soup

Pozole Verde de Pollo

I’mmm baack….with my awesome “Spanglish” in the kitchen!  Which, more often than not, means that something yummy is cooking up!  So today, mi amigos, I bring you a Carly rendition of pozole (or posole, depending what side of the tracks you’re on)!

In translation, pozole means “hominy”, which is basically a large, soft corn kernel.  This hominy is then stewed with a meat, peppers, and broth and served with various toppings for your taste bud’s enjoyment.

Now, typically, I like to make the rojo (red) version with seared pork chunks, but today I went out of my comfort zone and opted for verde (green) and chicken!  I must say, though quite different flavor profiles, this one is equally amazing!  A bit tart from the tomatillos, but the charred peppers and garlic yield that smokiness you want and they both pair wonderfully with the slightly salty broth and tender shredded chicken.

In closing, winter is not yet over (but please hurry up) and we still crave that bowl of warm soup on a cold day.  So next Domingo (that’s Sunday to my non Spanglish friends), try out this pot of yumminess!  It will not disappoint!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb tomatillos, husked, rinsed & halved
  • 4 poblano/Anaheim chiles (you can mix and match if desired)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 6 cloves garlic, in skins
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, with stems
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2+ teaspoons cumin
  • 2+ teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2-3 lbs chicken thighs, boneless/skinless, cut into rough chunks
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth/stock
  • 28oz can white hominy, drained
  • 4-8oz can chopped green chilies, drained

Garnish ideas

  • Radishes, thinly cut into matchsticks or sliced
  • Avocado, sliced or 1/2″ chunks
  • Cabbage, shredded
  • Mexican crema/ sour cream
  • Pickled onions
  • Lime wedges
  • Peppitas, toasted
  • Tortillas, warmed

Verde Sauce

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with the tomatillos (cut side down) and also place the poblano/Anaheim and jalapeno peppers along with the whole garlic cloves (still in husks) beside them.

Place your baking sheet on top rack, 6-8″ from the broiler and turn the warm oven to HI Broil.  Watch closely with oven door cracked, but allow the tomatillos to brown and soften and the peppers to bubble up and char, turning with tongs as needed.  Remove and place all of the charred peppers in a large zip lock gallon bag.  Close and allow peppers to steam for 15-20 minutes.  Once time is up, peel off the pepper’s skin and stems and scrape out the seeds from each.  You can also squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skin.

In a blender, combine 1/2 cup of chicken broth with the now roasted tomatillos (and any sheet pan juices left behind), steamed chilies and peppers, garlic cloves, cilantro, cumin,  Mexican oregano, lime juice and a pinch each of salt and pepper.  *If you like a thin broth, you can now strain this through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and discard any extra skins/seeds.  However, I like the rustic’ness of it all and do not strain.

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In a large Dutch oven pot (with lid), heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat.  Add in the cut up chicken thighs and sear and brown all sides; also add in the diced onion.

Once seared, pour the remaining chicken broth over the browned poultry to deglaze the pan; scrape up all of the brown bits on bottom of pan with a wooden spoon.  Flavor right there!

Next, pour in the Verde sauce you made in your blender along with the drained hominy and green chilies (I also like to add another teaspoon or so of cumin and Mexican oregano here again).  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, drop way down to a simmer and cover.  Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 hours.  Slightly shred chicken chunks, if desired.

Serve

Ladle into bowls and top with your desired garnishes, serve with warm tortillas.  Enjoy!

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Stuffed Tomatoes Puttanesca

A lot of influences helped bring this recipe idea to mind.  One, being my love for Pasta Puttanesca, a common order from me at many Italian restaurants.  Secondly, I love having people over and serving unique appetizers aka hors d’oeuvres if I’m being fancy, and thought this will make a great contender for my counter….and lastly, my hilarious, old soul of a little 6-year-old son who legitimately enjoys anchovies on his pizza.  Yes, if he’s not a chef, food critic or stylist when he grows up, I will be shocked.  Future foodie right there!

So because of that last reason, I had a couple containers of anchovies handy and the rest of the ingredients are pantry staples for me…so given all that, the Stuffed Tomato Puttanesca was born!  Thanks Brooks. 🙂

Also, you can make this with out stuffing the tomato/oven-step and serve in a dish drizzled with a bit more olive oil alongside crackers, bread and veggies for a great tapenade!  Heck, even spread it on your bread for an amped up turkey sandwich!  Endless options folks!  Ps.  These are great paired with a juicy steak and glass of red….

The Starting Lineup

  • 12 small cocktail style tomatoes, 2-3 inches and ripe
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 25+ pitted Kalamata olives, rough chop
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 8-10 anchovy filets (canned or jarred in olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs or panko
  • 1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp tomato juice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment, foil or silpat sheet.

Using a serrated knife (I always use serrated when dealing with tomatoes, trust me), slice off the tops of each tomato (keep) and carefully scoop out the inside of each tomato with a spoon into a bowl.  Once finished, pour and press the tomato flesh through a fine mesh sieve to get the fresh tomato juice.

In a food processor, place in the tops of your tomatoes (stem cut off), Kalamata olives, anchovies and garlic.  Process until well chopped.

Combine the olive paste with the bread crumbs/panko, capers, parsley, thyme, olive oil, the tomato juice, pepper and Romano cheese.

Place the cut and hollowed tomatoes onto your lined baking sheet and use a spoon to stuff each tomato with your tapenade filling.  Once they’re all full, sprinkle the tops with the shaved parmesan cheese slices.  Place into your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese has browned and tomato is slightly wilted and heated through.

Sprinkle a bit of fresh thyme or parsley overtop and serve as an appetizer or side dish, enjoy!

PuttanescaTomatoes

Chowder Fries

Besides the scents, visuals and tastes of pumpkin, nothing says Fall more than a warm bowl of soup!  Especially a creamy bowl of New England’s favorite, the clam chowder!  Now yes, I know I live in the south, but I’ve had reoccurring dreams of visiting the east coast to watch the leaves change while sipping on hot cider and bobbing for apples.  Maybe sneak in a visit to ‘creepy’ Salem too…basically every east coast Fall cliché IS on my bucket-list.  One day….

So for now, I light a spiced candle and get out my candy apple red Dutch oven to reinvent the classic into our family favorite, Chowder Fries!  …quick toying with me Fall and just get here already!!

*You can absolutely use vegetable broth instead, but I find that the chicken stock brings a richer flavor.

The Starting Lineup

  • French fries (frozen or scratch made), Old Bay seasoning optional for tossing with
  • 5 Strips bacon, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried/ or ground thyme
  • 3 Tbsp flour, all-purpose
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock/ or vegetable broth
  • 1 10oz can clams, juices reserved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Flat leaf parsley (chopped) or green onions (sliced), garnish

Chowder2

Heat a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven to med-high heat and add in the olive oil and bacon and cook until crispy.  Transfer the crisped bacon to a paper towel lined dish and set aside.  Keep the bacon grease in the pot.

Next, melt the butter into that bacon grease and then add in the onions, stirring often, followed by the garlic.  Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent and finally sprinkle in the thyme and stir together.

*Meanwhile, if making a bag of frozen fries, preheat the oven and line a baking tray with parchment or foil for easy cleanup.  Whether frozen or not, I like to lightly coat my fries in a bit of oil and dusting of cornstarch, toss together.  This creates a great crispy exterior!

To the sautéed butter, onions and garlic, whisk in the flour for about 1 minute till everything ‘clumps up’ and is lightly browned.  To that, slowly whisk in the chicken stock/ or broth, milk, the juice from the clams and toss in the bay leaf.  After a couple minutes of whisking to incorporate, stir in the diced potatoes.

Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes; potatoes are tender.

**Fry or bake your fries during this time.

Once time is up, stir in the half & half, the clams and add in your salt & pepper to taste (I am pretty heavy-handed with that myself).

If eating family style, season the French fries with salt or even better, Old Bay, and transfer to a serving platter.  Ladle the warm and creamy clam chowder over top the hot fries and top with the crisp bacon crumbles and parsley and/or scallions!  Sooooo good!  Enjoy!

Chowder1

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Loaded Potato Cheese Soup

Growing up in my home, my parents and I being from the mid-west, comfort food was key.  Warm soups, braises, steak and potatoes, you get the idea…Yes, even in the hot Arizona desert, I knew I was at the right address when the smell of meatloaf waft towards the drive as the street lights turned on.

Now, when we did have the occasional dinner out, we loved Marie Callendars.  Remember that place?  It has since closed so, so many of its doors that it makes me literally sad.  So many memories growing up eating their comforting dinners after cheer and football practices, dance recitals, a great report card…which was always followed by one of their fantastic slices of homemade pie!  *Sorry Marie, I love you but your frozen meals and pie do not hold a candle to your restaurant staples I enjoyed as a child.

That All being said, I was apparently craving my comfort food!  The warm, always delicious potato cheese soup I would just short of lap up from Marie’s salad bar was on my mind.  Now they didn’t garnish theirs as I do mine (I win here), but the flavor is so close that I no longer have to mourn my childhood chain restaurant…well, that is until I figure out their Frisco Burger and Lemon Cream Cheese Pie.

*I really recommend buying chicken STOCK vs chicken broth.  It’s just a bit more in cost but thousands more in flavor!

The Starting Lineup

  • 5-6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I love Velveeta’s new original shredded)
  • a HEFTY pinch of kosher salt and a pinch of pepper

Garnish

  • Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (I love Velveeta’s new shredded Cheddar)

potatosoup

Spray your slow-cooker with a bit of non-stick spray.  Next place in the peeled chunks of potatoes, diced onions, sliced celery and minced garlic.  Pour the chicken stock directly over top and add in that salt and pepper!  (The stock will not fully cover the potatoes..and that’s perfect!)

potatosoup2

Cover and set to low for 8 hours!  ..here is where you head off to work, tend to the home and loved ones or take yourself a nap and relax!

About 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat you will remove the lid of the now tender potatoes and with a potato masher, mash away!  I like to leave a bit of chunks in mine however for texture.

To this, stir in the heavy cream along with the 2 cups of shredded cheese.  Replace the cover and allow to come back up to heat (20-30 minutes).

While it is heating, if desired, crisp up some bacon and slice the green onions and shred your cheddar (if not pre-shredded).

Ladle into large bowls (trust me…no need to get up for seconds when you have a big bowlful!) and top with your favorite garnishes!  Serve alongside warm crusty bread with softened butter and you will have you and your family quite the comfort meal!

potatosoup3

Chili Blanco

I’ve never met a chili I didn’t like, seriously.  With beans, without beans (‘Bowl of Red’), smoked chipotle, turkey, molé style…I could go on and on and on..and I will.

Contrary to its pale appearance, the recipe below for Chili Blanco (blanco means white 😉) is hardly pale in flavor.  The roasted peppers add depth with a touch of heat, the Monterey Jack cheese and white beans add creaminess and the cumin, oregano, cayenne and garlic round out that south-of-the-border flavor.  This one here is a winner when you’re looking to branch out on your chili culinary adventure!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb white beans (Great White Northern), soaked overnight & rinsed OR 3 cans, drained & rinsed
  • 3 cups cooked shredded & chopped chicken (you can use a rotisserie chicken if needed)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 (4oz) cans of chopped green chilis
  • 1 roasted poblano, skinned, seeded & chopped
  • 1 roasted jalapeño, skinned, seeded & chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 48oz chicken broth
  • 1 cup Jack cheese, shredded
  • EVOO 

Garnish Ideas

  • Avocado slices
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Lime wedges
  • Jack cheese, shredded  

Assuming your chicken is cooked, beans are soaked and rinsed (if using dried) and your poblano & Jalapeno have been roasted, etc…let’s begin!! Whew!… 

 In a large dutch oven over medium heat, add in about 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Once heated, toss in the onions and cook till translucent (about 10 minutes). 

 To the sweated down onions, add in the green chilis, poblano, jalapeño, garlic, cumin, mexican oregano & cayenne. Stir together for 1 minute. 
   Next add in the beans, chicken broth and the shredded & chopped chicken and bring to a low boil. 
 Once the bubbles start rolling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Stir about every hour or so for 2-3 hours (1 hour if using canned beans…but the longer the better either way really).
Finally, about 30 minutes before you plan to eat, mix in that cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Re-cover and allow to melt in! 
 Serve this complex flavored chili with a dollop of sour cream, fresh cilantro, avocado slices and a lime wedge…oh and don’t forget more cheese and a fresh tortilla for dunking!! Enjoy! xo 
 

Loaded Beer, Kielbasa & Potato Soup

It’s a beautiful October weekend…and by beautiful I mean it will not stop raining, the windows are open in my home with temps being in the 60’s and my Fall candles are burning.   Yes, these are the things that bring me pure happiness.   Well…that and a big pot of comforting soup of course.   I decided to make this dish so it can last us a couple of days..more time to enjoy doing nothing.  Bliss.

There are all sorts of potato soup recipes out there, and they are all delicious.  However, my husband will not eat a ‘meal’ without some sort of meat in it.  Now while I found some yummy soups with loads of cheese, broccoli, asparagus, pumpkin, etc in them, I just knew that wouldn’t cut it in my carnivore household.  Soooo…what does my man like more than meat, beer and potatoes??  Not much.  Hopefully me…but even that could be pushing it 😉

Well after trial with no error, I can assure you that this is a winner!  Please enjoy with your family on a chilly day with a few slices of crusty bread for dipping!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 lbs russet potatoes, baked
  • 1/2 lb bacon (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 pckg kielbasa sausage, sliced
  • 1 onion, yellow or sweet, chopped
  • 3Tbsp flour
  • 1 12oz beer, I prefer Texas’ own Shiner Bock
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Garnish

  • Green onions, sliced
  • Bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • Jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • Sour Cream 

Well start with getting a few of the ingredients prepped!  Now you can absolutely bake your potatoes in the oven as you normally may, but if you’re in more of a time crunch, then just “bake” them in your microwave till soft.  While the potatoes are becoming fork tender, you can slice up the kielbasa sausage and chop up the onion.

 In a large pot/dutch oven, lay in the bacon and cook till crisp (medium heat).  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  Now in that glorious bacon grease (do not drain), add in the cut up sausage and the chopped onion.  Cook till the onion becomes translucent, stirring occasionally.  After about 5 minutes the onions and sausage will be good to go.  With a slotted spoon transfer them to a bowl and set aside, while keeping the grease in the dutch oven.

     *While these above ingredients have been cooking, your potatoes should be ready.  IF you do not like potato “skin”, youre more than welcome to remove.  In our home and in this recipe we actually prefer it.  It adds great color, flavor and texture to the meal.  So, anyway, just roughly cut up the baked potato, skin or no skin.

 Back to the dutch oven!  Sprinkle the flour into the bacon and sausage renderings and whisk till a rue is formed (thick and clumpy basically).  Next pour in the entire beer while continuously whisking followed by the chicken broth till smooth.

   Now add in those cut up baked potatoes and mash up in the liquid.  I like to leave a bit of chunks in my soup, so I just use a good, old-fashioned, hand-held potato masher till I like what I see.

   Next, stir in the cups of shredded cheddar cheese until melted, followed by the milk.  Bring up to a boil and then down to a simmer and stir back in the bacon (crumbled) and the sausage and onions.  Let sit and thicken up for about 10-15 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and top with the garnishes of your choice and a hunk of fresh, warm bread….this tastes best with a cold brew on a cold day with the ones you love..

Homemade Chicken & Dumplings

With Fall right around the corner and Texas already having a few chilly days this late summer, I am getting in the mood for some cold weather goodness.  The best way to kick that off is with a bowl of warm, pillowy chicken & dumplings.   This recipe from start to finish can easily be done in an hour or less, and if you use pre-cooked chicken (i.e. rotisserie) cut the time down yet again!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 chicken breasts, uncooked *if this method, poach as directed OR if using a rotisserie chicken proceed to the dumpling stage
  • 2 quarts chicken broth/stock*if poaching your chicken you can use that liquid instead of store bought

Poaching Ingredients

  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Bay Leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorn

Dumpling Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp butter, cubed
  • Pinch of salt   

We’ll start this off by poaching our chicken.  This method is fantastic for cooking and infusing flavor into your chicken.  Once cooked the poultry will shred easily, so this is great for chicken salad, stuffing into enchiladas, soups, etc.

In a large stockpot or dutch oven combine 8-10 cups of water (once your chicken breasts are in, the water should come about 1″ over them) along with all of the above poaching ingredients and the chicken. 

 Bring to boil and keep on a low boil for about 20 minutes, till chicken is cooked through. 

While the chicken is poaching, now is time to start those dumpings!  In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Next add in your butter and mix in using either a pastry cutter, two knives or even your fingers. Break up that butter into the flour mixture till it almost resembles coarse crumbs. 

   

After the butter is evenly distributed, pour in the milk and stir with a fork or wooden spoon till a dough ball starts to form.  *This dough WILL be very sticky!  On a HEAVILY floured surface plop that dough ball down. 

 

Coat the dough ball in more flour along with your rolling pin.  *All of this extra flour helps for non-sticking AND helps to thicken up the broth.  With your floured rolling pin, roll out the dough till fairly thin.  Then using a pastry cutter, pizza cutter or even a knife cut into squares, rectangles or diamonds.  They do not need to be perfect as I assure you it will be gobbled up to fast to notice. 

  

You can either transfer these to a floured plate or leave where theyre at before you cook them.  Its not a worry if they dry out too much.

By this time your chicken is likely cooked so remove from the boiling broth and set aside to cool slighty.  *Now this is where Ill do my best to type out directions depending on if you bought precooked chicken & broth or poached and made your own.

Take that same water & spices your chicken cooked in and strain into a large bowl (your trying to catch any large chunks of onion, lemon & peppercorns).  Once strained, pour back into the dutch oven.

OR IF YOU BOUGHT BROTH OR STOCK, SIMPLY POUR INTO A LARGE DUTCH OVEN

Bring the broth to a low boil and one by one gently drop your dumplings into the pot, stir with a wooden spoon at the same time.  You’ll immediately start to see the dumplings puff up and gain that ‘pillowy’ appearance.  Keep this going till all the dumplings have been added and cook for 15-20 minutes stirring often.  This allows for that floury taste to cook down and out.  

 

While the dumplings are doing there thing  (remember to stir  so they do not stick), shred your chicken with two forks or your fingers.  I always chose my hands over utensils when I can, just remember it’s hot!  *If you bought a rotisserie chicken, do the same..start tearing that apart into bite size pieces.

Add the chicken into the dumplings and broth and its ready!  You can of course let this sit for a bit…but I dont think thats ever happened at my house, so you’ll have to let me know how that goes 😉    

  
Ladle into bowls and serve with a crisp salad, some warm rolls & butter and a large glass of sweet tea! 

  
 

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