Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pork Tinga with Red Potatoes, Avocado and Queso Fresco - SRC

Slow cooker Pork Tinga is what's for dinner!  Oh my goodness the flavor...yum!  When I saw the list of ingredients in the recipe and noticed that the original recipe came from my favorite chef, Rick Bayless, I was indeed ready to break out the slow cooker.

I did have a question first, "What in the world is a tinga?"  Good question, isn't it?  I imagine if I am going to make something I should have a good idea of exactly what it is.  Well, a tinga is quite simply a Mexican meat dish that originated in Puebla, Mexico.  It can be made with chicken or pork and sausage, in this case, chorizo, and slow cooked in a spicy red sauce.  It is stew-like and after being in the slow cooker for six hours, the meats breakdown and are easy to shred.  Traditionally, it is served as a taco filling.  

We elected to serve it in a shallow bowl with the tortillas on side allowing each person to use it as a taco filling or eat it as a stew.  Our medium-size potatoes didn't lend themselves to the inside of a tortilla without being broken apart.  (And as I prepare this post, I notice that I was supposed to quarter the potatoes....that would have made the everything before doing anything comes to mind.)  So, there isn't really a right or wrong way to eat this delicious dish: break down the meat and potatoes and fill up your tortilla with this delicious tinga or just dig in with a spoon!

And where did I find this gem of a recipe?  I was perusing Ashley's blog, Cheese Curd in Paradise, for this month's Secret Recipe Club.  Ashley's blog is a compilation of recipes (and there are numerous) and a family journal sharing weekly adventures with her family...she has two very busy young sons!  What an energetic lady!

I knew at first glance that the Pork Tinga was going to be my SRC selection but I did bookmark two other recipes that I know I must prepare:  Ina's Seafood Stew and Julia's Potatoes Dauphinois.  Both are certain to be hits at our house.  Thank you, Ashley.

Pork Tinga 
with Red Potatoes, Avocado and Queso Fresco
adapted from Rick Bayless 

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound lean, boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
4 ounces chorizo sausage, removed from casing
4-5 medium red-skinned potatoes, quartered
1 large white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick, and slices quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
1 28-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, in juice
2-3 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, finely chopped
3-4 tsp adobo sauce 
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dried oregano, Mexican if available
Salt, to taste

1 avocado, pitted, flesh scooped out and diced
1/2 cup crumbled Queso Fresco
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
Warm tortillas, corn (We had flour tortillas on hand and they worked out fine.)

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. (If your slow cooker has an insert that can be used on the stovetop, use it instead of the skillet.)  Add the pork and chorizo in a single layer and cook, stirring until the meat has browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.  Turn off the heat and transfer the meat mixture to your slow cooker. (If you are using your insert, place it into the slow cooker.)

Add the quartered potatoes, onions, garlic, tomatoes with their liquid, chipotles, chipotle sauce, Worcestershire, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Stir the mixture thoroughly.  Cook the mixture on high for six hours.

After six hours, gently stir the tinga.  If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of water.  Taste and season with salt, if needed.  Scoop the mixture into a large bowl.  Sprinkle, with queso fresco, diced avocado and cilantro.  Serve with warm tortillas

Note:  Chipotle chiles and adobo sauce are spicy hot.  You may want to adjust the amounts to match your palate.  I usually start with the smaller amounts and increase as desired.

Thanks so Ashley, it looks as though I have another recipe to add to the rotation!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sweet Potato Apple Soup with Chipotle - Blogger CLUE

Don't you just love it when apple season comes around?  I do.  I love walking through the apple orchard and then picking a variety of sweet and fragrant apples to take home.  The apples are ripening in the area and the Apple Festival is scheduled for early October...I can hardly wait!

In the meantime, I am celebrating the Blogger CLUE Society theme this month:  apples....pears....and fall fruit in general.  The Blogger CLUE Society is a group of food bloggers. Each month members are paired with another food blogger, given a theme, and each blogger sets off to explore the assigned blog. The objective is to track down a recipe that matches the month's theme and that we are excited about making.  Of course I was focused on the apple!  

Even more exciting was that I was paired with Lea Ann!  Lea Ann is the friendly, helpful, lovely lady and wonderful cook at Cooking on the Ranch.  She enjoys preparing Western, Southwestern and Mexican food.  She says she enjoys cooking and wine and talking about cooking and wine.  I know that I fell in love with her blog when I first discovered it a number of years ago and have followed along ever sense, enjoying cooking and wine!  Lea Ann is not limited to Western regional cooking....she also prepares some wonderful German dishes and has also organized a trip to Germany to participate in a cooking school!  I longed to participate in that adventure!

Perusing Cooking on the Ranch was a delight.  While I was focused on the apple, I found myself repeatedly returning to Lea Ann's Roasted Pear with Blue Cheese Salad.  It will be coming up soon as I won't be just "tempted", it will be for dinner!!  The pumpkin is always a fall favorite at our house so, naturally, I have bookmarked a few pumpkin dishes to help me step into fall:  Pumpkin Pie Ravioli and Stuffed Pumpkin, all topped off with a Pumpkin Pie Martini!

Last January I had bookmarked a recipe that Lea Ann shared:  Sweet Potato Apple Soup with Chiptole!  Just the title had my mouth watering.  I was so happy to be able to prepare this soup for dinner this weekend.  It was super!  It is easy to make and delicious!  The sweet potato and apple are great paired together and the addition of chipotle makes this soup extra special!  I must warn you that it is quite spicy so if you are not a fan of spicy, I suggest cutting the amount of chipotle in half and then increase and taste as you go.....  Whatever you do, I promise it will be delicious!

Sweet Potato Apple Soup with Chipotle
adapted from Lea Ann at Cooking on the Ranch

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 ribs celery, cut into this slices
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into 1-inch dice
1 large clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 Tablespoon adobo sauce from canned chipotles with adobo, adjust according to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 cup water
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1-inch dice
1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

2 Tablespoons toasted pumpkin seed
Cilantro leaves, chopped, and Greek Yogurt or sour cream

Place a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  When hot, add the oil and butter.  Heat until the butter melts.  Add the onion and celery and cook until tender and translucent, about 6 minutes.

Add the apples, garlic, ginger and chipotle sauce.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the stock, water and sweet potatoes to the pot.  Increase the heat to high.  When the mixture boils, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the soup until the vegetables are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.  Add the lime juice and taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.  

Serve the soup in bowls and garnish with pumpkin seeds, yogurt or sour cream and some chopped cilantro leaves.


You may enjoy the fall fruit recipes that the other Blogger CLUE members prepared, take a look!