Monday, November 29, 2021

Cooking is Fun and Easy--Red Chile Posole (Posole Rojo)

Red Chile Posole (Posole Rojo)

This is a traditional New Mexican dish in the winter, and especially at Christmastime.  Red chile powder, sauce, and hominy are all available on Amazon (see links below) for those in other parts of the country.  Mexican oregano is a must, the flavor is different from the Mediterranean version. 

Chile season is from late July through October, I highly recommend buying direct from Young Guns Produce early in the season and freezing.  It is by far the best "shelf-stable" chile I've found and comes in every level of hotness you could want.  Once the quart is opened, you've got about a week, and then it must be frozen or used.  I freeze in 4 oz containers, to use throughout the year.  There are other places to obtain New Mexican chile products, for example, Chile Monster.  There really is NO substitute for New Mexico chile--it is distinctive!!

Lastly, if you can't use an entire pork shoulder, it's perfectly acceptable to use a pork loin or tenderloin.

1-1/2 lbs pork shoulder browned in oil with salt, pepper, an 2 tsp medium hot Bueno Premium Chimayo-Inspired red chile powder
2 cups Young Gun Produce Mild red chile sauce
3 cups chicken stock
1 medium to large onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced or put through a microplane
2 - 15 oz cans Bush's white hominy, drained and rinsed well
1 and 1/2 tbsp Mexican oregano
1 tbsp Cumin
Salt to taste
2 tbsp cooking oil, divided
Dutch oven

For this recipe, I used leftover Thanksgiving roasted pork shoulder, cut into cubes, and quickly browned in 1 tbsp oil for about 3 minutes, in a Dutch oven with 2 tsp medium hot Bueno brand premium “Chimayo-inspired” red chile (Chimayo red chile is a traditional land-race chile from Chimayo, New Mexico and is preferable for its deep, smokey flavor, however, is impossible to find this time of year as the supply is limited, and I had none put by), salt and pepper, then set aside.  If you are using uncooked pork shoulder, brown for closer to 8 to 10 minutes in batches with the same salt, pepper, red chile powder.

Next, over medium-high heat add 1 tbsp cooking oil to your dutch oven, sauté diced onion until golden and translucent, add garlic, Mexican oregano, and cumin, sauté a few minutes more, do not brown.  Add 3 cups chicken broth, and 2 cups red chile sauce (I used Young Guns Produce Mild red chile).  Rinse and drain two 15 oz cans of white hominy well (I used Bush’s) and add to mixture.  Bring up to boil, decrease to low and cover, simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add pork, simmer another 15 minutes, salt to taste.  If you are using fresh pork (not pre-cooked like mine), simmer on low for closer to 45 minutes to an hour, until the pork breaks apart with a fork.  

Makes 4-6 servings.

This is great as is, but traditionally, this is served with finely shredded cabbage, thinly sliced radish, avocado slices, cilantro, lime wedges and sour cream as condiments on the side, as well as warm flour tortillas.  This is a fun meal for a crowd, place your Dutch oven full of lovely posole in the middle of the table, surround with the various condiments and warmed tortillas, and enjoy!

Buen Provecho!


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday Stealing -- Conversations


Join up here.

1. What is the craziest, most outrageous thing you want to achieve?

Retirement.  Retirement would be good.  Comfortable retirement would be even better.

2. Have your parents influenced what goals you have?

Definitely.  They had a work ethic that would not quit, and my brother and I both are pretty much the same way.  Work hard.  Make money.  Spend money.  Save some money.  That was pretty much it.  My brother has been better at the saving, and is planning to retire at 65.  His job as a maintenance engineer and set-up man in a medical supplies factory is very physical and his body is really taking a beating.  I’m planning on working until 70, and then maybe doing some part-time work after.  I read medical charts and type report (I’m an RN charge integrity auditor for a hospital system) for a living, so not so physical.  I’d like to save quite a bit more.  We’ll see.

3. What is a fashion trend you’re glad went away.

I’ve not been very much about the trends, I always wear what is comfortable and what I like.  I’m glad the trend of plus-size women should wear ugly, poorly-made clothing is gone.  I like being able to get pretty, nicely-made things at some of my favorite places.  Wasn’t always that way.

4. What word or saying from the past do you think should come back?

It’s the bee’s knees!

5. What do you bring with you everywhere you go?

My wallet and my phone.

6. Is there such a thing as a soul?

I think so. 

7. Is there life after death?

I won’t know until I get there.  I’m on the fence about this one. 

8. Do you think there will ever be a third world war?

I sure hope not. 

9. What smell brings back great memories?

Leaves in the autumn, gardenias and honeysuckle at night, the ocean.  Bread baking.

10. How would you like to be remembered?

As a good person who worked hard and did her best.

11. What kind of music are you into?

Bluegrass, Appalachian folk, Blues, Traditional American Roots music, Classic Rock.

12. What is the biggest surprise of your life?

It was a pretty big surprise when Mom told me that she wanted to move to New Mexico.  We had talked about it, and I made the offer after Dad died, but I knew that she didn’t want to make any big decisions for at least a year.  It was the pandemic, and her isolation, that made her decide.  I was surprised, and happy.  A year later, I’m really glad she’s here.  Really glad.

13. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Dang, just ONE thing?  I could pretty much live on BLTs.

14. Where is the most awe-inspiring place you have been?

Well, this isn’t just a little bit hard.  I’d have to say Denali, in Alaska.  Talk about feeling small.

15. Describe your life in six words.

Frankly, I’m not particularly fond of this sort of exercise.  A life is too complicated for just six words.  I look forward to reading others, but I’m calling a time-out on this for me.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Saturday 9 -- Black Velvet

Join us here.  

Saturday 9: Black Velvet (1989)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song was chosen because yesterday was Black Friday, the traditional day of sales. Have you begun your Christmas shopping?

For the first time in forever, we are done.  Well, 99% done.  All I’ve got left is to buy gift cards for a few folks.  I’ve even got the presents that go under the tree WRAPPED.  I don’t know how that happened, lol, but I’m taking it.

2)  Was there an adult beverage served with your Thanksgiving feast?

Iced tea.  That’s as adult as it gets around here.

3) Did any pets enjoy scraps from your Thanksgiving table?

Nope, we are an anti-scraps household.  Ginger (RIP) used to get scraps back in the day, and it made her an inveterate beggar.  Thanks to the judicious use of pet gates, Maddie is not allowed in the kitchen/dining room/front door hall (she rushes the door, like Ginger used to).  She sleeps on the couch through dinner.  MUCH more relaxed.

4) Are there any Thanksgiving leftovers in your refrigerator right now?

Yes, plenty of pork, dressing, and gravy.  Cubanos are on the menu for dinner.  I also ran across an idea to stuff mushroom caps with leftover dressing and bake them.  Sounds good to me!

5) Football is a popular Thanksgiving weekend pastime. Will you be watching any games over the next few days? If yes, which team(s) are you rooting for?

We don’t watch sports.  We’ll probably be binging The Equalizer, Season 2.  We just picked up a free month on Paramount +.

6) This week's song is by Canadian Alannah Myles. She was born Alannah Byles (with a B), but changed her name to differentiate herself from her father. He was influential in Canadian broadcasting and she didn't want to be accused of riding his coattails. Have you ever received a professional leg up from a relative?

My Dad.  The summer between my junior and senior years, and the summer after I graduated, he got me a slot in a summer apprenticeship program that Newport News Shipbuilding had for children of employees.  Later, when I moved back to Virginia from Louisiana, I was able to go back to my old mentor and get a job as his assistant.  Some years later, my Dad also helped me get my first technical writing job during the construction of the Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant in Georgia after my first divorce.  Dad always knew a lot of people, was well-respected and liked, and pretty high up on the food chain.  I’m not adverse to taking help when it’s offered.

7) In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Instead of pumpkin pie, Canadians traditionally enjoy butter tarts for dessert. What dessert was on your Thanksgiving menu?

We ended up going with Flan.

8) "Black Velvet" is a tribute to Elvis. Songwriter Christopher Ward said he was inspired by a trip to Memphis, long after Elvis' death, where he spoke to The King's fans and was touched by how much they still loved their favorite singer. Who is your favorite singer?

I love Alison Krauss—such a pure voice.  This is one of my favorite tunes, with one of her favorite accompanists, the incomparable Jerry Douglas on dobro.  I've had the pleasure of seeing them both.  Her solo, him solo, and her with her band, Union Station, with Jerry sitting in.  Amazing.

9) Share a memory from Thanksgiving 2020.

My first Thanksgiving in years with Mom (we usually don’t travel during the holidays).  We had just gotten her moved out here, and she was still staying with us while her stuff was wending its way across the country from South Carolina.  We went every day to visit her apartment and her cat, Smokey.  We had a more traditional turkey dinner.  We were crazy tired from our cross-country trip and packing up the South Carolina house.  It was good to have her here.