My wife and I (and my family for that matter) have been on a soup kick since late fall. Soup is so comforting. We have so many favorites. My wife’s go to soup is probably Chicken Tortilla Soup whereas mine is probably Vietnamese pho, or this (or any type) Mexican Posole Verde. The thing I love about posole is that you can go the red (rojo) route, or go green (verde) and that it is loaded with hominy. I love hominy. This soup is super easy to make, makes a bunch, and is packed full of comfort.
Let’s get started.
8 large green tomatillos, husked
2 whole onions, chopped
6 cloves of garlic
2 whole jalapeno chilies, seeds removed is optional
1 serrano chili, seeds removed is optional
25 oz can of hominy, drained
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 cups chicken stock
1 green cabbage, shredded
6 whole radishes, thinly sliced
salt to taste
cracked black pepper to taste
lime, quarted, optional
corn tortillas, warmed
Start by adding the chicken to a soup pot. Add the chicken stock, and 1 chopped onion. Next, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. To a baking sheet, add the remaining onion, tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno, and serrano chilies.
Bake for about 30 minutes until everything is well roasted. Add these ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the stock. Let it cool until you can shred or chop. Your call on this one.
Pour the chili blend into the soup pot, along with the drained hominy. Return the chicken back to the pot, give a good stir, and cook for about 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt if you desire.
To serve, ladle a nice amount into a bowl and serve alongside warm tortillas, shredded cabbage, radish, and lime. Spoon in some of the sides, taking bites of warm tortillas. Repeat. Now I need to make another batch! I hope you enjoy.
Crispy pig ears, I know. Who the heck makes crispy pig ears? This dude does, that’s who. I forgot when and where I had these but were they ever awesome. They actually reminded me of a really good slimmed down chicharron. Crunchy, funky, and delicious. I tend to always look at this type of stuff when I shop at my local Mexican grocery store. They have everything, and granted there are some items that are not pleasing to the eye and I shun away from them rather quickly, there are others that really grab my attention. In particular these pig ears, and hopefully in the future, a cow or pig’s head. Who knows what I might make of those. Maybe some Filipino sisig, or maybe just braised and roasted to start digging into the cheek meat, etc. But these pig ears…. Those little suckers caught my attention and I knew I wanted to try to recreate those crispy, crackling things of beauty for my kids. Yes, my kids.
Let’s get started.
1 package of pig ears (mine came 4 ears to a package)
2 cups of soy sauce
4 bay leaves
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp salt
Start by rinsing off the ears with cold water. Once thoroughly rinsed, add them to a stock pot.
Add enough water to cover, and bring them to a boil, reducing the heat once boiling. Remove any and all of the scum that floats to the top and discard. This is much like cooking down bones for Vietnamese pho or any good stock.
After about 20-30 minutes, pour out the water, and give the ears another rinse, leaving them in the pot. Once rinsed, add the soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorn, and vinegar. Add enough water to cover the ears, then continue to cook over medium heat for about 2 hours.
After a couple of hours, pour out the liquid, and remove the pig ears, placing them in a bowl or plate to let cool.
Once cooled, slice them into strips, or chunks if you want. Whatever your desired bite is going to be. Rub the teaspoon of salt all over them. Once sliced, and cooled, cover them and place them into refrigerator overnight.
The following day, heat enough canola oil on medium heat in a pan. NOTE: These will splatter a bit due to the fat content, so be prepared.
Once the oil is hot, about 350 degrees, pat the pig ears a bit before dropping them in, add the sliced pig ears in batches, and cook each batch until they are crispy.
A bit messy from the splattering, just a heads up.
Once they are crisp, remove them with a slotted spoon and onto a paper lined plate to remove any excess oil. Add the sliced ears to a small bowl and season lightly with salt. Repeat.
These pig ears are sticky from the gelatin the ears contain, crispy, and an overall unique experience that my kids (with the exception of one) actually enjoyed. Would I make them again? Probably. But in the future, I will have to hunt down where we had them and go from there. Have you ever cooked crispy pig ears, and if so what were your thoughts?
I’m always looking for something to do with my leftovers and to be honest I am a bit surprised I had any leftovers from a recent Thai/Lao larb fest. I will also be honest and state that larb is probably one of my top 10 things to eat. There’s something about the medley of flavors and the interaction when grabbing a bit of sticky rice and nubbing it down into the herbaceous larb. I’ve done a bunch of different things outside of the standard larb recipe, of which includes leftovers. Everything larb fried rice, larb bao, and larb quesadillas to name a few. This one on the other hand goes right up there with an excellent use of leftovers, still has that great heat (depending on how you make the larb), and is filling to boot. This one is larb stuffed loaded baked potatoes. I can probably chalk this one up with all of the potato skins I’ve made in the past as well.
1 1/2 cups of leftover larb (feel free to use beef, pork, or chicken)
1 baking potato
1/2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
That’s it. Granted you may thinking making larb takes a bunch of time, but seriously, it takes about 5 minutes, or as long to cook your protein
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees, or use your microwave if you want to roll that way, and poke some holes into the potato with a fork.
Take some olive oil and lightly coat the exterior of the potato, and season with a bit of salt. I love a crusty, salty potato, and yes, I eat the whole thing.
Bake or microwave the potato until it is knife tender in the middle. This takes about 8-10 minutes in the microwave, or about 45-60 minutes in the oven.
Once the potato is fully cooked, remove it from the oven, take a butter knife and make a long slit through the top, then carefully using your fingers give it a pinch to make a nice open pocket.
Warm your leftover larb in a skillet, or microwave, then generously load the larb into the baked potato. You can see the extra Thai chilies I added (nice boost for vitamin C), and how loaded it is. I also wanted some extra heat. Did I mention that I find myself eating a Thai chili a day? For whatever it’s worth, it hasn’t kept the doctor away, but I do love them.
If you are looking for a great and interesting take on a loaded baked potato, give this one a shot, but by all means, if you have not had Thai/Lao larb you must make it. It’s addicting. Hope you enjoy!
Snack, Crackle, Pop. Repeat. I’ve said this before but Filipino food is on the rise, and much like many top chefs have predicted, Filipino food will begin to surprise you. If you have never had Filipino food, just give it a try. Granted, I have yet to find a sweet Filipino dessert that I like (but then again I do not like many desserts as I am not a sweet tooth), but the savory dishes are to die for. This one might be the one to top it off. There are many common, top, Filipino dishes that you might already be aware of such as Pancit, lumpia, or even Kare Kare, but there is one that is top notch, and that is lechon kawali.
Your cardiologist may not like you after this, nor probably your primary physician, but in moderation, this Filipino crispy pork is so simple to make, and makes a perfect party food. Traditionally made with pork belly, you can also try it with pork ribs just make sure you have plenty of fat to render on the second cooking cycle. Yep, there are two cooking steps going on here.
Let’s get started.
2 lbs boneless pork belly, cut into 2 inch long strips
1 head of garlic, skins removed, bulbs smashed
4 whole bay leaves
3 tbsp black peppercorns
3/4 cup soy sauce
White Vinegar, to your liking
Soy sauce, to your liking
Chopped garlic, to your liking
cracked black pepper, to your liking
1 Thai birds eye chili, smashed, optional or Thai chili flakes
I recently made this for my son’s birthday party, as well as another Filipino gathering and both times they rocked the socks off of the party guests. You know you’ve done right when the Filipinos are giving you a thumbs up, a hug, or a high five after eating your food. This is a winner.
Start by adding the pork belly, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, soy sauce, and enough water to cover the pork belly into a large pot or dutch oven. Cover, and bring to a simmer, cooking for about 1 hour. This is to tenderize the pork, and infuse all of the great flavor from those aromatics.
After 1 hour or so, get a baking sheet out and line it with a wire rack.
Take the strips of pork belly and lay them on the rack, making sure any of the excess liquid goes back into the pot. Once the strips are laid out, lightly salt them with kosher salt. This will assist with the dehydration process and get them ready for the next step the following day, if not hours later in the day.
Place the baking sheet, uncovered in the refrigerator. I do this over night.
When you are ready to go with the next step, take the pork out of the refrigerator and cut them into bite sized cubes, about 1-2 inches in size. Go larger if you prefer.
Heat a pot of oil, about 2-3 cups of canola oil, in a medium sized pot, and bring this to about 350-375 degrees.
In batches, fry the pork. This should take about 5-7 minutes per batch. Once golden and the fat is rendered and crispy, remove with a slotted spoon or kitchen spyder and place onto a paper lined plate to remove any excess oil. Let the oil in the pot come back to temp, then repeat until the lechon kawali is cooked.
NOTE: If you are frying these bad boys, make sure you reserve some for yourself because if you turn your back, trust me, these babies will be gone. This happened to me when I brought them to a party for our friend Miguel to chop up and fry. I didn’t even get a single piece! No worries on that part however, as I know that when I am snacking with the family, that I am sure to get a few pieces.
And that dipping sauce? Go for it. The combination of garlic, vinegar, soy, and chili. That’s a whole other level when it comes to dipping sauce.
If you are looking for a great party appetizer, and don’t mind frying with a bit of oil, this one is sure to please and is a real crowd pleaser not only for those wanting to try some Filipino flavors, but for those who love great, easy food. Hope you enjoy!