Mike’s Borracho Beans


The Spanish word borracho literally means drunken. This is a recipe based on a signature dish served at Joe’s Texas BBQ in Green Bay Wisconsin. At Joe’s, they use their home-prepared smoked sausage and a small amount of burnt-ends, which I don’t have access to. I improvised and used chorizo and a ham shank on bone, using the water it simmers in as a savory reduction broth. Negra Modelo beer is also added. This is a really great recipe but you have to allow enough time for it to cook – it cannot be rushed or the results will be for naught.

Go easy on the salt!  The ham and chorizo are loaded with it.  Enjoy-

Ingredients:

1 ham shank on bone
Cold water
2 links spicy chorizo sausage
3 cups dry pinto beans
1 14.5 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup strong black coffee
1 12 oz. bottle Negra Modelo beer
32 oz. beef stock
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled, and minced
1 flame-peeled poblano pepper, diced
1 tbs. ground chipotle, to taste
1 tbs. ground cumin, toasted from seed
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground Mexican oregano
1/2 tbs. ground ancho chili powder
2 dry bay leaves
1 cup cilantro leaves – washed and stemmed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs. rendered bacon fat
Dash of fresh-squeezed lime juice

Preparation:

Wash the dry pinto beans in a colander and cover in cold water overnight.
When ready, heat the smoked pork ham shank in a 5-qt cast-iron dutch oven, partially covered,  with enough water to just cover the shank. Simmer on medium-low for about 2 hours, until the meat falls off the bone.
Rotate occasionally to ensure even cooking.

Remove from heat and place aside in a dish to cool. SAVE  the water the ham shank was simmered in.
De-bone the shank and trim meat of all fat – cutting into bite-sized pieces. Discard the bone,  and place the meat back into the pot with the reserved water. Bring to a slow boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Add the can of whole peeled tomatoes and crush with a potato masher. Add the coffee and beer. Rinse the beans and add to the pot.

In a separate heavy pan, sautee the onion and garlic on medium-low heat in 2 tbs. rendered bacon fat until translucent – about 15 minutes. Take care not to burn the garlic.
Add to the pot with the dry spices and bay leaves.

Brown the chorizo sausage in a separate pan – cut into 1/2″ chunks and add to the pot.
Using a propane torch or a burner, blacken the poblano – peel and dice. Add to the pot.

Add the beef stock and simmer uncovered on low for about 4 hours, until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally.  Add the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Stir before serving.

NOTE: The consistency is not supposed to resemble baked beans. There should be a nice, rich broth. Add more beef stock or a bit of water if it becomes too thick.

Serves 6-8
Makes about 4 quarts

Simmered Ham Shank Boned and Cubed Ham Shank Chorizo Sausage Mike's Borracho Beans

Mike’s Kachina Canyon Stew


Mike’s Kachina Canyon Stew | Culinary Compost

I’ve fiddled with the ingredients and preparation for this original southwest recipe over the course of six months. I’ve got it down to a science. This stew, made with hot Mexican Chorizo or Longaniza sausage, is satisfying and fairly spicy, with an incredible depth of flavor. The small amount of rendered fat from the sausage creates a really rich base for the broth. Enjoy with cornbread, a side of tortillas cooked on a griddle, chopped cilantro, scallion and a spoonful of sour cream.

Ingredients:

2 tbs. XV olive oil
8 oz. bulk spicy ground Chorizo or Longaniza sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, with greens if possible, trimmed and fine chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 sweet red bell pepper, diced
2 small “new” red potatoes, scrubbed well and diced with skins on
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
Juice from 1/4 fresh lime
1 cup frozen kernel corn
1 fired and peeled fresh poblano – diced, or one 4 oz. can chopped green chili
1 15.8 oz. can great northern or pinto beans, rinsed
2 dry bay leaves
Salt (about 1/2 tsp., to taste)
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
6 dried chiltepin peppers, crushed (optional, for heat)
1 tsp. whole cumin seed, toasted and ground in a mortar
1 tsp. dry Mexican oregano leaf
1/4 cup washed and trimmed cilantro leaves, fine chopped

Sour cream – 1 tbs. per bowl, optional
Scallion, thin-sliced as a garnish, optional
Tortillas, browned on a comal (griddle) with olive oil, and then cut into 1″ x 3″ strips

 

Directions:

In a heavy 3.5 quart cast-iron or enameled cast-iron soup pot, heat 1 tbs. of olive oil until shimmering and brown the chorizo sausage over medium heat. Remove from the pot and place on paper towel to drain off the fat.

Next, add 1 tbs. olive oil, the onion, celery, and garlic and saute until the onion is semi-translucent, but not carmelized, over medium-low heat. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the chorizo sausage back to the pot. Add the diced tomatoes and chicken stock and bring up to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer.

Add the kernel corn, chopped red bell pepper, lime juice, carrot, the diced poblano or small can of green chili, the Mexican oregano, cumin and black pepper. Add the bay leaves. *Salt to taste. Simmer partially covered for about 20-30 minutes. Add the potato and simmer for 20 more minutes or until tender. Rinse the beans in a colander with hot water and drain well.  Add the beans to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat until heated through. Add the cilantro, shut off the heat, let stand for five minutes and serve with sour cream, scallion and browned tortillas.

*Go easy on the salt — the sausage and canned beans are loaded with it. I would not add any until you taste, and then correct the seasoning if needed.

Serves 4-6

Note: this recipe can be doubled easily with the same results.

Roasting poblano peppers with a propane torch | Culinary Compost

Roasting poblano peppers with a propane torch. The tough outer skin is unpalatable and should be removed before baking.

Southwest Pulled Pork


Southwest Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork | Culinary Compost

There’s a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant in central Phoenix called Honey Bear’s which has the best pulled pork I’ve ever tasted. Here is my southwest rendition. If you don’t have a smoker, no problem. This recipe will come out just as well in your oven or slow cooker.

Control the heat with the chipotle. The achiote paste (recado colorado) marinade with citrus juice is Yucatán-Mayan inspired. They cooked pork wrapped in banana leaves buried in a pit – the dish was called Cochinita Pibil. Unfortunately, I have a devil of a time finding fresh banana leaves here in Wisconsin and don’t feel like digging a hole in my backyard. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

for the marinade—
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lemon
4 oz. box of achiote paste (recado colorado), available in most Mexican supermarkets
2 tbs. brown sugar
2 tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tbs. ground coriander
1 tbs. dried mexican oregano
1 tbs. dry mustard
2 tsp. ground chipotle, (add more if you like it spicy)
1 tbs. ground cumin – toasted from seed
1 tbs. onion powder
1/4 cup pure chimayo chili powder
4 cloves mashed garlic
2 tbs. worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

===
1 3-pound bone-in pork butt
2 cups water

Large buns or warm corn tortilla shells for serving

 

Directions:

Add the liquid ingredients to a mixing bowl and add 1/2 of the Achiote paste. Using the back of a spoon, break down the paste into a slurry. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Prepare the marinade by mixing all ingredients well, then rubbing generously over the pork. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours. 24 is best.

Preheat your oven at 300 degrees. When ready to cook, place the pork butt with the two cups of water in a covered dutch oven or slow cooker set on high. Cook for 3 to 3.5 hours until the meat shreds apart. Internal temperature should be about 180 degrees. Watch the liquid content and adjust accordingly. When the meat is done, shred apart with two forks, discard the bone, mix well and serve on your choice of buns or tortillas.

Serves: 4-6

Arizona Baked Corn Dip


This is a great recipe that keeps well when reheated the second day. The green chili and jalapeño add just the right amount of zip for even the pickiest guests.

And now for my helpful tip: Being the chef who actually made this stunning appetizer, you have first dibs. Strategically grab a ginormous serving spoon — or better yet, a gravy ladle. Cut to the front of the line, load up a plate and don’t worry about embarrassing yourself — you’re going to be eating that much anyway, so you might as well beat everyone else to it. Trust me — they’ll respect you for it.

 

Ingredients:

1 can, 15-1/4 oz. whole kernel corn – drained
2 cans, 4 oz. each, chopped green chilis, drained
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 tbs fresh chopped jalapeño pepper
1 cup mayo (please do this dish justice and don’t go with the low-fat version)
1/2 cup grated hard Parmesan cheese
1 4 oz. can sliced black olives, drained

Snack tortilla chips or crackers

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a bowl, combine the corn, chilis, red pepper, Monterey Jack cheese and fresh jalapeño. Stir in the mayo and grated Parmesan cheese.

Transfer to an ungreased 2-qt. baking dish and level. Sprinkle the top with the black olives. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until heated through, slightly brown and bubbly, and most of the liquid has cooked off. Remove from the oven and let stand for ten minutes to set, before serving.

Serve hot with tortilla chips or party crackers.

Serves 8.

South-of-the-Border Sonoran Beans


A southwest favorite. My standing joke about refried beans is – why would you want to eat anything that wasn’t cooked right the first time?
Well, this recipe blows that statement out the window.

Ingredients:

1 large can fat-free refried beans (28 oz.)
1/2 cup minced onion
1 tbs. corn oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. mexican oregano
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
1 or 2 dried cascabel peppers, stems and seeds removed – crushed in a mortar
Juice of one fresh-squeezed lime
1/4-1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese for topping (Chihuahua or Monterey Jack)
1-2 tsp. salt to taste

Directions:

In a medium, heavy saucepan with a lid, heat the corn oil over medium heat. Add the minced onion, cooking 2-3 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally.

Add the dry spices and chili pepper and cook, stirring for one minute. Add the lime juice, stir, then add the refried beans.

Turn the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir after 5 minutes. After 15 minutes, and the sour cream and salt, starting with the lower amount.
Taste and add more sour cream or salt if desired.

Top with shredded cheese, a whack of sour cream and serve with your choice of Mexican entree. I may suggest the Green Chili Pork Tacos.

Makes 4 large servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Southwest Pork Chili Verde


Traditional Pork Chili Verde Recipe | Culinary Compost

Pork Chili Verde (carne de cerdo chili verde, green chili or green chili stew) is a legendary dish rarely found east of the Rio Grande. Known as “the other chili” by chiliheads, this recipe is as authentic as they come.

Pork Chili Verde evolved from a stew concocted by the native Hopi and Anasazi tribes of the desert southwest many hundred years ago. They incorporated yams, potatoes, javalina (an aggressive, pissed-off peccary that looks like a wild boar) and large green peppers that were indigenous to Mexico and traded north. Eventually, by AD 700, the cultivation of these chilies (poblanos, Hatch New Mexican green, Anaheim varieties) spread throughout the desert southwest as well, and were heavily influenced by the regional Spanish culture after AD 1600. The use of peppers, some form of meat and spice boiled in a crude stoneware pot over an open fire spans back many thousands of years to a time well before the Aztec and Maya cultures of middle America.

The recipe is traditionally quite spicy. Sadly, it is almost unheard of in the Midwest.

Its popularity today is evident the minute you step into a southwest restaurant or cantina. There you’ll see it served over burritos, on tacos, huevos rancheros or all by itself with a big mug of Corona beer and some tortillas on the side for dipping.

 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, good quality (you can use part rendered bacon fat for a richer base)
2-1/2 to 3 lbs lean pork shoulder or cubes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 large Spanish onions, coarse chopped
1 bulb fresh garlic, sections peeled and fine chopped
3 large carrots (yes, carrots), peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch chunks
6-8 jalapeños, diced, with seeds (gut ‘em if you want a milder batch)
(2) 27oz. cans Hatch* whole mild New Mexican green chilies, drained and cut into 1/4 inch strips.
(*You will have to go to a Mexican market for these. They are impossible to find in most supermarkets in such large cans.)
(5) 8oz. cans chicken stock (Swanson is a good brand)
1-1/2 tbs. dried Mexican oregano leaf
2 tsp. ground chipotle powder, to taste
2 tbs. cumin seed, toasted over medium heat in a skillet, and ground in a mortar
2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 potato, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
2 tbs. masa harina (corn meal) used as thickener

 

Preparation:

In a five-quart dutch oven, (preferably cast iron) heat about two tbs. olive oil to medium-high heat and brown the pork until no longer pink. You will want to work in batches; possibly using another large frying pan as well. I like this method as it prevents crowding the meat, resulting in a more even sear.

Using a Chinese spider strainer, remove the meat from the fat and reserve in the dutch oven, covered on low heat.

Sauté the onions and jalapeños in a heavy, cast-iron fry pan until very tender, about 20 min. Transfer to the dutch oven. Carefully sauté the chopped garlic by reducing the heat, as it burns easily and will taste bitter if scorched.

Increase heat on dutch oven to medium. Add the chicken stock, spices and Hatch chilies. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1-1/2 hours uncovered, stirring frequently. Add the carrot and shredded potato and cook an additional 1/2 hour until tender.

For best results, prepare the day before and then reheat and serve. Chili is one dish that really benefits from an overnight rest. You can add the cornmeal at this time to thicken it up to your liking, but generally Green Chili should have a stew-like consistency. You may also adjust the seasoning (salt/heat) at this time.

Freezes well… but you won’t have any leftovers.

Makes 4.5 quarts.

 

Roasting poblano peppers with a propane torch | Culinary Compost

Roasting poblano peppers with a propane torch. The tough outer skin is unpalatable and should be removed before baking.