You are what you eat?

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's cold outside! Soup's on!

Yep, when the mustache gets icicles in it from shovelling that hellacious pile of white stuff off the driveway it is definitely time for something warm and comforting in the stomache to melt those popsicle toes and fingers. Not a lot in the house so's we headed out onto the snow packed streets to peruse what was on sale and sounding good at the grocery store. We had some brisket and round steak leftover so stew was on the menu but for the non-beef eater in the house I was thinking chicken soup of some sort. Nice, a pretty much people free store with lots of veggies on sale! Hmmm stew or chili.... stew. Root vegetables and let's see...  some fennel root and criminy shrooms. Now for the soup, poblano chiles on sale, chicken sausage, zucchini, and calabacitas, let's get a couple ears of corn, and a can of posole (hominy). Kind of a cross between an albondigas and a tortilla soup should be good. Oh and kale is on sale too! Here's my recipe for a tasty warmer-upper on a cold winter day.

albondigas con tortilla y col rizada
for the broth:
       4 - fresh chicken carcasses remnant meat and skin intact
       4 - 32oz boxes organic chicken stock
 3lbs  - Spicy chicken sausage (I used a green chile chipotle chicken sausage) sliced into 3/4" rounds
      3 - medium poblano chiles
  5-7 - Big Jim, Anaheim, or Hatch green chiles
      1 - large dried ancho chile
      5- dried chiles de arbol
      3 - small to medium calabacita squash cut inot 1/2" cubes
      3 - small zucchini squash cut into 1/2" cubes
  5-7 - medium carrots cut into 3/8 x 3/4 rectangles
      3 - large sweet yellow onions
      2 - bulbs of garlic 
     3 - ears of fresh corn
     1 - 28oz can of white hominy drained and rinsed
     1 - 14.5 oz can of black beans drained and rinsed
          1 - 14.5 oz can of roasted tomatoes
     1 - bunch cilantro
     1 - teaspoon dried mexican oregano
 1-2 - teaspoons chipotle chile powder
  1/2 - teaspoon ground cumin
     2 - bay leaves
          fresh ground black pepper
         garlic salt
         sea salt
         extra virgin olive oil
    5 - bunches fresh kale
         fresh lime wedges
         blue corn tortilla chips

some other possible toppings:
sliced into strips corn tortillas baked or fried or tortilla chips, avocado, limes, crema fresca, queso fresco, fine chopped sweet onion,  a hot salsa, etc

preheat your oven to 400 deg. Line a 1/2 sheet cookie sheet with non-stick foil.
Rinse the chicken bones, dry them and put a peeled and halved onion and the garlic bulbs (broken into cloves but unpeeled) on the cookie sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. bake in the oven until well browned but not burned (the garlic will need to be taken out when the skins are lightly blackened). Put the bones and onion from the oven into a 10 quart stockpot and cover with chicken stock.Set the burner on medium high. Bring to a boil and skim any scum that rises then reduce to a simmer. Remove the skins from the garlic. Coarse chop about a 1/3 of the garlic and add it to the pot. continue to simmer for 2-3 hours adding more chicken stock as needed to keep the bones covered. Strain the stock through a colander reserving the bones. Cool the stock and refrigerate. After the bones have cooled, collect any meat and add it back to the stock.

skim the fat off of the chicken stock and put it back in the stockpot on medium low heat. 
Chop all of your veggies. slice the stem and heel off the squash, cut them lengthwise in half and cut the halves radially lengthwise into 1/3's before cutting into 1/2" chunks. Cut the carrots into sticks and then into 3/4" pieces, thin slice the roasted garlic. Shuck and remove the silk from the ears of corn and then slice it off the cob. Next, broil or in a dry hot skillet roast the fresh chile peppers until the skin blackens and then throw them into a paper sack and seal to steam. When cooled enough to handle,  remove the skins. Discard the stems and seeds. Put the ancho chile either in a hot skillet or directly on the burner on medium and toast pressing down and rotating to keep from burning. Do the same for the chiles de arbol. Put the ancho chile into the hot stock to soften. Large dice the poblanos and big jims. When the ancho is soft, remove it from the stock and very finely mince it. Add the chiles to the stock.
(clockwise from top left) chiles de arbol, ancho chile, poblanos, and Big Jims
Dice the remaining two onions. put a tablespoon of butter and enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a 12" cast iron or heavy frying pan set on medium heat. add the onions to the pan, season with salt and pepper and slow cook them turning occasionally until nicely caramelized.

onions almost done

when the onions reach about the color shown above add about 1/2 of the remaining garlic that you've sliced and cook until browned. Add them to the stock. Slice the sausages into 3/4" rounds
Add more olive oil to the pan and cook the sausages until nicely browned then add them to the stock.
first of two batches

add more olive oil to the pan and cook the carrots on medium until not quite tender. add to the stock. cook both squashes on medium heat until par-cooked. remove to a bowl. Add the tomatoes, black beans, hominy, and fresh corn to the soup.

elote y posole'

fresh corn being added to the pot

add the bay leaf, oregano, half of the cilantro (coarse chopped), cumin, and chipotle chile powder and let simmer for at least 1/2 hour (longer is better) add the squash back in about 15 minutes before serving. Adjust the seasoning (I added a little garlic salt).  Serve with chopped kale, avocado, fried corn tortilla strips or chips, lime wedges, raw onion, cliantro, and mexican cheese if you like. Hot sauce or a salsa is also a nice flavor addition!

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