10 March 2010

Green peppers

When last we saw our heroine, she was battling weirdness and making lunch...

The weirdness continues. My life seems to operate on the Inevitability Principle.

The luncheon was yesterday, and everyone seemed content. And full.

Yesterday morning, the entire neighborhood smelled like posole, as enormous pots of the stuff simmered away on my stove. And posole tends to smell like a high school gym replete with sweaty socks, so I had the windows open even though it was only about 45F outside. But posole tastes so fabulous, it's completely worth it. And it's incredibly cheap! I made about 4 gallons for $50, which works out to a little more than a dollar a serving. The stuff I make is pretty healthy, too.

(Yes, I made gallons. Literally, gallons.)

Since some of the luncheon participants were vegetarians, I got to devise a veggie version in addition to the red chile chicken I made (most commonly, I make a green chile pork posole, but I needed to work with a lot of dietary preferences here, so went with chicken. And chicken thighs were on sale). Creating a vegetarian version took a little thinking, but one of the gentlemen praised it to the skies, which made me happy. And it's been awhile since I gave you a recipe. Bad me. So here:

Vegetarian Green Chile Posole

1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1-1/2 Tbl. olive oil
2-3 pasilla chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped (see below for method)
2-3 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
8 c. canned hominy
2 15-oz. cans Great Northern beans
3-4 quarts good quality vegetable broth (I used Imagine organic)
3 tomatoes, chopped
3 Tbl. dried whole Mexican oregano
1/2-1 tsp. chipotle chile powder (optional)
Salt
Pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Lime wedges

Heat olive oil in 8-qt. soup pot and saute onions, celery, carrots and garlic over medium heat until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add chiles, peppers, hominy, beans and 3 quarts of broth and bring to a boil. Partially cover the pot with a lid, reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours until hominy pops, stirring occasionally. Depending on your hominy and the quality of your beans, you may need to add more broth during cooking. Once the hominy has popped, add tomatoes, oregano and chile powder if you are using it, as well as additional broth, if necessary. Return to boil, reduce heat and simmer for another 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in large bowls, passing cilantro, cheese and lime wedges. Serves 12.

Roasting chiles and peppers:

Totally easy. Heat oven to 400F. Put washed, whole chiles and peppers right on the oven racks and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the skin begins to bubble and char. Allow them to cool a bit, and they pretty much slide right out of the skin. Remove the stem, slit the chiles and remove seeds, then chop in whatever size pieces you need. Important: If you are using especially hot chiles or have sensitive skin, you will probably want to wear clean rubber gloves or food prep gloves while working with the chiles because the capsaicin in the chiles burns on your skin just like it does in your mouth.

Notes:

I like my posole spicy hot, and I mean REALLY hot. On the Scoville scale, I can eat habaneros in their naked state, so I do mean hot! My friends and family cannot tolerate that sort of heat, so I cook differently for an audience. This recipe is pretty mild, as both pasilla and Anaheim chiles add more flavor than heat. If you like it hotter, use the larger amount of chiles, especially jalapeno. If you aren't sure, taste your posole throughout the cooking process and add more chiles and peppers as you go. The heat from peppers intensifies with time, so it's ok to add more gradually. The same goes with the chile powder. And yeah, you can use canned chiles--I do in a pinch--rather than roasting your own, but you do lose a lot of flavor.

Mexican oregano is different from the commonly sold Mediterranean variety. You can substitute the Mediterranean, if necessary.

I like both the heat and smoky flavor imparted by chipotle chile powder.

While posole is generally a thick stew, my family prefers it a little soupier, so I usually add more broth. It is important to watch that the beans and posole don't absorb so much of your broth that the stew becomes dry or burns.

And finally, no, I don't usually serve cheese with my posole, but in this case, the addition gives the meal a complete protein, hence the suggestion.

So, what are you waiting for? Go make lunch!

Go listen to some good music: "Green Peppers" from the album Whipped Cream and Other Delights by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

2 comments:

Deb said...

Posole and menudo are great justification for an outdoor stovetop. I cannot bring myself to make menudo inside, even though I do love it.

guerrilla girl said...

Seriously. Though yesterday, you could smell this stuff a 1/4 mile away and it was cooking in my house.