Mike’s Chicken Street Tacos with Fired Garden Chocolate Poblanos

Chicken Street Tacos with Fired Chocolate Poblano Chilis | Culinary Compost Recipes

In continuing my culinary love for all things tacos, I present here my end-of-season recipe for street tacos with pulled chicken and fired garden chocolate poblano peppers. This is an excellent recipe for using up leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken — simply pull, vac-seal and freeze in portions for future use.

My technique for blackening the poblano chilis and tomatillos features a propane torch and cast-iron pan which effectively acts as a heat shield. Use extreme caution and turn on your exhaust fan so you don’t start a kitchen fire if using this method. You can also use an outdoor charcoal grill.

Followers of Culinary Compost will comparatively note that there is no New Mexican red chili powder in this recipe. The ground ancho chili lends incredible flavor with the other dry spices. When possible, prepare your own mini corn tortillas using masa harina and a dedicated cast-iron tortilla press. I always plant at least one garden poblano pepper. They are versatile and grow quite big so you will need ample space, but each plant puts out a lot of fruit. They are a must in salsa and chili rellenos.

You can also use leftovers as a base for tortilla soup. This is one of my favorite recipes — Enjoy!


1.5 pounds pulled rotisserie chicken meat (white and dark)
4 tbs. XV olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced
2 cups chicken stock
6 large tomatillos, peeled, washed and cored
3 or 4 large chocolate poblano chilis, fired, cored and diced
1 tbs. dry ground ancho chili powder
1 tsp. ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp. ground Mexican oregano
1 tbs. cumin seed – toasted and then hand ground in a mortar
2 large dry bay leaves
1/2 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
salt to taste, about 1/2 tsp.

Serve With~
Your choice of salsa (My classic recipes are shown here)
Mike’s Famous Guacamole
Mexican Chipotle-Lime Crema
Chopped cilantro, scallion or red onion
Slivered radishes
Mexican Cotija cheese
Lime wedges
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh-made 4” corn tortillas


If the pulled chicken is frozen, remove it and let thaw at room temperature for about an hour.

In a 3-quart heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat until shimmering, then add the minced garlic and shallot. Stir constantly for 3 minutes until the garlic changes to a straw color. Take care not to burn it or it will taste bitter. Add the chicken stock and dry spices and bring to a low simmer, partially covered.

Prepare the tomatillos and poblanos by rinsing them well in cold water, then blot dry with a paper towel. The surface will NOT char if it is wet. Use a heavy cast-iron pan, place in the center of your stove top and turn on the exhaust fan. Light a propane torch and quickly char the poblano peppers so the skin is blackened. Remove and place in a sealed paper bag for 12-14 minutes, allowing the skin to sweat. Remove and rinse well under cold water to remove the skin. Core, seed and dice and add the poblanos to the pot.

Blacken the tomatillos via the same method. Use a long tongs to turn them evenly. Allow to cool. Then finely chop and add to the pot. Simmer for about an hour, allowing the liquid to reduce by half. Taste and correct the seasoning if needed.

Add the chicken and heat through, another 30 to 45 minutes. Take care not to cook the chicken too much or it will separate and shred apart.

Using a slotted spoon, serve on tortillas with the side ingredients shown. Leftovers can be used in tortilla soup.

Serves 4

Chicken Street Tacos with Fired Garden Poblano Chilis | Culinary Compost Recipes
Chicken Street Tacos with Fired Garden Poblano Chilis | Culinary Compost Recipes
Mike's Famous Guacamole | Culinary Compost Recipes
Mike’s Famous Guacamole
Chicken Street Tacos with Fired Garden Poblano Chilis | Culinary Compost Recipes
Firing Tomatillos with a Propane Torch | Culinary Compost Recipes
Firing Poblano Chilis with a Propane Torch | Culinary Compost Recipes
Toasted Cumin Seed | Culinary Compost Recipes
Garden Chocolate Poblano Chili Peppers | Culinary Compost Recipes
Garden Chocolate Poblano Chili Peppers
Chicken Street Tacos with Fired Garden Poblano Chilis | Culinary Compost Recipes

Mike’s Pork Chorizo Tacos with Fired Tomatillos and Poblano

This is one of my mainstay recipes which has always been a hands-down classic, based on authentic Mexican cuisine. It is easy enough to prepare on a weeknight when you don’t want to stress over the hassle of setting up a fire on an outdoor grill. 

You can blacken the poblano and tomatillos over your gas range burner, or use a dedicated propane torch. I find much more control using the torch as the poblanos tend to blister unevenly in spots when placed over a gas range burner. Please use extreme caution if using this method to avoid a fire by using a heavy, heatproof skillet and tongs and by turning on your range exhaust fan.

Allow the mixture to reduce for about a half hour after adding the tomatillos and stock. More liquid may be added if needed, allowing the finished product to simmer away nicely if waiting for guests.

A note on the chorizo sausage: The sausage sold in bulk tubes from Mexico is extremely fatty and the result, when rendered, is a greasy paste. The texture is much finer than the coarse-ground bulk specialty sausage i prefer and get at my local butcher shop. Check around if a local meat supplier carries it. If not, try using coarse-ground Italian sausage as an alternative. You can always add a bit more cumin, Mexican oregano and hot ground chili if needed.

Serve Mexican style with cilantro, lime and red onion. Enjoy — a classic that never fails to please.


1 to 1.5 pounds coarse-ground pork chorizo sausage
5 large cloves of garlic, roasted and then peeled
8 tomatillos, washed, fired and cored
1 large fired poblano chili, blistered skin removed, seeded and diced
2 tbs. ground ancho chili powder
1 tbs. dry ground Mexican oregano leaf
2 tsp. dry ground coriander
2 tbs. cumin seed, toasted and then ground fine in a mortar
1/2 to 3/4 cup pork stock or water
Salt, to taste, but use caution; the chorizo is very salty

Diced red onion
Fresh cilantro
Radish slivers or planks (optional)
Lime wedges
Baby spinach (optional)
Grated Cotija or shredded Monterey Jack cheese

6-inch tortilla shells, preferably home made from ground masa, lightly charred over a gas flame or skillet


Fire the tomatillos, core and set aside. Roast the garlic cloves with the skins over medium-low heat until lightly browned, and then peel.

Fire the poblano chili and seal in a paper lunch bag for about 12-14 minutes. Remove and pull the charred skin off by rubbing under cold water. De-seed and dice the poblano.

Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add the ground chorizo sausage. Break up and fry until no longer pink and all the fat renders out. Drain off the fat. (An easy way to do this is to move the sausage to one side of the skillet and place a folded paper towel on the other side. Tip the skillet at an angle while holding the sausage up on one side until the paper towel is saturated. Repeat until all of the fat is removed.) 

While cooking the sausage, place the tomatillos and garlic in a food processor and pulse until chunky.

When the sausage is browned, reduce the heat and add the tomatillos and garlic to the skillet with 1/2 to 3/4 cups pork stock or water and the dry spices. Add the diced poblano, stir and reduce by simmering gently for 20-30 minutes. Keep covered until ready to serve.

Prepare your garnish ingredients including the diced red onion, cilantro, radish, lime wedges, baby spinach and Cotija or Monterey Jack cheese.

Prepare the taco shells and serve.

Serves 4.

Mike’s Pork Chili Colorado Tacos

This is my version of a regional recipe from New Mexico (not the state of Colorado — the Spanish word is an adjective for “red”) using pure dried ground chili instead of whole chili pods that must be soaked in water and processed. The recipe originated in Northern Mexico and was popularized by settlers in the mid-nineteenth century. The earthy flavor of the slowly-braised pork is sublime, with a good balance of heat. It can be served in a bowl as “chili” or stew with tortillas on the side, or — as shown here — dressed up as tacos or quesadillas.

A selection of sources for pure New Mexico chili powder can be found in the links sidebar. You can find the more common ancho chili, either ground or in whole pods, in many supermarkets. If you only have access to whole ancho pods, consider processing them yourself in a spice grinder. You’ll save money. An amazing recipe. Enjoy!


1.5 pounds pork shoulder, cubed in 1/2 or 1″ chunks (you can also find it processed as pork stir fry meat)
1 large Spanish onion, diced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
XV olive oil
2 tbs. salted butter
1 cup beef stock
2 large whole dry bay leaves
2 tbs. whole cumin seed, toasted and ground in a mortar
1 tsp. ground Mexican oregano
1 tsp. ground coriander
4 tbs. pure New Mexican Hatch or Chimayo chili powder (medium hot)
3 tbs. ancho chili powder
Two 8-oz. cans tomato sauce

Garnish With~
6″ corn or flour tortillas
Chopped scallion
Fresh fire-roasted diced poblano or Anaheim chili
Lime wedges
Mexican Cotija cheese
Monterey jack cheese
Mike’s famous guacamole
Sour cream or Mexican chipotle-lime crema
Kosher salt, to taste


Preheat oven to 275°. Preheat a greased 5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat with 3 tbs. olive oil. Add the pork and brown until no longer pink. Reduce heat, drain off the fat and remove the pork. Set aside, covered.

Add 2 tbs. butter to the pot and add the onion and garlic. Saute until soft, about seven minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic.
Add the cooked pork back to the pot. Add the tomato sauce, beef stock and dry spices and stir well. Cover and cook for 1.5 hours in the oven, stirring once after 45 minutes.

After 1.5 hours, remove, stir and check to ensure the pork is tender. It should easily shred using two forks. Larger cuts of pork may take a bit longer. Add a bit more beef stock if needed. Cover and reduce heat to 170° F. Keep covered in the oven until ready to serve.

Serve as tacos using the garnish options noted above. Leftovers are even better the second day and may be used in quesadillas topped with the red sauce. They also freeze well.

Total Cooking Time: 2 hours
Serves: 4-6

Mike's Pork Chili Colorado Quesadillas | Culinary Compost Recipes

French Bread Pizza with Italian Pepperoni and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

French Bread Pizza with Italian Pepperoni and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Culinary Compost Recipes

Here is a quick-and-easy recipe that is a guaranteed kid-friendly favorite. Once you master making your own authentic marinara sauce, you will never go back to buying jarred sauce again. The addition of sun-dried tomatoes and premium pepperoni will ensure this classic becomes a part of your weeknight meal rotation.

Try to source the best canned tomato sauce, pepperoni and sun-dried tomatoes you can find. Enjoy!


1 large loaf of French bread
7 oz. jar Alessi® sun-dried tomatoes in XV olive oil
28 slices of premium pepperoni (I’ve had great success with Volpi® brand)
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

For the Sauce~
15 oz. can of Dei Fratelli pizza sauce
4 tbs. XV olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 tsp. sugar, to taste
Pinch of fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of Kosher salt, to taste
1/2 tsp. dry oregano
1/2 tsp. dry basil
Pinch of crushed cayenne pepper, to taste

(Note: you will have enough sauce for four large 9″ French bread pizzas – the recipe here is for two. Save 1/2 of the sauce for later or double the sandwich ingredients if using it all.)


Preheat your broiler to 500° F. Place an oven rack six inches from the top broiler.

Prepare the pizza sauce by heating 4 tbs. olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Reduce heat and add the minced garlic, stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes until the garlic turns a straw color. Take care not to scorch it or it will taste bitter. Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Reduce by half. Add the tomato sauce and stir to incorporate. Add the sugar, Kosher salt and dry spices. Simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally, and shut off the heat.

Cut a 9″ piece of French bread and cut it in half laterally down the center. Using your fingers to tear out the crumb, hollow out a bit of the inside of each slice, forming a shallow boat, allowing room for the sun-dried tomatoes and pizza sauce.

Place 1/2 of the sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil from the jar in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Spread the contents evenly onto both slices of French bread with a spoon and pastry brush. It is important that the bread is saturated with olive oil so it doesn’t dry out. If needed, brush on a bit of extra olive oil and let it soak in. Top generously with the prepared pizza sauce using 1/4 of the total amount per sandwich.

Next, evenly layer 1/2 of the Mozzarella cheese topped with 14 slices pepperoni on each sandwich. Finish them off by sprinkling 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese evenly over the top of each.

Broil both French bread pizzas in a heavy cast-iron skillet for two minutes, watching closely until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the bread and pepperoni edges are slightly toasted. Carefully remove, let stand two minutes and serve.

Servings: Two large 9″ sandwiches or four kid-sized portions.

PRO TIP: Customize this recipe by adding sliced pepperoncini peppers, apple-smoked gouda cheese, black olives, red onion or other ingredients. The possibilities are endless — just don’t overcrowd the sandwich.

Thai Laab with Flank Steak and Sticky Rice

Thai Laab (pronounced Laarb) is a fantastic South-Asian recipe that remains one of my favorites because of its divine flavor and ease of preparation. You can make it with ground pork, chicken or beef; my preference is flank steak because of how quickly you can achieve a proper sear over intense wok heat while locking in flavor.

The fish sauce plays an integral part in this recipe, so don’t skimp on quality. I prefer Red Boat brand — a 17 oz. bottle will run you about twelve bucks but it is soooo worth the price.

Once combined, any leftover salad should not be reheated because the greens cannot take it – serve at room temperature with heated rice. Enjoy!


1 pound flank steak, diced
2 tbs. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1/2 tsp. coarse-ground black pepper
2 tbs. fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tbs. palm sugar (1 nugget)

For the Salad Greens~

Mint leaves
Baby spinach
Cilantro leaves
Thai queen basil (optional)
1 stalk scallion, whites and greens thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 radishes, thinly sliced and cut into slivers
2 tbs. fish sauce
Juice of two fresh-squeezed limes
Crushed Thai bird chili flakes to taste
2 Thai green chilies or Mexican Serranos, charred, seeded and thinly sliced
3 tbs. toasted ground jasmine rice (reserve 1 tbs. for garnish)

Garnish With~
Remaining 1 tbs. toasted ground jasmine rice
Fish sauce to taste
Crushed dried Thai bird pepper, to taste
Sliced fresh cucumber

Serve with Thai jasmine sticky rice


Allow the flank steak to come up to room temperature. Thinly slice against the grain and then dice into 1/2″ chunks. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, white and black pepper. Mix and set aside.

Prepare the salad greens by adding the mint, spinach, cilantro and parsley to a large mixing bowl. Use enough for the amount of guests you plan to serve. Add the scallion, shallot, radish, Thai queen basil, fish sauce, lime juice, dry chili flakes, green chilies and 2 tbs. toasted jasmine rice. Stir well to coat.

Heat a wok over high temperature until it smokes and add two tbs. peanut oil. Add the diced steak and spread around the wok to sear, then stir frequently until no longer pink. Add the palm sugar and mash with your wok shovel. Stir until dissolved and shut off the heat.

Add the steak to the salad greens and gently fold in. Serve with sticky rice and sliced cucumber. Garnish with the remaining toasted jasmine rice.

To prepare the toasted jasmine rice:
Heat 3 tbs. rice in a dry wok or heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until lightly brown. Remove and finely crush in a mortar.

To prepare the sticky rice:
Heat 3 cups filtered water and 1 tbs. butter in a heavy sauce pan with a tight fitting lid. When it comes to a boil, add 1.5 cups dry jasmine rice, stir and cover tightly. Reduce the heat to low and let sit untouched for twenty minutes. Fluff and serve.

Serves 2-4

Stuffed Italian Peppers with Meatballs

I love this recipe. It’s a great way to use up those wonderful garden bell peppers you’ve worked so hard to bring to harvest. Two of my classic recipes are used to make the marinara sauce and the giant meatballs. It’s a winning combination your whole family will enjoy.


For the Marinara Sauce~
1 28-oz. can Dei Fratelli tomato puree
1/4 cup XV olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 shallot, minced
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 tsp. sugar, to taste
1 tsp. dry basil
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper flakes, to taste

For the Meatballs~
(makes a double batch)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork or Italian sausage
1/4 cup loose fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2/3 shallot, minced
1/2 tsp. dry oregano
1 tsp. dry basil
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 tbs. warm butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. beef base
Salt, to taste if needed
1 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper flakes, to taste

You Will Also Need~
4 large, fresh garden bell peppers, red or green
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated hard Parmesan cheese


Prepare the marinara sauce by heating the olive oil in a heavy sauce pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot and stir constantly for three minutes until the garlic just starts to turn a straw color.

Increase the heat and add the red wine. Bring to a rolling boil and reduce by half to burn off the alcohol. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the dry spices and tomato puree. Stir occasionally, partially covered for two hours. You cannot rush a good marinara sauce!

Heat your oven to 350°.

Prepare the meatballs by combining the ground beef and pork in a large mixing bowl. Add the other ingredients and work the meat with your hands until evenly mixed. DO NOT overwork the mixture or the meatballs won’t be tender.

Roll the mixture evenly into a log and divide in half. Freeze one portion. With the remaining mixture, divide into four equal pieces and roll each into a ball, about 2-1/2″ in diameter.

Add 3 tbs. olive oil or butter to a large, heavy skillet. Heat over medium and carefully add the meatballs. Turn each until they form an even crust, about twenty minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Note: Don’t worry if the meatballs are slightly underdone – they will continue to cook in the next step.

Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and core out the insides. Cut an even portion off the bottom of each pepper so they sit straight. Arrange in a cast-iron dutch oven and add the extra pieces around the sides.

Spoon in 1/2 of the marinara sauce in and around the base of the peppers.
Add 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese to the bottom of the peppers. Carefully place one meatball in each pepper, then top with more sauce, the remaining Mozzarella and the grated Parmesan. Spoon any remaining sauce around the peppers.

Place the pot in your oven and bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. The internal temperature of the meatballs should read 150° when finished.

Serves 4

Italian Marinara Sauce | Culinary Compost Recipes
Italian Meatballs | Culinary Compost Recipes
Stuffed Italian Peppers with Meatballs | Culinary Compost Recipes

Italian Sausage and Rotini Noodle Soup

Italian Sausage and Rotini Noodle Soup | Culinary Compost RecipesThis is a fantastic recipe for using up garden tomatoes. I had several large ones that were getting overly ripe and I quickly put them to good use in this hearty soup. One of my signature dishes and a fall family favorite. Enjoy!


8 oz. spicy Italian bulk sausage
XV olive oil
1 quart hot water
1 tsp. beef base
5 large garden tomatoes, blanched, peeled and diced
5 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large red garden bell pepper, diced
5 small baby red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
4 oz. tri-color Rotini noodles
1/4 cup flat Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 tbs. minced fresh oregano
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
Cayenne pepper to taste, if necessary
Salt to taste
1 tsp. coarse-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. white sugar


Heat one quart of water in a 4-6 quart soup pot until simmering. Add the beef base. Keep partially covered.

Fry the bulk Italian sausage in a cast-iron skillet until no longer pink. Drain off excess fat and add the sausage to the soup pot.
Add the minced garlic and chopped onion to the skillet with a bit of olive oil, and saute on medium-low heat until the onions are soft. Add them to the pot.

Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for thirty seconds, remove and rinse under cold water and pull off the skins. Core and dice. Add them to the pot.

Add the sugar, black pepper, basil, oregano and flat-leaf parsley. Stir and simmer for 1/2 hour. Taste for seasoning and add salt and cayenne pepper if needed.
(Some Italian sausage is very hot, so adjust accordingly.)

Add the chopped bell pepper, diced baby red potatoes and the Rotini noodles. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes over low heat until the noodles are cooked al dente and the potatoes are tender.

Serve with crusty sliced Italian bread and shredded hard Parmesan cheese on top.

Serves 4

Mike’s Chicken and Chorizo Enchiladas

Mike's Chicken and Chorizo Enchiladas | Culinary Compost RecipesThe combination of chicken and spicy chorizo sausage are well represented here with Tex-Mex and south-of-the-border flair. If you take the time to make your own enchilada sauce, you will appreciate the difference in taste. Firing the fresh ingredients on the grill adds a flavor profile that cannot be matched by using canned or jarred sauce.

Trust me, once you prepare it this way you will never go back.

On a side note, it is the start of fall and my garden tomatoes and chilis did very well this year. I built a raised box planter bed out of 2×12″ UNTREATED Douglas fir planks. The dimensions of the box are 26 feet long x 3 feet wide x 2 feet tall. The entire construction without dirt weighs well over 600 pounds.  In hindsight, it’s one of the best investments I’ve made. As a result, I have been using every opportunity to use up what otherwise would go to waste being eaten by chipmunks and rabbits or destroyed by seasonal downpours. I have also noted that the conditioned sandy lake soil/compost drainage provides more aridity to the crop so the chilis have far more heat than in years past.

With that, the sauce recipe shown here was unexpectedly quite hot — so much so, that my wife could not eat it. I’m truly sorry, my dear. An instant classic that i hope you enjoy!


For the Sauce~
4 large tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
3 hot chili peppers (jalapeno, NM green)
2 large dried ancho peppers (dried poblano) with stems and seeds removed
1.5 cups chili water (reserved from soaking the ancho peppers)
5 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. ground Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp. white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 bunch fresh chopped cilantro leaves

For the Enchilada Filling~
1/2 pound spicy Chorizo bulk sausage
1 large rotisserie chicken breast, shredded
1/2 cup prepared sauce, noted above
1 cup shredded Queso Chihuahua or Manchego Mexican cheese
1/2 tsp. ground Mexican oregano

6 eight-inch corn tortillas, preferably made fresh using Maseca masa harina
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese for topping

Garnish With~
Fresh chopped cilantro
Fresh chopped white or red onion
Finely sliced red radish


Prepare an outdoor grill with enough charcoal for a medium-hot fire. We will be firing the enchilada sauce ingredients over the coals so they char.

After the charcoal is lit, add the dry ancho chilis to 4 cups hot water and set aside to soften.

Prepare the sauce ingredients by coring and quartering four large tomatoes. Peel and quarter the onion. Peel the garlic cloves, stem and de-seed 3 hot chilis. Add to a grill basket and place directly over the coals, stirring often for about 12-15 minutes. When the vegetables are charred, remove and place in a blender.

In the blender add the ancho chilis, 1.5 cups reserved chili water, Mexican oregano, sugar and salt. Pulse until smooth.

Place the sauce ingredients in a large saucepan and heat over medium until simmering. Stir and reduce by half for about an hour. The sauce should not be super-thick but the consistency of ketchup. Remove from the burner and set aside to cool. When cool, add the chopped cilantro and stir to incorporate.

Heat oven to 400° F.

Prepare the enchilada filling by frying the chorizo until the fat renders out in a cast-iron skillet. Drain off the fat if needed. Shut off the heat and add the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup enchilada sauce, 1 cup Mexican cheese and oregano. Stir until the cheese is melted.

Prepare the stuffed tortillas by heating one cup corn oil in a skillet until shimmering. Quickly add each corn tortilla and flip after ten seconds. Remove and drain on paper towel. Dip each tortilla in the sauce to coat, set on a plate and add a portion of the filling. Tightly roll and place in a baking dish.

Top the stuffed tortillas with 2 cups of enchilada sauce and 2 cups Mexican cheese.

Bake uncovered for 10 minutes until the cheese is evenly melted. Remove and serve with chopped cilantro, thinly sliced radish and chopped red onion. Top with more sauce if needed.

Makes 5-6 enchiladas.

NOTES: After blending the sauce, some chefs will run it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any seeds and bits of pulp or skin from the ancho chilis. I prefer the texture as-is without straining.

The remaining sauce can be refrigerated for a week. It is excellent on eggs or with tortilla chips.

Mike's Chicken and Chorizo Enchiladas | Culinary Compost Recipes Mike's Chicken and Chorizo Enchiladas | Culinary Compost Recipes

Aussie Crash Hot Potatoes with Garden Oregano

Aussie Crash Hot Potatoes with Fresh Garden Oregano | Culinary Compost Recipes

Shown is my favorite 1936 Martin 10″ skillet. Cast iron ensures even heating and perfectly crisped potatoes. From my experience the results are better than using a cookie sheet. The only drawback is you’ll need to use two skillets for the recipe shown.

This is a recipe i discovered on Food Network and modified for use in a cast iron skillet. You can use any herb you wish, but i’ve found it’s fantastic with fresh garden oregano. Easy to prepare, these potatoes can be baked in your oven or covered in an outdoor charcoal grill.


6-10 baby red or Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed
XV olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Small handful of fresh garden oregano, minced (about 3 tbs.)


Set your oven or outdoor grill to 450° F.

Prepare 3-4 quarts of salted water in a kettle, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the whole potatoes and boil for twenty minutes until fork tender. Remove from the heat, drain and set aside.

Spray or lightly grease two 10″ cast-iron skillets and arrange the potatoes as shown so they are not crowded. Using a potato masher, carefully push down on each potato until slightly crushed. Rotate the masher 90 degrees and gently press down again. Some of the potato will stick to the masher… no worries. Carefully arrange any excess back on top of the potatoes.

In a small food processor add the garlic cloves, crushed black pepper, oregano and 4 tbs. olive oil. Pulse lightly until minced. Using a silicone basting brush, generously coat the potatoes with the mixture. Lightly sprinkle each potato with Kosher salt.

Bake in the oven or on the grill (cover the grill) for 25 minutes until the edges start to crisp up and turn golden brown.
Carefully remove and serve.

Serves 4.


Summer Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream and Fresh Dill

Summer Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream and Fresh Dill | Culinary Compost RecipesHere is another variation of a cucumber salad recipe that I tested via a Facebook cooking group. Vibrant and refreshing, it pairs well with a number of main course dishes including grilled chicken, baby-back ribs and pork chops.


3 cups sliced and peeled cucumbers
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbs. white vinegar, to taste
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (ensure you don’t use garlic salt)
3 tbs. fresh chopped dill


In a large mixing bowl, carefully fold the ingredients together until the sour cream and vinegar are incorporated. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving so the flavors have time to set.