Find Deliciousness

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chicken Stew with Bombadil

Bombadil was back in town, along with some other friends, so I made some stew for everyone.  It turned out pretty decent, but the Bombadil show definitely stole the night.  

  • Ground Chicken
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Black Beans
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Chicken Stock
  • Apple Cider
  • Cane Sugar
  • Celery Salt
  • Garlic Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • White Pepper
  • Red Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Cloves

    To make this, I used the basic procedure for any stew: throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and hope for the best.  I browned the chicken with the onions and celery in a separate pan, and roasted a red pepper on a burner, but other than that, everything just went in the pot and simmered for about an hour and a half.

Resulting Deliciousness:
    I give this about a B-.  It was definitely tasty, and healthy, and the flavors were decently layered and went together well.  However, I was a little disappointed with the combination of textures.  It would have been better to cut the potatoes and cauliflower smaller.  If I was less lazy, it would have been really good to steam the cauliflower separately, put it in a blender with some butter or olive oil, then add it to the stew.  That would have smoothed things out and thickened the broth nicely.  Also, I burnt it a little.  I noticed quick and didn't stir up the burnt stuff on the bottom, so it wasn't ruined and most people couldn't tell.  All in all, it was good, and gave me some good ideas, but fell a little short of the bar I set for myself.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chorizo Stew and Cornmeal Crunch


  • Forest Fed pork chorizo (
  • Turkey stock
  • Tomatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Celery
  • Black Eyed Peas
  • Hominy
  • Carrots
  • Blackberries
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Cilantro
  • Apple Cider
  • Garlic salt
  • Celery salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cane sugar
  • Honey

    The cornmeal crunch is a recipe I got from another cooking blog, that I thought would go well with this stew.  The stew started with some cider and frozen turkey stock that I made a while back.  To that I added the quinoa, black eyed peas, tomatoes, blackberries, and all of the seasonings.  That simmered while I worked on the cornmeal crunch and preparing the chorizo.  The chorizo was coming out of its casings, so I just ditched the casings and browned the sausage with some celery and added that to the stew.  When the cornmeal was about half an hour from being done, I added the hominy.  Total, the stew simmered for about an hour.  Near the end, I picked out the rosemary, sage, and cilantro stalks, and skimmed off the fat that had risen to the top.

Resulting Deliciousness
    This stew was great.  The cornmeal crunch was much more flavorful that I thought it would be, and it complimented the stew perfectly.  The stew has a variety of textures and the flavors blended perfectly.  It is a nicely balanced, filling dish.  My only regret is the blackberries.  They simmered long enough to fall apart and become part of the blend, so you can't really taste them on their own, and their seeds are a distracting texture.  But, overall, a fantastic dinner!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chicken, The Phantom Menace

*This is a family favorite created by my dad.  He did all of the cooking and writing, and gets all the credit.*

This dish was named in honor of the Star Wars movie which came out about the same time I started making it. It is anything but a menace. Quite the opposite, it is a great comfort food and as you will see from the ingredients, also healthy.

There a lot of steps to making this dish. I have from time to time tried to cut corners and combine steps, but I was never quite as happy with the results as when I follow the steps outlined below.

Step 1- Precook a small bag of black eyed peas- about 2-3 cups dried. I like to add a little salt and bullion to the water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes. I usually get this going so it can be cooking while I go through the other steps. This is actually one thing you can short cut on by buying canned black eyed peas, but it is really easy and inexpensive to go with the dried peas. This will make an excess quantity, so I freeze some for other dishes.

Step 2 – Toast about a quarter to a third of a cup of all purpose GF four in a large sauce pan. With the heat on medium high to high stir the flour continuously in the pan. This takes 5-10 minutes and can produce a lot of smoke as the flour browns. (You may have issues with smoke detectors. Be prepared to ventilate.) Stir briskly or it will burn and you’ll have to start over. Shoot for a nice dark brown like a good piece of toast.

Put this aside and rinse out the pan. You’re going to need it.

Step 3 – Collect and mix spices. This is about what I use:

1 tsp dried mustard

1 tsp coarse salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

¼ tsp cayenne pepper ( more if you like hot stuff)

¼ tsp white pepper

1 tsp paprika

I feel like the white pepper is especially important for how it feels in the back of your mouth, but don’t over do it because it will give the dish a harsh taste.

Spice Mixture

Step 4 – Precook Chicken - I like to cut up chicken breasts into small pieces, maybe about an inch or so. I have also done this dish with chicken thighs, which worked very well too. Sprinkle about a quarter of the spice mixture on the cut up chicken and fry in some a few table spoons of peanut or olive oil. The idea is to just brown the outside a little, it will have time to cook through later. Set the chicken aside and wipe the pan out, at least so there are no small pieces of chicken left.

Chicken Pieces frying in the pan

Step 5 – Dice up vegetables – I like to use one Vidalia onion, 3-4 celery stalks and a bell pepper, green or red. Cut these up and put most of the remaining spice mixture on them.

Have about three cups of chicken stock or three cups of warm water with a couple of bullion cubes dissolved in it on hand. Also, have about a cup of white grape juice or white wine handy.

Brown these in the pan on high heat, stirring the while. A brown residue will build up on the bottom which you should scrape to prevent it from burning. From time to time deglaze the pan, first with white grape juice, then with some chicken stock when the residue builds up again. The vegetables should be well cooked and brown.

When you are satisfied that they are done add the remainder of the stock and a little more wine or grape juice.

Add in the other things you precooked, the chicken, the flour and one to two cups of the black eyed peas. I also like to put in carrots at this point. You can slice up a couple of large ones or throw in a bag of those baby ones. Add the rest of the spice mixture too.

If you used white wine instead of white grape juice add 1-2 tablespoons of sugar.

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

Step 6 – Simmer and Serve – I usually like to let this mixture simmer for 30-60 minutes. Make sure the carrots are soft. Check the seasoning. Often I need to add a little more salt and/or sugar. Give it a stir from time to time. The flour and the starch from the peas generally thicken the dish well; about like gravy. If you want it thicker when you are ready to serve, bring it to a boil and add a table spoon of corn starch in a third of a cup of cold water

About 30 minutes before serving, peel and cook some potatoes. Cook in boiling salted water. When the potatoes are soft when stabbed with a fork they are ready. Drain the water, pore into a colander, put them back in the pot you boiled them in and mash along with butter, milk, salt and pepper. You can also use condensed milk at this step which makes them even creamier.

How many potatoes should you use? Take the number you think you will need and multiply by 2.5.

Plop down some mashed potatoes on a plate and ladle the menace over it. Damn !

This dish is ever better when reheated, and it freezes well too.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Sorry for the long delay in getting this post up.  I've been sick, then my computer ate its own face and had to get a new motherboard.  I'll try to get back in the habit of posting once every week or two.

A special thanks definitely goes out to Katie B. for suggesting pozole and giving me the recipe that I used as a starting point.  I think I did it justice and added my own spin.  Enjoy!   

  • Forest Fed pork steak (shoulder meat from above the picnic roast) (
    • Brine
      • cider
      • black pepper
      • bay leaf
      • kosher salt
      • celery salt
      • garlic salt
      • cumin
      • oregano
      • basil
  • Stock
    • baked pork steak bones
      • black pepper
      • cumin
      • cloves
      • garlic salt
    • cider
    • water
    • onion
    • carrots
    • celery
    • pork steak fat
    • cilantro
    • garlic
    • black pepper
    • white pepper
    • red pepper
    • garlic salt
    • celery salt
    • kosher salt
    • paprika
    • oregano
    • basil
  • Pepper sauce
    • Roasted red pepper
    • Roasted poblanos
    • Roasted jalepenos 
  • Black beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Canned tomatillos (couldn't find fresh)
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Hominy
  • Roasted poblano 
  • Roasted jalapeno 
  • Cider
  • More of the same spices used in the stock to taste

        First, I started the stock by putting everything together in a pot and getting it simmering.  While that got going, I made the brine by simmering the ingredients for about 25 minutes.  Meanwhile, I de-boned and trimmed the pork.  The trimmed fat got added to the stock, the bones got seasoned, placed on a cookie sheet, and baked at 400 for about 25 minutes a side, then added to the stock.  Once the brine had cooled, I put it in some bags with the pork and put it in the fridge.  The stock simmered for about 4 hours total, reducing it to a little less than half its original volume.  When it was done, I strained it and put the stock in the fridge.
        The next day, I began by roasting some poblano, jalepeno, and red bell peppers in the oven at 300 for about an hour, turning occasionally.  Once cool, I skinned and cleaned them.  While the peppers were roasting, I started the pozole by adding tomatoes, tomatillos, black beans, celery, diced onion, and spices to the stock and got it simmering.  I took the pork out of the brine, browned it on both sides in a pan, then cut it up into small pieces and added it to the soup.  Once the peppers were ready, I chopped up one poblano and one jalepeno and added them to the pozole.  The rest went into a food processor to make a hot pepper sauce.  The pozole simmered for about 2 hours total, with the hominy added with about 20 minutes left.
        To serve, I scooped the pozole into a bowl with a tortilla, and had extra tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, Mexican cheese, and my pepper sauce to add as desired.  

    Resulting Deliciousness
        While it was only my first try, I think I am well on my way to becoming a pozolero (  The meat was absolutely delicious, and the flavors of the soup were intense and well balanced.  The stock base was top notch and roasting the peppers was definitely the right move.  To improve, I'd like to make my own tortillas and serve it with more traditional garnishes like sliced radish, avocado, and Mexican cream.  I'd also like to experiment with more types of peppers, and try to pair it with some Mexican or South American wine or mezcal.  I also used the leftover soup as a chunky, very filling dip for thick tortilla chips.