Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Green Chile Stew

One of my favorite parts of mid September is that it’s Hatch chile season. That’s when the tasty, spicy, pungent green chiles flow from Hatch, New Mexico to a market near you. They are to green chiles what Dom Perigon is to Champagne. They make the best green chile sauce, green chile enchiladas, or as we’ll see here today, green chile stew.

You can buy the Hatch Chiles already roasted and peeled at places like Central Market or Whole Foods, but it’s a lot cheaper to buy the fresh and roast them yourself, and it’s a lot of fun too. Plus, the aroma alone of the roasting peppers that floods your back yard is worth the effort.

Green Chile Stew

8 New Mexican Green Chiles, roasted, peeled, stems and seeds removed, chopped
2 pounds lean pork, cut in to one inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into ½ inch cubes
2 cans beef broth
3 cans chicken broth
1 can water
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
Dash Mexican oregano

To roast the chiles:

Prepare a medium hot charcoal fire. Place the chiles on grate over fire, and allow the skin to blacken and blister.

Turn chiles so that all sides are exposed to the fire.  Remove from fire and place chiles in a freezer sized ziplock bag for 10-15 minutes.  This will allow them to sweat, and the skin will slip right off.
After 15 minutes in the bag, note how easily the skin peels off:

 Cut the stem end off the chile and squeeze out the seeds, then coarsely chop the chiles. 
Meanwhile, brown the pork in the oil, remove and drain.
Add the onion and garlic to the oil and saute until soft.

Next, place all the ingredients in a soup pot and simmer for two or more hours. Chop a little extra fresh cilantro to garnish the soup when you serve. Voila, Green Chile stew!

Note: In researching recipes for Green Chile Stew, I came across several that included tomatoes. I’ve tried it this way, and it does make a very flavorful stew, but I noted in my research that their use was controversial in some circles, and most New Mexican purists avoided tomatoes. Since I’m no stranger to ingredient controversies, i.e., beans/no beans in Texas chili (I’m firmly in the ‘no beans’ camp, but that’s for another article) I decided to leave out the tomatoes. Its keeps the stew greener anyway.

Viva los chiles,


Friday, September 10, 2010

Flat Iron Steak

Yes, I’ll freely admit it, I’m a carnivore. I love love love me a good steak: Tender, juicy and rare. But when I’m not chowing down on tenderloins or rib-eyes, I like to try some of the other cuts out there. This is one that’s been an up and comer in the beef world in the past ten years – the Flat Iron steak.

This is one of the newer cuts of steak ‘discovered’ in the past couple of decades. It comes from the chuck, or beef shoulder, which as a whole is tough and fatty and not what you’d call prime beef. But hidden in the chuck is this one little sliver of a muscle that is as full of beef flavor as a round steak, but tender as a filet. Except for a few savvy meat cutters, this steak went unnoticed for centuries, which is why is it sometimes referred to as the ‘butcher’s steak.’

Nowadays, however, it’s been rescued from the hamburger grinder and is available at most grocery stores and meat markets, and while the price is going up as it gains fame, it’s still somewhat affordable compared to the prime cuts.

The Flat Iron steak works great on the grill, and is flavorful enough to need no adornment, but I usually marinate with a little Allegro just to indulge myself.

After that, grill it like any other tender cut of meat. A hot charcoal fire, as hot as you can get it...to sear the outside...

...and leave the inside juicy and pink.

Slicing it thin, against the grain, will enhance the tenderness, and make a nice presentation. 

Ah, it’s like heaven on a plate. Here served with some roasted corn on the cob.

Until next time,

Grill ‘em if you got ‘em.