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Hreb    48

New Mexico Green Chile Stew

makes as much as you decide to make

very good for you, moderate amount of work, fun for two to make together, impressive

still damn tasty, freezes nicely

 

Group A

*Tablespoon of oil

*about a half pound of lean beef per person, more if you are half werewolf, cut up small for stew

*one medium size white or red or yukon gold potato per person plus one, skin on, scrubbed well, cut into bite size pieces

*one carrot per person, peeled, cut into bite size pieces

*a small white or yellow onion, peeled and chopped into medium pieces

*one or more cups of broth, chicken or veggie

 

Group B

*a clove of garlic per person, or more if you really like garlic, peeled and cut into small pieces or crushed with a garlic press

*one can of plain pinto beans for every two people, drained and rinsed (so 1 person still gets a can, 3 people get 2 cans)

*One can of diced tomatoes, liquid and all, more if you are a fan of cooked tomatoes

*½ teaspoon of powdered cumin

*½ teaspoon of black pepper

*a small handful of spinach

 

canned or frozen New Mexico green chiles - you never know till you taste them how hot they’re gonna be, although frozen is often a whole lot hotter.  Add in some, taste to see if there’s enough in there, add more a little at a time

 

*salt to taste, be careful not to oversalt, the broth has some salt already, so taste it first!

 

Bonus: a few leaves of cilantro or a scrap of bacon all added in with Group B

 

Directions:

Chop everything that needs chopping first, once you get used to the timing on this dish you can chop the veggies while the meat cooks, but until you’re a little more experienced, it’ll go smoother if you chop it all first.

Alright, get your big pasta pot out, and put the oil in it, heat it on medium and spread it all over the bottom of the pan.  Wait about three min.

Put in the chopped onion, and when it sizzles loudly, stir it around for about 3 min.  Don't stick your face over the pot unless you're playing for comedy.

Put in the beef and fry it all till it is brown all over.  Bonus points for getting yummy brown stuff to stick to the bottom of the pot without burning it.  Medium heat, plenty of stirring, and patience will do this.  If it’s not sizzling you might need to turn the heat up a tad.

Put in the potato and carrots and crank up the heat to high.

Add in the broth, then add enough extra water to barely cover the ingredients.  It kind of depends on the shape of your pot.  The tips of the veggies should be poking out of the liquid, so no need to drown them.

Bring it to a boil, and get everything else sorted, like your beans and spices.  Once it’s boiling let it bubble for about ten minutes, until the carrots and potaties are tender.  You should be able to pierce them easily with a fork.  They cook at slightly different rates, so test them both.

 

At ten minutes turn the heat back down and add in everything from Group B.  Stir it all gently and let it cook for a minute, then add in the chile, tasting for heat and flavor.  As it cooks it will get slightly hotter, and you can add in extra chile in individual servings for the chile maniacs, so don’t go too nuts.

 

At this point you can let it simmer as long as you like, bearing in mind that water will evaporate, so you may need to occasionally add liquids, and stir, so it doesn’t burn.  The longer it cooks the more tender the beef will be.  If you happen to have a slowcooker you can actually put the entire ingredient list in raw and let it cook all day to have forktender beef bits.

 

Just before you go to serve it adjust the salt, carefully.  Adding salt is easy, taking salt out is nigh impossible. Word.

 

Fresh crusty bread is very good with this, and as you might guess, it’s a plain Irish stew without the chile and cumin.  This is a very impressive dish for company, even if it is a little work.

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Hreb    48

Happy Taco Day!

 

Shredded chicken tacos in Verde sauce

This is slightly more difficult and time consuming than the previous taco recipes, and because the chicken has to cook and cool ahead of time, you either want to do it in two stages, or on a day off.  It also can make a metric but-ton of the taco filling which freezes beautifully, for meals that just have to be reheated. \o/

 

Chicken breasts, 1 for every two people you intend to feed.  American chicken breasts are ginormous these days, but even so, this should make a fair amount anywhere in the world.

about ½ cup (small can or bottle) of Mexican green sauce (chile verde, or salsa verde) that includes tomatillos as the primary ingredient for every 2 chicken breasts.  The Goya brand is excellent.  Having extra of this is nice.  It is possible that you will need to go to a Mexican specialty grocery for this, or even the internets.  A recipe for a substitute will go at the bottom, but it will not quite be the same, tomatillos are weird unique creatures.

shredded cheddar cheese, or for extra points some crumbled or shredded Mexican cheese like Oaxaca.  Any brand will do.  It is similar to a very fresh gentle feta, but it’s not quite close enough to really substitute.   You’ll need enough for each taco to get a generous spoonful, so I’m gonna say at least ⅓ pound.

tortillas, usually soft flour tortillas, but I think you could get away with the crunchy corn kind.  If you have access to fresh corn tortillas made from masa, give them a try, they are a subtle and heavenly delicacy but the ones that have been put in a bag and refrigerated are not really all that nice, sadly.  You will need at least 2 tortillas per person, more if you have werewolves or teenagers.

extra hot sauce and sour cream are both nice


Cooking step:

Poach the chicken breasts till they are cooked all the way through.  Poaching anything but eggs is pretty much just boiling, so fill a medium saucepan ½ full of water, bring it to a boil, and then put in the chicken breasts.  Use your noodle and use a bigger pot if you figure you ought to.  You can actually cook the chicken any way you like, bake, boil, fry, whatever.  Poaching is the easiest to me.  It just needs to be cooked.  Cut it open to be certain, the chicken does not have to look pretty.  Poaching usu takes 20 min depending, maybe more if you’ve got a lot of meat.

Once the chicken is cooked drain the water off it and put it in a bowl in the fridge to cool.  Never leave chicken standing around at room temperature, it will have its revenge.


Shredding Step:

Once the chicken is cool wash your hands thoroughly, get out a clean vessel, and shred the chicken with your fingers into the clean pot, bowl, or whatever.  I force my child to do this, this is a traditional child chore, and I encourage you to do the same.  They usually do a pretty good job with a little motivation and are happy to contribute.

Once the chicken is all shredded open the green sauce and taste it for spiciness.  If you have to feed people who do not like spice separate out some of the chicken for them.  By now you will have noticed that this made a but-ton of chicken.  Hooray, you will have shredded chicken for all kinds of things, you can mix it with bbq sauce and put that on buns. It’s good.    Add in the green sauce to your piles of shredded chicken, if necessary adding in a little water, until you have slightly moist chicken shreds that are as spicy as you like.

Cover them and put them in the fridge, reheat them a little before serving, adding in a little water or extra sauce.

Most tomatillo sauce is not exceptionally hot, but you never know batch to batch, brand to brand, so taste as you go.  Add in salt or pepper if need be.

 

Let each person assemble their tacos as they like.  Refrigerate or freeze leftovers right away.


 

Fake tomatillo sauce:

You’ll need a food processor or blender for this

3 cloves of garlic

4 very green tomatoes

½ lime’s worth of juice

1-3 fresh jalepeno peppers, they are usually pretty cheap, so maybe buy a few extra to add in in case they have little spice

½ small onion

salt and pepper


without getting chile juice in your eyes, get the seeds and stem out of the jalepenos, then chop the chiles into teeny tiny bits.  Throw away the seeds, or reserve them for pranks.

peel and chop the onion small

peel and chop the garlic

chop the green tomatoes into 16ths

 

dump all the ingredients but the salt and pepper into the food processor or blender, add water if you need to to make a slurry.

taste, and add salt and pepper.  It should be very tangy.  Add in  jalapeno if you need to.  Bear in mind it will get slightly spicier as it sits.  Slighty.


If you can find fresh tomatillos but not canned sauce then

peel the papery pods off the tomatillos, wash the sticky crap off them and your hands, poach the tomatillos for 2 min, drain and cool, chop roughly, then add them to the blender with the above.

 

If you can find canned tomatillos then just add a can of them into the above salsa. \o/


 

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Mr-Pyre    17

Personally, with tacos and other proteins, I suggest personally applying a nice sear at the end

Cook it all the way through, let it rest, reheat a skillet to blazing hot, and then throw'em back in, with some Olive Oil or Clarified Butter (which is best, since it has a high smoke point, so it can go rippin' hot).  The reason is the blackened/charring that occurs as the proteins change form courtesy of the Maillard Reaction (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maillard_reaction) gives a nice seared steak, chicken, pork, fish, etc, the complexity of flavor.

Only takes, if the protein is fully cooked, like 30 seconds per side to get a nice Maillard reaction to form and supply, as one of my favorite websites BBQ Pit Boys says, 'a layer of flavor.'

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Hreb    48

Searing is really simple, and adds amazing amounts of delicious for very few calories and no extra nothin'.  You can't beat that with a stick.  I tend to be highly lazy as a cook, but will do this next time I make this, because ohm nomnom for almost no effort.  Clarified butter can be bought pre clarified in many grocery stores, or you can melt butter gently in a pot or the nuke-o-wave and use the transparent part, leaving the solids behind to mash garlic in and spread on bread.  Homemade clarified butter will not have quite as high a smoke point especially when you do it that way, there are better methods but they are a bit more complex to my knowledge.

Olive oil will work too.  It will start to smoke at a lower temp, and that will fill the house with smoke, so don't let it get quite that hot.  Let it get hot, watch sharp, when you see ripples add in the meat and let the meat develop tasty brownness.  It should sizzle like mad.

I will try it both ways but it may be better to sear then add the salsa.  If all the yummy brown stuff is sticking to the pot, adding the salsa into the pot will deglaze it and bring the yummy with you.

You can sear everything.  Steak, pork chops, chicken, fish, hamburger, veggies.  So good. Mr-Pyre recommended a method called reverse sear, wherein you gently cook your meat to the desired internal temp (gotta have a food thermometer for that, but believe me you, they are frikkin easy to use and make it so you never have to cut a hole in anything to check for doneness ever again.  So you gently cook the meat till it's the way you like it inside, then prepare a hot skillet with either the olive oil or the clarified butter, then sear the meat maybe 30 sec per side.  Perfect meat, tender inside, crisp and delicious outside.

Edited by Hreb
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Mr-Pyre    17

BBQ Pork Pot Roast:

When I do a pot roast, I use large quantities of meat and vegetables. Why? FREEZER! I can freeze the already cooked and have it three months later.

My recipe-

4 lbs of Loin Top Loin Pork Roast.

Potatoes, around the same poundage

Carrots- again, same poundage

Quartered onions, one or two.

Pepper as you like it. Fresh cracked, only way to go.

Garlic, as you like

I've tried pork stock in the past, but I don't find, personally, that flavor to be one I like. It just doesn't work, so I just use a mixture of water (half way up the pork roast) and then throw in a very liberal quantity of Barbeque Sauce Of Your Choice (and yes, I do need to make my own homemade sauces. That'll probably be a new thing I'll do).

You pretty much cook it like a beef pot roast, low, slow, and all day long, till the carrots, potatoes, and pork is just falliing apart, infused with the barbeque sauce but not overpowering. It's a really simple 'Throw it in slow cooker, cook it, enjoy it 8 hrs later' recipe. You can reduce the pork/vegetable water/BBQ sauce down into a gravy, but it's a step that's not really needed, honestly, it works as a sort of stew

By the end, you'll have tender, fork falling apart potatoes and carrots, infused with a smokey sweet BBQ sauce infused with the vegetables cooking, and just... Yeah.

Other veggies that can be added: Corn is never bad; mushroom, same. Scallions, they work. The more vegetables you add, however, the more reduction you will want with a roux*-- if you add frozen corn or other sources of it, it'll increase the water content of the sauce- I don't use it at a watery point, but not gravy. The more vegetables that leave their water behind, the thicker you'll want it. Not a gravy, but not water either, if that makes sense.

This isn't a meat meal, although the Pork is definitely center stage and just great, fall apart and delicious. The potatoes add some starch, onion some sweet, the carrots some tart, all slow cooked in a mixture of BBQ sauce and water, till all of them you push a fork in it... and it goes in like a hot knife in butter. That's why it's an even spread among the portions, it just works so good.

 

* A Roux is a mixture of butter and flour that you cook till it thickens a bit, it acts as a thickening agent to stews, chilis, soups, gravies, etc.  A cheap and simple way to do it is what's called a 'Slurry'-- Cornstarch and Water, even mix in a cup, is easiest- you don't have to cook the flour taste down out of that.  Another alternative is fill a half cup measuring cup with Flour, pour in a equal amount of Water, and add that to the mixture. If you use a flour/water based Slurry, however, you'll have to cook it down and make sure you whisk it nice and neat, or you'll end up with uncooked flour chunks-- not tasty.

Easiest way to make a slurry is the cornstarch/water mix. Doesn't apply the level of complexity a golden brown roux will add, but is very VERY easy to do. Mix cornstarch with water. Make sure it's not clumpy. Pour into the soup, stew, gravy, etc.  10 minutes later, nice and thickened up.

Edited by Mr-Pyre
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Hreb    48

Equipment: Slow Cooker!

These things are great.  Put in raw food at the start of the day, go to work, come home to a house that smells like the kitchen in Heaven and to dinner hot and ready for you.  Because the cooking is long and slow they make delicious food that requires little fat or oil and can be depending on the recipe, very healthy.

They are one of the more expensive kitchen toys, and they are not without risk, esp older models.  Set things up wrong, could come home to house burnt down. So here are tips for safe effective use.

When you go to buy one, find out about it's safety record before you buy.  They can cost quite a bit, and they are electric devices that get stupidly hot all day long.  Consumer Reports and Cook's Illustrated have both done ratings, get a brand and model that has a good safety record.

Find a good place to place the thing - someplace well away from cords, flammable material, overhanging cabinets, etc.  I have a glass top range, I put mine right on the range if the range is completely cooled down.  This isolates it from darn near anything that could catch fire.

Make sure its cord is not looped in such a way that it rests on the cooker or anything that will heat up or is hot.  Cords are coated in plastic, what melts, and yeah. 

Be vigilant, even if you're setting it all up before coffee.  Wipe up spills, and remove debris from area.

Follow the recipe as far as settings are concerned, and trust the low setting if you are leaving the house.

If you have an older model, handed down or whatever, be very vigilant.  Sometimes these older models low is too low for food safety, so on a day when you are home, test the heat after two hours with a food thermometer, make sure it's running above 120 degrees F.  If it isn't, get a new one.  The newer ones are far safer anyways.  Older wiring, fewer safety features, etc on the older models.  Your house and all your cool stuff is worth the investment.

To prevent the food sitting for a long time in nice body temperature warm conditions (bacteria heaven!) and jump start cooking, use your kettle to make some boiling water and use that as your liquid.  This will joyfully kill bacteria while the pot struggles to get up to cooking temperature.

Always put in enough liquid and never run the pot for any length of time without its lid.

We cannot trust our dog not to investigate the delicious smells if she is left all alone.  Really depends on the pet.  You may need to use another cooking method if you have pets that can go in the kitchen while you are away.  Even if they just knock it over, bad bad could ensue.  Not worth it.  I only use mine on weekends.  It's still great on pen and paper night to just take the lid off the cooker and dish out fantastic homemade food.

Browning or searing meat before you put it in is a fancy extra step that can add good flavor.  

Next up, caramelized onions, another fancy step that adds a ton of flavor for few extra calories.

 

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Hreb    48

Caramelized Onions

 

This is just a way of cooking onions that makes lots of those yummy stuffs yummier.  It takes a little time and patience, so consider it an extra step you could add to a recipie.  Make you a mess of these and you can spread them on toast and it's good.  Dump them on steak, put a big spoonfull on fake mashed potatoes, oh yesssss.  A decent way to impress someone special.  Onion haters will usually like these better than raw or boiled onions, but they may still hate them.  They may not realize onions are in the dish if you caramelize enough, chop small, and don't mention them, but onion haters are a dedicated lot, so don't count on it. :P

 

Equipment: heavy bottomed sauce pot or skillet, something to stir with like a wooden spatula

 

Onions, peeled thoroughly, chopped medium or small.  Peel the top juicy layer and discard it, or it will turn into vegetable Naugahyde.

about a tablespoon of cooking oil, olive oil, or clarified butter per onion.  You can use regular butter, but watch sharp for burning.  You are using low heat here, so it should be fine.  Butter gives a more Bavarian taste, olive oil a more Italian taste.

 

Heat the oil or butter in the pot or skillet until is is shimmery on medium/low heat.  Be patient.

Add in the onions and stir to coat them in oil.  Do not stick your face over the pot and breathe deeply.

Let them cook gently on med/low or even low.  Be patient, this will take a long time.  Stir them every so often.  At first they will sit there looking gooey, then they will ever so slowly go translucent.  Eventually they will begin to brown a little at a time.  You want them to ever so slowly get a lovely golden color.  They will smell like Heaven.

Taste them, and maybe add a little salt.  Use them however you like.  Add them to cream cheese and spread on bagels.  Dump them on steak.  Use them on baked potatoes.  Add them to soups or stews.  Touch-fry some calamari and use these as a sauce.  Buy a loaf of unsliced bread and make toasted onion bread to go with your spag.

 

Things you can add to them for fun and profit:

-sliced mushrooms

-ground pepper, a careful amount of salt, sea salt tastes the best

-garlic, but add it in late and watch for burning, garlic sometimes burns real easy >.<

-real Madeira.  Freaking expensive stuff, but oh my god.  Mushrooms, Madeira, garlic and caramelized onions is amazing.  Some other booze, beer is nice.  Avoid cooking sherry, just use real sherry or wine.  Merlot is my favorite to add.  Cooking sherry is bad wine with a ton of salt in it, bleah.

-garlic, capers, and chopped tomatoes added in will make a nice thing to spread on toasted bread, or if you use enough tomato, a nice sauce in an Italian style, for pasta or calmari.

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Hreb    48

I am eating these right now and they are so damn good.

Mexican Greens and mushroom garlicy tacos!

These are vegetarian and pretty low fat/good fat if you don't use to much oil and cheese, and really tasty.

Feeds 2 hungry or 3 less hungry folks

 

Fresh greens:  I use either spinach (or swiss chard when it's in season for like two weeks around here :P ) If you like mustard or collard greens, more power to you, I generally don't care for them and I suspect they may be too much themselves for this recipe. Judging how much to get is weird.  It cooks down a whole lot, so something like two bunches of spinach or one or two big bunches of chard.  The chard will look Huge, but you will be taking off a lot of stemmy bits.

2 white or yukon potatoes, chopped into little small cubes like cm x cm or less

2 + cloves of garlic, depapered

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

package of baby bella mushrooms or one or two for reals bella caps, white button mushrooms will do in a pinch but are not as tasty

Some kind of cheese that you like, Mexican Queso Fresco is ideal but any mild creamy cheese is fine, mozzarella is good, as is Monterrey Jack or even cheddar

enough flour tortillas for each person to have at least two.

hot sauce if you like it like Cholula

 

Either buy prewashed greens or rinse your greens with enthusiasm, as sandy grit in your tacos is unpleasant and fresh greens of all kinds both like to harbor the stuff, not to mention the possibility of E coli.  Remove the stemmy bits and chop or tear into 2" x 2" or so bits.  Don't worry too much about drying it, you will be cooking it, which will also reduce the E coli problem.  Really the risk is small but if you are feeding really young, old, or sick folk, better not to take chances, wash and cook it well. 

Rinse and chop up your mushrooms a little, make them a bit easier to handle.

Chop garlic itty bitty or get ready the garlic masher.

Shred the cheese.

 

Heat the oil in the largest deepsided frying pan you have on medium-high heat.  It is permissable to cheat and use a big ol pot but more stirring will be required.

Put the potatoes in.  They should sizzle without sounding like a Geiger counter in Chernobyl.  If they are too hot they will burn, so if it's too loud, turn the heat down a little.  Fry them for a few minutes till they are brown on at lest one side,  Stir them a  lot.  Take one out and see if it's done.  Congratulations, you have just made papas fritas, and they are also good in eggs for breakfast or whatever, even if a bit of a pain.  Yum.

Add in the mushrooms, fry them for a few minutes, test them for doneness.  Stir a lot.

Turn down the heat slightly.  Add in chopped garlic or crush the garlic into the pot.  Fry for a min and stir to blend

Pile in two large handfuls of greens.  Stir till they go limp.  Add in more in similar batches till it is all mixed in and limp.

Remove from heat.

 

Assemble tacos with a good scoop of potato/greens/mushrooms and some cheese. put on hot sauce if you like it, salt if you must, but usually the cheese is salty enough.

Very simple, but so good.

I suppose that if you can't deal with vegetarian, add cooked crumbled bacon (omit some oil and cook it first then remove and crumble in later,) pretty sure that'd work out.

 

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Indian Hamburger Helper (1 pan dish)

Cook up one large sweet/yellow onion until soft, not browned - Set this aside in a bowl
1.5lb chopped beef, browned in the same pan as the onions
Add the onions
1tsp coriander
2tsp cumin
Hot pepper flakes to taste
28oz can of diced tomatoes
2-3 handfuls of spinach (wash first)
Corn and peas to suit you
2tsp minced garlic

Cook down the juices ~20min and then add...
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp cloves
1/4tsp cardamon

Cook another 10 minutes and then let sit

***This is and easy one pan dish that gives me a week of dinners and it can be frozen for future "OMG I'm broke and hungry" meals. Just 30min of cooking and ~5min to clean up the mess, kinda hard to beat :) 

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