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.

Pork Ribs Adobo

I have a really great feeling about Filipino food trending this year. As my father-in-law, as well as plenty of extended family are Filipino, I have been blessed to hear stories of their great cuisine, or been around it to try it. I’ve tried enough of the main staples, and have posted them on this site, and hands down (besides lumpia and pancit) on of my favorite dishes is Filipino adobo. Whether that adobo be chicken or pork, it does not really matter. There is something about the aroma, the simplicity, and when eaten with a bit of rice, well, you have yourself a really awesome meal.

My wife will always tell stories about her road trips when growing up as a kid, and her dad busting out a pan of adobo when traveling across country, and that aroma perfuming the car. I’m not too certain if she was a fan of that aroma at that age, but it is one she loves, and my entire family has loved since I’ve been making it. This is pork ribs adobo. It has the bone, plenty of fall apart pork off of that bone, and one that is truly freaking delicious.

Filipino Pork Ribs Adobo Recipe
Filipino Pork Ribs Adobo Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 6 lbs of pork ribs, silver skin removed, cut into 2 rib portions
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3 whole bay leaves
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • garlic fried rice, optional (but you know you want it)

Start by adding all of those pork ribs to a large sealable bag or bowl. Next, take the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, onion, bay leaves, and salt, and mix that into a bowl.

Pour this mixture into the sealable bag, and let this marinate 24 hours, preferably, but you can probably get away with 4 hours. Your call.

Filipino Pork Ribs Adobo Ingredients
Filipino Pork Ribs Adobo Ingredients

At some point in time, massage that marinade into the ribs.

When you are ready to cook, add the ribs and marinade into a dutch oven, or something that can hold all of those ribs, and cook on the stove on low heat for about 4 hours.

The ribs should be close to fall apart tender. Once you hit that stage, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Place however many ribs you want onto a baking sheet, and into the heated oven, and cook for about 10 minutes or until you get an nice crisp on the outside.

Take some of the cooked marinade and cook on medium-high heat on the stove. Bring to a boil, then add to a fat strainer if you have one. The ribs do give off a bunch of fat so you will want to remove as much as possible. Keep in mind you can make this a day ahead, store the ribs separately from the cooked marinade, then on the next day, when the fat has solidified from being in the refrigerator, scoop off and discard, keeping just the non-fat marinade.

Once the ribs have gotten nice and crisp on the outside, remove and pour over that cooked marinade.

Plate and serve. You not only get fall apart pork, but the aroma is to die for. It’s that vinegar, mixed with the garlic that just perfumes that pork that it is super hard not to love. So much that I heard my boys moaning a bit, and my wife and daughter who just kept their heads down not saying a word but just scooping forks and spoons of this stuff into their mouths. Yep, it’s that good.

Get your Filipino food on this year. Trust me, it’s hard not to love. Hope you enjoy!

Nam Prik Pao – Thai Chili Condiment

For those of you that love Thai food, there is a condiment, or sauce if you will, known as Nam Prik Pao. Nam prik in Thai commonly refers to a general term for a spicy sauce that is often used as a condiment, or dipping sauce. You can find this sauce at your local Asian market, and there are probably so many different versions, but this is my go to recipe. This Thai dipping sauce is sweet, has some heat, and has this awesome layer of funk that has you using it on so many different foods, whether with eggs, grilled meats, or sauteed vegetables. This is a real winner whether you enjoy Thai or Asian flavors. I simply cannot get enough of it.

Nam Prik Pao Recipe
Nam Prik Pao Recipe

Now I have made some really great sauces in the past, for example nam prik ong, Thai three sauce (to die for), and a couple of my favorites being jeow and nam jim jaew, but this particular one is a bit different, and one to compete with.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of canola oil
  • 1 cup of dried puya chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup dried morita chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup dried chile del arbol, stems and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup tamarind concentrate
  • 3 tbsp palm sugar (or light brown if you do not have palm sugar)
  • 1 whole head of garlic, skins removed
  • 4 whole shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp roasted shrimp paste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce

Start by taking the seeds out of all of the chilies. I highly recommend you wear kitchen latex gloves during this process. Trust me, and thank me later. Once the seeds and stems have been removed, add them to a large skillet over medium heat, simply to lightly toast them and bring out their essential oils. Be careful not to burn the chilies, so keep stirring them for a few minutes, then place onto a plate for later use.

To the same skillet, add the oil, and toss in the garlic cloves. Cook the garlic, again not to burn it but just until they turn a golden brown. Remove the garlic with a kitchen spider, or slotted spoon, and place them on the same plate as the chilies.

To the same oil, add in the shallots, and cook until they begin to get golden as well. Once golden, remove with a slotted spoon and place these, along with the garlic and chilies to a food processor.  Turn off the heat, but keep the oil in the skillet for future use.

Thai Nam Prik Pao Ingredients
Thai Nam Prik Pao Ingredients

Pulse these in the food processor until you have a nice paste. Scrape down the sides if necessary during this process.

Once you have a paste, add the skillet back on medium heat with the oil, and add the chili paste, shrimp paste, tamarind, fish sauce, and palm sugar. Gently stir, turning down the heat to low, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring throughout that time. Remove from the heat, and spoon into a sealable jar or container and let it cool before placing in the refrigerator.

This nam prik pao is super yummy. Granted when no one is looking I take a small spoonful and eat it, but you can use this condiment to spread on toast, dip pork rinds into, use with soups or stews, or just serve with anything. It’s an awesome condiment, and one that will not only having you get your arsenal of Thai ingredients in line, but one you will love. Hope you enjoy!

Thai Curry Mussels

It was not too long ago when fresh mussels were on sale at one of our local grocery stores. In the past, I typically would buy them frozen, then steam them but as they were fresh, I decided I would go all in. It was my kids last day of school, and I figured I would throw it out there and see if they would be keen on the idea of having them as an end of year celebration. Low and behold they did and I decided to buy a few pounds of mussels. What’s funny is that one of my pickiest of eaters (he’s getting much better) was stoked about eating them. So I arrived home, and got to work. At first I thought I would do a simple wine and butter sauce to steam the mussels in, but then I quickly turned my attention to making a killer Thai curry and coconut broth, introducing something a bit different to them. These Thai curry mussels had just the right amount of heat that did not distract from the flavor of the mussels, and my kid ate a ton of them.

Thai Curry Mussels
Thai Curry Mussels

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 can of Thai green curry paste
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 lbs fresh mussels

Simple stuff here, and feel free to use other types of curry paste. I used the prik king curry paste from Maesri which is a spicy ginger style of curry paste, and one that I really like, but feel free to use their red or yellow paste if you have that in stock.

To a large pot, large enough to house the mussels, get the heat going on medium heat. Add the canola oil and bring it to a light smoke, only a couple of minutes, then add in the green curry paste. Stir, and cook for a couple of minutes. Next add in the coconut milk, and water, and stir to incorporate and break down the curry paste. Once this comes to a simmer, add in the mussels.

Make sure that all of the mussels are closed, and feel free to scrub off any exterior beard material from the mussels ahead of time should they not already be cleaned.

Thai Curry Mussels
Thai Curry Mussels

Stir the mussels into the coconut curry mixture, then cover, and cook and steam the mussels until they all open up.

Please note, that any mussels that do not open up, then discard.

Once the mussels are all opened, pour the mussels and broth into a large serving bowl and dig in.

Feel free to serve these with some nice crusty bread, or spoon the broth over some cooked jasmine rice.

It was funny watching my oldest go to town on these. He could not stop eating them, and he loved the spice from the broth. These Thai curry mussels were a great way to end the school year that’s for certain. Hope you enjoy!