Pozole Rojo

Pozole rojo
Pozole rojo
Pozole Rojo (Mexican pork and hominy stew with red chiles)

Pozole Rojo is one of those dishes that conjers up fond memories for me.

Working my way up through the ranks in the restaurant industry I learned a lot about various cuisines and how to cook them authentically. I cooked under some of the best Chefs in the bay area.

But as much as I enjoyed learning from these Chefs I learned just as much from my fellow cooks.

One of the most memorable meals I learned to make was not on the menu of any of the places I worked.

It was a dish that was made for staff meal one day.

In professional kitchens in San Francisco, and in a large portion of America, the staff is mostly made up of Latinos. For me, the times I really got to see these guys shine and show off their cooking chops was not during service but during those staff meals.

You might find a few cooks huddled around a blender or crouched down in a corner with a pot of meat and a bag of tortillas. Smiles on their faces generating sounds of laughter.

It was when they were cooking, sharing and enjoying the foods they grew up on that I saw them the happiest.

I was lucky because I was a part of that crew in the corner, dishing up tacos at eleven at night, after a long service. A skinny young white girl and a handful of Latino line cooks. I talked to them in my best spanglish and they talked back in their best broken english. But when it came to the food, there was no translation needed.

They were proud of that food. And I felt fortunate to learn how to cook it from them, instead of from a cookbook.

That most memorable meal, for me, was the first time a cook from Mexico taught me how to make pozole. Pozole is a stew made with slow cooked meat (usually chicken or pork), chiles and hominy.

He taught me how to make pozole rojo (red) and although there are 3 types of pozole – red, green and white, I always make red to this day.

It was a big deal the day we decided to make pozole. The anticipation in the kitchen was so strong, cooks could hardly focus on setting up their stations.

We came into work early, cut up large chunks of pork from every area of the pig, even from the head (which is the best part for this stew). We soaked dried chiles and blended them with whole cloves of garlic and their soaking liquid and then braised the pork in that liquid.

The pork simmered all day long until the meat fell from the bones and the fat and cartilage became one with the broth.

We added cooked hominy to the stew and prepared a large tray of chopped fresh vegetables which would be used later for garnish.

All lined up with soup bowls, we took turns filling them with the hot pork and hominy stew. They were all eager to show me how to sprinkle dried oregano, chopped onion, cabbage and radish on top of my portion along with a handful of tortilla chips for dipping.

I had never experienced Mexican Food like this before. The flavors were deep and rich and the broth was so fortified with gelatin from the pork that it stuck to my lips. It was pure bliss.

What made it even more special was that, for once, there were no conflicts, complaints or negative attitudes for an entire shift. Virtually unheard of in a restaurant kitchen. It wasn’t staff meal that day, it was family meal.

I later found out that pozole is a celebratory dish. Looking back now, it explains all the excitement that it stirred up that day. This was a special occasion meal.

I’ll never forget how that dish brought us all together.

It is hands down my favorite Mexican dish to this day.

Pozole rojo
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Pozole Rojo

These days I often make this dish in a crock pot. Since it takes all day to cook, a crock pot makes it more accessible when you have to work during the day. I use pork shoulder in this recipe but you can also use ribs, trotters or any part of the head if you are lucky enough to have access to that.
Cuisine Dairy free, Gluten free
Servings 3 Quarts

Ingredients

Pozole

  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/2 ounce Dried Guajillo Chiles (about 2 each), de-seeded, stems removed
  • 1 ounce Dried Ancho Chiles (about 2 each), de-seeded, stems removed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 pounds Pork shoulder cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 each Yellow onion large dice
  • 1 quart Chicken stock
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin ground
  • TT Salt & Pepper
  • 1 (25 oz.) can Hominy (drained and rinsed)

Garnishes

  • 1/2 head Green Cabbage shredded
  • 1 bunch Radishes sliced
  • 2 each Avocados sliced
  • 2 each Limes cut into wedges
  • 1/2 each Yellow onion diced
  • 1 bunch Cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bag Tortilla Chips

Instructions

  1. Bring the 2 cups water to a boil. Place the chiles and garlic in a bowl, pour the boiling water over them, cover the bowl and let it sit 20 minutes.
  2. While the chiles are softening place the pork shoulder, yellow onion, chicken stock, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper in a crock pot and turn it on low.
  3. Place the soaked chiles, garlic and water in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into the crock pot, give it a stir, cover and let cook 8 hours.
  4. Add the hominy to the crock pot and let cook 15 minutes more.
  5. Taste the stew to check for seasonings. Ladle it into bowls and top with garnishes to serve.

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Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

Thai Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash soup

Winter is the time of year when you want to curl up with hot soups and stews for dinner.

Butternut squash soup is classic but can sometimes be overdone here in San Francisco. This recipe takes a riff on this already delicious soup and kicks it up a little.

Butternut squash soup
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Thai Butternut Squash Soup

Sweet, sour, creamy and a little spicy. This ain't your regular old b-nut squash soup. Use organic ingredients whenever available. Recipe by Spencer O'Meara
Cuisine Dairy free, Gluten free
Servings 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Avocado oil
  • 1/2 each Yellow onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp Ginger minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Coriander ground
  • 5 cups Butternut squash large dice
  • 1 can (13.6 fl.oz) Coconut milk unsweetened
  • 2 cups Chicken stock unsalted
  • 1 each Fresh Kafir lime leaf
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce
  • 1 each Lime juiced
  • TT Sea salt and pepper

Garnish

  • 4 tbsp Roasted cashews chopped
  • 1 each Red fresno chile sliced thin
  • 2 sprigs Mint chopped
  • 10 sprigs Cilantro chopped
  • 4 leaves Basil chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large pot cook the onion in avocado oil with a pinch of salt over medium heat until soft, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger and coriander, cook one more minute.
  3. Add the squash, coconut milk, stock and kafir lime leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until squash is tender.
  4. Remove the kafir lime leaf and discard. Pour the soup into a blender, add the fish sauce and lime juice and blend on high until smooth. ***Place a towel over the top of the blender lid and secure with your hand when blending to ensure that hot liquid does not escape.
  5. Pour the soup into serving bowls and garnish with the cashews, herbs and chiles.

Recipe Notes

Need Avocado oil? - Buy "La Tourangelle, Avocado Oil"
Need Kafir lime leaf? -Buy a "Fresh ORGANIC Kaffir Lime Leaves"

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

Spring Cleanse Bone Broth

Bone broth

Spring is the best time of the year to do a cleanse and move stagnant winter energy out of your body. It’s a time to push out toxins and built up congestion and start fresh.

Drinking a cup of bone broth every day during or after a cleanse acts as a supplement to help maintain good health, keep us strong and heal the gut.

As an added bonus for the liver I have added some herbs to this broth that aid in detoxification – milk thistle and Astragalus (a chinese herb often referred to as huang qi).

Source your veal bones from a reputable butcher. Try to find organic, hormone and antibiotic free bones.

Health bennies:

  • Veal knuckle and femur bones – High in collagen and cartilage (more so than beef bones) which help rejuvenate skin, hair, nails, cells and tissue. Heals the intestinal lining by feeding the gut cells. Helps balance the immune system. Replenishes important vitamins and minerals, Contains all 9 essential amino acids needed for optimal health. Helps liver detox heavy metals. Strengthens bones and improves joint health.
  • Milk Thistle – Often used in Chinese medicine to detox the liver.
  • Astragalus – Known in Chinese medicine to be a Qi (chi) mover which helps move stagnant energy out and promote new tissue growth.
  • Garlic & Ginger – Good for your immune and digestive systems, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory.
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Spring Cleanse Bone Broth

Servings 1 Gallon

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Veal knuckle bones
  • 3 pounds Veal femur bones with marrow
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Black peppercorns crushed
  • 1/2 cup Apple cider vinegar distilled, white or red can also be used
  • 6 quarts Water filtered
  • 2 Yellow onion large dice
  • 2 Carrots large dice
  • 4 ribs Celery large die
  • 1 bunch Thyme
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup Milk Thistle Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Astragula Huang qi
  • 1/2 bunch Parsley
  • 3 inch piece Ginger peeled and sliced
  • 6 cloves Garlic smashed

Instructions

  1. Place the first 6 ingredients into either 1 very large stockpot or 2, 1-gal pots divided equally. Let sit at room temp for 1 hour so that the vinegar and sea salt can draw the minerals out of the bones.
  2. Bring the pot (or pots) up to  barely a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to a simmer.  Skim off impurities, cover partially and simmer on low for 2 days. Add more water as often as needed in order to keep the bones covered, always returning the broth to a simmer.
  3. On the 3rd day add the next 10 ingredients and continue to simmer another 6 hours, adding more water if necessary to keep everything covered.

    Broth
  4. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve. Keep any collagen, marrow or meat that falls off the bones, chop them finely and add them to the strained stock.
  5. Divide the broth into 8 – 1 pint mason jars with lids. Freeze what ever you are not going to drink within one week.

Recipe Notes

Need Milk Thistle Seeds? Try this!
Need Astragula (Huang qi)? Try this!

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

Chicken Stock

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Ok I’m going to get snarky for a minute here but all in good fun. Bone broth is a marketing term used to charge more money for one of the cheapest products there is to make, which for centuries has simply been called stock. They are the same thing. I know, mind blown right? (insert eye roll here).

So now that we have that out of the way lets talk about the importance of stock. Good stocks are the backbones of all professional kitchens. You can tell a poser from real chef  on whether or not they have boxes of stock or bouillon cubes in their dry storage. Stocks are the foundation for soups, sauces, stews, braises, cooked grains and is often used to re-heat vegetables.

There are great health benefits of course, which are listed below, but one of the most obvious reasons to me to make your own stock is that its stupid easy. Make a huge pot of it, ladle it into containers, freeze it and use as needed. And in a pinch yes of course you can use the boxed stuff. But only you home cooks!

Heath bennies:

  • Easy to digest, body can absorb it with not much effort.
  • Warm stocks/broths/soups/drinks increase blood circulation.
  •  High in protein.
  • High in gelatin which is great for your skin and digestive system and also allows the body to assimilate complete proteins.

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Chicken Stock

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
Servings 2 quarts

Ingredients

  • 1 large Yellow onion large chunks
  • 3 Carrots large chunks
  • 3 Celery stalks large chunks
  • 1/4 bunch Parsley
  • 4 cloves Garlic smashed
  • 1 pinch Black peppercorns
  • 3 quarts Water
  • 1 Roasted Chicken Carcass leave on any skin or meat still attached

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook partially covered for 2 hours.
  3. Turn off heat, let sit 30 minutes.
  4. Strain the stock through a mesh sieve.
  5. Let cool to room temp, ladle into containers and refrigerate uncovered overnight.
  6. The next morning a layer of congealed fat will appear on top of each container of stock, simply peel it off and discard, cover with a lid and either use within a week or freeze.

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

White bean and wild rice soup

white bean and rice soup

white bean and rice soup

Fall is here which means it’s time to start making soup again. Being on the cusp of summer/fall as we do here in the bay area in October I have also added some zucchini and yellow squash to this recipe. This is just a strait up satisfyingly good hearty soup. Great for cold nights or if your in San Francisco the best weather of the year….

 

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White bean and wild rice soup

**Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
Servings 3 quart

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Avocado oil (or other good cooking oil)
  • 1 small Yellow onion diced
  • 2 ribs Celery diced
  • 1 large Carrot diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1/4 bunch Thyme chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato paste
  • 2 quarts Chicken stock
  • 1 cup White beans soaked in water 4-6 hours & drained
  • 1/2 cup Wild rice
  • 1 each Zucchini diced
  • 1 each Yellow squash diced
  • 1/2 bunch Chard diced
  • 1/4 bunch Parsley chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano chopped
  • TT chile flakes
  • TT S&P
  • 1/2 each Lemon

Instructions

  1. In a large heavy pot sweat the onion, celery and carrot with avocado oil on medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic, thyme, tomato paste and a pinch of black pepper and sauté another few minutes.
  3. Add the beans, rice and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat, cover and cook about 2 hours.
  4. Add the squashes and chard, increase the heat to medium, cover the pot and cook another 20 minutes or so until the squash is tender.
  5. Turn off the heat add the parsley, oregano and juice from 1/2 a lemon. Season the soup to taste with salt, pepper and chile flakes.

Recipe Notes

Need Avocado oil? Try this!

 

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

Miso hungry

miso soup

miso soup

Miso soup is one of the most comforting things I can think of to eat. Warm, satisfying, umami and has an alkalizing effect on the body (AKA great for your immune system!). It’s like bundling up in a warm blanket on a cold day. I keep a tub of miso (stuff stays fresh forever in the fridge), some dried kombu & wakame and a box of chicken stock on hand all of the time so I can throw it together whenever I want. I like to make mine with shiitake mushrooms and if I’m really hungry a handful of udon noodles. This recipe makes a great soup base for ramen too.

Health bennies:

Miso – This fermented mixture (made from soybeans or grains) is high in probiotics, which aids digestion. It also contains several B-complex vitamins and minerals. It is important not to subject miso to high heat, which will kill all of the beneficial bacteria it provides.

Seaweed – Contains vitamin A, C, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, great source of iodine (important for maintaining a healthy thyroid) and is high in antioxidants

 

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Shiitake mushroom miso soup

**Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 qt. Chicken Stock or vegetable stock or water
  • 1 sheet Kombu
  • 3 cups Shiitake mushrooms stems and caps separated, caps sliced
  • 1 in. piece Ginger smashed
  • 1 clove Garlic smashed
  • TT S&P
  • 1 each Scallion sliced
  • 1/4 cup Wakame
  • 1/2 each Lime juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon Organic non-GMO white Miso

Instructions

  1. Bring the chicken stock, kombu, shiitake mushroom stems, ginger & garlic to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and strain.
  2. Place the strained broth back in a pot on the stove and add the sliced shiitake caps. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook another 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the miso (make sure to fully incorporate it in the broth).
  4. Stir in the wakame, scallion and lime juice. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Need Kombu? Try this!
Need Wakame? Try this!
Need Organic, non-GMO white Miso? Try this!

 

For a heartier soup add cooked udon noodles!

miso soup with udon

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

Miso Ramen with Pork, Soft-Cooked Egg and Kimchee

miso ramen

miso ramen

Ramen has been one of my favorite comfort foods since I was a kid. I practically lived off the 45 cent packs of supermarket ramen when I moved out and went to college. These days authentic ramen shops are everywhere to be found and deliver edible works of art. I like to max out the health benefits in my ramen when I make it at home. As you can see here I use a miso-kombu broth and add my home-made kimchee making this dish a digestion powerhouse.

Health bennies:

Kombu – Detoxifying, good source of trace minerals, helps with digestion, improves blood circulation, balances alkaline and acids in the body.

Miso – due to the fermentation process it enhances your body’s ability to extract nutrients from food and increases probiotics which improves the  digestive system and strengthens the immune system. Contains vitamins B2, E and K. Contains calcium, iron, potassium, choline and lecithin. High fiber and complete protein, high in polyunsaturated fats, high in antioxidants. Add it to your foods at the very end so you don’t cook out the probiotics.

Bonito Flakes – Made from skipjack tuna which has been dried, fermented and smoked has all of the benefits that miso has. High in probiotics, vitamins, minerals and protein.

Kimchee – Because of the fermentation process kimchee also has many of the same benefits that miso does, like containing probiotics and strengthening the immune system. High in vitamins A, B and C, fiber, antioxidants and essential amino acids. Low calorie.

 

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Miso ramen with pork, soft-cooked egg and kimchee

*Please note this recipe is a 2-3 day process.
Servings 4

Ingredients

Broth:

  • 2 quarts Water
  • Pork bones whatever you can get from your butcher or use a couple pork ribs
  • 1 each Yellow onion large dice
  • 1 in. piece Ginger smashed
  • 4 cloves Garlic smashed
  • Shiitake stems leftover
  • 2 sheets Kombu
  • 1 cup Bonito flakes
  • 3 Tablespoons organic Miso Paste white

Garnishes:

  • 1 lb piece of Boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 14 each Shiitake mushrooms sliced thin
  • 2 each Scallions sliced thin
  • 3 each Radishes sliced thin
  • 1 package Mung bean sprouts
  • 9.5 oz.  Ramen noodles
  • As needed Chili oil
  • As needed Shichimi togarashi
  • 1 cup Kimchee home-made or store bought (make sure it doesn't contain preservatives)

Instructions

Day 1 -

For the broth:

  1. - Place the water, pork bones, yellow onion, ginger, garlic, shiitake stems  and kombu in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 1 hour.
  2. - Add the bonito flakes and simmer another 5 minutes.
  3. - Turn off heat and whisk in the miso paste until fully incorporated. Strain, cool and refrigerate until the next day.

For the pork:

  1. - Season pork both sides with salt and pepper, roll up tightly into a log and secure with butchers twine so that you have a cylinder. Refrigerate over night. (If the pork shoulder is too thick to roll, butterfly it open with a knife so that you have a longer thinner piece of meat to work with.

Day 2 -

For the pork:

  1. - Sear the pork in a hot pan with canola oil until brown on all sides. Place in a crock pot with the broth and cook on low for 6 hours. (If you do not have a crock pot you can do this stove top in a covered pot over low heat.) You want the pork to be tender but not falling apart.
  2. - Remove pork from the broth and cool. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, making a couple of punctures in the plastic to let any residual heat out and chill until you are ready to use it. (This can be done overnight if you wish.)

For the eggs:

  1. - Place the eggs in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat and cover for 3 minutes. Remove eggs from the water and let cool enough to handle.  Remove the shell and slice the eggs in half lengthwise.

Recipe Notes

Need Kombu? Try this!
Need Bonito flakes? Try this!
Need Miso Paste, white? Try this!
Need Ramen noodles? Try this!
Need Shichimi togarashi? Try this!
Need store bought?  Try this!

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.