Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Six – Ontario – Habitant Pea Soup

Welcome to Week Six of the Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday! This week we explore the province of Ontario, the second largest province in area, but with over 13 million residents, it is the largest in population. One in three people in Canada live in Ontario.

I am pretty familiar with Ontario, as I grew up in Western New York and a day trip to Niagara Falls was something we did almost every summer. I also attended the University of Buffalo and crossed over the border to get some Brador beer more than once. Or if we were low on funds, maybe just some Molson. The first concert I ever attended was in the mid 1970s at Ontario Place in Toronto. It was a science center/amusement park, which had outdoor concerts during the summer. I think I was 14 or 15 at the time. My sister and I went with some friends and saw KC and the Sunshine Band. Yep, I’m that old. It was actually a whole lot of fun and I am proud to say that I was a big fan back in the day.

When I went looking for a recipe, I discovered that a soup you are all most likely familiar with traces its roots back to Ontario. During the 400th anniversary of the French explorer Samuel de Champlain’s mapping expeditions along the Ottawa River, it was celebrated that these early settlers relied on provisions brought over from Europe to sustain them. These ingredients included cured meats and dried peas, which were cooked into what is known as Habitant Pea Soup. With the addition of locally available fresh vegetables, this hearty soup has become a staple in Ontario cooking.

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Ontario Habitant Pea Soup

The recipe that I used is actually from several sources, but all used similar ingredients and techniques. I have made split pea soup before, but have always made the green stuff; never using the yellow peas. I also have never made a ham stock which adds a ton of flavor. If you want to shorten the overall recipe, you can skip the stock making and just use chicken stock.

I give this one a solid A, and the whole house really liked it. The taste between green and yellow peas is really minimal, but the cooking time for yellow is shorter than green, so you could make this on a weeknight if you wanted to. Very yummy, give it a try!

Thanks for sticking with me and stopping by. See you next time in Prince Edward Island!

Habitant Pea Soup

Ingredients

For the Ham broth:

  • 2 small smoked ham hocks
  • 1 c diced carrots
  • 1 c diced celery
  • 1 c diced onion
  • 10 -12 cups cold water (enough to cover everything)
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 10 sprigs Italian flat parsley
  • 15 whole black peppercorns

Soup:

  • ¼ lb bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 c ham broth (or store bought chicken broth)
  • 1 lb Split Yellow Peas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ c each of diced carrots and celery
  • ½ c diced green or yellow pepper
  • ground pepper to taste

Directions

For the Ham Broth:

  1. In a large stock pot, place ham hocks, carrots, celery, onion and cold water (adding more cold water if needed to cover.)
  2. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a slow simmer.
  3. Add the thyme, bay leaves, parsley and peppercorns. Simmer for 1½ hours, skimming any foam from time to time.
  4. Drain stock through a colander, discarding vegetables but setting the ham hocks aside to cool. Cool and refrigerate the stock. Once the ham hocks are cool enough to handle but still warm, clean the meat from the bones, discarding the fatty and skin parts. Chop the meat into bite-size pieces and store in the fridge or freezer until needed.

For the Soup:

  1. Sort and rinse peas.
  2. In large soup pot, cook bacon, onion and garlic until bacon is crisp; if desired, drain off excess fat.
  3. Add ham stock, yellow split peas and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and boil gently 30 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, including the ham hock meat, and cook about 30 minutes longer or until peas and vegetables are tender.

ontario-pean-soup
Ontario Habitant Pea Soup
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Five Territories of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Six – The District of Columbia – Senate Soup

Welcome to week 6 of the Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday.  Wait, what? There are five populated territories in the US, so why do I have a week six? Well, I needed to round this whole thing out properly, and that means that I needed to include the little piece of land that makes up our nation’s capitol, Washington DC.  How fitting that tonight is election night. A brutally contested election that culminates tonight in our nation’s decision on who will lead our nation for the next four years. I have my very strongly held personal opinion on all of this, but will refrain from getting political.

Washington DC was founded on July 16, 1790 and is unique in all cities in the United States because it was established by the Constitution to be our nation’s capital. President George Washington chose the exact location of the city along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, which was created when both Maryland and Virginia ceded land to found the new ‘district’. The city itself was designed by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, modeled after his home city of Paris.

On this Election Day, I find it interesting that the citizens of Washington DC actually lack full self-governance. Their representation in Congress is limited to a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives and a shadow Senator. It was not until 1964 that residents of DC were allowed to vote in Presidential elections and the city was allowed to elect their own mayor in only 1973.

When searching for recipe for our nation’s capitol, the decision was one of the easiest of this whole journey. I decided on a very old tradition called Senate Soup, which is a dish that has been served in the Senate restaurant every day since 1903.

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Senate Soup

Now don’t get me wrong, although the recipe is simple, of course the story of this soup is complicated. There are various versions of the history, attributing its creation to either Senator Fred Dubois of Idaho or Senator Knute Nelson of Minnesota. And along with its different story owners, there are different versions of the soup. The actual recipe that is used today in the Senate restaurant is super simple, using just beans, ham hock and onion. The ‘other’ version actually uses mashed potatoes, which seemed like a whole lot of extra carbs without a lot of flavor gain.

I opted for a modified version that stuck to the simple version, but added some aromatics to enhance the overall flavor of the dish. I have never cooked with a smoked ham hock before and it was definitely a huge flavor booster to the soup, but it lacked meat on the bones. I fortunately had a ham bone in my freezer that I pulled out and added to the process, which gave me all the meat the soup needed. I would modify the recipe to include a meaty ham bone to insure you get a solid bean to meat balance. The result is a really delicious, homey, hearty soup that fills you up and makes you feel good. The perfect way to end this historic day.

I give my version a solid A+ and will add it to my rotation for future dinners.

This will round out our tour of the entire United States, including our territories and our nation’s capitol. I guess I need to get out my passport and decide where we are going next. Stay tuned! Thanks for stopping by and see you next week in…?

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Senate Soup

Senate Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried navy beans
  • 1 smoked ham hock, about 1 pound (if your ham hock does not have a lot of meat, you can also add a ham bone)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Place picked over and rinsed beans in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Cover with cold tap water by at least three inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2 minutes. Turn off heat, cover pot and let beans soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse.
  2. Combine beans, ham hock, garlic, 8 cups of water and bay leaves in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 1-1/2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium flame. Add onion, carrots and celery and toss to coat with butter. Sweat aromatics until just softening, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Transfer the ham hock/ham bone to a shallow bowl and let it cool slightly.
  5. Transfer a ladleful of the beans to a small bowl, along with a little of the liquid. Using a hand masher or a fork, mash the beans thoroughly and return to the pot. Stir in the vegetable mix and season generously with pepper.
  6. When the ham hock/ham bone is cooled enough to handle, remove the skin, fat and bones and chop the meat into small pieces. Return the meat to the pot and simmer uncovered for another 1-1/2 hours, until beans are completely tender and the liquid has reduced somewhat, creating a slightly thick broth.
  7. Taste soup and season with salt only if needed. The ham will add quite a bit of flavor, so the soup may not need any additional salt. Discard bay leaves.

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Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday – Week One – Puerto Rico – Asopao de Pollo

Welcome to week 1 of the Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday.  As you all know, I finished our adventure through the Fifty United States with Hawaii, and it was time to look for something new to do. And although I would love to start off on a new worldly culinary adventure, I felt that I was not doing our fine USA justice without a nod to our outlying land masses, otherwise known as the US Territories.

In actuality, there are 16 American territories worldwide, but only 5 of them are inhabited full time. I am going to try to discover interesting foods from these 5 for the next several weeks, and may even throw in the District of Columbia before moving along to somewhere else. What do you think? I like it, and well, it’s my blog, so that is what I am doing.

My first territory is Puerto Rico. By far the largest US territory, Puerto Rico became part of the US in 1898 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War. If it were a state, it would be 29th in population and land wise would be larger than Rhode Island and Delaware.

Early on, Puerto Rico wanted to be independent, but by the turn of the 21st century, feelings had shifted. By 2012, with many families with members that lived in the US, Puerto Rico actually indicated a desire for statehood. As of right now, there is nothing pending in Congress to allow them to prepare a state constitution and appeal for statehood, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen in the next 20 years. Can you imagine the US with 51 states?

When it comes to food, Puerto Rico has a very distinct culinary identity. Influenced by Spanish and Caribbean flavors, Puerto Rico has developed many dishes that are uniquely their own. I have a brother in law, Ernesto, who is Puerto Rican, so I went to him for advice on what to make. He gave me the suggestion to make Asopao de Pollo, which translated means “Chicken Stew”. Most people think of Puerto Rico as being tropical, but there is actually a mountainous region to the island, and in the winter it can get quite cool. This is a dish that was created for the colder temps and so with fall peaking around the corner here in Philly, this is a perfect dish for this week.

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Puerto Rican Asopao de Pollo

This is really easy to make. It comes together in about 45 minutes, including prep, and you make it all in one pot; a perfect weeknight meal. This recipe uses two ingredients that I have never had before; sofrito and sazon. Both of these are integral to Puerto Rican cooking and there really is no substitute for them. There are recipes on the web for sofroto if you feel up to making your own, but Goya makes a jar version and is readily available in the Latin foods section of most large supermarkets. It was literally right next to the Sazon!

I really liked this. It is mild in flavor yet distinct. The rice gives it a heartiness that makes this an excellent cold weather dish. My son said it needed some texture, but I am not sure what I would add to it to give it some crunch without compromising the original flavor. Maybe just a simple side salad to give it some fresh contrast.

I highly recommend you give this one a try. It is super simple and delicious. If our other four territories are like this one, I think I am going to like this extension of the Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday.

Thanks for stopping by. See you next week in Guam!

Asopao de Pollo

Chicken and Rice Stew from Puerto Rico

Ingredients

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into rough 1-inch pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sofrito (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 envelopes Goya Sazon sin achiote (without annatto)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 6-8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons capers, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¾ cup long-grain rice
  • ½ cup sliced pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a soup pot, heat oil and brown chicken.
  2. Add the sofrito, sazon, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, capers, bay leaf, and 6 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
  3. Add rice, bring back up to a simmer, and cook for another 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.  If the stew gets too thick, add more stock.
  4. Add the olives and season with salt and pepper. Serve with cilantro.

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Forty Six – Oklahoma – Black Eyed Pea Soup with Homestead Corn Muffins

Welcome to week 46 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Oklahoma, who joined the union on November 16, 1907. I was actually surprised to sort of ‘back peddle’ to the middle US this week. The story of statehood for Oklahoma is one that actually made me a little sad about our country, because the reason Oklahoma joined so late is because of Native Americans.

Throughout the 1800s, the U.S. government relocated Indian tribes from the southeastern United States to the area, and by 1900, over 30 Indian tribes had been moved to what was originally called the Indian Territories. At the same time, ranchers from Texas began to come into the region looking for cattle grazing pastures. Eventually, Washington opened up the lands to settlers and developed what they called “land runs” for interested people to lay claim to the lands. These were established at set times, and people who broke the law and ran early were called “sooners”, a title that later became the states nickname.

So the lands that had been set aside for Indian nations was quickly devoured by European settlers looking for a better life and piece of land to call their own. At first, the area was divided into two distinct territories, the Indian and Oklahoma territories. And interestingly, in 1905, leaders from the Cherokee, Seminole, Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw nations (known as the Five Civilized Tribes) submitted a constitution for a separate Indian state to be called Sequoyah. Although a large majority of voters supported the petition in the November election, Congress refused to consider the request for statehood. On November 16, 1907, the Indian and Oklahoma territories were combined and formed the state of Oklahoma.

Map of the Indian and Oklahoma territories, 1894
Map of the Indian and Oklahoma territories, 1894

Since Oklahoma was settled by a huge number of individual land claims, there was never a specific food influence in the region (other than Native American), so the foods of the state reflect much of the southern styles of its neighbors. When looking for a recipe this week, I discovered that Oklahoma is the only state that actually has a complete Official State Meal. No kidding. The State Meal of Oklahoma includes fried okra, cornbread, barbecue pork, squash, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken fried steak, pecan pie, and black-eyed peas. Wow. These people are serious.

I thought about fried okra (for about 2 seconds), but I seriously don’t like okra so I tossed that one. I also thought about chicken fried steak, but I just couldn’t do another fried thing that had no hope of being even remotely healthy.  What I did decide to do is Black Eyed Pea Soup and Homestead Corn Muffins.

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Black Eyed Pea Soup and Homestead Corn Muffins

I have never eaten black eyed peas before, but they are very popular throughout the south, especially on New Years Day, as they are supposed to bring you a year of prosperity if you eat them on January 1st. Although Oklahoma has an official meal, they do not offer up official recipes, so I went looking for something that sounded tasty and settled on a soup recipe that included the ‘holy trinity’ and tomatoes (oh, and a whole pound of bacon). The original recipe was very simple and uses mostly canned ingredients, but lacked some seasoning. I added some garlic, some pepper, and a good dollop of Tabasco, which brightened the dish and gave it a nice little heat.

I have made cornbread before, but the recipe that I used tonight was from the Shawnee Milling Company, which is based in Oklahoma. They were really tasty, but I think I over mixed the batter, as they didn’t rise like I would have liked. I also think they would have done better if I had let the  batter rest for a little bit before baking to help the baking powder do its thing.

The verdict? I really liked the soup, but my son Josh was not impressed. He is not a ‘stuff in your soup’ kind of guy, so I wasn’t surprised when he turned his nose to it. He loved the corn muffins though.

I give these recipes a solid A. I think if I made the soup again, I would cook up my own beans from scratch and maybe reduce the bacon to a ½ pound and add a little ham instead. The muffins were perfect as is and I will use that recipe again.

Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by. See you next week in New Mexico! (Only four more to go!)

OK2
Black Eyed Pea Soup with Homestead Corn Muffins

Recipe for Black Eyed Pea Soup:

Ingredients

1 lb. thick cut bacon
1 c. chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
1 c. chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 c. chopped green pepper (about 1 medium)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cans (16 oz. each) black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 ½ oz.) low-sodium beef broth
1 can (14 ½ oz.) stewed tomatoes
1 can (14 ½ oz.) crushed tomatoes*
1 t Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
Instructions

In a large fry pan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel covered plate to cool. Once cooled, coarsely chop and set aside.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings from pan; sauté celery, onion, green pepper and garlic until tender, about 7 minutes.

Transfer to a large soup pot. Add all remaining ingredients, including bacon. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning.

 

Recipe for Homestead Corn Muffins:

Ingredients

1/3 cup yellow corn meal
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
3 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 egg
½ cup milk
Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix together cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
Blend oil, egg, and milk together and add the dry ingredients.
Stir until dry ingredients are just moistened.
Fill greased muffin pan 2/3 full and bake 20-25 minutes.

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Thirty Nine – North Dakota – Knoephla Soup

Welcome to week 39 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome North Dakota, who joined the union on November 2, 1889. The area of North Dakota was acquired (along with a lot of other states, if you read my blogs!) as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. It was originally part of the Minnesota and Nebraska territories, but broke off into the Dakota Territory in 1861. Now you will see that next week, South Dakota has the exact same date for statehood. And although North Dakota is almost always listed first, no one knows for sure which state was actually admitted first. There was a fierce rivalry to see which state would be admitted first so on the day of the signing, President Benjamin Harris actually selected the bill order randomly and did not officially record which one was signed first. So no one (except a dead president) ever knew which one was admitted before the other.

Of the many states that I have (and have not) visited, North Dakota is actually one I have been to. You see, I used to work for a travel company whose owner developed a fondness for the area after reading about the many problems that farmers faced in the late 1980s. He decided to set up a data center in a small town called Linton and hire people from the local community. All positions started as part time, and only one person per family was hired to insure the jobs were shared equally. It was such a success that the center grew, many people were hired full time and the owner even expanded in the area to include a luxury team building and conference center called the Rivery. The state was so thrilled with how well Linton did that they offered great incentives to expand, and this is where I got to go to ND. We opened offices in Fargo and Dickinson, and I went there during the training and set up processes to help with their automation. I remember that the people were really nice, the land was pretty flat, and the best hotel in town was a Holiday Inn. Interestingly enough though, I didn’t have the dish that I made tonight. Or at least I don’t remember it if I did.

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Knoephla Soup

I think I would have remembered this one, especially because it has a very odd name. It is by far “THE” dish of North Dakota, and it is called Knoephla Soup. Pronounced Nip-Fla (I know you just tried it! Roll that P into the F), it is a sort of creamy chicken and dumpling soup brought over from German Russians who emigrated into the region around the same time as those who settled in Nebraska. The word knoephla comes from the German word Knöpfle, which means little knob or button. The dumplings, which are rolled and cut from dough look a little like a knob, so I guess that is why it is called that.

The soup is actually really good. It has a nice balance of richness to flavor and the large amount of vegetables keeps it from getting too thick on the mouth feel. It takes a bit of work to get the dough just right (it was really sticky, had to add much more flour) but once you got everything prepped, it only takes about 30 minutes to actually cook it. Everyone in the family really liked it. I have to say it is not a soup I would make in hot and humid weather again, but come the dead of winter, I think I will pull this one out again.

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Knoephla Soup

Overall, this gets a solid A. I hope if you have a little time and the weather is a little cooler, you will give it a try too.

See you all next time in South Dakota!

Recipe for Knoephla Soup:

For the Knoephla Dough –
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/4 cups (or more) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the dumplings

For the Soup –
1 tablespoon each olive oil and butter
3 medium carrots, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups yellow potatoes, diced (about 5 medium)
4-5 cups chicken stock
2 cups cooked chicken (I used rotisserie)
Salt and pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 can evaporated milk

Instructions:

  1. Make the knoephla dough: Whisk together the egg, baking powder, salt and water. Slowly stir in the flour with a fork until the dough forms a ball. Incorporate flour by hand until the dough resembles a dough that is softer than bread dough and slightly stickier. Cover and rest for about 15 minutes. Roll into ropes and cut into small dumplings (I used kitchen scissors). Spread the dumplings onto a sheet pan and dust well with flour so they don’t stick together.
  2. In a large pot, sauté the carrots, celery and onion in the olive oil and butter until softened. Season with salt, pepper and the garlic powder.
  3. Cover with stock and add potatoes.
  4. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  5. When the potatoes are tender, add the cooked chicken.
  6. Add as much evaporated milk as you’d like to make it creamy. Recheck your seasonings and adjust. Bring the soup back up to a simmer.
  7. Drop in the dumplings. Cook them for about a minute or so. The soup will probably thicken slightly from the dumplings and their flour. If it becomes too gloopy, thin it with a little stock or water.
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Knoephla Soup

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Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Thirty Eight – Colorado – Green Chili

Welcome to week 38 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome Colorado, who joined the union on August 1, 1876. The area was first explored by Europeans in the late 1500s (Spaniards referred to the region as “Colorado” for its red-colored earth). It was part of the land given to the United States in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War.

First, thank you for waiting until Wednesday! I had my one year post cancer testing this week and it really just wipes you out. Two injections to make me super hypo-thyroid (ie. total exhaustion), followed by a tracer dose of radioactive iodine, then multiple scans in the nuclear lab. Not fun, but the good news is that I have no signs of any thyroid cells or cancer! Yay! I am officially one year clean, post treatment. Only four more until they can say I am cancer free.

Ok, back to Colorado. An interesting fact…In 1972, Colorado rejected the International Olympic Committee’s invitation to host the 1976 Winter Olympic Games. Voters rejected the use of state taxes to finance the games. It is the only state ever to reject an invitation by the IOC to be a host of the Olympics.

When it came to finding a recipe, I had some limitations due to the low iodine diet I was on for my testing. Since I was not allowed eggs, processed meats or cheese, the Denver Omelet was out. But who wanted me to make a Denver Omelet anyway? What I did find was an interesting dish that seems to be very popular and widespread in the state, although I honestly cannot give you a back story as to where it came from. It is called Colorado Green Chili, and it gets its name from the use of tomatillos and peppers as key ingredients. It is also a pork based chili and uses a stew cut, never ground.

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Colorado Green Chili

I found hundreds of different recipes online; some very complicated and many that used prepared tomatillo salsa. Since prepared products were a no-no for me (due to unknown iodized salt content), and complicated recipes were not in par with my energy level, I decided to take the best of several different recipes, combine them with several homemade tomatillo salsa recipes, and come up with my own version.

The result was a really tasty, on the verge of too spicy soup-like dish. I really liked it, but Josh thought it was a little too hot for his liking. The consistency was a little too thin to hold up against the chunks of meat, but my side dish of black beans and rice was quickly mixed into the chili and made it perfect. The addition of the beans and rice added the starchiness it needed to create the right liquid to solid ratio. I don’t think I would add the rice and beans directly to the chili if I made it again. I sort of liked adding it table side until it got to your personal consistency.

So again, sorry for being tardy. I think the recipe is still well worth it, even if it is a day late. If anyone knows the story of this dish, please let me know. It seems to be too popular to not have a good story behind it.

Thanks Colorado. See you all next week in North Dakota!

Recipe for Colorado Green Chili

Ingredients:

For the tomatillo salsa:
2 red onions, chopped
1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved
2 jalapeno peppers
1 poplano pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup fresh cilantro, removed from stems
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
juice of ½ lime
½ teaspoon oregano

For the chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with juices
3 cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon oregano
pinch of clove
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup masa flour mixed with ½ cup water (optional)
Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a large bowl, toss the onions, tomatillos, jalapenos, poplano, and garlic with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring twice during roasting, until the tomatillos and peppers are charred, softened, and oozing juices.

Stem and seed the peppers.

Add all the vegetables to a blender, along with their juices. Blend until smooth. Add in the cilantro, cumin, white pepper, salt, lime juice and oregano. Pulse to combine. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Season the pork with salt and pepper, and then brown it in the oil until browned on all sides, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatillo salsa, broth, tomatoes, oregano and clove and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, then reduce to medium-low, cover and simmer for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If you prefer a thicker soup, add the masa flour/water mixture in the last 10 minutes of cooking to thicken it.

Adjust your seasoning with salt and pepper.

 

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Colorado Green Chili

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday (Do Over!) – Week Thirty – Wisconsin – Bacon and Potato Cheddar Cheese Soup

As you may recall, I blundered on Tuesday and went all out on the state of Wyoming, only to realize that it was not the 30th state; that honor belongs to Wisconsin. In an attempt to redeem myself, I went back to the cookbook shelves and I now properly welcome you to week 30 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday (even though it’s Friday). This week we (finally) welcome Wisconsin, who joined the union on May 29, 1848.

Here are some interesting facts about Wisconsin. It is nicknamed ‘The Badger State’, but not because it has a crazy abundance of the animals living there. It was named that because of the early migrant miners, who burrowed into the hillsides for temporary shelter rather than seeking a more permanent housing solution. It was a free state and an important stop on the Underground Railroad. It was on March 20, 1854, a group of citizens who were angered by the threat of an expansion of slave states that created the Republican Party. And, I think it would no surprise to anyone that Wisconsin’s more than 1.2 billion dairy cows produce over three billion gallons of milk annually.

With all that milk, Wisconsin is also a huge cheese producer, and even its residents call themselves cheeseheads. So on that note, I sought out the proper recipe to acknowledge this and found that Cheese Soup is a pretty big deal in Wisconsin. Like many other states with a ‘famous’ dish, there was an abundance of versions to pick from. Probably most famous is their Cheese and Beer soup, but Josh is not a fan of anything cooked with alcohol, so I went for a version that was more in tune with his liking. I settled on Wisconsin Bacon and Potato Cheese Soup, which combines a nice vegetable base with potato, bacon and cheese to create a very dense and hearty soup. It was thick to the point of being almost like a pudding, so I have adjusted the recipe below to include more liquid than what was originally called for. I also reduced the amount of cheese from the original, and swapped out evaporated milk for the heavy cream. Using evaporated milk not only reduces the calorie count, but also reduces the risk that your soup will curdle. I almost always make this switch and have never felt that the dish was lacking.

Overall, I give this recipe a B+. It is so decadent that you can’t eat a whole lot of it, but it was tasty. And looking back, I do realize that I made a similar soup when we were in Vermont. God, what a bad week I am having! Seriously, I am just going to move and call this week a wash. By the way, next up is California. I checked twice. Maybe we will just have a Russian River Valley Chardonnay. Stay tuned and see you next week!

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Wisconsin Bacon and Potato Cheese Soup

Recipe for: Wisconsin Bacon and Potato Cheese Soup

Ingredients

2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced small
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup sliced carrots (roughly 1 large)
⅓ cup sliced celery (roughly 1 stalk)
⅓ cup chopped onion  (½ a medium)
⅓ cup red pepper, diced (½ a medium)
½ cup mushrooms, diced (a handful)
3 ½ cups chicken broth
¼ cup flour
1-12 oz can evaporated milk
1 cup bacon cooked and crumbled, divided (about ¾ pound)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Franks Hot Sauce or more
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. In a large pan cook the diced potatoes in salted water until tender. Then drain. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
  2. In another pan melt butter, and then add carrots, celery, onion, red pepper, mushrooms. Cook over medium heat until tender. Stir in the ¼ cup flour and coat all veggies. Cook for about a minute, stirring and tossing.
  3. Add the cooked potatoes to the cooked vegetable mixture. Then stir in the chicken broth and evaporated milk. Cook over medium heat stirring until slightly thickened. Reduce heat and add in ¾ cup of bacon bits, dry mustard, hot sauce, garlic powder, and salt & pepper.
  4. Gradually stir in cheese, stirring until just melted. Do not boil the soup or it may burn.
  5. Adjust seasonings to your taste, adding more hot sauce if you want it a little spicy.
  6. Top each serving with the remaining bacon bits.
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Wisconsin Bacon and Potato Cheese Soup