Posole Rojo

Now this flavorful, spicy recipe takes some effort and hours of cooking, however, your reward is great!  You can also adjust the spice level by how much of the Chili de Árbol sauce you add to your broth.  Here in my home we like things HOT🔥.  So I add in a full cup and still garnish my serving with a drizzle.  If you want just a hint of heat and flavor, I recommend using 1/2-3/4 of a cup and zero ‘drizzle’.  To each their own, so adjust to your liking.

I imagine this could work great as a crockpot meal as well.  I suggest still searing your pork roast with the sweated onions and garlic on the stovetop first before adding to your crockpot.  Make sure to scrape up any and all brown bits to be put in also.  This method would work for days one has to be at work, the first for a lazy weekend day.

Hope y’all enjoy!  I know we did!

The Starting Lineup 

  • 3lb pork roast
  • 1 onion,  white chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 7 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Chili de Árbol sauce, *recipe below (use less if you don’t want it too spicy)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp of Mexican chicken bouillon (Knorr Caldo Con Sabor de Pollo)
  • 2 heaping Tbsp Cumin, separated (1/dry rub-1/broth)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1/2 cup milk/Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 cans white hominy

GARNISH

  • sliced fresh jalapeños & radishes
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream dollop
  • A drizzle of reserved chili purée 

Before starting this recipe, make sure you have a cup of my *Chili de Árbol | Railroad Wife sauce on hand.  This is a MUST for the robust, spicy flavor!

Set your pork roast out and coat with cumin and 1/2 salt and bring to temperature for even cooking.  Set aside.  *you can even coat roast in the dry rub overnight if you’d like, but still set meat out about 20 minutes before you sear it.

Heat vegetable oil to medium in a heavy dutch oven (I use my Lodge cast iron, but any should work).  Add your chopped onion to the oil and cook till soft (4-6 minutes).  Add in garlic and cook for 1 minute. 

Push mix to side of pot, turn up to med-high and add the spice coated pork roast and sear on each side for a nice ‘crust’ ( 8-10 minutes).  Occasionally stir your onion/garlic mix while your roast is searing so they don’t burn.

 

Next, add 1 cup water, all the chicken broth, chicken bouillon, 1 cup of chili purée (less if you don’t want it too spicy), cumin, Mexican oregano, bay leaf.  

Stir all the spices and the sauce https://railroadwifeintexas.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/chili-de-arbol-sauce/ together.  It will develop a great red hue. 

  

Bring to boil, stir and then turn to a simmer and cover.  Let simmer for 3 hours, stirring about once per hour. 

 

After the 3 hours is up, add the (drained) hominy to your pot.  Stir and let sit 1 more hour. 

After that last painful, stomach growling hour remove the roast from the broth and shred.  

Mix together the milk and cornstarch in bowl till smooth and add to broth.  If needed, repeat.  This helps to slightly thicken the broth.  Add the shredded pork roast back in now as well.  Let sit till the stew slightly thickens.

After all your hard work and (im)patience in waiting, your Posole Rojo is ready!!!  Ladle a large helping into a bowl, garnish and serve with chips or a warm, fresh tortilla on the side! 

  

Chili de Árbol Sauce

Ya know that super spicy ‘hot sauce’ you have to ask the waiter for at restaurants?  The velvety smooth one that they don’t normally serve with your chips and salsa due to its insanely hot heat level?  Well this is it.  You can also use this as a fantastic base for a great enchilada sauce or soup.

Now please don’t be deterred from making this because you see dried Chilis.  Besides a couple of garlic cloves and water, these are your only ingredients.  Seriously.

The Starting Lineup

  • 4 Ancho Chilis (dried)
  • 2 New Mexico Chilis (dried)
  • 1 cup of Chilis de Árbol (dried)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, smashed 

Ok, first thing to do is boil a few cups of water in a pan.  Meanwhile, cut the stems off of each pepper and shake out as many seeds as you can.  Don’t worry about getting every single seed out, this will also go through a mesh sieve after they’re puréed.

  

Place the deseeded chilis in a large bowl and pour the now boiling water over them.  Cover the filled bowl immediately with a plate or Saran Wrap.  This will rehydrate and soften your dried peppers. *you can see the Saran Wrap billowing up from the hot steam.  

 

Let these chilis steep in the hot water for 30 minutes.  Once time is up, use a slotted spoon to add the peppers to your blender.  Also add in 2 cups of the water that the chilis soaked in and your 2 cloves of garlic.  

Blend for a minute till smooth.  If needed add more of the chili water to thin. *I recommend holding a towel over your blender lid as you purée.  The hot liquid tends to expand and you don’t want to get burned.  Promise.

Slowly, about 1/2 cup at a time, pour your blended chilis into a fine mesh cooking sieve that is hung over a bowl.  *dont mind my sieve.  My boys like to steal it from my kitchen and ‘catch butterflies’ with it through out my home.  It has lost its beautiful, once round shape..  With a rubber spatula, push down on the sauce to press the liquid through the sieve while it catches all of the seeds & skins.  It will be paste-like and the sauce in the bowl underneath will be smooth. 

  

After you’ve pressed all of the liquid through the metal sieve from your blender..your done!!  Authentic Chili de Árbol sauce for all your Mexican inspired dishes!🔥💃👌

Texas Tamale Pie

This is good…real good!  Homemade cornbread, meat, cheese and spice!  What’s not to like?  If you’re real crafty, it can all be made in one pan..but I used two and was just fine.

I also used canned enchilada sauce.  In my home that’s almost sacrilegious, but with the homemade cornbread and other goodies no one can tell..Promise!  Your secret’s safe with me!

The Starting Lineup

Meat

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper, to taste

Cornbread

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup flour 
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp vege oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bag/can corn (14oz roughly, I use frozen, thawed OR not)
  • 1 can green Chilis, 4.5oz

Finishings

  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I prefer Jack variety, melts great)
  • 1 1/3 cups enchilada sauce

Toppings

  • Cilantro
  • Sour Cream
  • Jalapeños 
  • Salsa
  • Limes 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Grease (oil, butter or crisco) a baking dish of your choice or a large cast iron skillet, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine your cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.  Mix well.

 Slowly whisk in your vegetable oil till small clumps appear.

 Now whisk in the milk and egg.  Once combined, gently fold in your green Chilis and corn. 

Pour your green-chili cornbread mixture into your greased pan.

 Make sure it’s about even throughout pan and put into your oven for 20-25 mintutes (toothpick comes out clean).

While your cornbread is baking, start cooking your ground beef in a skillet over medium heat.  Add in your seasonings to the meat and simmer.  Once cooked through, drain and set aside. 

   When ready, remove your cornbread from the oven.  Drop your oven temp down to 350 degrees and allow your cornbread to cool for 5 minutes. 

 Prick your cornbread with either a toothpick or fork all over (have you ever made poke-cake?  Same idea).  Pour your enchilada sauce right over the entire cornbread.  Layer your drained ground beef and then the cheese over the top of your cornbread/sauce.  

   Cover your pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes. 

 Remove foil and allow to bake for 10 more minutes.

Once bubbly and hot, take out of oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Serve with sour cream, salsa, jalapeños, left over enchilada sauce, etc. 

  

Hummingbird Cake

Life in the south is wonderful.  The greenery, the big trees, real southern hospitality and the best part…the food!!  I tend to make lots of yummy comforting meals, but I thought I should try my hand at some of their sweets.  What better to start with than the legendary Hummingbird Cake.  

Now I don’t know the origin of its name, but I do find it pretty..and this cake is so dang good that I really don’t care.  The bananas keep it moist, the pineapples give a nice tartness to the sweet aspects and the pecans give that great crunch! 

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 8oz can of crushed Pineapple, undrained
  • 2 ripe Bananas, sliced & quartered
  • 1 cup Pecans, chopped
  • Coconut, toasted (optional)
  • Classic Cream Cheese Frosting, see recipe link below  

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour or non-stick spray 2 round cake pans.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Sift together till evenly dispersed.

 

Next, add in your eggs, oil, vanilla extract and mix together with the dry ingredients. 

 

Make sure your pecans are roughly chopped and add those in the batter along with your crushed pineapple & bananas. 

  

 

Gently fold in the fruit and pecans into the batter.  Honestly, you could probably still use your stand mixer.  Just do so on low till ingredients are incorporated.  Don’t worry about the bananas mushing up, that’s a good thing that will keep your cake moist!

Spoon this delish batter evenly into each cake pan.  If needed, shake pans side to side slightly to even out the batter. 

 

Place into oven and bake for 28-30 minutes, toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow the cakes to remain in pans for about 5 minutes.  Transfer the cakes out of their pans and onto a cooling rack.  You definitely want your cakes cool to the touch before applying the frosting.

Here is a link for my Classic Cream Cheese Frosting.  This batch will be plenty to cover the top and middle layer.  Classic Cream Cheese Frosting | Railroad Wife 

To assemble, spread half of the frosting onto one cake round.  Very carefully place the other round onto the bottom frosted cake and liberally frost that top.  Though optional, I like to garnish the cake with a bit of toasted coconut and a pretty Spring colored flower.  I also like to dust the sides of cake with some powdered sugar for a rustic look.  Feel free to frost the entire cake if that’s your desired look! 

  

Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

This frosting is effortless and taste exactly like it should.  Just like grandma made, no nasty chemical aftertaste!  

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 8oz block of Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3-4 cups of Powdered Sugar
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract  

In bowl, cream together your softened butter & cream cheese till combined.  You can use your stand mixer or a hand mixer.  However, if you need an arm workout, you can even use a good ol fashioned bowl & spoon! 

 

Slowly and one cup at a time, add in your powdered sugar and vanilla. 

 

The longer you whip these 4 ingredients together, the lighter and fluffier they tend to become!  At the end, you’ll have a creamy, messy, sweet and tasty frosting!  Please feel free to lick the beater and your bowl 😉 

 

Cheesy Potato Casserole

I make this side all too often for meals that need to feed a crowd, but I cannot take all of the credit for this.  This is a great copy cat version of the amazing hash-brown casserole that is served at one of Americas favorite joints, Cracker Barrel.  I’ve never worked in their kitchen nor seen the ‘official’ recipe, but whatever theirs may be, this comes out tasting the same!

I like to serve it with a juicy ham or fried chicken and a crisp salad.  You can even change it up by adding cooked chopped ham, sausage and/or bacon into it and serving this for breakfast along side some eggs and toast!  That’s reeaallly good too!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 2lb bag of Frozen Hash Browns (I prefer diced potatoes)
  • 1 pint of Sour Cream
  • 1 can of Cream of Chicken soup 
  • 2 cups of Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 stick Butter, melted
  • 1/2 Onion, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper (I’m heavy handed with the pepper) 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with non stick spray.

Pour your entire bag of frozen potatoes into the dish. Pepper.  In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream, cream of chicken soup, diced onion, melted butter and salt & pepper.

Spread this mixture evenly over your potatoes. Pepper again.

Last step is to simply sprinkle your shredded cheddar over top of your casserole.

Place in your preheated oven for 45 minutes, let that cheese get nice and bubbly & browned.

  

Let sit for 5 minutes, spoon into dish and enjoy!!

 

Short Rib Ragu

The aroma in your home is worth this.  This isn’t your store brand ‘Ragu’, this is  an authentic meat based sauce where the tomatoes take a back seat to the delicious braised meat.  In layman’s terms, this is fancy Italian food.

The Starting Lineup

  • 3lbs beef short ribs 
  • 1 lb noodles
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups beef broth, low-sodium
  • 1 cup red wine, I.e. Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Italian flat leaf parsley 
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • EVOO    

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Start this dish by liberally seasoning your short ribs with kosher salt & pepper. I say do much more than you think you need.  Pour a few tbsps worth of EVOO into a heavy bottomed pan (I prefer my enameled Lodge cast iron for this, cleans up easy).

Heat that EVOO up to a med high temp and then add in your short ribs, searing all sides a couple of minutes.  This should take about 10 minutes, set your short ribs aside, but leave that now flavored oil and brown bits in the bottom of your pan.

  

In that same pot, with allll that brown goodness and flavor, add in your onion.  Sweat those down for 2 minutes and then add in your garlic.  Cook for 1 more minute.

 Add in your quartered tomatoes, cup of red wine and Dijon mustard.  Bring up to a boil while scraping up the brown bits on bottom of pan with a wooden spoon.  Place your short ribs back in your pan along with the beef stock.

Turn your oven down to 300 degrees, cover your pot and pop in the preheated oven for 3 1/2 hours.  I suggest going out & about, so when you return home you really get a whiff of this delicious delight!

When the braising meat is almost done, start your pasta according to package directions.  I usually undercook my noodles by about 2 minutes, they’ll finish cooking in your sauce.  *Keep your left over pasta water on hand in case your sauce needs thinned.

After the time is up, take your covered pot out of the oven and carefully remove the short ribs. They will be fall apart tender.  Shred.

Ladle the remaining vegetable, wine broth into a food processer and pulse till smooth.

Return both the short ribs and the puréed sauce to your pot, add in your noodles. (If needed, ladle in a bit of your reserved pasta water to thin).  Cover and allow flavors to meld.

Meanwhile, chop up some parsley and shred your parmesan cheese.

Scoop a large serving into a bowl, garnish and enjoy!!  Serve with some crusty bread and the rest of your red wine! 🍷

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