Aug 29, 2016

red pozole

Pozole is traditionally a stew made with pozole corn [AMAZON], which is corn that has been soaked in limewater, or has been nixtamalized. This is pozole in dried form and needs to be simmered for a few hours before using.

I had one can of hominy left in the pantry, and since hominy is an adequate replacement for the dried version, I felt the immense need to make a red pozole, which I have been eyeing for a year or so now.

Shredding the meat is the common way of serving this stew and since I still had a few cans of jackfruit left in the pantry, that, too, became an addition. Rinse both canned ingredients well before using and shred the jackfruit.

Because jackfruit is not a stand alone ingredient, in my opinion, being a bit too watery and lacking much substance, I added chickpeas to the mix. Of course, with aquafaba comes a lot of chickpeas and I keep needing to find great recipes to use them in.

Instead of the quick savory seasoning I supply in this recipe, using nutritional yeast, sage and oregano, you can use a commercial brand. Onions, garlic and cilantro are required ingredients for the white pozole, which is the stew before you add the chili paste.

The chili paste is really an easy combination of whatever dried chilies you have hanging around. California chilies are very mild and you can adjust the proportion of spicy chilies to this mild one for a very mild, but still flavorful, chili puree.

Combine the dried chilies with cumin, onion and garlic and cook it until the peppers are soft. Strain the peppers, creating a puree, and you have just made a flavorful addition that will transform your white pozole into a red pozole.

Simmer the soup for another 15 minutes and serve with a range of toppings: cabbage, cilantro, lime, radishes, tortilla chips, onion, and oregano, that you crush between your hands before adding to the individual bowls, are all traditional additions.

Red Pozole
Makes 6 servings

8 cups vegetable broth (or 6 cups broth and 2 cups water)
1 (25-ounce) can hominy, rinsed and drained
1 (20-ounce) can green, young jackfruit, rinsed, drained and pulled apart
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, finely diced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
6 sprigs cilantro
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican, if you have it)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf

Chili base:
2 dried California chilies, stems and seeds removed
2 dried kashmiri chilies, stems and seeds removed
1 dried ancho chili, stem and seeds removed
1/4 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup water
3 tablespoons neutral oil

Red radishes, sliced
Cilantro leaves
Cabbage, shredded
Lime wedges
Dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)

1. Add all the soup ingredients (the broth, hominy, jackfruit, chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro, nutritional yeast, sage, oregano, salt, black pepper and bay leaf) to the pot of a pressure cooker. Pressure cook the soup for 30 minutes, allowing for natural release. If cooking on the stove-top, cook, partially covered over medium heat for 1 hour. Add more water as it reduces. Remove and discard the cilantro and bay. Set the soup aside.  
2. Add the chiles, onion, garlic, clove, cumin and water to a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cook, covered until tender, about 10 minutes. Blend the pot of chili and water and pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Press out as much of the pulp as possible.
3. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the chili puree. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the reduced puree to the soup. Bring the soup back to a boil and cook for 20 minutes to marry the flavors. Taste and adjust seasoning. 
4. Serve the soup hot with the toppings, as desired.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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Aug 26, 2016

lentil-pepita pate

This is an amazing, healthy and flavorful pate. It is ready in about 20 minutes flat. Serve this delicious pate on crackers, cucumbers, in bahn mi sandwiches, in pita, with cucumber or tortilla chips. Very versatile.

This pate uses toasted pepita seeds  -- which, by the way,  boast one the highest protein counts, and sauteed onion and garlic. Adding some oregano and thyme make this spread burst with flavor and umami - which is a flavor profile linked with savoriness or meatiness. 

After the onions are golden and delicious (about 14 minutes), add the whole shebang to the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy, adding a bit of water or cooking lentil liquid.

That's it! Chill and serve!

Lentil and Pepita Pate
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

3/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 medium onion, minced
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 1/2 cups cooked brown or green lentils (rinse and drain, if canned)
2 teaspoons mellow white miso
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste

*If cooking lentils from scratch, reserve about 3 tablespoons of cooking liquid. 

1.  Heat a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the pepitas and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and toasted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside in a medium bowl to cool. Once cool, add the seeds to the bowl of a food processor.
2. Heat the oil in the now empty skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion and garlic. Cook, covered, until the onions are golden brown and tender, about 10 to 14 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a tablespoon of vegetable broth or water, as needed, if the onions are beginning to stick. Keep the skillet covered to minimize cooking time and loss of liquid.
3. Add the thyme and sage and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Transfer the onion mixture to the food processor, along with the lentils, miso, salt and black pepper. Process the mixture until smooth as possible, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. To make the pate creamy, add a few tablespoons of cooking liquid* or water, a little at a time. Do not add too much liquid, just enough to make the pate creamy. 
4. Transfer to an air-tight lid once cooled and chill for at least an hour before serving.
5. Serve with crackers, raw vegetable sticks, toasted pita bread or on a cheese plate. Serve with thin slices of raw onion and thin slices of dill pickle.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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