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Category Archives: Recipes

tested by Chef Zach

Turkey Chili

No one questions that chili is a hearty dish, but does it have to be fattening?  By switching from beef to turkey, a significant amount of fat is eliminated, with zero sacrifice of flavor.  Cook time is disproportionate to prep time, so this is something that is easily started, forgotten, and then it’s practically ready!  Plus, leftovers the next day taste even better because there is more time for the flavors to marry and soak into the beans and meat!

turkey chili

turkey chili

Makes 8-10

1 1/4 lbs. of ground turkey

4 cups of beef broth

24 oz. of beer or ale

16 oz. of tomato sauce

12 oz. of dry pinto beans

1 can of kidney beans

1 large white onion

1/4 cup of chili powder

1/4 cup of corn flour

6 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbs. of tomato paste

2-3 tbs. of kosher salt (to taste, see below)

1 tbs. of cumin

Soak the dry pinto beans in water, preferably overnight.  Drain and thoroughly rinse the kidney beans.  Set aside for now.

Dice the onion, and cook in a dutch oven over medium-low heat on the stove until only lightly caramelized.  Turn the heat to high, then add the salt and meat to the onion, cooking long enough just to brown the meaat.  Add the chili powder, tomato paste, and cumin; stirring frequently, cook for 2 minutes.  Add the broth, beer, tomato sauce, pinto beans, and garlic, and cover to cook for 3-4 hours, or however long it takes for the pinto beans to be tender.  Add 1 tbs. of salt at each hour of cook time – but make sure to taste it first, because you don’t want to add more when it is already salted to your liking.  Add the kidney beans when 1 hour remains before being considered “done,” and add the corn flour when 30 minutes remain.

Garnish with shredded mild cheddar and sour cream, an serve with warmed corn tortillas or cornbread.

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Black Beans

You can’t get very far in Mexican cuisine without eating beans.  As a side dish, a component, or a main ingredient, they make their way into any menu, any time of day.  This recipe is beyond easy, as long as you have time.

black beans

black beans

Makes 4-6 servings

32 oz. of chicken broth

4 cups of water, plus a lot more for soaking the beans

1 lb. of black beans

1 white onion, diced in small pieces

1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

1 tbs. of chili powder

1 tbs. of ground cumin

1 tbs. (or two) of kosher salt (the second is to use to taste while cooking)

1 tsp. of dried Mexican oregano

1 tsp. of garlic powder

1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper

1 sliced jalapeño (optional)

Lay the beans out on a sheet pan and sort through them to make sure there are no rocks.  Fill a large pot with water, and put the beans in the water.  Let soak overnight in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 12 hours.  Drain the beans from the soaking water, and add all the ingredients except the second tablespoon of salt.  Stew for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until tender, stirring occasionally.  Taste for desired saltiness and add as necessary.  Serve with chopped cilantro, cotija cheese, and one of your favorite hot sauces, or wrapped up in a burrito, or spoon onto tostadas….

Tacos Al Pastor

Al pastor is one of our favorite styles of meat when dining at a Mexican restaurant.  The actual making of the special pork marinade and the tacos themselves is not all that difficult.  What’s difficult is waiting for hours for delicious food while the meat marinates for up to a day in the fridge!

tacos al pastor

tacos al pastor

Makes 12 tacos

2 lbs. of 1/4″-thick sliced pork sholder

12 corn tortillas

1 1/2 cup of chopped fresh pineapple

1 roughly chopped white onion

3 dried ancho chili peppers

3 dried guajillo chili peppers

3 chipotle chili peppers (from a can of adobo sauce)

2 tbs. of adobo sauce

2 tbs. of apple cider vinegar

2 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tbs.

2 tsp. of kosher salt

1 tbs. of butter

1 tsp. of ground cumin

1 tsp. of Mexican oregano

1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon

Salt to taste

saucy

saucy

Boil about 5-6 cups of water in a small saucepan to rehydrate the dried peppers.  Once the water is boiling, remove it from heat, then add the ancho and guajillo peppers and let sit for 10 minutes.  Drain from the water, remove the stems, split in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds.  Put all ingredients except the meat, tortillas, onion, 1 tbs. of olive oil, butter, and salt in a food processor, and pulse until smooth.

getting ready to sit in the fridge

getting ready to sit in the fridge

Coat the meat with the sauce on all sides.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours in a glass or ceramic dish covered with plastic wrap – do not let marinate on metal, because the pineapple would soak up a metallic taste.  The longer you marinate, the deeper the flavor.  However, if you happen to use canned pineapple even when the recipe calls for fresh, you will need to marinate the meat for at least 24 hours.

mostly grilled

mostly grilled

After marinating, you can either grill the meat on a propane grill over high heat for roughly 3 minutes on each side, or pan fry in a nonstick skillet, also over high heat and for about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove the heat from the heat source – at this point they are nearly 2/3 cooked – and transfer to a cutting board.

Trim away any excess fat and take the meat off the bones.  Cut the meat into 1/4″ pieces.  Heat the remaining 1 tbs. of olive oil and butter to a frying pan over medium-low heat, and cook the chopped onion for about 10 minutes until roughly caramelized.  At this time, turn the heat up to high and add the chopped meat.  Cook for another 5-6 minutes until the meat gets nicely brown and caramelized.

Warm the tortillas on an ungreased nonstick frying pan or griddle.  Load up the tortillas and add some optional garnishes: lime wedges, chopped cilantro, sour cream or crema mexicana, salsa verde, cotija cheese, Oaxacan cheese, guacamole, and pico de gallo.