Posole/Pozole

This is probably the best posole/pozole I’ve ever made!  It tastes like the Mexican food of my childhood; spicy hot, thick and rich.  I’ve finally found some “correct”  chili powder and all my other spices and herbs are newly purchased, not like in France where my friend Vero has criticized the years past using dates in my spice rack 😀

Posole is a spicy Mexican stew that features hominy, pork and hot chillies.  Hominy is dried maize that has been treated with an alkali and puffs up into large, soft white or yellow kernels, is canned and used in Mexican or Southern cuisine and also to make hominy grits.  My mother, Texican that she was, made posole and also served hominy with butter as a side dish.  Everybody liked it.

Perfect time for a comfort stew with loads of onions, garlic and chillies. It’s March 23rd and snowing but we made the 10 mile trek over the border to New York.  The Pennsylvania governor has closed all stores except for life sustaining businesses; pharmacies, grocers, gas stations, beer distributors (really).  We can get wine, such as it is, in New York.

On the way out of town there is a small grocer called the Sunrise with a local selection of meats, dairy, eggs and vegetables.  There I found 2 butcher prepared 3 1/2 lb rolled pork loin roasts.  One for the posole and another for the freezer.  I should have gotten all three but I’m trying not to hoard 🙂

I cut the pork into large chunks for browning with the aromatics and chillies.  I chopped 1 serrano and one habenero chilli, seeds in, but you could half the amount and remove the seeds if you’re not looking for real Mexican hot and to set your soul on fire 😀   The mixture of the other ingredients still make a delicious stew.  I saw hominy on Amazon.com for $7-$10 per can.  That’s ridiculous!  The normal price is between $1.25 -$1.32 per can.  Look for canned hominy in both supermarkets and ethnic grocers.

Mexican Posole

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, coarsely chopped

4 garlic cloves, coarsely choppe

1 habanero and 1 serrano chilli, coarsely chopped, seeds in

1 small bunch cilantro, chopped

4-5 scallions, sliced

2 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp cumin

4 tbsp good chili powder

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp black pepper

3 tbsp flour

1 bottle of beer

1 large can diced tomatoes

2 quarts chicken stock

4 cans hominy, yellow or white or mixed, drained

Garnishes: sliced scallions, chopped fresh tomato, cilantro

In a large skillet, saute the onions, garlic, chillies, cilantro and scallions until the onions have just wilted.  Add the pork and continue to saute until the pork is lightly browned.  stir in the paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper for about 2 minutes.  Sprinkle in the flour, stirring, for another 2 minutes.  Slowly pour in the beer and stir until the mixture is smooth.  Stir in the tomatoes and stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Finally, add the hominy, return to a boil, then reduce to simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with scallions, tomatoes and cilantro.  Serve with flour or corn tortillas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lapin a la Moutarde

This rabbit, from The Butcher Shoppe in Lake Pocono was imported from Montreal and you just knew that the French were involved in some way because the important inner organs came with.  However, for good or bad,  you also could tell that the proximity of Montreal to the United States has had some influence on food prep;  no head 😀

My bay leaf plant survived the winter beautifully indoors!  The dog did snack on the leaves from time to time but they were probably good for her and it didn’t damage the plant too much.

My husband grew up in Sullivan County, New York, walking his father’s lands, trapping and hunting.  I imagine this lead to his studying and receiving his undergraduate degree in forestry.  He knows a lot about edible plants and animals in the forest and if we had to, which we might, I think we could live off the land.  I’ll cook anything as long as he cleans it.  But not mushrooms, he knows zip about mushrooms and that’s more than I know.  Otherwise, I could make some lovely stews, soups from forest plants and herbs.  Just mushroomless 🙂

Until I started cooking and eating rabbits, I wasn’t very interested in them as animals/pets.  Dogs and cats seem to have a lot more personality than rabbits and rabbits that I have seen kept as domestic pets get odd growths on them.  Yeech!

Unlike chickens, rabbits don’t have much meat on the breast area but have a very meaty back section called rable or saddle.  Before browning, cut the legs from the carcass and cut the rable into about four sections.  Brown these parts along with the the organs and breast bones for a richer taste.

I didn’t have lardons but in the U.S.,  pancetta works fine.  Speaking of lardons, our village in France, Sens, has been completely shut down and a police permit is needed to leave your home for the necessaries.  If you are out without a permit, the fine is 135 euros.  What is poor M. Parret going to do?  There are 12 cases of coronavirus in the town with 1 death but M. Parret (83 years old) says that the man who died was elderly.

Braised rabbit reminds me so much of Sens and our friends.  The way this circus is going on in the U.S., with no one to blame nor competent in the White House, we probably won’t be able to travel there in September.   I can imagine France saying no to Americans who want to go to France.  Time to take out our handy-dandy Irish passports 😀

Rabbit in Mustard Sauce with Mushrooms

1 rabbit, cut up

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup pancetta

1 generous knob of butter

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 celery branches, sliced

1 lb mushrooms, halved

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper, brown in a skillet in the olive oil, then place in a casserole or tajine with cover and set aside.

In a clean skillet, brown the pancetta, add the butter, then the shallots, celery and garlic. Saute until the shallots are soft, then add the mushrooms and continue to saute until the mushrooms start to release their water.  Add the wine and boil vigorously for about 3 minutes.  Stir in the broth, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper until smooth.

Pour the sauce into the casserole with the rabbit and gently stir.  Bring to a boil, cover, then simmer for about 45 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oxtails with Chow Mein Noodles

Narrowsburg, NY is a small, quaint tourist town about 10 miles from Honesdale, Pa.  The town borders a long stretch of the Delaware River, attracting sport fishers, kayak enthusiasts and all manner of people who enjoy water sports.  In addition,  many people from New York City have acquired second and sometimes permanent homes in the town, encouraging restaurants, shops and businesses that cater to a sophisticated clientele.

So why does the one grocery store in Narrowsburg, Pete’s Market, ALWAYS have oxtails?  I’ve never seen them in Honesdale, nor in Scranton.   A frequent visitor to Narrowburg, I have never met nor heard of the odd French person in the town.  Oxtails used to be cheap and eaten mainly by the poor and/or southerners from “Ole Dixie”.  There is a moderate size Indian community in town but I would think they are mostly vegetarians and never beef eaters.  So who besides me, at $5 per lb, is buying oxtails?  I’m glad!  But also curious.  Maybe displaced New Yorkers with a lifetime of exposure to Caribbean cuisine.

I was given this bag of chow mein noodles by my son’s partner, originally from Guyana and of Indian descent.  I, of course, have heard of and eaten chow mein.  It’s practically American.  However, I have never seen Asian noodles labeled chow mein in a bag.  Where have I been? 🙂  I was excited about trying these; they are vegetarian and although no eggs were used in making them, they have a pronounced bright yellow color and cook longer (8-10 minutes) than the Asian noodles I usually buy.  Thanks Tina, good noodles.

Thanks to Abdoulaye, I love using my pressure cooker.  He taught me not to be a scaredy cat and to forgive my father for exploding a pressure cooker with shrapnel flying in front of his 9 year old daughter, a traumatic PTSD experience that Abdoulaye assured me was 1 in a million, caused by inattention, lack of understanding and pressure cooker education.

Meaty, fall-off-the-bone oxtails in a light, flavorful sauce.  “Eating good in the neighborhood.”  😀

Oxtails with Chow Mein Noodles

2 1/2- 3 lbs oxtails

1/4 cup tamari soy sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup water

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

2 shallots, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

8 thin slices of fresh ginger

2 star anise

2 sticks cinnamon

Peel from one orange, cut into strips

 

Mix the soy sauce, sake, brown sugar and water together and set aside.  Place the oxtails in the bottom of a pressure cooker.  Sprinkle the scallions, shallots, garlic ginger, star anise, cinnamon sticks and orange peel over the oxtails.  Pour the soy sauce mixture over all.

Put the top on the pressure cooker and seal well.  Put the little bobble thing over the vent in the middle of the pressure cooker top.  Turn the gas up to high and when the bobble starts to swing back and forth, decrease the heat until the bobble continues a gentle swing. Cook for 35-40 minutes, remove from flame and set aside until the pressure button, located at the top of the handle, sinks completely to the bottom.

Open the pressure cooker and place the oxtails in a platter.  Drain and reserve the liquid in the pressure cooker, discarding the solids.  Boil the liquid down (no top) until it is reduced by half, then pour over the oxtails.

 

 

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Chicken Noodle Soup

We’re always on the look out for normal chickens.  Not necessarily “organic” just normal, non-GMO, farm, free-range and most of all, normal size!  If the chicken is as big as a toy poodle it will be tasteless with a really bizarre texture, probably caused by injections of growth hormones.  Think about it.  No don’t, it will gross you out.  Just look for normal  chickens.

That said, we thought we’d found a new source for normal chickens at the IGA in Hawley.  The chickens were about 2 lbs a piece, claimed to be farm grown, etc. but came wrapped in in an opaque bag.  That’s why we didn’t notice that one of the wings was missing, and that is also why I took this picture of the side with the wing 😀  Chicken soup instead of roast chicken.

The taste and texture were both good but I would have liked to have a whole chicken!  I guess the lesson is don’t buy what you can’t see.  Dreaming of my grandmother’s homemade egg noodles, I grabbed a package of store bought from the Super Duper 🙂

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 whole 2-2 1/2 lb chicken, cut up

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 celery branches, diced

3 carrots, diced

Ground sage

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 bay leaves

Water

1 pkg dried egg noodles

In a skillet, briefly brown the chicken parts in the olive oil, then remove and place in a stock pot. Add the onion, celery and carrots to the skillet, sauteing until the onion is soft. Sprinkle a coating of ground sage over the vegetables, add the bay leaves, salt and pepper, then place in the stock pot with the chicken.  Add water to the pot 1-2 inches above the ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Remove the chicken parts from the pot, remove skin and bones, then cut into bite size pieces.  Return the chicken to the pot, bring to a boil, add the noodles and boil for 8-10 minutes.

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hot Italian Sausage, Onions and Peppers

The Butcher Shoppe in Lake Poconos was selling homemade, hot Italian sausage that the owner warned us, several times, of it’s spiciness.  Yeah right, we said.  Give us six.  They were very hot and spicy, but in a good way 🙂  More fennel seed!

My original idea was to make sausage, onion and pepper hoagies.  With that in mind, I found some fairly nice peppers, a really big onion and 5-6 garlic cloves.

I had some homemade tomato sauce in the freezer and also discovered a package of fresh fettuccine.  It seems I had enough of the sausages with the sauce for pasta and sandwiches the next day 🙂

Hot Italian Sausage, Onions and Peppers

6 Hot Italian sausage links

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 green bell pepper, sliced

4 garlic cloves, sliced

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup red wine

3 cups homemade tomato sauce

Brown the links on all sides in a large skillet in the olive oil, remove, slice and set aside.  Add the onions, garlic and peppers to the skillet, sauteing until soft.  Add the oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and red wine, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes.  Stir in the tomato sauce and sausage slices, simmering for 20 minutes.

Serve over pasta or in hoagie rolls.

 

 

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Guinea Fowl and Mushroom Ragout

“Thanks God!” as my friend Magdalene says.  I’ve found a wonderful butcher shop about an hour away from Honesdale that can and will provide me with the joy and enthusiasm for cooking and blogging in the U.S. which has been lacking.  The Butcher Shoppe in Pocono Lake, Pa has the best of France’s cheeses, homemade sausages, exotic game, seafood, high welfare beef and pork.  I bought a lot!  No more ho hum, spongy textured chicken, beef or pork.  Choice is available!  Hallelujah!

First up, guinea fowl.  My favorite cut in France from guinea fowl is the pintade supreme, a thick slice from the breast which includes the wing portion.  But who’s complaining?  This whole 2 lb pintade was perfect for my ragout.  Though a little small, it was tender and had a normal texture.

Here in Honesdale we either have portobello mushrooms or baby portobello mushrooms.  I’ll have to wait for autumn in France for mushroom variety and flavor.  If you live near or in a city, try a mixture of different variety mushrooms.

I got a crispy exterior when browning the guinea fowl by using 2 Tbsp of the fat from the fried pancetta batons.

This simple recipe provides a light, flavorful sauce that was a perfect accompaniment for the pasta.

Guinea Fowl and Mushroom Ragout

3/4 cup pancetta batons

2-2 1/2 guinea fowl, cut into serving pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper

4 shallots, thinly sliced vertically

1 tbsp flour

2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, cut into halves

3 ounces cognac

3 ounces white wine

10 ounces chicken broth

1 lb fresh pasta, cooked

Parsley, chopped

In a large skillet, brown the pancetta, remove and drain on a paper towel,  reserving 2 tbsp of the fat from the pancetta in the skillet.  Brown the guinea fowl parts in the reserved fat, remove and set aside.  Add the shallots to the skillet and cook until wilted.  Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes.

Pour in the cognac and wine, boiling for about 1 minute.   Return the pancetta and the guinea fowl to the skillet along with the chicken broth.  Stir and bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes.

Serve the ragout over the cooked pasta and sprinkle with parsley.

 

 

 

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Country Style Oven Roasted Chicken

Can you believe that the fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs are from my garden, having survived  -5 F and below temperatures!?  My sage doesn’t look that bad either 🙂

I try to find the smallest, local, non-Perdue and Tyson (they are usually “ganormous”) chickens to cook.  This one is a 3 1/2 lb kosher chicken from the Jewish Temple in Scranton.  Tastes like chicken used to and the meat doesn’t have that spongy, dense texture of most chickens in the U.S.

Except for the “ouchy” on the right knee, this chicken was perfectly browned.  I think that it helped that I rubbed olive oil into the skin before browning.

I used to have my mother’s black skillet, large and deep, but it went missing during our move from Rwanda to Senegal.  I suspect…..everyone 😀  I found this skillet in the back of a used item shop, covered in rust, to discourage the uninformed.  After cleaning and re-seasoning, it was just as good as my mother’s skillet, just not as big.

This is my husbands kind of meal.  Along with the carrots, onions, garlic and celery, I heated up some leftover fried potatoes and he was in heaven 🙂  Bob Lynch would like this too.

Country Style Oven Roasted Chicken

1  3 1/2 Lb whole chicken, spatchcocked

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1 large onion, cut into eighths

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 celery branches, quartered

1 cup beer

1 1/2 cup chicken broth

4-5 carrots, quartered

2 sprigs rosemary

2 sprigs thyme

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then rub all over with olive oil.  Brown in a skillet in 3 tbsp of olive oil, front and back.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Add the onion, garlic and celery to the skillet and saute until brown.  Add the beer and cook, stirring for about 4 minutes, reducing the beer.  Stir in the chicken broth, carrots, rosemary and thyme Bring to a boil, then return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up and place in the preheated oven for 50 minutes.

Remove the chicken and vegetables to a large platter.  Boil the liquid in the skillet, stirring until the sauce has thickened.

 

 

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