Tuesday, February 23, 2016

chili colorado

Every once in a while, a recipe comes along that speaks to your soul in a way that few recipes do.  Whether it's the beauty of the dish, or the method of cooking, or the way it sets your heart aflutter with the very first bite. It's simply...perfect.

Friends, I give you: Chili Colorado.

I came across this recipe as I do many of my best recipes...by stealing it from my friend Heather.  (She also introduced me to this gem of a chicken recipe.)  She made this dish for me and my friend Allison and we thought we had died and gone to food heaven.  The tender pork, the thick and luscious chili sauce and it's smooth, complex flavor.   I found myself wiping the plate clean with my fingers, the sauce is THAT GOOD.

This dish is definitely a weekend affair, but only because it takes a bit of time and NOT because it's hard.  Because IT'S EASY!  I'd never made a dish using dried chilies - it sounded so complicated and fussy to me - but it's WAY simple, and totally makes a difference in the flavor.  There's no substitute for using the dried chilies.  I think you can find them in almost any grocery store these days, even here in Juneau.  

Like Heather, I served these with warm corn tortillas and a simple cabbage slaw tossed with cilantro, green onion, radishes, salt, and fresh lime juice.  So add a few ingredients to your shopping list and get going to the grocery store!  Your friends and family will thank you, and may never want to leave.

Just kidding.  They'll leave eventually.  Don't use that as an excuse not to make this dish!

Chili Colorado

(Adapted from Bon Appétit)

5 dried ancho chilies
2 dried guajillo chilies
2 dried New Mexico chilies or pasilla chilies
8 cups of chicken stock, divided
4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3/4 inch to 1 inch pieces
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground sage (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

(1) Remove stems and seeds from dried chilies.  Cover chilies with 3 cups of boiling chicken stock, and cover with plastic wrap (I did this in a glass bowl, but a saucepan will work, or a glass blender).  Let chilies soften for 30 minutes to an hour.  Blend chilies and liquid until smooth, either in a blender or by using a stick blender.

(2) Heat a large, heavy pot over medium-heat.  Season the pork with salt and pepper.  In several batches (I did 3 batches), brown the meat in the pot with a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil.  Once browned, remove from the pot.  You're not trying to cook it through, just brown the outside for good flavor.

(3) Once the meat is all browned, add back to the pot and add minced garlic, cumin, sage, and oregano.  Stir for one minutes.  

(4) Add 5 cups of chicken stock to the pot.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 1 hour, uncovered.

(5) Add chile puree and simmer, uncovered, for another hour or until the concoction is a beautiful, thick, smooth mahogany color.  Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Serve with warm corn tortillas and enjoy!!

xo H

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