Caldo Verde

Caldo verde essentially translates to green broth, or in my case one delicious Portuguese soup. I have kind of made it a mission to make soup once a week, however I should probably make it a few times a week, but there are really only three of us soup eaters in the family at this point in time. Typically when I make soup, it tends to feed an army and hence why I probably only make it once a week. Caldo verde is loaded with awesomeness. It is essentially a soup made with greens, chicken stock, and typically some smoked sausage. I actually jazz mine up a bit adding a bit of bacon, and a handful of beans, but that kind of breaks some of that traditional soup, so those are optional if you are wanting to make it.

Caldo Verde Soup Recipe
Caldo Verde Soup Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 2 russet potatoes, peel and cut into cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 7 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 bunch of collard greens, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 ring of smoked sausage (I used kielbasa) sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • handful of red beans, optional
  • salt to taste
  • a good loaf of crusty bread

Start by getting a large pot, or dutch oven heating on medium heat.

Add in the olive oil, garlic, shallots, and onion. Cook for about 7 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary, just to sweat the onions. Next add in the russet potatoes and chicken stock, and cook on medium heat for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Ingredients for making Caldo Verde
Ingredients for making Caldo Verde

Once the potatoes are tender, ladle this mixture into your blender. Please note that whenever you are adding hot stuff into a blender, do not fill it all of the way up, and always use a towel to cover the top lid. Pressure builds up doing this and I would not want you having hot soup all over your kitchen!

Blend the mixture into a smooth consistency. Do this in batches if you have to. Once you have a smooth mixture, return it back to the pot on the stove. Add the beans if you are using them. Bring the soup to a medium-low heat, and during this time cooke your bacon. I like to add in the sliced kielbasa as well when cooking the bacon to get it a bit crisp.

Add the kielbasa, cooked and crumbled bacon, Yukon potatoes, and ribbons of collard greens to the soup, and cook until the potatoes are for tender. Season with any salt, to taste, if you desire.

Ladle into your soup bowls, keep your head down, and dig in! This soup is super comforting and perfect on any winter day. Serve with some nice rustic bread for dipping and repeat! Enjoy.

Baked Chicken Verde Chimichanga

Good Lord do I ever love a chimichanga. I think I may have first had one back in my high school days at a local American-Mex joint called Chi-Chi’s. You know this was the type of place where all of us gringos thought we were having real Mexican food, only to realize years later that it was totally not, but only catered to us gringos, and the place would pack it in. Regardless, that’s where my love for the chimichanga was born. It’s essentially a deep fried burrito, loaded with goodness.

Instead of deep frying, I decided I would load these large flour tortillas up with some awesome chicken verde I made, along with rice and beans, and bake them, you know… to be a bit healthier than deep frying.

The result was awesome. Still crisp as you may expect from deep frying with way less the hassle.

Baked Chicken Chimichanga Recipe
Baked Chicken Chimichanga Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the salsa verde:

  • 5 whole tomatillos, husks removed
  • small handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, skin on
  • generous pinch of salt, to taste
  • 3 serrano chilies, seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/2 cup (or more of water)

Ingredients for the chicken chimichanga:

  • 3 whole chicken breasts
  • 5 large flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup of Mexican or Spanish rice, per chimichanga
  • 1/2 cup of cooked refried beans, per chimichanga
  • 8 oz bag of Mexican Chihuahua cheese
  • 8 oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese
  • hot sauce, optional
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil

Start by making your salsa verde. Add the tomatillos, garlic, and chilies to a roasting sheet. Place in a 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until they are nicely charred. Once cooked, remove them from the oven, let cool, then remove the skin from the garlic cloves. They should pretty much just slide on out.

During this time, add the chicken breasts to a large pot of water, bring to a simmer, and cook until the chicken is fully cooked through, about 25 minutes or longer. Once cooked through, remove the chicken breasts to a plate to let cool.

Place all of the salsa ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until you have a fine salsa. Taste and adjust any salt.

Clean out that chicken pot. Next, remove the skins from the chicken breasts and discard. Shred all of the chicken and return the shredded chicken back to the pot. Pour in the salsa verde, bring to a medium heat, stirring along the way, and cook for about 20 more minutes. TRUST ME, THIS CHICKEN BY ITSELF IS AWESOME.

Baked Chicken Chimichanga Recipe
Baked Chicken Chimichanga Recipe

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Take a flour tortilla and warm it on a skillet or in a microwave just until it softens. Once it is softened and more pliable, then it is time for the chimichanga making.

Lay the tortilla onto a plate, spread on the refried beans, add about a cup of chicken mixture (I use a slotted spoon to remove any excess salsa) onto the tortilla, closest to you, then add on the rice. Roll over a bit tightly, fold in the sides, and continue to roll until you have it seam side down. Lightly brush on some canola oil, and then repeat with any remaining tortillas. I made five for the family, but there is still plenty of chicken to be used for any leftovers, and as in my case enchiladas.

Take a baking sheet, add the chimichangas, and cook for about 15 minutes in the preheated oven. The goal is to get them nice and crisp. After about 15 minutes, remove, top with as much Chihuahua and cheddar cheese as you would like, and if you want, a bit more chicken mixture on top, and place back into the oven until the cheese is nicely melted.

Remove and serve. I topped mine with some nice habanero hot sauce for some kick.

The end result is everything I love about a chimichanga, and my entire family would agree. I don’t think anyone spoke at dinner time that evening as they devoured these things. If you are looking for a great meal, loaded with great flavor and texture, then give these baked chicken verde chimichangas a try. I’m certain you will love them!

 

Mexican Tlayuda

I know what you may  be thinking right off the start. T-what? Tlayuda. It’s essentially Mexican street food, in particular of the pizza descent. Think of great Mexican ingredients loaded onto a cooked, large flour tortilla. This is typically street food, and good Lord is it ever good, and fun to eat. This is a popular snack food, but let me tell you, it can be turned into a meal depending on the ingredients you put onto it. Typically a single tortilla, I was super hungry and decided I would go full force and make this a ‘double tlayuda’. Think of it as an open faced pizzadilla. You can make these with all sorts of your favorite proteins, but I wanted chorizo, a classic Mexcican ingredient, and in particular on the tlayuda. The classic uses some drizzle of lard, but I’m not into that as I am getting enough from smashed black beans cooked in some oil, garlic, and onions.

Mexican Tlayuda Pizza Recipe
Mexican Tlayuda Pizza Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large flour tortillas (You can use one if you prefer)
  • 15 oz can of black beans, drained, cooked, lightly mashed
  • Approximately 1 cup of Mexican chorizo, fat strained, and cooked until a bit dry
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of raw slaw
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • your favorite hot sauce or salsa
  • 1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz bag monterray jack cheese

Start by getting a small pot on the stove on medium heat. Add in the oil, then toss in the onions, cooking a few minutes until lightly softe

Mexican Tlayuda Pizza Ingredients
Mexican Tlayuda Pizza Ingredients

ned, then add in the garlic. After about a minute, toss in the black beans and water. Cook for about 15 minutes on medium to medium-low heat. Once the beans have softened a bit, use a fork, or potato masher, and start to mash the beans. I do not go for a few refried blend on these as I like some texture from the beans. Go about 50/50 on that mash.

OK, next step. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take a flour tortilla, smear some black beans on it, some cheese, and some jalapenos to your liking, (again I  used two on this one as a stack), and place it on a sheet pan and place in the preheated oven. Cook for about 2 minutes, just to cook it slightly to lightly brown.  Once the cheese is slightly melted, remove from the oven.

Stack another tortilla on top. Gently press. Add enough bean mash to lightly coat the the entire top tortilla, then a generous amount of cheese to cover the top, then more jalapenos (if ou desire). Spread the cooked chorizo all over the top tortilla, along with a generous amount of cheese, and place back into the oven. Cook until the cheese is nice and melted, the tortilla nicely browned, and then remove.

Once you remove, shower with some of the raw coleslaw, fresh cilantro, and drizzle your favorite salsa or hot sauce.

Now you can fold this, or you can slice into wedges. I’m a wedge man. Wedges are good.

Mexican Tlayuda Pizza
Mexican Tlayuda Pizza

Holy Moly. If you think about this all together, well you are going to drool. When you eat it, it makes you want to be alone and devour the whole thing so no one is looking. It’s so good, and something that should probably come off the street and onto Mexican restaurant menus. Spice, cheese, crisp, soft, veg. What’s not to love. Make it (stacked or not), and I’m sure you will love it. Enjoy!

 

 

Indian Chili

I have had a serious craving for Indian food lately. I mean like a really bad craving. Unfortunately there are not a whole lot of Indian restaurants near where I live, so I had to take matters into my own hands and come up with what I am calling Indian chili. I call it that as while my wife, daughter, and I were eating it my wife had asked what the dish was called. I had no clue, but it was hearty, comforting, and truly delicious, plus it was on a Sunday, a day where I normally make chili, so I coined it Indian chili.

Indian Chili Recipe
Indian Chili Recipe

The recipe has everything I love about Indian food, and is loaded with two types of beans, making it a healthy choice for weeknight meals.

Lets get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of red lentils, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
  • 1 cup of red beans, soaked in warm water for 45 minutes
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small potato, diced
  • 1 whole carrot, finely diced
  • 1 red chili, seeds removed, finely diced
  • 2 bonless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped
  • 5 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • salt to taste
  • whole cashews, optional
  • Naan, warmed, optional
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, divided
  • salt to taste

Start by straining your lentils and beans, and pick out any rocks if you see them. I rarely do, but some times they slip in.

Next, heat a large pot, enough to hold all of this madness, and heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Add in the onions, potatoes, and carrots, and cook until the onion begins to soften. Once softened, add in the ginger, garlic, and chili. Once the garlic perfumes your kitchen, toss in the lentils and beans, and give a good stir. Cook this on medium heat for a couple of minutes, then increase the heat to medium-high and add in the chicken stock. Next add in the chicken, cover, reducing the heat to medium-low, and cook until the red beans have softened, about 1 1/2 hours.

Once the beans have softened, get another small skillet set on medium-high heat, and add the remaining oil.

Indian Chili Ingredients
Indian Chili Ingredients

Once the oil shimmers, get the lid ready to cover, and toss in the mustard seeds. Quickly cover as those seeds are going to start dancing and the oil is going to start popping. Once the seeds pop, add in the turmeric, paprika, and cumin, giving a nice stir. After about 20 seconds of stirring, scoop all of that mixture into the chili pot and give that a good stir. Cook the chili for about another 10 minutes, allowing all of those awesome spices to infuse the chili.

Season the chili with a generous pinch of salt, stir, and taste. If it needs more salt, and it may, feel free to add more.

Ladle the Indian chili into a bowl, sprinkle with cashews, and serve with warm naan.

Talk about a great spin on Indian food, and the comfort of chili, this one is it. If you are looking for a great weekend meal to prepare, and one that gets better for leftovers, give this one a shot. Hope you enjoy!