Tag Archives | Spring 2013 Recipes

ROASTED SQUASH SOUP WITH HOMINY AND CRISPY SERRANO HAM

roastedSquashSoup

Use any squash you like to make this soup. Matt used a Butternut squash for the Latin Phantom Dinner.
Blue Hubbard and Kabocha will also work. You can find canned hominy in most supermarkets.

Serves 5 to 6 as a generous appetizer or light meal

1 medium pumpkin or squash (about 2 to 3 pounds), such as Butternut, Blue Hubbard
or Kabocha, halved from the stem end to the bottom, seeds removed
Olive oil, for roasting pumpkin or squash
1 red bell pepper
1 poblano pepper
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 can yellow hominy
8 thin slices Serrano or prosciutto ham, or any good-quality country-style ham
3 tablespoons olive oil
Chopped fresh cilantro and roasted pumpkin seed oil, for serving
Kosher salt and black pepper

Roast the squash: Preheat oven to 425°F. Rub the inside of the pumpkin or squash with a light coating of olive oil and season with salt and pepper; place cut side down on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet. Place the bell pepper and the poblano in a small heavy casserole dish, coat lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkin or squash and peppers in the oven and roast. The pumpkin or squash is done when a knife meets no resistance when inserted into the flesh and the edges are caramelized, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The peppers are done when they are very soft and the skins are well browned, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Turn the oven up to 450°.

Let the cooked pumpkin or squash rest until it is cool enough to handle. Place the cooked peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; cool until you can pick them up with your hands.

Scoop the pumpkin or squash flesh into a large heavy-bottom soup pot. Add the onions, garlic, chicken stock, chile powder, cinnamon and chipotle powder. Simmer over medium heat until the onions and garlic are soft.

Allow to cool slightly then carefully purée in batches in a blender or food processor. Return the soup to the pot and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, lay the slices of ham on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Watching it carefully, bake the ham slices until they crisp and just begin to brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool on the sheet pan. The ham will get crispier as it cools.

While the soup reheats, peel and seed the peppers (using rubber gloves to protect your hands, if necessary). Slice into thin strips. Pour the can of hominy into a small pot and heat until simmering and warmed through.

To serve the soup, place a heaping tablespoon of the drained hominy into a warmed soup bowl. Top with a few strips of the roasted pepper and one slice of the crispy ham. Ladle soup into bowls; garnish with chopped cilantro and a drizzle of roasted pumpkin seed oil.

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PORK AND APRICOT TAMALES

porkTamale

“Tamales are a lot of work,” admits Matt Sargent. But they are so worth it, especially since they freeze well. Matt suggests taking a rainy day to make the tamales. Once you get into the rhythm, the time will fly by.

Makes 50 tamales

For the pork:

1 (3- to 4-pound) pork shoulder
2 medium plus 1 large onion
7 cloves garlic, divided
1 tablespoon chile powder
2 tablespoons cumin, divided
1 (12-ounce) bottle IPA, such as Lawson’s
3 to 4 dried ancho chiles
Olive oil, for sautéing onions
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
Kosher salt and black pepper

For the tamales:

3 to 4 cups masa harina, plus more as necessary
⅓ cup vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons chile powder
1 tablespoon each cumin and garlic powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
15 to 20 dried, or 5 to 6 fresh, apricots, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 packages corn husks, soaked in very hot water for 1 hour

The day before you want to serve the tamales, prepare the pork. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Place the pork in a large heavy-bottomed pot and cover with water. Chop the 2 medium onions and 4 cloves of the garlic and place in the pot with the pork along with the chile powder, 1 tablespoon of the cumin and the IPA. Simmer, uncovered, on low heat for at least 4 hours or until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork. If using a pressure cooker, bring the pork, water and aromatics to full pressure and cook for about an hour.

While the pork cooks, soak the ancho chiles in very hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid. Remove the seeds and stems and chop the chiles.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Chop the remaining large onion and 3 cloves of garlic and sauté until soft. Add the remaining tablespoon of cumin and the cinnamon and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chopped ancho chiles and ½ cup of the reserved ancho soaking liquid. Cook, stirring, until the liquid reduces by about ¼, about 15 minutes. Cool this mixture slightly, then purée in a food processor or blender until smooth, adding additional ancho chile water as needed for the right consistency.

Remove the cooled pork from the cooking liquid. Carefully purée the cooking liquid and aromatics in a blender until smooth. Shred the pork into bite-size pieces with 2 forks and combine with the ancho chile sauce. Add enough of the puréed pork cooking liquid as needed. You want the mixture moist but not runny.

Assemble the tamales: In a large bowl, combine the masa harina, chile powder, cumin, garlic powder and baking soda; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the shortening and mix well with a fork until well incorporated. Add enough of the puréed pork cooking liquid to form a soft, wellmoistened dough. It should hold together easily without crumbling or falling apart. Let the masa harina mixture sit in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 15 minutes.

Drain the soaked corn husks. Lay 1 husk flat on the counter. Press a small golf-ballsize piece of the masa harina mixture onto the husk and flatten it with your hands to ⅛-inch thickness, leaving a ½-inch edge on the sides and top and a 1½-inch edge along the bottom. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the pork mixture into the center of the tamale and top with a few apricots. Fold the sides onto the center of the tamale then fold up the bottom. Leave the top open. Some tamales may require a double husk. When the tamales are wrapped, carefully place them in a large stockpot containing 2 inches of water and fitted with a steamer, loosely stacking them on top of one another. Cover and steam for 40 minutes.

While the tamales steam, make this quick sauce to serve alongside them: Blend 2 large, seeded and peeled roasted red bell peppers with 3 to 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil, ½ teaspoon cayenne and salt and pepper to taste until smooth.

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PLANTAIN-AND-PEPPER-STUFFED FLANK STEAK WITH CREAMY BLACK BEAN PURÉE

plantainFlankSteak

Matt Sargent uses a classic restaurant technique to get the smoothest, silkiest black bean purée. After running the cooked beans through the food processor he passes them through a fine-mesh sieve. I could have eaten an entire bowl of the stuff.

Serves 6 to 8

For the Black Bean Purée:

1 pound dried black beans, soaked in water overnight
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 slices smoky bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon each black pepper, cumin and chile powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Kosher salt, to taste

For the Steak:

1 (1- to 1½-pound) flank steak
2 very ripe plantains, halved lengthwise
Olive oil, for roasting plantains and searing steak
1 each red and green bell pepper, cut into
¼-inch-thick slices
Kosher salt and black pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

Cook the beans:

Drain the beans and combine all of the ingredients except the salt in a large, heavybottomed pot. Fill the pot with water 2 inches above the top of the beans and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Cook until the beans are soft and tender, about 2 to 3 hours. Resist the temptation to turn up the heat: Low and slow is best for beans. Season the cooked beans to taste with a generous pinch of salt. Cool the beans in their liquid. Using a blender or food processor, purée the beans until smooth. If you want an even smoother purée, pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Reheat the beans gently over low heat, adding water as needed.

Prepare the steak:

Lay the steak lengthwise in front of you on a cutting board. Going with the grain, cut the steak in half. Take each half of steak and slice it in half horizontally starting at the cut side and moving your knife slowly and carefully through the middle of the steak towards the edge, leaving about ¾ inch of the meat connected.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Coat the plantains lightly with olive oil and place them cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast until they are nicely browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Let them cool completely on the pan. Keep the oven on.

Heat a medium pot of salted water over high heat. Blanch the sliced bell peppers briefly (about 45 seconds) then shock them immediately in an ice water bath to cool completely. Dry thoroughly.

Assemble the steak:

Lay each piece of steak on a cutting board and open it up like a book. Season the inside generously with salt and pepper. Lay 2 halved plantains lengthwise on the steak and top with the green and red peppers. Roll the steaks up tightly lengthwise like a cigar; tie the rolled steaks every 2 inches with butcher’s twine. Trim the ends of the rolls. Season the outside of the steak rolls generously with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering. Sear the steak rolls on all sides until well browned. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook to medium rare, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Slice the steak between the pieces of twine into 2-inch-thick pieces. Serve the steak with a spoonful of the bean purée and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro.

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ANY-TIME QUICHE

Quiche is one of those one-recipe-fits-all dishes. It can be served at breakfast, lunch or dinner, and no one would bat an eye like he or she might if you served, say, a meatloaf at breakfast.

This recipe is one that my mother makes, and one I assumed took hours of preparation to create before I learned how to make it myself.

½ to 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced
6 to 8 Baby Portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium plum tomato, thinly sliced
4 to 5 eggs
⅔ cup Greek yogurt
½ cup sharp Cheddar, shredded
1 dash of pepper
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Your favorite piecrust

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk eggs. Mix in yogurt.

Spread your favorite piecrust in a glass pie plate, pinching the edges for a pretty, doily look. Fill piecrust with layers of zucchini and mushroom, and egg-andyogurt mixture. Top with tomato slices, add cracked pepper and nutmeg and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

Serve hot or cold.

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simplyAsian

SIMPLE ASIAN TOMATO SALAD

simplyAsian

Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a light lunch

2½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2½ teaspoons sugar
1 pound ripe cherry tomatoes, large tomatoes halved or quartered, small tomatoes left whole
½ large seedless cucumber, peeled and sliced into
½-inch-thick pieces
½ large jalapeño, thinly sliced
¼ cup each fresh mint and basil leaves

In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, oil and sugar; whisk until the sugar dissolves. Gently toss the tomatoes, cucumber and jalapeño in a medium bowl with the dressing; let the salad marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the fresh herbs and gently toss again to combine.

Photo by Emily McKenna

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