All Posts Tagged ‘Soups + Stews

Post

sunday dinner: chicken tortilla stew.

2 comments

It is officially one pot season, y’all. OK, I know that’s not an actual season, but it is a favorite time of year over here at Casa Radeke. I don’t know about other parts of the country, but the Northeast has gone full Fall practically overnight, and now all I want to eat are cozy things — soups and stews, casseroles, mac and cheese — basically anything warm and hearty.

Stew probably tops that list as my favorite one pot meal, not only because stews pack a wallop of flavor, but also because I love the cooking process. Having something bubbling away on the stove for hours just adds to the romance of the season, not to mention it makes my house smell insanely good.

This chicken tortilla stews checks all the right seasonal boxes — it’s an easy one pot meal, it’s hearty as all get out, and it packs a variety of delicious flavor, a mix of spice and earthiness and tang that just makes me happy when I eat it.

For my veggie-friendly readers, this is easily translated into a vegetarian meal — just nix the chicken and chorizo and switch out the chicken broth for some vegetable stock. You could also sub the chicken for some mushrooms and/or zucchini if you want to maintain the heartiness of the dish.

No matter how you make it, this one’s a keeper and should carry you through Fall as cozy as your favorite flannel.

You ready? OK, let’s do this.

Chicken Tortilla Stew
Serves: 6

You will need:
1 pound chicken breasts
3/4 pound chorizo sausage, broken into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 medium onion, chopped
8 small red potatoes, diced
1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes
1 15-oz can black beans, drained
1 15-oz can kernel corn, drained
2 chipotle chiles, diced
1 quart chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For garnish:
1 sack corn tortilla chips
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 avocado, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2 limes, cut into wedges
corn tortillas, warmed

Kitchen equipment: large soup pot, small saucepan

Poach the chicken. You could just sauté your chicken as you cook the stew, but I prefer to poach it first since poaching the chicken allows you to get that shredded chicken yumminess that takes this stew to another level. And it only adds about 15 minutes to your overall prep time.

To poach the chicken, place the chicken breasts in a small saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Add two of the smashed garlic cloves and a bay leaf if you have it. Add just enough water to the pan to cover the chicken, then set on high heat on the stove and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 8 minutes. At the 8-minute mark, check to see if the chicken is cooked all the way through; if so, pull ‘em out, if not, cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Once the chicken is fully cooked, shred with two forks and set aside.

Start the stew. Preheat your large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and when hot, add the poached chicken. Lightly brown chicken for about two minutes, then add the other three garlic cloves and the chorizo. Cook another 2 to 3 minutes, breaking up the chorizo as it cooks.

Add the veggies. Add the onions and potatoes to the chicken-chorizo mixture and cook another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, then stir in the tomatoes, beans, corn and chipotle chiles. Add the chicken stock and bring the stew to a boil.

Reduce and simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. The stew is ready when the potatoes are soft and the broth has a nice spicy tang to it.

Garnish and serve. Here’s where the fun begins. I like to set up a toppings bar with the chips, shredded cheese, avocado, cilantro and lime wedges, and let everyone go wild with the garnishing. If I’m doing it, I would ladle the stew into a shallow bowl, then top with a generous handful of crushed tortillas, a bit of shredded cheese, then a sprinkling of cilantro and the chopped avocado. Top with a squeeze of lime over the stew as a final garnish. Serve with warmed tortillas on the side to sop up the goodness.

This stew will warm you to your core and you’ll be impressed with how much flavor comes out of something that took less than an hour to make. The other great thing about this recipe is it makes A LOT of stew, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers to feed on over the next few days (or months, it also freezes incredibly well). Cozy to the max, all from one little pot. Enjoy!

Advertisements
Post

sunday dinner: pork chile verde with potatoes.

Leave a reply

When I was a kid, I’m pretty sure my father’s list of priorities for raising a daughter were the following:

1. Raise me a in a loving, supportive home filled with laughter.
2. Teach me to value intelligence, self-sufficiency and hard work.
3. Build a deep love of spicy food as early in my life as possible.

Food with flavor and spice was always a mainstay in my house growing up, and spicy food (‘food that’ll make your hair sweat,’ as my father describes it) was on the menu regularly. It didn’t take much for me to love it quickly, further proving I am my father’s daughter, and I maintain a love of it to this very day. It’s like, if food doesn’t smack you across the face with flavor every once in awhile, why even bother?

When I think about some of my favorite spicy dishes, pork chile verde is right at the top of the list. It’s that perfect blend of spicy and sweet and tart; the layers of flavor just bowl me over. Stewing the pork and chilies together for a few hours produces a rich concoction that pairs beautifully with rice or tortillas or both. It’ll leave you a little tingly, as if you’ve received a big ol’ warm, stew-y hug.

You ready? OK, let’s do this.

Pork Chile Verde with Potatoes

You will need:

3 – 3½ pounds pork butt or shoulder, excess fat removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 large poblano peppers
4 serrano peppers
1 pound tomatillos, husks and stems removed
5-6 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano (or ¾ teaspoon Italian oregano)
2 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2½ – 3 cups chicken stock

3 medium yukon gold potatoes

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Serve with:

avocado salsa (chopped avocados mixed with salt/pepper, lime juice and chopped cilantro)
cooked white rice
warmed flour tortillas

Kitchen utensils: baking sheet, heavy duty aluminum foil, tongs, large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven

You’ll have to do a bit of prep work before you get to stewin’, so let’s do it. Move one of your oven racks to the top position, turn your oven on to the broiler setting and let it get nice and hot. Take your baking sheet and cover it with one sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Lay your chilies out on the baking sheet, spaced evenly so they’re not touching.

IMG_0946

When the oven is hot, put the baking sheet on the top rack and let your peppers cook for five minutes, then using your tongs, turn the chills over and cook for an additional five minutes. The chilies will start to blister and turn black, but they should not char or burn, so make sure you’re watching them closely. Once fully roasted (this should only take about 10-15 minutes total), remove from oven and place in a paper or plastic bag, closing tightly. Leave the chilies in the bag to cool; they will steam in their own heat which will make it easy to remove the skin. When cool, remove the skins and most of the seeds (the more seeds you leave, the spicier it will be), roughly chop the chilies, and set aside.

Next, score your tomatillos (cut an X on the top of each) and place on the same baking sheet as the chilies. Put back in the hot oven and cook for three minutes, then flip using your tongs, and cook another 3-5 minutes until charred. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Once cool, roughly chop and place in a bowl with any leftover juices.

IMG_0958

Next, you need to prep your pork. Grab your pork butt (heh, heh) and a sharp chef’s knife and slice your pork against the grain in about 1-inch thick slices. Trim the excess fat from each slice, then cut each slice into small chunks, about 1-inch square. You want to cut your meat in as uniform pieces as possible, as this will ensure that your meat cooks evenly. Pat your pork pieces with a dry paper towel and season with salt and pepper and set aside.

The last bit of prep work is to chop your onion and garlic, setting aside until you need them.

Now, take your big pot or dutch oven, add a few tablespoons of canola oil, and heat over high heat until the oil shimmers. Working in batches, brown your pork in the pot making sure not to add too much at one time. Don’t crowd your meat, people! This is bad news bears — if you dump the pork in all at once, the water in the meat will steam it, which will get in the way of you achieving a beautiful brown sear that takes flavor up about 78 notches. If you add fewer pieces of meat to the pot at a time, it has room to brown nicely, which you’ll thank me for later. As each batch finishes, use your tongs to transfer to a bowl and set aside. Just a warning, as the pork browns it will splatter, so be careful not to burn yourself. Using longer tongs is a great way to tend to your pork without getting within oil splatter territory.

Once all of the meat is cooked, in the same pot, turn the heat down to medium and add the onions. Cook about five to seven minutes until translucent and fragrant (is there anything better than the smell of onions cooking? I think not.) Next, add the garlic, cumin, oregano, bay leaves and cinnamon stick and stir to incorporate. Add the cider vinegar and deglaze the pot, scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom that are packed with flavor.

IMG_0962

Add the pork back to the pot, then add the chicken stock and the honey. Turn the heat back to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about two hours until pork is tender. Check in on the pot every once in awhile during this time and give it a stir to ensure that it doesn’t burn and that everything cooks evenly.

Chop your potatoes and add them to the stew at the two-hour mark. If the stew is looking a little thick, you can add a bit more chicken stock (about a 1/2 cup). Stir to incorporate, making sure the potatoes are covered by the stew. Cook an additional 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

IMG_0971

If you’re serving with rice, now’s a great time to cook it; same goes for prepping the avocado salsa.

Once everything is ready to go, warm some tortillas in damp paper towels in the microwave for 45 seconds. Add rice to each bowl and spoon stew over the top. Add a spoonful of avocado salsa and you’re good to go.

This stew is hearty and flavorful and will pack a good amount of heat. It also gets better with time — the few days after I make this, it usually shows up in many a leftover meal — you can make tacos or burritos, serve it with eggs for breakfast, or serve just as is, maybe with some corn bread. It’s all good, and it’s sure to make your hair sweat in the best possible way.

IMG_0976

Post

sunday dinner: joy of cooking beef stew.

Leave a reply

Oh look, the rains have arrived. Hooray. I don’t know about where you are, but here in Brooklyn it is Gloom Town Sunday. It’s better than the snow and freezing temperatures we’ve been experiencing for the last decade or so (it feels that long anyway), but it’s not the ‘throw open the windows and sing a happy song’ kind of Spring weather I was hoping for, you know? Ho hum.

BUT. If there’s one redeeming quality this kind of weather brings, it is that it’s perfect ‘pot of something on the stove for hours’ weather. And that, my friends, is why I’m making beef stew.

This recipe is adapted from the Joy of Cooking (big ups to Irma Rombauer), and it has been part of my family’s cooking arsenal for years. It’s easy to pull together and pretty difficult to screw up, and it produces the warmest, coziest, most delicious result — perfect for brightening a dark day.

Here we go.

Beef Stew, adapted from the Joy of Cooking

You will need:

2 pounds beef stew meat – like chuck, shoulder, or short rib
salt & pepper
dried herbs – like thyme, oregano, and/or basil
2 bay leaves
½ cup flour
2 tablespoon oil (vegetable or olive)
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 carrots (1 chopped, 2 cut into bite-sized chunks)
1 small rib celery, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 small red potatoes, cut into chunks
½ bag frozen pearl onions
½ bag frozen green peas
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup beef stock

kneaded butter: 1 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon flour

garnish: fresh parsley

on the side: 1 french baguette, warmed in oven

First things first. You need to prep the meat. Grab your sharpest knife (I use my 10 inch Wüsthof chef’s knife that I got from my very generous parents for Christmas) and cut your beef into 1 inch cubes. You want them to be big enough that they don’t just fall apart in the stew but small enough that you don’t choke on it. This recipe does not include instructions for how to administer the Heimlich Maneuver.

Once you’ve cut your beef, season it generously with salt, pepper, and about 1 teaspoon of dried herbs. Then, put your ½ cup of flour in a bowl and toss the meat in the flour so it’s lightly coated on all sides. This will ensure the meat gets a nice crust to it and will help to thicken the stew. Set aside the floured meat and heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the meat to the pot in batches (shaking off any excess flour before adding to the pot). Do not crowd the meat. This is not a mosh pit. If you add too much meat at a time, the moisture in the beef will cause the meat to steam instead of brown, which means you’re losing out on major flavor points. If you cook in batches so none of the pieces of meat are touching each other, you’ll get nicely browned beef in no time.

When all the beef is cooked, remove from pot and store on a plate out of the way. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pot (or add more if you’re running a little dry), then add the onion, the 1 chopped carrot, the small rib of celery, and the 4 garlic cloves. Cook, stirring often, until the onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the meat back to the pot (plus any juices from the plate), then add the bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of dried herbs, and a good shake of salt and pepper. To this, add the red wine and the beef stock, ensuring that the meat is covered at least half way (if you don’t have enough liquid, you can add either more wine or more beef stock, depending on which flavor you like better). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover and simmer for 1½ to 2 hours, until the meat is fork-tender (mmmm, fork-tender meat is the best, no?). I’m just warning you that your house will smell AMAZING during this time so try your best to control yourself. It will be difficult, I’m here for you.

At this point, you should have the beginnings of a nice gravy and some lovely flavorful beef, so it’s time to add some veggie friends to the party. Grab the remaining 2 carrots and the 6 small red potatoes and toss ’em in. Cut open your bags of frozen onions and peas and add about half of each bag (sometimes I add more because they’re delicious and I’m my own women). Cover the pot and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender, about another 30-40 minutes.

When the veggies are good to go, turn off the heat and skim any fat that has risen to the surface. Remove the bay leaves. Your stew should be thick and smooth, but you should definitely taste to ensure the seasoning is just right. If it’s a little bland, add a pinch more salt. If it doesn’t have that zip you’re looking for, add a bit more pepper.

The final step to taking your stew to a different level, is to add a tablespoon of kneaded butter. Say what? Kneaded butter is fairly simple — take equal parts butter and flour and mix them together to form a paste (which will basically just look like butter again if well mixed). Roll the kneaded butter into little balls and add to the stew. Stir until they melt into the liquid. Your stew should thicken slightly and it will develop this amazing sheen to it. Watch out, Martha, we’re professionals over here.

At this point, you’re ready to serve, so spoon the stew into bowls, garnish with a bit of chopped parsley, and serve with warmed french bread along side. The rest of that bottle of wine you used earlier isn’t a bad accompaniment either, I’m just sayin’.

From the first bite you will instantly feel warm and cozy; it’s almost as if you’re able to appreciate the gloom (almost). The leftover stew, when cool, freezes extremely well, so you can save some for another rainy day. In the mean time, eat your fill, sip your wine, and snuggle up for the evening. It’s probably time for a little binge watching of your favorite show. I’ll be over here catching up on Parenthood and having a good ugly cry.

Enjoy!