Posts tagged ‘Chile powder’

August 28, 2011

A Nomad’s Meal | Kicked Up Hatch Chili

It’s a short season.  They’re only really available at the tail end of August.  And I can see why people are obsessedFestivals and cooking competitions span New Mexico and beyond as fans of Hatch’s heat put them in everything from quesadillas to key lime pie.

Hatch chiles are meaty, flavorful green chiles with a skin that slips off easily after a deep roast over my stove’s gas burner cranked to high, and a quick steam in a bowl covered with cling film.  They freeze wonderfully well if you take care to roast them and remove the skins before you freeze them.  One word of warning: they get hotter the longer you freeze them.

I bought a pound of chiles and roasted some for a batch of chili.  After roasting and removing the skin and seeds, I pureed them with a few rehydrated dried chiles for some smoky depth.  I ended up with quite a nomad’s version of chili.

There are several tricks to great chili, the first being you should probably work to develop your own house style.  Start with a recipe that you love.  Use better than average meat: thinly sliced sirloin, cut into short ribbons works worlds away better than basic ground round.  Deeply browned meat and softened onions provide a good flavor base for the chiles and spices.  You are by no means stuck with beef: lamb and buffalo are great options as well.

Use a combination of chiles for the best flavor.  Today I soaked pasilla, ancho and chipotle chiles and blended these with the fresh roasted hatch and a little water for my own chile paste.  Extra paste freezes really well in ice cube trays.

In terms of spicing, think beyond chile powder and cumin to possibly include black cardamom pod (adds a great note of smokiness), a bit of paprika, tiny amounts of cinnamon and cloves, a sprinkling of ground coffee, a drizzle of molasses, apple cider or rice vinegar for balance.  Adding these seemingly exotic spices only deepens the complexities of the chili.  Chili is really not far off from a curry  — its just a matter of how you look at it.

Add in some local beer along with the water depending on where you live: Shiner Bock if you’re in Texas; a bottle of Columbus Brewing Company Pale Ale if you’re in Ohio.  If you choose to add beans, think of perhaps adding a dried bean mix.  Today I used Goya’s 16 bean mix.

By all means let this concoction simmer for several hours, covered to keep in the moisture.  This is a dish that develops over the day.  Keep your spices and seasonings handy as an hour into the cooking will taste much different than three hours into it.  Take your time and trust your palate.  Adjust, adjust, adjust.

Just before serving, you can add in a tablespoon or two of masa harina to thicken and add a bit more flavor.  Serve over rice, if you like.  I believe a Basmati for extra fragrance and interest does wonders.  But remember, there are no rules when you’re making the house recipe.

Playlist included Someday by Ceremony.

July 21, 2011

Roots | Tex-Mex Enchilada Gravy

It almost pains me to give up this recipe.  Almost.

But I think everyone should try hyper-local specialties: Texas style enchiladas with chili gravy; Taylor ham, egg and cheese; mirabelles.  It’s a taste of place.  It should be a bite that makes you say, “Yes, this is what it tastes like in San Antonio.”  “This is what it tastes like in northern New Jersey.”  “This is what it tastes like in Nancy.”  It’s one way of understanding the world in a deeper way.

This recipe harkens from my father’s mother, passed to my mother, passed to me, passed to Cherub.  (She still likes my Mom’s better than mine.  But she’s not wrong.)  To me, this chili gravy that smothers corn tortillas that cuddle spoonfuls of ground beef, chopped onion and cheeses tastes not only of San Antonio, but of childhood and tradition and family.  And love.  Lots of love.

Enchilada Gravy, makes enough for approximately 48 enchiladas

1/2 c flour

1/2 c vegetable oil (or lard)

1/2 c chili powder (what your powder tastes like will be the dominant flavor of the sauce, taste for sweetness, heat, etc.)

2 heaping T ground cumin

3 or 4 garlic cloves, finely minced

Salt to taste

2 bouillon cubes dissolved in 6 to 8 c very warm water

In a large pan (ideally a cast iron skillet) over medium heat, warm the oil or lard and brown the flour lightly.  Remove from heat.  Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic and salt.  Return to medium heat with enough water to make a gravy.  Simmer for twenty minutes.

{To assemble enchiladas, warm corn tortillas in oil, then roll, filling with any combination of grated cheese, diced white onion and ground beef.  Place in a baking pan in in close rows that had a ladleful of gravy covering the bottom.  Ladle more gravy over the tops of the enchiladas, sprinkle with cheese or whatever fillings you’ve chosen.  Cover with foil.  Bake at 350 for approximately 30 to 40 minutes.}

Playlist included Blisters May Come, by Centro-Matic.

April 5, 2011

Moroccan Mystique | Orange and Olive Salad

This is one of those things I just wasn’t sure how it would all work.  Oranges and olives?  My goodness, yes.

I will always be impressed that onions, cumin and chili powder lend a North African vibe to this orange salad, but combine the same three flavors with pinto beans and you’ve got yourself the makings of some good beans for a Texas barbecue.  The cooking world is smaller than you think.

This late winter, early spring salad is a blissful marriage of briny, fatty olives with sweet oranges, spicy red onion and crisp mint.  It’s a cinch to put together and uses spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika) that lots of folks already have in the pantry.   It’s a fantastic side for falafels, or spicy chicken and it makes a great lunch on its own.

(Ooo!) Orange, Olive and Onion Salad, serves 6

Inspired by Claudia Rosen’s Arabesque cookbook

4 oranges, supremed or cut into chunks

20 olives, black, green, or a mix, sliced in half or left whole

1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced and then chopped a bit

Juice from 1/2 lemon

3 T olive oil

1/2 t ground cumin

1/2 t paprika

Pinch of ground chili powder

2 T chopped mint, parsley or coriander, or some combination thereof

Salt to taste

Combine the orange, olives and onion in a medium bowl.  Combine the lemon, olive oil and spices in a smaller bowl, whisk to combine.  Pour over the orange mixture, taste for seasoning.  Sprinkle with the chopped herbs and serve.

Playlist included There is a Light That Never Goes Out, covered by Noel Gallagher.

 

 

March 25, 2011

Persephone’s Cocina | Lamb Chili

This is as close to elegant as a bowl of chili can get – it’s more appropriate for date night than for game night.  The lamb mellows beautifully after some time on the stove, the texture is velvety and tender, and the flavor is at once comforting and surprising.  This recipe makes use of some bold and non-traditional spicing, and the payoff is extraordinary.  The black cardamom provides a smoky warmth, the fenugreek a little burnt maple.  Pair these with the traditional cumin, chili powder and coffee, and the result is wonderful.  Its stunning, brick-red color is worth making it alone.  It’s a refined chili with a faint, almost-Persian echo.  Serve it over tamales, with some homemade cornbread, or simply with some sour cream.  It’s easy, and it’s a star.

Chile de Cordero, Serves 2

2 strips bacon, chopped

1/2 pound ground lamb

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