All Hail the Power of the Pig: Pulled Pork Barbeque – North and South Carolina

If you live in the Southeast or have traveled there, you have some understanding of the popularity of pork on the lunch or dinner menu. And the way to prepare this little piggy? Why, barbequed, of course.

Pulled BBQ - North & South Carolina

We’re talking slow-cooked – often over a fire – ‘til the meat is tender and falls off the bone. The Carolinas sit right on the Barbeque Belt of the Southeast U.S. by virtue of history and tradition, bringing to the table distinctive variations that foster nothing short of regional fealty. The eastern region favors a vinegary pepper sauce, while barbeque lovers farther west incorporate more ketchup or tomato bases to their sauces. South Carolina meanwhile, adds an additional twist in the form of a mustard-based sauce reflective of the German immigrants who settled there. We offer a recipe for oven-roasted pork – a little easier for many of us than finding an outside pit – with your choice of Carolina finishing sauces.

You can find barbeque fests and competitions all over the Carolinas virtually every month. A couple of upcoming ones include the 6th Annual Bands, Brews and Barbeque competition in Port Royal, SC, February 27-28, 2015 and the 37th Annual Pig Cookin’ in Newport, NC, March 27-28, 2015.

North or South Carolina Pulled Pork Barbeque

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For rub:

  • 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3/4 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin
  • 3/4 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 5- to 7-pound pork shoulder
  • Hamburger buns

For North Carolina sauce:

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

For South Carolina sauce (recipe courtesy of the South Carolina Barbeque Association, used with permission):

  • 1 cup mustard
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup vinegar (white, apple or wine)
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tablespoon sorghum or molasses

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all spices for rub in a small bowl. Rub the mixture over the pork, covering meat completely.  Roast meat until meat thermometer reads 170 degrees and meat is falling off the bone, 3 to 4 hours. Remove from oven and let cool. With clean hands, pull pork from bone and shred meat with two forks. Add North or South Carolina Barbeque sauce. Serve on hamburger buns with coleslaw.

 

 

 

Plan for Dessert with Élan: Flan – Nevada

Nevada became a state in 1864, just a few days before the second election for Abraham Lincoln. The state founders wanted to make sure Nevada’s three electoral votes would be cast for the Republican incumbent.

Flan - Neveda

The Silver State has a long mining tradition. The Basque people — those from a region in Europe about the size of Rhode Island that includes both Spain and France — immigrated to Nevada and other parts of the west during the mid-nineteenth century. The Basques initially came to work in the gold and silver mines during the gold rush era but then decided shepherding was more lucrative. All of those silver and gold prospectors needed meat and wool to clothe themselves. In addition, the Basques set up boardinghouses across the state as way-stations for themselves. Today, the boardinghouses that remain are now restaurants.

The state still has a sizable Basque population and of course these people brought their food traditions with them from Europe. Flan is a Spanish custard made with eggs and milk. The shepherding Basques would have found it easy to make this dessert (probably with sheep’s milk) in the Dutch ovens they favored that they dug into pits in the ground. Our version here is a streamlined version of flan, adapted from Nigella Lawson that is so super easy you will wonder why you’ve never made it before.

Bundle up for the North Lake Tahoe Snow Fest, February 27-March 8, which includes parades, fireworks, a polar bear swim, a snow building contest and much more.

Flan

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Hot water

Instructions

In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar and water. Heat over medium high heat until the mixture caramelizes and almost reaches the color of maple syrup. Remove from heat and quickly pour into a 9-inch round pan, making sure the caramel covers the entire bottom of pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, the evaporated milk and the eggs. Beat or whisk until the eggs are fully incorporated into the milk. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Place the 9-inch pan with the caramel into a larger roasting pan. Pour the milk/egg mixture into the 9-inch pan on top of the caramel. Add the hot water into the roasting pan, to about one inch full. Very carefully place the nesting pans into a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for about 45-50 minutes (the flan will be slightly brown on top but still quite jiggly. Do not overbake!). Remove 9-inch pan with flan from the water bath and let cool on the counter. Once very cool, invert the pan on a plate large enough to contain the caramel syrup.

 

 

 

Christmas Time: Red and Green Chile Sauce – New Mexico

The chile pepper is the official state vegetable of the Land of Enchantment — along with pinto beans. Spanish settlers brought the chile pepper to the state from Mexico where it had been cultivated by the Aztecs for centuries. Bright red chile ristras (strings of peppers) grace patios and fences across the state and are both decorative and utilitarian.

New Mexico Red and Green Chile Sauce

The official state question of New Mexico is, “Red or green?” When dining out, if a server asks you this, he or she is referring to which type of chile you want on top of your enchiladas or tamales. If you can’t decide, don’t worry, just order “Christmas” to get a taste of both.

Both of these chile sauces are remarkably easy to make at home. For the red sauce, buy dried chile pods that are labeled “Chile Nuevo Mexico.”  They will look like this.

New Mexico red chiles for red chile sauce    New Mexico red chiles for red chile sauce

We scraped out the seeds and membranes before preparing and the resulting sauce was delicious with just a hint of heat. If you like it spicier, reserve some of seeds and add them back in for a kick.

The green sauce is usually made with Hatch peppers which are grown in the Hatch Valley. Hatch, New Mexico, is the self-proclaimed chile capital of the world and hosts a Chile Festival each year in August. If you can’t find fresh Hatch peppers, you might be able to find them canned or frozen. We subbed in Anaheim peppers, but poblano or even cubanelle peppers will also work. Roast the peppers first to add depth of flavor. Our green chile sauce was mild but oh-so-flavorful.

Top eggs, breakfast burritos, enchiladas or tacos with either of these sauces. Use it to elevate mac-n-cheese, or add to cornbread to give it a spicy boost. Or spoon it over beef burgers to make green chile cheeseburgers – a Santa Fe classic.

If hot and spicy sauces, mustards, salsas and marinades are your thing, attend the 27th Annual Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, March 6-8, 2015, in Albuquerque.

 

New Mexico Red Chile Sauce

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Recipe courtesy of Al and Sheri Purdue of Santa Fe, NM, used with permission.

Ingredients

  • 12-15 dried New Mexico chili pods
  • Hot water
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Salt

Instructions

Open each chili pod with a knife. Using latex or rubber gloves, remove the stems, seeds and any blemishes (reserve the seeds for later in case the sauce is too mild). Rinse the pods well with cold water. Place pods in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for about an hour or until they are quite soft. Place pods in the bowl of a food processor and add a bit of the water they were soaking in. Puree until the skins dissolve, about 2-3 minutes. If the sauce seems too thick, add a bit more water until desired consistency is reached. Add garlic cloves, oregano and salt. Process another minute. Taste and adjust salt. Add a few of the seeds if desired to add some heat. Before serving, heat sauce until boiling. Will keep for about 5 days refrigerated.

 

New Mexico Green Chile Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Recipe courtesy of Al and Sheri Purdue of Santa Fe, NM, used with permission.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 green peppers (Hatch preferred, but we used Anaheim)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt

Instructions

Cut peppers in half. Flatten peppers with the heel of your hand. Roast under the broiler on a baking tray lined with foil, about 10 minutes until the skin is blistered brown. Remove from the oven and once cool enough to handle, place in a paper bag. Fold down the top of the bag and let sit for about 10 minutes. Remove peppers from bag. Remove stems, skin and seeds. Chop the peppers to ¼ inch dice. Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Saute garlic and onion until onion is translucent. Blend in flour. Add water gradually, whisking to break up any clumps. Add peppers. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste. Will keep for about 5 days refrigerated.

Not so Thorny: Prickly Pear Margaritas – Arizona

Arizona already has some unique state symbols. Official state neckwear? The bolo tie. Official state fossil? Petrified wood. Official state mammal? The ringtail. We in the StateEats Kitchen propose the Prickly Pear Margarita as the official state cocktail of Arizona. We’re pretty sure that no other state has one.

Prickly Pear Margarita - Arizona

Prickly pear cacti are found all over the arid regions of the U.S. southwest. Prickly pear branches look like paddles and are often cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The fruit – also known as tuna – are thought to have anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, according to the Mayo Clinic. The fruit also may lessen the effects of a hangover. So, if you have it in a cocktail, that means you won’t feel lousy the next day, right?? Hmmmm, more research is required.

Sure, you can find commercially prepared prickly pear syrup. But homemade is always better; you can control the ingredients and the amount of sugar. You can find tuna in Latin-American markets across the country. Choose fruit that is firm, with no bruises or brown spots. If you are lucky, the thorns will already have been removed. If not, wear gloves and remove the thorns with a sharp paring knife.

Look at the beautiful color when you slice these babies open!

prickly pear fruit

Scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

prickly pear fruit

 

Once pureed in the food processor it will look like this.

pureed prickly pear fruit

 

Strain the flesh into a fine sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth. This will remove the seeds and pulp. Transfer the strained puree to a medium sized sauce pan and add the water, sugar, cinnamon stick and mint. When the sugar is dissolved (after about 20 minutes of simmering), strain again. Add the vanilla extract. Let cool before using.

The flavor of the syrup is rather subtle with hints of mint and cinnamon but just look at the gorgeous color of this drink.

Prickly Pear Margaritas

If you don’t imbibe, you can also use the syrup to flavor lemonade, iced tea, smoothies, yogurt, or even over vanilla ice cream.

So what do you say Arizona Legislature? Not such a thorny dilemma to us.

Arizona Cocktail Week is February 14-21, 2015, in Phoenix. Join professional mixologists for lectures, seminars, dinners, competitions and of course, tastings. The grand finale of the week is National Margarita Day on February 22. Enjoy a free(!!) Latin-themed party with mariachi, a live DJ, cocktail samples, tequila education stations, and food pairings at the Hotel Valley Ho pool in Scottsdale.

Prickly Pear Margaritas

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

For Syrup:

  • 2 1/2 pounds prickly pears
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Cocktail:

  • 4 ounces prickly pear syrup
  • 4 ounces tequila blanco
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • 3 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Ice
  • Kosher salt (optional – for the rim of the glass)
  • Lime slices (optional – for garnish)

Instructions

For Syrup:

Scrape off any thorns off with a sharp paring knife, taking care not to touch with bare hands. Cut the ends off the prickly pears, then slice the pears in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Put flesh into a food processor and process until pureed. Strain this mixture through a fine sieve or a colander lined with cheese cloth. The seeds and pulp will be left behind yielding about 2 cups of liquid. Transfer the liquid into a medium saucepan. Add water, sugar, cinnamon stick and mint. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. All of the sugar should be dissolved. Add the vanilla. Strain again. Let completely cool before mixing in a cocktail.

For Cocktail:

Add syrup, liquors and lime juice to a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into two margarita glasses rimmed with salt, if desired. Garnish with lime slices.

Big and Beefy: Texas Brisket

Although the state snack of Texas is chips and salsa, and the state dish is chili con carne, we decided we needed to highlight beef in a big Texas way. The Lone Star state is the top cattle producer in the country ― a $10.5 billion industry in 2012 — according to the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Texas Brisket

Barbeque can mean different things depending on where you eat in this country. In the southeast, barbeque usually means pig. But in Texas, when folks babble on about barbeque, they usually are talking about beef, and by beef, we mean brisket.

The key to a good brisket is picking a good cut of meat with a bit of marbling (choose choice or prime) and cooking it low and slow over a wood or charcoal fire. Is this method time consuming? Yes. It is worth every minute? Absolutely! We smoked ours over hickory chips and the resulting meat had a beautiful bark (that dark, crusty exterior) and a wonderful, smoky flavor. Some Texans scoff at using any type of BBQ sauce but we provided one for you here, just in case you like to embellish your meat.

If you’d like some homegrown Texas refreshment to wash down that BBQ, head to the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco. Fun and kitschy!

Texas Brisket

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 6-8 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3-4 lb. choice or prime beef brisket, trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons black pepper

For beef rub:

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

For BBQ sauce:

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/3 cups beer
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Instructions

For meat: The night before, mix the 4 tablespoons salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Rub on the brisket. Loosely cover with foil and let sit overnight in fridge. Mix all ingredients for the rub in another bowl, set aside.

In the morning, preheat smoker. Remove meat from fridge and cover meat with a thin coating of vegetable oil. Cover with the rub. When the smoker reaches 225 degrees, place meat in smoker. Cooking time will depend on thickness of brisket, but a general rule is about 90 minutes for each pound. When brisket reaches 190-200 degrees, remove from smoker, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in a cooler lined with old towels. This will allow the brisket to stay hot until serving time.

For BBQ sauce: Heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. When hot, add chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is translucent. Add beer, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Stir until combined. Add chili powder and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for one hour until thickened. Allow to cool slightly. Place BBQ sauce in a food processor or blender. Blend until onions and garlic are incorporated into the sauce (if too thick, thin with a little bit of the leftover beer).

When ready to serve brisket, reheat BBQ sauce. Slice meat perpendicular to the grain and drizzle or dollop with sauce. Serve plain or on soft buns.

 

Broke Da Mouth: Chicken Long Rice – Hawaii

From the sandy shores of Waikiki on Oahu, to the summit of Haleakala on Maui, to the deep valley gorge of the Waimea Canyon on Kauai, the Hawaiian Islands are a sight to behold. The Aloha State, the nation’s fiftieth, has a unique culinary culture, with influences from China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Portugal.

Chicken Long Rice - Hawaii

If you are invited to a  local’s home for dinner or attend a Hawaiian luau, you will likely be served Chicken Long Rice. Don’t look for rice in this dish, there is none. Long rice refers to cellophane noodles (also called mung bean noodles) which give this dish its distinctive Chinese flavor. We adapted a recipe from Doreen Fang and added julienned carrots for crunch and texture. Fang prefers Aloha Shoyu soy sauce which is a local soy sauce that tastes a little less salty and tangy than Chinese or Japanese soy sauce. Don’t worry if you can’t find it, just substitute reduced sodium soy sauce. If a dish is broke da mouth, that means it’s very delicious in Hawaiian pidgin. Yep, consider our mouths broke.

If you are a lucky enough to be headed to Hawaii, check out the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau’s website which lists luaus on all of the islands. At luaus, the food is usually served buffet style and is a great place to try a number of authentic Hawaiian dishes.

Chicken Long Rice

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
                

Ingredients

For marinade:

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce (Aloha Shoyu brand preferred)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

For chicken and noodles:

  • 6 ounces cellophane noodles (mung bean threads)
  • 1 ½ lbs. chicken breast, cut in strips
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 carrots, julienned (optional)
  • 3 ounces cremini or shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 green onions, sliced and divided
  • 8 ounces chicken broth
  • Soy sauce to taste

Instructions

For the marinade: Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix with fork. Add sliced chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for one hour.

For noodles: Place noodles in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let stand ten minutes or until soft. Drain well. Chop into smaller pieces if desired. Set aside.

To finish: Heat saute pan or wok to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. When bead of water sizzles in the pan, add carrot. Cook until tender. Remove and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When hot, add marinated chicken. Cook for 6-8 minutes. Add mushrooms, and 2 green onions. Cook until chicken is cooked through. Add cellophane noodles, broth, soy sauce and carrot, tossing well to combine. Top with remaining green onion.

So Appealing: Grapefruit and Orange Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette – Florida

If you’ve ever taken a drive into the Sunshine State, you know what awaits you at the Welcome Center: free samples of chilled fresh orange juice and grapefruit juice. While Florida is a powerhouse

Grapoefruit and Orange Salad - Floridaproducer of both fruits and veggies, it’s citrus that reigns supreme. Ironically, even though the popular orange had been in the New World since the early 1500s when Spanish explorers threw some seeds into the sandy, subtropical soil which they’d begun to settle, the fruit wasn’t given its public props until relatively recently. In 2005, a group of fourth-graders in Sarasota noticed there wasn’t an official state fruit, and they waged a successful legislative lobbying campaign giving the orange its formal designation (not that we needed a fancy title to make us love the juicy tang of pretty much all forms of citrus). This wonderful recipe combines the sweetness of the orange with the crisp tartness of the grapefruit. Drizzled in a sweet-sour vinaigrette, it’s perfect for a light lunch or dinner – and even better, it packs a serious Vitamin C punch.

Travel way down south to the Key West Food and Wine Festival, January 27-February 1, 2015.

 

Grapefruit and Orange Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
      

Recipe courtesy of Florida Department of Citrus, used with permission

Ingredients

For salad:

  • 1 bunch watercress, washed and trimmed
  • 2 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

For raspberry vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

For salad: In a large salad bowl combine watercress, grapefruit sections, orange sections, avocado, onion, raspberries and pine nuts.

For the raspberry vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk together grapefruit juice, vinegar and mustard. Slowly whisk in oil, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over salad; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

 

Hunka Hunka Pan-Fried Love: Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches – Tennessee

Tennessee is known for many Southern specialty foods, but being rabid Elvis fans, we turned our attention to Memphis – the River City – and its most famous house, Graceland, for inspiration. The King lived life large and is said to have enjoyed a special treat that

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana - TN

has become his signature dish – the Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich. Similar to a grilled cheese in construction and cooking, the sandwich has a number of variations. We used an artisan Italian bread as the basis for our recipe, as it held up a little better in the skillet, and we mixed the PB with honey for a sweeter, smoother spread. As for the banana, you can mash it and spread it – although we prefer slices. Add crispy bacon if you want that little extra salty crunch.

Celebrate Elvis’ birthday (January 8th!) with weekend-long festivities at Graceland and other Memphis venues including a dance party, movie screenings, concerts and Elvis bingo.

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 slices Italian bread, toasted
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter (or to taste)
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 2 slices cooked bacon (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Instructions

Smooth peanut butter (mixed with honey, if you prefer) onto two slices of bread. Place sliced banana on top of peanut butter. Place remaining two slices of bread on top of bananas and spread outsides of sandwich with butter or margarine. Place in pre-heated fry pan or griddle. Cook until toasty brown and heated through.

 

Spuds to Die For: Three Cheese Funeral Potatoes – Utah

We admit, we were a little taken aback when we heard about funeral potatoes. Apparently, they have a long history in the Beehive State, heavily influenced by the Latter Day Saint tradition of hosting potluck dinners after funerals. Truly, this is comfort food.

Three Cheese Funeral Potatoes

Endless versions of this recipe exist, some with frozen hash browns and American cheese, others with sour cream or cream of chicken soup, some topped with crushed potato chips or Ritz crackers. As usual, we opted for a version with less processed ingredients, using fresh Idaho potatoes and cheddar, parmesan and manchego cheeses. But use whatever cheeses you like best, it’s all good. This dish is so beloved in Utah, it has spawned a cook-off at the Utah State Fair.

You won’t want to miss the chance to hobnob with celebs at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, January 22 to February 1.

Three Cheese Funeral Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 55 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 heaping tablespoons flour
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup manchego cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3/4 cup crushed cornflakes or panko

Instructions

Place the potatoes in a large pot. Add water until potatoes are covered. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil until the potatoes are fork tender but not falling apart. Drain. Place potatoes into a greased, ovenproof casserole dish.

In a large saucepan, melt half of the butter. On medium heat add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the flour, and whisk vigorously to make a roux. Slowly add the milk, continuing to whisk until the mixture thickens slightly. Stir in the cheeses until melted. If cheese sauce is too thick, add in a bit more milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour cheese sauce over the potatoes, stirring slightly so sauce covers all the potatoes.

Place the remaining butter in a small bowl and microwave until melted. Add crushed cornflakes or panko. Spread on top of the potatoes. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees until potatoes are bubbling and topping is golden brown.

Veni, Vidi, Vici: Chili Verde – Colorado

We came, we saw, and we conquered Chili Verde. Chili Verde is unique to the southwest states and especially popular in Denver.

Chili Verde - Colorado

Made with pork rather than beef, this delicious stew is quite green. Thank the tomatillos for that vibrant hue, along with poblanos and cilantro. Add a jalapeno or two if you want some heat, otherwise leave it out.

This chili is wonderful on a football Sunday. It holds well if you are having people over for the holidays and are not sure what time everyone will want to eat. Serve with homemade corn bread or corn tortillas.

Take a spin around the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park in Denver. Skate rentals are only $2 or bring your own and skate for free!

Chili Verde

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers (optional)
  • 1 ½ pounds tomatillos
  • 6 cloves of garlic (not peeled)
  • Cilantro, one bunch, stems removed
  • 2-3 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

Prepare a cookie sheet lined with foil and start the broiler. Slice peppers in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and stem. Smash with the palm of your hand so they are flat. Place on the cookie sheet skin side up. Remove papery husk from the tomatillos and wash them well. Slice in half. Place on cookie sheet cut side down. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves. Broil vegetables for about five minutes until the skin is blackened on the poblanos. Remove from oven. When peppers are cool enough to handle, place in a paper bag. Let sit a few minutes, then remove the blackened skins from the peppers and peel from the garlic.

Place peppers, garlic, and tomatillos into a blender. Blend on high until all ingredients are finely chopped. Add the cilantro. Blend again. The mixture will resemble a green smoothie.

Heat a large skillet or soup pot with olive oil. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook pork on medium heat until browned. When pork is done, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add onion and chopped garlic to the skillet. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits of pork from the bottom of the skillet. Add the pork back to the skillet. Add the oregano and cumin. Stir until fragrant. Add the verde sauce and then the chicken broth, making sure the meat is covered (add a bit of water if necessary).

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook on low uncovered for 2 to 3 hours or until meat is tender. Season again with salt and pepper before serving.

Highlighting food from our 50 states

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