Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chilaquiles Soup

This recipe came together so quickly last night and it was so good that I'm rushing to get it on the blog so that you can make it for dinner tonight. Chilaquiles traditionally are tortillas chips simmered in sauce and then topped with different things (chicken, scrambled eggs, etc...). It's not much of a stretch to turn them into a soup and I find them easier to eat this way. I found this recipe in the '97 Joy of Cooking, they credit Rick Bayless for giving them the recipe, then I adjusted it to my tastes, and now I'm passing it on to you. Psst... pass it on. 

Chilaquiles Soup
serves 3 to 4
instructables version (lots more pictures)

1 or 2 fresh jalapenos
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 28oz can whole tomatoes, drained
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 chicken breasts
1 T cumin
1 T oregano
2 to 4 medium handfuls of thick/authentic style tortilla chips
1/2 cup cilantro
sour cream
grated jack or cheddar cheese
  • In a dry, thick-bottomed pot or pan (cast iron is great) roast the jalapeno and garlic over medium-high heat. It takes about 15 minutes and it seems strange, but you just leave them in the bottom of the pan, turning them as each side turns dark brown/black.
  • In a bit of oil, in a small soup pot, saute the onion until it is soft and starting to turn brown.
  • Peel the garlic and take the stem out of the jalapenos. Puree them in a food processor or blender. Add the drained can of tomatoes and blend again.
  • Transfer this to the soup pot of onions and heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the stock, raw chicken breasts, cumin, and oregano and simmer for 20 minutes. Don't taste it until it has simmered for a bit because it's the simmering that kills any bacteria that might be in the chicken.
  • Remove the chicken and cut it into cubes. Add this back to the pot along with the cilantro and tortilla chips. Simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes - just until the chips are soft.
  • Serve topped with sour cream and cheese. Muy Sabroso!
P.S. I've tagged this as vegetarian because it would be so easy to leave out the chicken (maybe add beans?).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Twice-a-Year Macaroni & Cheese

I feel like I've been working on a Mac & Cheese recipes for ages. It's a hard one to test because it's so rich you really can't eat it more than once a month (at least I can't and that's saying something). I do have a plan to make a lighter, less health-devastating Mac (what one of my my aunts would call French-style), but that's not what I was in the mood for when I was working on this one. I call this Twice-a-Year Mac because it's seriously rich, but seriously delicious. So many Macs that I've had (and made) are too dry. The cheese and sauce are sucked into the noodles and you get good flavor, but not good sauce. I finally let go of the basic recipe I started from (Martha's) and tried some real experiments and - Voila! - it came together. I have Brussel Sprout and Kale Salad on the side so I don't feel quite so guilty.

Macaroni & Cheese
serves about 6

4 T butter
4 T flour
3 cups whole milk
2 cups grated jack cheese
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
1/2 t garlic granules
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t mustard powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 pound of noodles (anything short)
2 cups bread crumbs* combined with 2 T melted butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • The sauce takes about the same amount of time as it takes for water to boil and pasta to cook, so have that going while you work on the rest. It's best if the pasta is al dente since it's going in the oven at the end.
  • Over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pan (you can cook the whole dish in this pan if you have one big enough). When the butter is bubbling, sprinkle the flour over the top and whisk it well to combine. Keep whisking until the flour is light brown. Pour in the milk and stock and whisk like crazy. Ok, you made the roux, that's the only hard part.
  • Sprinkle the spices over the milk/roux sauce and blop in the cream cheese. Stir until the cream cheese is mostly melted. 
  • Sprinkle in the jack and Swiss (or Gruyere if you feel like splurging) while stirring until melted. Keep the heat on the low side or the cheese might separate.
  • Stir in the al dente noodles and top with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
  • Put this in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. If the top isn't golden and the Parm melted, broil it for a few more minutes.
  • Let it stand for about five minutes before serving or you will burn the you-know-what out of your mouth.
* The best bread crumbs for this are homemade and cut like a small crouton. I take the crusts off of a few pieces of sourdough bread and cut them into cubes. Then I toast them in the oven while I'm grating my cheese. If you use really fine bread crumbs you'll probably only need about a cup.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad

For the record, I would normally say that I don't like brussel sprouts, raw kale, or anything sweet in my salad dressing. I've already written that I don't really like salad or most vegetables either, but this is a great exception to all of that. My sister brought this crunchy, delicious dish to Thanksgiving and I've adapted it just enough to not get in trouble by the magazine she got it from. I always try to make myself eat something healthy when I've having something that is really bad for me and now that I have this recipe I don't mind one bit. Serve it with the Macaroni and Cheese I'm going to post soon. Thanks Hanna!
(I recently added a variation for the colder months when I want this warm.)

Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad
serves 6

1 pound brussel sprouts
1 bunch (8 to 12 leaves) Lacinato kale - a.k.a Dino kale, but you can also use regular
1 cup toasted, salted sunflower seeds

2 T dijon mustard
1/2 cup lemon juice (or red wine vinegar in a pinch)
2 T maple syrup
1/4 cup non-olive oil
2 to 4 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
  • Remove any icky outer leaves on the brussel sprouts. Shred them and the kale as fine as you can manage. (Do you have a mandolin that you never use? Get it out now.)
  • Mix all the ingredients for the dressing except for the lemon juice in a food processor or by shaking vigorously in a jar.
  • Add about 3/4 of the lemon juice, mix, taste, and add more if needed.
  • Toss with the brussel sprouts, kale, and sunflower seeds. Serve alongside anything you're feeling guilty about eating.
Related Posts with Thumbnails