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.


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



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.

Indian Pork Vindaloo

This is a recipe from western India, originating in the province of Goa and is a staple in most Indian restaurants. It is traditionally very hot due to the large amount of dried red chili pepper. I’ve seen many variations that use lamb or even chicken. What I love about this recipe (aside from the intense heat) is the pungent combination of the masala rub that compliments the tart bite of the vinegar and lemon.

Serve with basmati rice.


For the Masala Rub/Marinade-
1 tsp. whole cumin seed
1 tsp. coriander seed
1/2″ chunk of whole cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
10 black peppercorns
1 or 2 tbs. fine-ground hot red pepper or 8-10 whole hot red chili pods
1/2 tsp. turmeric
6 whole cloves
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

1″ chunk of fresh ginger, grated
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled and minced or crushed through a press
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup white vinegar


2 pounds pork shoulder or cubes, cut into even-sized 1″ pieces
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 ripe red tomatoes
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 cup water
3 tbs. butter, ghee or canola oil

Indian Basmati rice


Combine the dry spice ingredients in a spice grinder and pulse until finely ground. Place in a non-reactive mixing bowl with the minced garlic and ginger. Add the lemon juice and white vinegar and mix to form a paste. Add the pork and mix to coat well, cover and marinate in your fridge for at least six hours (overnight is best.)

When ready, process the onion and tomatoes in a food processor until finely chopped. Remove and set aside.

Heat the butter or canola oil in a large 5-quart heavy bottomed casserole or cast-iron dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the marinated pork and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Stir often to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

Add the onion/tomato mixture and salt to the pot. Bring to a boil and add the water to cover and bring to a slow boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered for about one to one and a half hours until the pork is tender. Taste, correct the seasoning with salt, if necessary. Serve hot with basmati rice on the side.

Classic Chicken Booyah

This is a regional recipe you will not find anywhere outside of Northeast Wisconsin. It hails from Belgian settlers who traditionally cooked it in large quantities over an outdoor fire. Here is a much more manageable version for home use. Enjoy – slow and low are key to achieving the best flavor.


1 pound beef or pork stew meat, cubed in 1″ squares
2 large spanish onions, chopped
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 tsp. dry thyme
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tbs. garlic powder
1 large stewing chicken (6 lbs), cut up (you can also use rotisserie chicken)
5 ribs celery, chopped
1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 pound cabbage, shredded
3 cups frozen or fresh green beans, chopped
1 can (28 ounces) chopped tomatoes (or fresh, if you’ve got ’em)
2 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed and chopped with skins on
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbs. soy sauce
2-4 chicken flavored bouillon cubes (optional)

Oyster crackers


Place beef in very large stock pot with some of the onion, a few bay leaves, the thyme, poultry seasoning, garlic powder and the salt and pepper. Add enough cold water to fill the pot 1/3 full. Bring to simmer, skim surface as needed and cook 1/2 hour. Add chicken parts, more water (to cover all the meat) and a little more salt. Continue to simmer 1-2 hours, partially covered.

Prep the vegetables.

When meats are tender, lift them out of the broth. While meat is cooling, add the prepared vegetables, including the remaining onion.

Remove bones and skin from cooled chicken and beef. Chop the meats and add back to the pot after all the veggies have been added. Simmer the soup at least two hours, partially covered. Best when simmered for at least six hours. If simmering this long, add the potatoes later so they don’t get too soft. Water may be added during the cooking process if necessary. Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and serve with oyster crackers.

Serves 6-8

Mom’s Beef Stew

This is my mom’s recipe. Nobody in our family remembers where she got it from, but it is a long-standing favorite that’s quite honestly older than dirt. Like most great recipes — it’s even better the second day.


4 tbs. (1/2 stick) real butter
2 lbs. beef stew meat (cubed into 1″ chunks)
flour for coating beef (reserve 1 tbs. if needed for sauce)
1 medium onion, diced
salt and pepper
1 tbs. garlic powder (not salt!)
1.5 quarts (6 cups) boiling water
2 tbs. celery flakes
2 bay leaves (optional)
1 tbs. beef base, to taste
1 tbs. Kitchen Bouquet® browning and seasoning sauce
Dash of Worchestershire sauce
5 good sized potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 large carrots, peeled and cubed
1 cup frozen peas


Place beef cubes in shaker bag with enough flour to coat. Shake until well covered, remove and set aside. You may need to do this in two batches.

Heat 4 tbs. butter in a heavy, 5-quart cast iron dutch oven over medium-high heat until melted.
Add the floured beef cubes and the diced onion to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the garlic powder. Brown the beef cubes until they have a nice dark crust (about 30 minutes.) Stir occasionally with a wooden spatula and scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan.
NOTE: The browned crust is essential in adding the correct flavor, so don’t rush this step.

Deglaze the bottom of the pot by filling it with about 1.5 quarts of boiling water.
Stir to mix the meat. Add the beef base, Kitchen Bouquet, Worchestershire sauce, bay leaves and celery flakes. Heat to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for two hours uncovered, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning if needed and add 1 tbs. reserved flour if the sauce is too thin.

While the pot is simmering, peel and quarter the potatoes and carrots. Reserve them in a pan of cold water until ready. Add them to the pot, simmer for an additional 45 minutes. Add the peas and simmer for 15 minutes longer or until potatoes and carrots are tender.

Stew should have a thick consistency. You can add a bit more water or beef broth if needed.

Serve with a crusty artisan bread and a nice salad.

Total time: 3.5 hours.
Makes 3 quarts.

Caldillo Beef Stew

“Caldillo” roughly translates to “Thick Soup.” While this recipe has many variations, it is similar to Mexican posole. Usually made with beef, it is popular in southwest New Mexico and Texas.
A hearty favorite.

Culled from The Hatch Chili Cookbook, no longer in print.


2 lbs. cubed round steak
2 tsp. bacon grease
6 cups water
8 oz. chopped Spanish onion
2 tomatillos, quartered
1/8 cup washed cilantro leaves
2 cups chopped Hatch NM green chilis
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
4 medium potatoes
4 large peeled carrots
8 large flour tortillas
Chopped green scallion as garnish


In 5 qt. stew pot or Dutch oven, brown the cubed meat in bacon grease. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, add the onion, tomatillo, chili, tomato sauce, garlic, salt and pepper.

Simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour or until meat is tender, then add chopped potatoes and carrots.

Continue to simmer until vegetables are tender (about 1/2 hour.) At the last 15 minutes, add the cilantro leaves.

Makes 8 servings.

Serve with warm tortillas and garnish with chopped scallion.

Southwest Pork Chili Verde

Southwest Pork Chili Verde Recipe | Culinary Compost Recipes

Pork Chili Verde (carne de cerdo chili verde, green chili or green chile 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 chiles (poblanos, Hatch New Mexican green, Anaheim varieties) spread throughout the desert southwest as well, and heavily influenced 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, Maya and Olmec 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.



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
2 dry bay leaves
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) 28 oz. cans Hatch* whole mild New Mexican green chiles, drained and cut into 1/4 inch strips, OR
8 large, fresh poblano peppers, cored, roasted and peeled
(*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

Top with sour cream and fresh-chopped cilantro



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 chiles or poblanos. 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.