Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Soup

This happens to be one of my wife Kendall's favorite meals.  It works best pared with a grilled cheese sandwich, and a cold fall evening.

3 lbs fresh pumpkin peeled and sliced, and roasted in oven drizzled with melted butter for 45 minutes to one hour
1 onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
2 carrots chopped
1 ancho chile seeded and
5 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
5 cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup grade B maple syrup *
1 cup heavy cream

In a large dutch oven sweat the onions, carrots, and celery in butter with cloves, ancho chili, and cinnamon.  Add stock, roasted pumpkin, nutmeg, and maple syrup.  Cook on low temperature for one hour.  Puree soup in batches in your blender.  Be careful to only fill your blender jar half way if you are pureeing hot liquid and use the lowest setting.  Have a firm grip on the top of the blender lid otherwise it will all end up on your ceiling.  Put back into the pot and add cream.  Serve hot and enjoy!

*Grade B maple syrup is the second tapping of the tree.  The tree needs to work harder to produce the sap for this, so it pulls more nutrients from the ground and a more intense maple flavor is the result.  Grade A will work, but use real maple syrup and not the Mrs. Butterworth's Please.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pablo's mom's rice

This is another one of my favorite things.  Gandules or pigeon peas, and sazon seasoning can be found in the Mexican section of your local mega mart as well as your local Mexican grocery store.

1/2 lb salt pork cubed, or if pre sliced cut into strips
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
1/8 cup finely chopped cilantro stems
1 can Gandules (pigeon peas)
1 1/2 cup rice
3 cups chicken stock
2 packages sazon seasoning
1/2 cup cilantro leaves chopped

In a 2 quart pot, bring water to a simmer.  Add the cubed salt pork and blanch for 2 minutes to remove much of the salt.  Remove from water and blot dry with a towel.  Discard the water.  In a large pot add the olive oil and bring up to medium high heat.  Add the salt pork and brown.  Remove the pork from the heat.  If there is a lot of grease left over drain all away except for a couple of Tbsps.  Add the onions and garlic and saute until translucent.  Add the chopped cilantro stems and pigeon peas, and finally the rice.  Continue to stir for another minute and then finally add the chicken stock.  Add the sazon and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cover for 20 minutes.  Stir in the cilantro leaves just prior to serving and top with the crispy salt pork.