Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Pork Chili Verde (Green Pork Chili) – Green and Sometimes Browned

As I mentioned in the intro, this chili verde was one of the first recipes I ever learned, and also one of the first times I was forced to question proper culinary technique. Having just learned the importance of browning meats in culinary school, I was, at the same time, working for a chef who rarely did. 

Whether it was pork, chicken, or beef, he simply cut up the meat, threw it in a pot with the rest of the ingredients, and simmered everything until tender. By the way, he claimed that he had learned how to cook these recipes while traveling through Mexico. I remember sheepishly asking about this, and his response was something like, “Well, that's how they did it, and it tastes good to me.” He was right, it did. 

In fact, it tasted great. It was then I realized that this whole cooking thing might be a little more complicated than I had imagined. So, which is really the best method? There’s no answer for that question, which is frustrating. Having said that, I do think browned meat is always going to add extra flavor, so I usually do it. The point is, everybody’s right.

Regarding the pickled red onions I used on top of my chili: I was going to save this for a video, but it’s so ultra simple that I’ll just tell you right now. Slice some red onions, add a pinch of salt, and cover with red wine vinegar. Leave this overnight in your fridge, and the next day you’ll be looking at one of the most gorgeous garnishes ever.

They’re wonderful with everything from salads, to charcuterie, to cheeseburgers; but my real hope is that you enjoy them on a bowl of this delicious green pork chili. I really hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:
2 tbsp vegetable oil (heat to almost smoking before browning meat)
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (aka pork butt), cut into 2-inch cubes
1 yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 to 3 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
about 10-12 tomatillos (about 4 cups once quartered)
3 jalapenos, seeded
1 poblano chili, seeded
6 cloves peeled garlic
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or as needed
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
freshly ground black pepper
sour cream and pickled red onions to garnish

- Simmer pork and sauce for an hour, add potatoes, and simmer until everything is tender.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Billionaire’s Franks & Beans – Welcome to the Top 1% of Comfort Foods

Maybe it’s the billionaire(s) in the news lately, but for some reason I decided to take one of America’s most frugal meals, franks and beans, and give it a high-end makeover. Besides, all the other classic comfort foods have been fancified, hipsterized, and/or molecular gastronomized; so I figured I would take this one down. And by down, I mean up.

Usually, franks and beans is made by opening up a couple cans of baked beans, and heating it up with some sliced hotdogs. Not exactly something you’d serve to visiting dignitaries. However, by adding some fresh veggies, plain beans, and high-quality beef hot dogs, we can achieve something much healthier, equally delicious, and every bit as comforting.

So, how much more will it cost you to make this usually cheap dish, using these upscale ingredients? It’s tempting to say, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it, but that’s not the case. Sure, the Kobe hotdogs will cost you a couple extra dollars, but the rest of the dish is still quite inexpensive. I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions Franks & Beans:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 diced yellow onion
1 diced poblano or other green pepper
2 tbsp minced fresh cayenne pepper, or other hot red pepper
1 rib celery, diced
1 pound hot dogs, sliced (literally any other sausage will work here)
2 (15-oz) cans cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 cup chicken broth, or as needed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup sliced green onions
- serve with buttered toast and champagne

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How to Make Fresh Spring Rolls – Authentic is as Authentic Does

Based on the YouTube comments appearing under the newly posted spring rolls video, lots of people missed the part about this not trying to be a specific recipe, but simply a demo featuring the magic that is damp, rice paper wrappers.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the “authentic” spring rolls I so often order at my friendly, neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant. Loaded with sweet shrimp, and bursting with vermicelli noodles, they are among the most delicious things ever invented.

However, I do reserve the right to soak rice paper wrappers in water, and… (I hope you’re sitting down for this) ...not make those! What you see here is just what I had on hand that day, and the next time I do a batch of these, who the heck knows what they’ll encase. If I have a point, that’s it.

Speaking of soaking in water, many commenters suggested that I dunk these in warm water for just a few seconds to hydrate, instead of the longer dip in cold water. I’ve tried both methods, and had more issues with the warmer/faster approach. They seemed to get too rubbery, too fast, which I found made the rolling harder.

Anyway, to each his own, and that goes for water temperature, filling ingredients, and dipping sauce. By the way, there are no ingredient amounts below, since that’s up to you entirely. You should be able to get “rice paper wrappers” at any large grocery store with an Asian food section, but if not, they’re easily found online. I hope you give these, or something similar, a try soon. Enjoy!

Click here to see our peanut sauce recipe video!