!

I was shocked to note that I have never written about making enchiladas before, because I make them a lot. Enchiladas are a no-brainer weeknight meal usually made with whatever I have on hand. This means they are not the same every time. I almost always go without a recipe. Sometimes I roll ’em. Sometimes I stack ‘em. It all depends on how many tortillas I have. Sometimes the enchiladas are rojo and sometimes they are verde, but they are always exactly what the doctor ordered. I also like any leftovers the next morning with scrambled eggs. Kind of like a crazy version of Chilaquiles.

If I was forced to choose, I would say that I prefer the verde version. There’s just something about the green chili, cheese, chicken, and sour cream combo that is just right. There is no shortage of recipes available online for whatever version you decide to try. The can be complicated or super-easy depending on your schedule and enthusiasm level. Making your own sauce produces fantastic results. But, that doesn’t mean the jarred or canned stuff can’t be just as good. For me, I like it somewhere in the middle. A little bit of homemade combined with the easy-open.

Today, I’m going with my favorite recipe from Rick Bayless. I like to mix some shredded cheese together with the chicken for the filling. But, you can do it however you want to. Making the sauce yourself means eating a few minutes later and it’s worth it…

Tomatillo Enchiladas Recipe
Adapted from Rick Bayless
Yields 4 servings Read more…

Fondue Bourguignonne

Fondue BourguignonneBoiled in Oil
Have you ever experienced hot oil hot pot? Me neither. That will be remedied this weekend. To be honest, I have done the hot broth version. But, the hot oil kinda scares me because I am that person that no matter how many precautions I take when frying something like chicken, I get burned. Not badly but enough to remember it. Maybe I should get one of those heat suits you see in the movies. You know the silver ones with the square windows in the helmets? Or maybe I should just chill out. I have been told that a time or twenty…mostly by my children.

So this weekend I will face my fears and give hot oil fondue a go. I was not aware that this was even a thing until I went fondue-crazy after Christmas. I knew about Asian hot pot, of course, but not this.

Hot oil fondue, or Fondue Bourguignonne at it is actually called, is a Swiss invention. It was the inspiration of field workers who did not have time to go back home for a meal. So, they started bringing pots of oil with them that they heated and then stuck chunks of meat in to cook. It got the name Bourguignonne from the imported French beef from Burgundy that was the most widely used.

Beef is still the most popular and most traditional meat for hot oil fondue. But, really you can use whatever meat or fish you want as well as you favorite vegetables. Just make sure the pot is stable….

There is a wealth of information on the internet about hot oil fondue if you want to dig a little deeper. This Chef’s Notes blog post was particularly helpful.

Our classic recipe is delicious. And, it can be the basis for experimenting with sauces and flavors. And, of course, a good fondue cookbook is always a good idea…

Fondue Bourguignonne Recipe
Yields 4 Servings
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse and The Food Network

Our basic recipe prepares the meat beautifully. And, the real star of this meal is the selection of dipping sauces. This is where you can get creative, and we recommend that you choose at least three favorites. The variations are infinite!

Some great recipes for sauces are Harissa Mayonnaise, Cilantro Sauce, and Fig Sauce. You can also stop by our Cheese Department and pick up a container of one of our house-made dipping sauces like Dixie’s Dipping Sauce or our Blue Cheese Dressing and Dip. Then we carry a variety of delicious BBQ sauces like Everett & Jones, and dipping sauces like the Jade Sichuan Peanut Sauce or Mekong Ginger Sauce. Read more…

“Dirty” Rice (Cajun Rice Dressing)

"Dirty" Rice (Cajun Rice Dressing)Getting’ Dirty
The arrival of February means we leave the dullness of the last days of January and move headlong into a series of events that happen within the span of two weeks. First up is Super Bowl Sunday and while it may not be as exciting this year due to restrictions and whatnot, it is still an afternoon of much-needed and appreciated entertainment. Next comes Valentine’s Day which will also see its celebrations dimmed by the current situation. But, it still gives us something to celebrate and it highlights the importance of letting the ones you love know how you feel. And lastly, bringing up the rear, is Mardi Gras…

I recognize that, outside of Louisiana, Mardi Gras may not be that big of a deal. Ash Wednesday is much more widely observed. I, however, see Mardi Gras as an excuse to make recipes from one of my favorite regional cuisines. This year, because I am still on my trying new things kick, I will be making recipes from my new award-winning cookbook, The Mosquito Supper Club by Melissa Martin.

If you have ever wanted to taste the legit flavors of the Louisiana bayou, this book is for you. On top of that the pages are filled with fantastic stories of the people who live there and about their struggle to earn a living and maintain their way of life in the face of global warming. I have recently made a number of recipes from the book and have yet to find one that wasn’t outstanding. Be prepared to plan ahead, though. These recipes are authentic and require certain ingredients that you just won’t find on the West Coast and will have to be ordered to get the right flavors.

A couple of weeks ago, I made the Braised Duck Legs on a blustery Sunday and the results were fall-off-the-bone fantastic. As suggested by the author, I also made the Rice Dressing to go with it. Rice Dressing is more commonly known to the rest of the United States as “Dirty” Rice because of the “dirty” color that happens when you add the ground meat to it. No matter what you call it, the rice is good eatin’ and can be served along side duck, chicken, beef or turkey. It’s also good on its own with a side salad, fresh green beans, or stewed greens. The recipe makes a lot. But, the rice tastes better the next day—so it’s worth it.

If you have never tasted this Louisiana staple you have definitely been missing out. Don’t be turned off by the inclusion of chicken liver (I don’t use gizzards). It just gives the dish richness. I strongly urge you to give this rice a try.

And, laissez les bons temps rouler, Cher…

“Dirty” Rice (Cajun Rice Dressing) Recipe
Adapted from The Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou by Melissa Martin
Yields 6 to 8 servings Read more…