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.

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.
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Print Recipe
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.
Pozole rojo
Servings
Quarts
Ingredients
Pozole
Garnishes
Servings
Quarts
Ingredients
Pozole
Garnishes
Pozole rojo
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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Simple Oven Roasted Chicken

 

One of the most satisfying and simplest things to cook, hands down, is an oven roasted chicken.

It doesn’t make a big mess, all you need is one pan, some seasoning and maybe a lemon or some fresh herbs, and even those are optional.

What I also love about a simple roasted chicken is how impressive it looks when you present it right out of the oven. People will think you are an amazing cook, when all you really did was make sure you didn’t burn the damn thing.

If you are thinking you can never do this, believe me you can. The recipe below is the most basic version of an oven roasted chicken that I can offer you. Feel free to embellish it.

My intention with this recipe is to present you with something you can make any night of the week and have it be your easy “go to”.

But I don’t know how to carve a chicken you say? So what? Fake it. And don’t forget to save the bones to make a nourishing chicken stock with afterward.

I highly recommend making your life easier by buying a basic meat thermometer. It takes all of the guess work out of knowing whether your bird is cooked through or not. And they’re like five bucks so you really don’t have any excuse.

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.
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Print Recipe
Simple Oven Roasted Chicken
This recipe is so easy anyone can do it. I use salt and pepper here but, if you have a favorite spice blend, you can use that instead. Bust out a bunch of condiments and play around with whatever tastes good to you on your chicken. Or you can be a purest like me and just squeeze a little fresh lemon over the top.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Optional
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Optional
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven 425 degrees.
  2. While your oven is pre-heating. Place your whole chicken on a rack sitting on top of a sheet pan. Pat it dry all over with paper towels.
  3. Season the chicken evenly on both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Let sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  5. Place the chicken (still on the rack and pan combo) in the oven and roast about 1 hour, 15 minutes to 1 hour, 30 minutes. Check on it after an hour to make sure the skin is not starting to get too dark. If it is, place a piece of foil loosely on top of the chicken and continue to cook covered.
  6. When the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees take it out of the oven and let it rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
  7. Cut off chunks to serve and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top if desired.
  8. Optionally, you can get all fancy and carve your chicken. Watch the video below if you would like instructions on how to do so.
Recipe Notes

Watch the infamous Jacques Pepin carve an oven roasted chicken here. You won't believe how easy it is!

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Pot roast with root vegetables

pot roast

Pot roast is more of a braise then a roast but rather than split hairs here lets focus on how incredibly delicious and rewarding this dish can be. Most braises will take you all day, and you could go that route with this recipe too if you wanted to, but for today lets go with a 3 hour braise. Long enough to break down the meat’s connective tissue and tendons creating that gelatinous silky mouthfeel but short enough where you could still knock out dinner in an evening.

Health bennies – Good for your soul.

Pot roast with root vegetables

**Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Yield – 4 servings

2 lbs Beef chuck, boneless, cut into 2 in. by 2 in. pieces

2 Tablespoons Grapeseed oil (or other high heat oil)

S&P

6 Shallots, whole, peeled

2 ribs Celery, large dice

1/2 bulb Fennel, large dice (save fennel fronds for garnish)

3 cloves Garlic, smashed

1/2 bunch Thyme, leaves only

1 Tablespoon Tomato paste

1/2 cup Red wine

1 quart Beef Stock

1 cup Tomato puree

3 Turnips, peeled, cut into wedges

1 bunch Baby Carrots, greens removed

1/4 bunch Parsley, chopped

1 bunch Chard (optional side dish)

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven 350 degrees.
  • Season the beef with S&P on all sides. Heat a heavy bottom pot (dutch oven preferably) on high heat with the grapeseed oil.pot roast prep
  • Sear the beef on all sides in 2 batches. Takes about 10 minutes total.
  • Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.seared beef chuck
  • Lower the heat to medium, add more grapeseed oil if needed and add the shallot, celery and fennel to the pot. Saute for 1 minute. Add the garlic, thyme and tomato paste and sauté 1 more minute.sautéed veg
  • Deglaze with red wine, stirring with a wooden spoon to release any bits and pieces stuck to the bottom of the pot. Reduce the wine on high heat until almost gone.
  • Add the beef back into the pot with the stock and tomato puree. Bring to a simmer, cover and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.
  • Add the baby carrots and the turnips to the pot, recover, place back in the oven and cook 30 minutes more until tender.
  • Remove the pot from the oven, remove the lid and let the meat rest in the sauce for 15 minutes. Add the chopped parsley and any chopped fennel fronds you have on hand. Give it a stir and serve. Serve with sautéed chard on the side if desired.
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.
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Mexican style steak salad

mexican steak salad

Hola! This is one of my favorite salads to make for dinner on a warm night. All you have to do is grill or sear up a steak, wack up some veggies and toss it all together and you have a quick, delicious and healthy meal. Muy rica! I like mine a little spicy so I add thinly sliced jalapeños, you can omit those if you don’t want the heat. I also usually cook up some dried beans for this too but if you don’t have the time canned beans work perfect. Just make sure you rinse them well first.

Mexican style steak salad

**Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Yield – 2 entree salads

1 each 12 oz. Grassfed Ribeye steak, seasoned with S&P, dried oregano & granulated garlic

1 Tablespoon Grapeseed oil (or other high heat oil)

1 large handful of Romaine lettuce, chopped

1 large handful of Green cabbage, sliced thin

1 each Scallion, sliced thin

2 each Radishes, sliced thin

6 Black Cerignola olives (or any other type of black olive you can find)

4 Tablespoons Queso Fresco, crumbled (Feta works really well here too)

1/2 each Jalapeño, sliced thin

1/2 cup Canned Black beans, rinsed (or 1/4 cup dried beans, soaked overnight and then simmered about an hour until tender)

1 large handful Cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 bunch Cilantro, chopped

1 each Avocado, sliced

1 each Lime, juiced

a good drizzle of EVOO

TT S&P

TT Granulated garlic & dried oregano

Directions:

– Get a grill or saute pan hot over high heat and add about a tablespoon of grapeseed oil.

– Sear the steak 2-3 minutes on each side (turn heat down to med-high if pan starts to get to hot and steak starts to burn) until medium-rare.

– Remove steak from the pan and let rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes.

– Toss the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl and then separate the salad on to two plates.

– Thinly slice the steak and put half on each salad.

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.
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Miso Ramen with Pork, Soft-Cooked Egg and Kimchee

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.

Miso ramen with pork, soft-cooked egg and kimchee

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

yeilds: 4 servings

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)

Directions:

Day 1 – 

For the broth:

– 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.

– Add the bonito flakes and simmer another 5 minutes.

– Turn off heat and whisk in the miso paste until fully incorporated. Strain, cool and refrigerate until the next day.

For the pork:

– 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:

– 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.

– 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:

– 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.

To Serve:

– Take the pork out of the refrigerator, remove the twine and slice while still cold. Let sit at room temp while preparing the rest of the meal.

– Heat the broth and shiitakes together until the shiitakes are tender in one pot while cooking the ramen in a separate pot for about 4 minutes.

– Strain the ramen and divide the noodles evenly into 4 bowls.

– Place 2-3 slices of pork in each bowl off to the side of the noodles. Pour the hot broth with shiitakes over the pork in each bowl to warm the meat.

– Garnish each bowl with a half an egg, a pinch of scallion, radish and mung bean sprouts. Drizzle chili oil over the top and serve the shichimi togarashi and kimchee on the side for guests to add as needed.

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.
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