Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Colorado Style Pork Green Chile

Colorado Style Pork Green Chile

Makes: 3 quarts approximately 

I have discovered in my adult life that in rest of the American south west, or the rest of the country for that matter,  the green chile we have available at Mexican restaurants across our state does not exist elsewhere. This is really heartbreaking to me, because I believe that the "Colorado style" green chile that is thick and luxurious, spicy and comforting is really the only green chile to eat. New Mexico touts a greet chile made with ample sour tomatillos and is a runny consistency better served on top of a taco then the masterpiece we have available to us.

I typically eat my favorite, Santiago's green chile on a Saturday morning after a late night. I purchase a pint of the 1/2 and 1/2 green chile and it comes with a few fresh flour tortillas for about $4. I eat it like a soup and I feel much, much better after I have slurped it down. Somehow spicy mexican food always seems to do the trick. You may think I am crazy for eating a bowl of green chile for breakfast, but I can assure you its better than any breakfast burrito (which your really only eating for the green chile anyways). It really is delicious anytime of the day.

I have no way of identically replicating the deliciousness of Santiago's green chile, but with some measure of trial and error I found a recipe that I have evolved into my take on green chile. If you don't have a Santiago's around you, then I urge you to make this, and even if you do, its nice to make a recipe and know exactly what you put in it. This recipe will also freeze well, so make up a huge batch to have on hand for a quick meal or as an ingredient in a recipe. 

2 -3 lbs shredded pork (Recipe below)
4-5 tablespoons lard or bacon grease, divided (All Natural Leaf Lard Here)
1 large finely chopped onion
5 cloves minced garlic
6 tablespoons hasa marina (corn flour) or other flour if paleo
1 can El Pato brand tomato sauce
3 cups fresh or frozen roasted green chilies, diced
1 large roasted tomatillo, coarsely chopped
1 roasted and diced jalapeno (or more depending on the heat of your other chiles)
12 cups broth or water
1 tablespoon ground cumin (or to taste)
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon salt


Shredded Pork:
I typically buy an enormous pork butt and cook it in the slow cooker to use in a variety of recipes from BBQ to mexican. For this recipe I am going to cut my pork butt in half and use it for my chile, and the other half for homemade tamales (recipe to come!)

Season the pork with salt and pepper well on all sides. 

Use lard to brown the pork. (All Natural Leaf Lard) You'll need 2-3 tablespoons.  

Coat the pork with the melted lard. Once the pork is nearly browned, add the masa and coat the pork and brown them both together. The masa will soak up the oil and thicken the mixture. Add water until it fills to 2/3 of pork shoulder and cook on low in crock-pot or 300 degrees in a large dutch oven for 6-8 hours. 

Place a sliced onion and a few whole garlic cloves in the pot to enhance flavor. It should be fall apart tender and moist when finished. 

Make sure that the liquid doesn't dry out when cooking and add more liquid if necessary. Discard onion and garlic cloves. Cool meat enough to handle and shred. Leave aside. 

Green Chile:

Roast all of your chiles, jalapenos and tomatillos over an open flame. I purchase hatch green chiles from a roaster on the side of the road, but I understand if that is not available to you. I buy a bushel and store in freezer bags for use all year long, it is wonderful. Please do not purchase canned green chiles, or your stew will be gross, they sell frozen roasted chiles in most grocery stores, and when in season you can buy fresh hatch, poblano or anaheim chiles at the grocery store and roast yourself over the BBQ grill or gas stove. Remove skins and chop.

In the same pot that the pork was cooked in, reserve the cooking liquid, melt the remaining lard or bacon grease. Add the onions and garlic; sauté until tender but not brown. 

Add reserved cooking liquid and any additional broth or water.
Cook and stir until mixture comes to boil and is slightly thickened to a medium consistency. Add 1-2 more tablespoons masa harina if needed to gain that gravy like consistency. 
Add tomato sauce, chopped tomatillo, all of the green chilies and jalapeño.

Add the spices a little at a time until you get the taste you like, bringing to a simmer before each addition.
Simmer for at least 2 hours (longer if you can afford the time), stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.

After the chile has cooked for at least an hour use a stick immersion blender to break up the green chilies a little bit and create a smooth stew, then add the shredded pork. The lower and slower and longer you can simmer this chile the better it will turn out. I would imagine that Mexican restaurants keep a large pot of this stuff simmer eternally.

I usually eat this style green chile with a few warm flour tortillas as a soup, and it is amazing any time of the day, but is also great for smothered burritos.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Roasted Chile and Corn Lasagna

Roasted Chile and Corn Lasagna
Serves: 6-8


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears), or frozen.
1 can chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise and then into strips
6 poblano or 12 hatch chiles, charred, peeled, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch strips
2 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese, or mozzarella
1 cup cotija cheese (or Parmesan).
1 (18 oz) can Cheese Cooking Sauce
1 cup half and half
9 six-inch flour tortillas or 12 (7 by 3-inch) no-boil lasagna sheets


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add 2/3 of the garlic and saute for 1 minute.

Mix in 3/4 of the corn and saute for 5 minutes.

Stir in the cheese sauce, half and half and thyme.

Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes for the flavors to incorporate. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly.

Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth, then add in remaining corn kernels. Season with salt and pepper.

Chop your vegetables.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and cook for 1 minute. Mix in the zucchini and roasted chile strips and cook for 5 minutes for the flavors to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.

Spread about 1/4 of the corn mixture over the bottom of an 11 by 8-inch baking dish. Cover with a layer of 3 lasagna sheets, or the flour tortillas if using instead. Spread 1/4 of the poblano mixture and 1/4 of the cheese over the pasta. Repeat the layering 3 more times. Cover with foil.

Bake about 50 minutes. Remove the foil and turn up the oven temperature to broil. Broil until golden brown and bubbly, 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Serves: 6
Time: Approx. 30 minutes

A few bunches of fresh broccoli
2 cups stock
1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of gouda cheese (or any other melting cheese you prefer)
1 shredded carrot
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 cup half and half
3 TBSP all purpose flour
3 TBSP butter
1 bay leaf
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste


Grate the carrots and onion. Mince the garlic. 
Shred your cheese. A little side note, always buy block cheese and shred yourself as needed, bagged pre-shredded cheeses have additives on it so that the pieces of cheese don't stick together, and I have no idea what those additives are or what try do, but I do know that geese made to not stick together doesn't melt into a yummy cheese soup. Also at the last minute I decided to add 2 slices pepper jack cheese to up the spicyness.

For the broccoli, chop 2/3 of it into tiny florets and then take the remaining 1/3 and give it a rough chop so you have a few large pieces to add to the soup.

Add your stock to a pot on medium-high heat, add your 2/3 of your broccoli [about 2 cups of florets] as well as your onion, garlic, carrots, and bay leaf. Simmer on medium, covered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

Once the broth is done, start your roux. In a large pot (or using the same pot, by removing the veggies and stock), melt 3 tablespoons of butter on medium heat, whisking constantly. Once melted, slowly add 3 tablespoons of flour as you continue to whisk.  

Remove from heat and slowly pour in the broth from your veggie mixture [its okay if some of the veggies jump in along side it!] and stir to incorporate. 

 Next pour in the veggies and slowly stir in 1 cup of warmed half and half. Return to the burner on very low heat, uncovered. 

Once the soup has warmed back up, stir in the grated cheeses and remove from heat immediately.

 Serve right away, soup will continue to thicken as it cools.

Serve with crusty baguettes. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Canning Garden Tomatoes

Canning Garden Tomatoes
Makes quarts or pints

Now is the time in the summer when you are overloaded with tomatoes from the garden, and it is also the best time to can your tomatoes so that you have fresh organic tomatoes all winter for soups, stews, marinaras, and salsas. I like to can as many tomatoes as possible so that I can limit the amount of canned tomatoes I have to purchase during the year. Canning your tomatoes in glass jars and using tomatoes at their peak ripeness will result in the best tasting tomato products you'll ever eat. You can use any variety of tomatoes, these are a "big boy" variety, but I can romas, heirlooms, grape or cherry tomatoes just as easily, you just need to remove the skins.

Packing tomatoes raw with no added liquid produces the most concentrated flavor. However, this method requires extended processing times to ensure the heat fully penetrates to the center of the jars.


3 lb whole, halved or quartered tomatoes per quart jar
1 lemon's juice per quart jar, 1/2 a lemon per pint jar
Salt, optional
(32 oz) quart or (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands


Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside. 

Wash tomatoes. Dip in boiling water 30 to 60 seconds or until skins start to loosen and crack. Immediately dip in cold water. 

Peel off the skins. 

Remove cores and any bruised or discolored portions. Leave whole, halve or quarter. 

Add lemon juice to each hot quart jar. 

Pack raw tomatoes into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Press tomatoes into the jar until the spaces between them fill with juice leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar, 1/2 teaspoon to each pint jar, if desired. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding tomatoes. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight. 

Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 85 minutes for both pints and quarts, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. If they do flex on the lid, place jars in fridge and use up within a month. 

Apple Butter

Apple Butter
Makes: 5 pint sized jars

A good friend of mine has two large apples trees in her backyard, and in an attempt to make use of these delicious sweet and crisp apples I decided to make an apple butter, which I've never made before. I have made apple sauce, but I'm never a fan of the consistency and mouth feel, so I figured a butter would solve that.

I find that the apple trees most people have in their yards often produce a starchy less sweet apple than you can buy, but these apples are great.


1 grocery bag full of apples- peeled and diced fine- I would estimate I have about 30-40 apples completely filling my crock pot.

2 cups dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon plus cinnamon stick
1 star anise seed
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 large pinch of salt
1/4 cup water

Mix everything well in the crock pot. Place on high for 1 hour, then switch to low for another 8-10 hours until the mixture has completely caramelized and the pieces of apple are so soft they are mushing when stirred.

Then take your immersion blender (or pour mixture into regular blender) and blend to the consistency you like.

To can, place apple butter in sterilized mason jars with 1/2 inch of head space, and process for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude.