Friday, December 10, 2010


This week was Andrew’s turn, and it was a Mexican themed soup night. I’d like to say it was in honor of Nick’s trip to Mexico, and his absence from soup night, but….

Polenta Fries
Pinto-Bean Mole Chile with Pulled Pork
Spicy Chocolate Chili Brownies a la mode

Polenta Fries
serves 4
*adapted from Martha Stewart

2 tubes (18 ounces each) plain prepared polenta
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Unwrap and cut each tube of polenta in half crosswise. Then cut each half lengthwise into 8 wedges.

Drizzle olive oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Place polenta wedges on baking sheet; season with salt and pepper, and turn gently to coat with oil. Arrange wedges in a single layer.

Bake, turning once with a thin metal spatula, until golden and crisp, 45 to 50 minutes. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Transfer to a shallow dish, and serve hot.

Pinto-Bean Mole Chile with Pulled Pork
Serves 6
Adapted from Epicurious

The original recipe called for dried chiles. I couldn’t find any at the store, so I got fresh chiles. I regret this, because the dried chile would of made the mole smokier.

2 medium ancho chiles
1 jalapeño chile
1 chipotle chile, canned
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
Rounded 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium zucchini, chopped
3 yellow squash, chopped
3/4 pound kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (3 tablespoons)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
1 1/4 cups water
3 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Garnish; chopped cilantro; chopped scallions; sour cream; pulled pork(see recipe below)

Slit chiles lengthwise, then stem and seed. Heat a dry heavy medium skillet over medium heat until hot, then toast the ancho and jalapeño chiles, opened flat, turning and pressing with tongs, until they begin to get darker. Chop and set aside. Chop chipotle chile and add to the pepper mixture. Add cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

Cook onions in oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute, then add the chile mixture and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in zucchini and kale and cook, covered, 5 minutes. Add zest, sugar, chocolate, tomatoes with their juice, and water and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in beans and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt. Garnish with cilantro, scallions, sour cream, and pulled pork.

Pulled Pork
Pork Shoulder
Chicken Broth
Special Equipment- Crock Pot

Cut excess fat off pork shoulder, and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Heat a skillet and brown each side of the pork. Slice onion and peel garlic (keep whole), and place half of on the bottom of the crock-pot. Place pork on top and the rest of the onion and garlic on top of the pork. Fill crock-pot a third of the way with broth. Cook for 9 hours on low. Remove onion, garlic, and most of the broth. Shred pork and serve.

Spicy Chocolate Chili Brownies
Serves 6
*adapted from Rachel Ray

8 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing the pan
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 /3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 pint vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

Place the chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring until smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove the chocolate from the heat and whisk in both sugars until smooth.

In a re-sealable plastic bag, combine the flour, cocoa powder, chili powder, baking powder and salt and shake together to mix. Whisk the eggs, 1 at a time, into the barely warm chocolate mixture. Add the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and bake until set, about 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then cut and serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.
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