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Archive for the ‘Chile Powder’

Chicken Tortilla Soup 0

Posted on December 19, 2014 by Sahar

As I sit here on this rainy & chilly day, my mind and appetite turn to soup.

This recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup is a hearty soup that is quick (especially if you use leftover or store-bought rotisserie chicken) and can be easily be made either ahead or after a day at work. Or, almost better yet, what to feed your family the day before a big holiday (hint, hint); this recipe can easily be doubled.

This soup is certainly a recipe that shouts TexMex at you. It  is certainly more Tex than Mex – mainly because Mexican cuisine doesn’t use blended chili powders. If any chile powders are used at all, they are of a single chile (i.e. ancho, guajillo).

This soup can also easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable broth and omitting the chicken. If you want the added protein, you can add beans, extra-firm tofu, seitan, tempeh, or even simply extra hominy in place of the chicken.


The ingredients (chicken broth not shown)

The ingredients (chicken broth not shown)

The hominy. I like to use both yellow and white. It's simply a personal preference. There's absolutely no difference in the flavor.

The hominy. I like to use both yellow and white. It’s simply a personal preference. There’s absolutely no difference in the flavor. For a brief explanation of what exactly hominy is, go here.

From top:

From top: grapeseed oil, cumin, Mexican oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, San Antonio chili powder


2 tbsp. vegetable oil (you can also use grapeseed or canola oil)

1 small onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 small (4 oz.) can diced green chiles (hot or mild)


1 small  (7 oz.) can salsa verde

1 tbsp. chili powder (I like San Antonio blend)

1 tsp. Mexican oregano

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. cayenne

1 tsp. salt, more to taste

1 tsp. black pepper, more to taste

2 cans hominy, drained

1 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Fire Roasted)

4 c. chicken broth

4 c. cooked, shredded chicken

Lime juice, to taste

1/2 c. chopped cilantro


Vegetable oil for frying


The condiments

The condiments


Shredded Cabbage

Chopped Green Onion

Crispy Tortilla Strips

Lime Wedges

Sour Cream



1.  In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Saute the onion and garlic until the onion is soft, about 3-5 minutes.

Sauteing the onions and garlic.

Sauteing the onions and garlic.

Add the chiles or salsa verde and saute for another 2-3 minutes.

Adding the salsa verde. I used salsa in this recipe because it's what I had at home.

Adding the salsa verde. I used salsa in this recipe because it’s what I had at home. if you are using salsa, be sure to let it cook down by at least half.

2.  Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper.  Saute for 1-2 minutes or until the fragrance comes up.

Adding the spices. be sure to stir pretty much constantly; you want the spices to have a scent (this means the oils are cooking). You want to take care not to burn them.

Adding the spices. Be sure to stir pretty much constantly; you want the spices to have a scent (this means the oils are cooking). You want to take care not to burn them.

Add the hominy and tomatoes and saute another 2-3 minutes.

Adding the tomatoes and hominy.

Adding the tomatoes and hominy.

3.  Add the chicken broth.

Adding the chicken broth. Once the soup is cooking, be sure to stir frequently to keep the hominy from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Adding the chicken broth. Once the soup is cooking, be sure to stir frequently to keep the hominy from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Cover the saucepan and bring the broth to a boil. Uncover, lower the heat to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes.  Taste for seasoning.

After 30 minutes. The soup should be somewhat thickened from the hominy.

After 30 minutes. The soup should be somewhat thickened from the hominy.

4.  While the soup is cooking, make the tortilla strips.  Take 6-8 tortillas and cut them into roughly 1/4-inch wide strips.

Tortilla strips. Be sure to use a very sharp knife so you can get even strips without tearing up the tortillas.

Tortilla strips. Be sure to use a very sharp knife so you can get even strips without tearing up the tortillas.

Be sure to separate them.  Heat a medium (9-inch) skillet with about 1/2-inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Test the oil by dropping a strip in the oil; it should immediately sizzle. Fry the strips in small batches until they are crispy.

Frying the strips. Be sure to keep them as separated as possible and fry in small batches. Frying the strips should take no more than 60 - 90 seconds per batch.

Frying the strips. Be sure to keep them as separated as possible and fry in small batches. Frying the strips should take no more than 60 – 90 seconds per batch.

Drain the strips on paper towels. (Alternately, you can simply serve the whole tortillas or tortilla chips on the side.)

The finished strips.

The finished strips.

5.  After the initial cooking time, add the chicken, lime juice, and cilantro.  Cook for a further 5 minutes.  Taste for seasoning.

Adding the chicken, cilantro, and lime juice. At this point you're simply heating the chicken through. Be sure to taste for seasoning.

Adding the chicken, cilantro, and lime juice. At this point you’re simply heating the chicken through. Be sure to taste for seasoning.

6.  Serve the soup with the tortilla strips, cabbage, green onion, extra lime wedges, and sour cream.

The finished soup. Pretty, huh?

The naked finished soup. it’s great just like this.

The fully dressed soup. Perfect for a chilly, rainy night.

The fully dressed soup. Perfect for a chilly, rainy night.


Chicken Chile Verde 0

Posted on April 30, 2013 by Sahar

I’m about to say something that will send some chili aficionados into a wall-eyed fit: green chili is a good thing.

Now, being from Texas, I know that’s not necessarily a popular sentiment.  Unless you’re close to the New Mexico border.  In fact, at the best-known chili cookoff in Terlingua, Texas, there’s not even a green chili category.

However, I do like it.  I find it’s generally easier to make than traditional chili (if you’d like the recipe, see my post [Chili… Or, Them’s Fightin’ Words] from Feb. 14, 2012), it’s just as versatile, and mostly, it’s delicious.

So, off I go.  On to the recipe:


A couple of notes:

1.  Using canned Hatch chiles will save time and mess.  But, if you have Hatch chiles from last year in the freezer, use them.

2.  I’ve also used, in place of the thighs, a whole chicken from the deli.  This will save time also and make this a reasonably quick after-work meal.

3.  You can use pork instead or make the chili vegetarian.  In place of chicken or pork, you can use beans.  Yes… Beans.  Also, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

4.  Admittedly, my chili is not green, per se.  I call it green because I don’t use any tomatoes or red meat.  However, if you want a fully green chili, you can use green chili powder (usually ground jalapeno, hatch, or poblano chiles.)  However, you will want to experiment and check the spice level and adjust the recipe accordingly.

5.  Taste the chili before adding the lime juice.  I like more citrus than most people, so I enjoy the added tartness.  However, you may not.

The ingredients

The ingredients

Clockwise from top: Mexican Oregano, Black Pepper, Salt, ground Cumin, Chili Powder

Clockwise from top: Mexican Oregano, Black Pepper, Salt, ground Cumin, Chili Powder

3 lbs. chicken thighs

4 c. water or chicken broth

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

4 cl. garlic, minced

1 med. onion, diced

2 serranos, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed if you prefer

1 c. roasted, seeded,  peeled , and chipped Anaheim, Poblano, or Hatch Chilies (roughly 4 – 6 chiles)


2 small cans chopped Hatch chilies

1 1/2 lbs. tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed, leave whole

2 tsp. dried Mexican Oregano

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tbsp. chili powder

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 c. chopped cilantro

juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp. masa

Queso fresco or Jack cheese and Tortillas for serving


1.  Put the chicken thighs and stock or water in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.  Cover and bring the stock to a boil over medium heat.  Once the liquid has started boiling , uncover, turn the heat down to medium-low and continue cooking until the thighs are cooked.

2.  Place a large strainer or colander over a large bowl and drain the thighs.  Reserve the stock and set the thighs aside to cool.

**If you’re using a pre-cooked chicken, you can skip steps 1 & 2.** 

3.  While the thighs are cooling, turn the heat on the stove back up to medium-high.  Add the oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic,  Saute until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Sauteing the onions and garlic.

Sauteing the onions and garlic.

4.  Add the serranos.  Saute another 2 – 3 minutes.

How I prep the serranos. I leave the stem on and cut the serrano almost in half.

How I prep the serranos. I leave the stem on and cut the serrano almost in half.

Sauteeing the peppers with the onions and garlic.

Sauteing the peppers with the onions and garlic.

Add the chiles and saute another 2 – 3 minutes.

Adding the chiles.

Adding the chiles.


Add the tomatillos and mix them in well.

The perfect tomatillo.

The perfect tomatillo.

Choose tomatillos that are firm and the outer husk peels away easily.  You don’t want tomatillos that are too small for the husk.  They’re generally old and dehydrated.  The tomatillo will be sticky when you peel off the husk, so be sure to wear gloves.

Adding the tomatilos to the saucepan.

Adding the tomatilos to the saucepan.

5.  Add the spices and cook until they begin to have a scent.  About another 2 – 3 minutes.

Adding the spices.

Adding the spices.

6.  Add the reserved stock back into the pan.

Adding the broth.

Adding the broth.

Cover and bring to a boil.  Uncover the saucepan, lower the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the tomatillos have softened, about 20 – 30 minutes.

Bringing the broth to a boil.

Boiling the tomatillos.

7.  Meanwhile, skin, bone, and shred the chicken.  Set aside.

The shredded chicken.

The shredded chicken. Not pretty. But delicious.

8.  Make a slurry.  Take the masa and add 2 – 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid or water.  Mix together until smooth.  Set aside.

9.  Once the tomatillos are soft, remove the saucepan from the heat.  Take a potato masher and carefully mash the tomatillos.


Mashing the tomatillos.

Mashing the tomatillos.

Place the saucepan back on the heat and cook for another 20 minutes.  Be sure to stir frequently.  Taste for seasoning.

10.  Add the slurry and mix in well.  Add the chicken, cilantro, and lime juice.

Adding the chicken, cilantro, and lime juice.

Adding the chicken, cilantro, and lime juice.

Cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.  Taste for seasoning.  Stir frequently.

11.  Serve with tortillas and a little queso fresco or shredded jack cheese.




Now, If you have some leftover chili, and I’m sure you will, here’s a great way to use it.

Take a couple of toastada shells and break them into large pieces on a plate. (Or, you can use tortilla chips.) Take a skillet and set it over medium heat.  Add a little vegetable oil and heat.  Add roughly 1 cup of the chili.  Heat the chili and stir frequently.  Spread the chili out as evenly as possible over the bottom of the skillet and crack 2 eggs on top of the chili.  Cover the skillet and turn the heat to medium-low.

I generally like to spoon some of the warm chili over the top of the eggs to help with cooking. Carefully use a rubber spatula to get under the chili and eggs so the chili doesn’t stick to the pan and burn.

Let the eggs poach in the chili until they’re done to your liking.  I generally like my eggs soft, so I’ll let them cook about 5 minutes.

When the eggs are done, carefully scoop out the chili and eggs and place them over the broken toastada shells.







Vegetarian Chili (I promise it tastes great!) 1

Posted on January 02, 2013 by Sahar

In Texas, the preferred chili is called “Bowl of Red”.  No beans.  Slightly to very  spicy.  Lots of chiles.  Beef.  Slow stewed.

Now, of course, this could be seen as sacrilegious in certain quarters, but I do have a recipe for vegetarian chili.  At one time, my husband, Steve, was vegetarian.  So, I came up with this recipe for him some time ago. (He has since returned to the dark side. He relapsed on barbecue.)

It is a recipe, if I do say so myself, even ardent chili lovers will enjoy.  Well, I’d like to think so, anyway.

I use canned pinto beans in this recipe. (If you know anything about traditional Texas chili, beans are always verboten.)  They work great and are inexpensive.  However, if you want to use different beans (i.e. black, cannellini, garbanzo, etc.) or a combination, feel free.

I admittedly have a lot of spice in this chili.  Feel free to adjust it to your taste.  And, instead of commercial chili powders, I use dried, ground chiles and spices you would normally see in mixed chili powders.  I find I can adjust the flavors much more easily.  However, if you have a chili powder blend in your pantry, feel free to use it.  However, you will have to omit and/or adjust the other spices.


Now, to the recipe.

The Ingrdients

The Ingrdients


2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 med. onion, minced

8 cl. garlic, minced

3 tbsp. Ancho chile powder

1 1/2 tsp. Chipotle chile powder (very spicy; use less or omit if you want less spicy)

2 tbsp. paprika (if you want a smokier flavor, substitute some or all with Spanish paprika)

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. Mexican oregano

1 bay leaf

2 tsp. brown sugar (doesn’t matter whether it’s light or dark; dark is sweeter, though)

1 tsp. salt (kosher or sea)

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1 lg. (28 oz) can chopped tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Fire Roasted)

Vegetable broth or water as needed

2 ea. 15-oz cans pinto beans, drained

2 tbsp. masa flour, mixed with 2 tbsp water or vegetable broth to make a slurry (optional)


Clockwise from top: Chipotle Chile Powder; Paprika; ground Cumin; Mexican Oregano; Ancho Chile Powder.

Clockwise from top: Chipotle Chile Powder; Paprika; ground Cumin; Mexican Oregano; Ancho Chile Powder.

Clockwise from top: kosher Salt; ground Black Pepper; Bay Leaf; Brown Sugar.

Clockwise from top: kosher Salt; ground Black Pepper; Bay Leaf; Brown Sugar.


1.  In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil.  Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir frequently.

Sauteeing the onions and garlic.

sauteing the onions and garlic.

2.  Stir in the spices and cook until the aroma begins to come up, about 1 – 2 minutes.  Stir frequently to be sure the spices don’t burn.

Cooking the spices with the garlic and onions.

Cooking the spices with the garlic and onions.

3.  Add the tomatoes and 1 cup water or vegetable broth. Mix well, cover, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, keep the saucepan covered, and cook for 20 minutes.  Stir frequently.

After adding the tomatoes and vegetable broth.

After adding the tomatoes and vegetable broth.

After cooking for 20 minutes.

After cooking for 20 minutes.

4.  Add the beans and cook another 20 minutes, uncovered.  The chili will begin to thicken as the beans cook.

Adding the beans.

Adding the beans.

After 20 minutes, if using, add the masa slurry.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Taste for seasoning.

The chili after 20 minutes and adding the masa slurry.

The chili after 20 minutes and adding the masa slurry.

5.  Serve the chili with cornbread or tortillas, chopped onion, shredded cheese, and sour cream, if you like.

Chili with a little sharp cheddar.  Yummy.

Chili with a little sharp cheddar. Yummy.


And, like other chilies, this tastes even better the next day.













Mole Rojo 0

Posted on October 30, 2012 by Sahar

Now that the weather is finally beginning to cool off and the Central Texas version of Autumn is beginning to take hold, it’s time to pull out the comfort foods in earnest.

As I said in my post on Mole Verde (Oct. 9), Mole is one of my favorite comfort foods as well as one of the things I love most about living in Texas.


My version of this recipe may have mole purists askance.  Well, perhaps not so much the dish itself, but the fact that I have made this dish with ground rather than whole chiles.  I give the equivalent whole chile amounts as well.

I feel slightly guilty about this because I’m such a purist about Arabic food.  But, I do honestly feel if you can at least keep the spirit and flavor of the original dish, experimentation isn’t a bad thing.

Admittedly, using the ground chiles does save time in the preparation.  And, to me anyway, makes no difference in the flavor of the dish.

You should be able to find the whole dried chiles in any grocery with a good produce department.  If you live in an area with a large Hispanic population, there will likely be a grocery/supermercado and, most likely, there will be dried chiles available.  If not, they’re available online.

Try it both ways, and see which way you prefer.

Now, to the recipe:


Mole Rojo (Red Mole) is a slightly sweet, moderately spicy mole.  You can certainly adjust the heat as you like.

The Ingredients

4 c. chicken stock, pork stock, or water

3 lbs. pork shoulder or butt, cut into 2″ pieces (if you get a bone with the shoulder, keep it)


4 – 4-1/2 lbs. chicken (whole chicken or leg quarters)


6 ea. ancho chiles


3 tbsp. ancho chile powder


6 ea. pasilla chiles


3 tbsp. pasilla chile powder


1 ea. chipotle chile


1 tsp. chipotle powder


1 lg. white onion, peeled, stem end left on, cut into 1/4’s

6 cloves garlic, peeled, stem end removed

3 ea. tomatillos, papery skin removed and rinsed

3 ea. Roma tomatoes, rinsed

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1/2 c. whole raw almonds

1/4 c. raisins

2 tbsp. tomato paste

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (canela)

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 disk Mexican chocolate, chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

1/4 c.masa

Clockwise from top: Raw Almonds, whole Garlic Cloves, Raisins

Clockwise from top: Ancho Chile Powder, Pasilla Chile Powder, Chipotle Chile Powder

Clockwise from top: Mexican Chocolate, Pepper, Brown Sugar, ground Cinnamon, ground Cloves, Salt


1.  Heat the meat and stock or water in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Once the stock comes to a boil, turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer until the meat is tender:  for chicken, about 60 – 75 minutes; pork, about 1-1/2 – 2 hours.

Cooking the pork. If you get a bone with a shoulder cut, use it in the broth. If you’re using chicken, make sure you use the bones & skin. You’ll add more flavor to the stock.

Once the meat is done, take it from the stock and set it aside until cool enough to shred.

Meanwhile, while the meat is cooking, prep the other ingredients.


2. If you’re using whole dried chiles, remove the stems and cut the chiles open (a pair of kitchen scissors will work best) to remove the seeds. (The dried chiles should still be somewhat pliable.  If they’re dry and crumble easily, then they’re too old.  Also, it is a good idea to wear kichen gloves to keep your hands from becoming sticky, stained, and keep the capsaicin off your fingers.)  Open the chiles flat  and dry roast them in a heavy skillet over high heat for a few seconds on each side (you’ll need to do this in batches) until they become soft and begin to blister.  Take the chiles off the heat and put into a bowl.  When you are done heating all the chiles, cover them with boiling water and weigh down with a small plate.  Let the chiles sit for 30 minutes. (If they sit for a little longer, it’s all right.)

After 30 minutes, drain the chiles and discard the soaking water (it will be bitter).  Puree the chiles in a food processor or blender (you’ll need to do this in batches) until you make a paste.  Set aside.

3.  If you’re using chile powder (like I am in this example), mix them together and dry roast the powder in a heavy skillet until it just begins to release a scent.  Stir constantly to be sure the powder doesn’t burn.

Toasting the chile powders.


Pour the toasted powder onto a plate and allow to cool.

Cooling the toasted chile powder


4.  Wipe out the skillet.  Dry roast the onion quarters, garlic, tomatillos, and tomatoes.  You want black spots, but doen’t over-brown or burn the vegetables.

Browning the onions.

Browning the tomatoes

Browning the tomatillos and garlic cloves


Once you’ve roasted the tomatoes, remove the seeds and stem ends.  Cut the stem end off the onion.   Set the vegetables aside.


5.  Take the skillet off the heat and let it cool slightly.  Add the oil and let it heat.  Lightly fry the almonds, about 2 – 3 minutes.

Frying the almonds.


Remove the almonds from the oil and drain on paper towels.  Let cool.

Now, lightly fry the raisins in the oil until they just begin to puff, about 30 – 60 seconds.  Remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels.

Frying the raisins.


Turn off the heat under the oil.  Add the masa, dissolve into the oil, and make a roux.  Pour the roux into a small bowl.  Set aside.


6.  In a small food processor, blender, or, with a lot a patience by hand, grind or chop the almonds until they make a fine meal.  Set aside.

Toasted chile powder, fried raisins, ground almonds


7.  Turn the heat back on under the stockpot and heat the stock over medium-high heat.  Mix in the chile paste or powder, onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomatillos, ground almonds, raisins, tomato paste, brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper.

Mixing the ingredients into the stock.

Bring  the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for 45 minutes.  Stir frequently.

If the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the stockpot, take it off the heat,  pour it into a clean stockpot, and place it back on the heat.  Don’t scrape the bottom of the stockpot.  You don’t want any of the burnt mole sauce.

The sauce after 45 minutes. It will thicken as it cooks.


8.  While the sauce is cooking, shred or chop the meat.  If you’re using pork, discard any bone, gristle, and excess fat.  If you’re using chicken, discard any bone, gristle, excess fat, and skin.  Set aside.

Chopped pork ready for the sauce.

9.  Remove the stockpot from the heat and let cool slightly.  Puree the mole sauce with an immersion (stick) blender, or in a blender or food processor. (You’ll need to puree the sauce in batches if you use a blender or processor.)

Pureeing the mole sauce.

I like some texture in my mole sauce; but, if you prefer a smoother texture, strain the sauce through a fine strainer.


10.  Put the mole sauce back on the heat and add the roux and chopped chocolate.

Adding the roux and chocolate.


Cook for 5 minutes, then taste for seasoning.  Add the meat back to the sauce.  Cook for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Mole sauce after adding the roux and chocolate.

11.  Serve the mole with rice and corn tortillas.

¡Cena delicioso!

The finished mole.


And, as with most sauces, stews, chilis, and soups, this is better the next day.

I also like to take the leftover mole and heat it up with some eggs poached on top.  Great breakfast.
















Posole (…or, Pozole) 0

Posted on February 28, 2012 by Sahar

Pozole, a word of Pre-Hispanic origin meaning “froth”, is a stew-like dish prepared with grains of a special corn called cacahuazintle (a very large kernel corn with a tough skin originally grown in Mexico) pre-cooked in a weak lye-water solution, making the corn grains lose their tough, fibrous outer layer so that they open like flowers when boiled, giving them the appearance of froth (what we now call hominy).  This corn is added to a broth with shredded chicken or pork. When serving, the usual condiments are chopped onion, limes, dried oregano, avocado, shredded cabbage, and tortillas.

Different states of Mexico have made pozole their own. People in the State of Guerrero add tomatillos, Michoacán residents add pork rinds, Colima residents enjoy it with queso fresco (white cheese), and in coastal areas it is common to add sardines and other small fish. The best known recipe, however,  is from Jalisco, prepared with pork and dried poblano peppers.

Posole is usually served at celebrations, like birthdays, Dia de los Muretos (Day of the Dead), and Christmas.  The Aztecs, however, had their own recipe for posole. During the celebrations in honor of god Xipe (the God of Agriculture and the Seasons), Emperor Moctezuma was served a huge pozole dish, crowned with the thigh of a sacrificed prisoner.  In fact, the earliest history of posole states that the broth & hominy were cooked with the flesh of sacrificed prisoners.  When cannibalism was outlawed, chicken and pork took the place of people.


Now, for the recipe.

The style posole I make is the Jalisco style.  I haven’t tried any of the other variations, but I’d bet the Michoacán style, with the pork rinds, is amazing.

A quick note, I include quantities for both whole chiles as well as the powdered equivalents.  I  made this recipe with the powders.  They are both equally good, but I find making the recipe with the powders easier and quicker.  However, it is up to you.


The Ingredients

The Ingredients


The spices, a closer look. Clockwise from top: Black Pepper, Salt, Cumin, Ancho Chile Powder, Pasilla Chile Powder, Mexican Oregano, Chipotle Chile Powder


3 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 2″ pieces, or, country-style ribs (be sure to keep any bone)

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

4 ea. whole Ancho chiles, or, 2 tbsp. Ancho chile powder

2 ea. whole Guajillo or Pasilla chiles, or, 1 tbsp. ground Guajillo or Pasilla chile powder (NOTE: Guajillo chile powder is usually sold as “ground chile pepper”)

1 ea. whole Chipotle chile, or, 1/2 tsp. ground Chipotle chile powder

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

10 cloves garlic, minced

2 med. white onions, diced

2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 cans hominy, drained


Condiments:  lime wedges, shredded green cabbage, dried Mexican oregano, minced onion, corn tortillas


The Condiments: Corn Tortillas, Lime Wedges, Onion, Dried Mexican Oregano, Shredded Cabbage


1.  Prepare the chiles: (If you have clean latex gloves, now is the time to use them.)  Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles.  Place them in a small bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water.  Weigh down the chiles (a small plate will be sufficient) and let them soak for about 30 minutes.  Remove the chiles from the soaking liquid and place them in a blender with just enough of the soaking liquid, if needed, to make a smooth puree.  Set aside.

*If you are using the chile powders instead, skip Step 1.

2.  In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Brown the pork, in batches.  You just want to sear , not cook the pork all the way through.  Remove the pork from the heat and set aside.  If you have any bones, sear them as well.

Searing the pork


3.  Add the onion and garlic to the stockpot and cook until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.  The moisture from the onions will help to release all those browned goodies stuck to the bottom of the pan after the meat has been browned.

Browning the onions and garlic. Note the clean pan bottom.


Add the chile puree or chile powders and the other spices.  Cook another 2 – 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Be sure not to burn the spices.

The onions and garlic with the spices.


4.  Add the pork and any bones you may have seared back into the stockpot.  Add just enough water or broth to cover the meat.  Cover and bring the liquid to a boil.  Partially uncover, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for an hour, stirring occasionally. (The bones will add a lot of flavor to the broth.)

The pork added back to the pot and mixed with the onions, garlic, and the spices.


After adding the chicken broth.


5.  After the first hour of cooking, add the hominy.  Uncover the stockpot completely and continue cooing until the meat is tender, about another 30 – 45 minutes.  (Be sure to test the meat for tenderness about every 15 minutes after the first hour.  You want the meat to be fork tender and easy to shred.  Even though you’re essentially braising the pork, it can dry if you overcook it.)

Adding the hominy after the first hour of cooking. Note the change in color of the broth.


Remove the meat from the broth and set it aside until cool enough to handle. Discard the bones, if you have any.  Either chop or shred the meat and add it back to the broth.  Taste for seasoning.

The shredded pork.


The finished posole. The hominy helps to thicken the broth.


6.  Serve the posole with corn tortillas.  Pass around the garnishes and let everyone serve themselves.






Chili… Or, Them’s Fightin’ Words 0

Posted on February 14, 2012 by Sahar

Chili.  A word that can stir up passions usually reserved for first love or politics.

There are as many recipes for chili as there are families in the Southwestern US.  In Texas, we make “Chili Con Carne” – basically a spicy meat stew with chiles, spices, lots of meat, and maybe some tomato.  But no beans.  That would be sacrilege.  In New Mexico and California, you can find green chili, “Chili Verde”, usually made with chicken or pork.  If one would like beans in their chili, you can go vegetarian.

The other well-known of chilis are:

a) “Cincinnati Chili”: made with a variety of Greek and Middle Eastern spices.  It was invented by a Greek Immigrant, Tom (Athanas) Kiradjieff, in 1922.  He originally used the chili at his hot dog stand.  When that didn’t work, he started to use it as a type of spaghetti sauce.  It is now one of Ohio’s most beloved foods.

b) “Springfield Style Chilli”: This Southern Illinois style ground-meat, with beans,  is very different from Texas chili.  The spelling supposedly comes from a disagreement between the owner of the Dew Chilli Parlor, Dew Brockman, and his sign painter.  Another legend has the spelling mimics the first four letters of “Illinois”.

c) “Chasen’s Chili” The owner of Chasens, Dave Chasen, made probably the most famous chili in California.  He kept the recipe a secret, trusting it to no one.  He always made it a week in advance and froze it, feeling that would make a better chili when it was reheated. The original Chasen’s opened in 1936 and closed in 1995.  The second version of Chasen’s closed permanently in 2000.

Like many other dishes that become loved over time, it was a dish made out of desperation and necessity.   There are many legends and stories about where chili originated and it is generally thought, by most historians, that the earliest versions of chili were made by the very poorest people.

“When they have to pay for their meat in the market, a very little is made to suffice for a family; this is generally into a kind of hash with nearly as many peppers as there are pieces of meat – this is all stewed together.” – C.J. Clopper, remarking on San Antonio Chili, 1926.

According to an old Southwestern American Indian legend and tale.   It is said that the first recipe for chili con carne was put on paper in the 17th century by a beautiful nun, Sister Mary of Agreda of Spain. She was mysteriously known to the Indians of the Southwest United States as “La Dama de Azul,” the lady in blue.  It is said that sister Mary wrote down the recipe for chili which called for venison or antelope meat, onions, tomatoes, and chile peppers.

On March 9, 1731, a group of sixteen families (56 persons) arrived from the Canary Islands at Bexar, the villa of San Fernando de Béxar (now know as the city of San Antonio). They had emigrated to Texas from the Spanish Canary Islands by order of King Philip V. of Spain. The King of Spain felt that colonization would help cement Spanish claims to the region and block France’s westward expansion from Louisiana.  These families founded San Antonio’s first civil government which became the first municipality in the Spanish province of Texas. According to historians, the women made a spicy “Spanish” stew that is similar to chili.

By the 19th Century, some Spanish priests were said to be wary of the passion inspired by chile peppers, assuming they were aphrodisiacs.  A few preached sermons against indulgence in a food which they said was almost as “hot as hell’s brimstone” and “Soup of the Devil.”  The priest’s warning probably contributed to the dish’s popularity.

In 1850, records were found by Everrette DeGolyer (1886-1956), a Dallas millionaire and a lover of chili, indicating that the first chili mix was concocted around 1850 by Texan adventurers and cowboys as a staple for hard times when traveling to and in the California gold fields and around Texas. Needing hot food, the trail cooks came up with a sort of stew. They pounded dried beef, fat, pepper, salt, and the chile peppers together into stackable rectangles which could be easily rehydrated with boiling water. This amounted to “brick chili” or “chili bricks” that could be boiled in pots along the trail. DeGolyer said that chili should be called “chili a la Americano” because the term chili is generic in Mexico and simply means a hot pepper. He believed that chili con carne began as the “pemmican of the Southwest.”

It is said that some trail cooks planted pepper seeds, oregano, and onions in mesquite patches (to protect them from foraging cattle) to use on future trail drives. It is thought that the chile peppers used in the earliest dishes were probably chilipiquín0, which grow wild on bushes in Texas, particularly the southern part of the state.

There was another group of Texans known as “Lavanderas,” or “Washerwoman,” that followed around the 19th-century armies of Texas making a stew of goat meat or venison, wild marjoram and chile peppers.

By 1860, residents of the Texas prisons in the mid to late 1800s also lay claim to the creation of chili. They say that the Texas version of bread and water (or gruel) was a stew of the cheapest available ingredients (tough beef that was hacked fine and chiles and spices that was boiled in water to an edible consistency). The “prisoner’s plight” became a status symbol of the Texas prisons and the inmates used to rate jails on the quality of their chili. The Texas prison system made such good chili that freed inmates often wrote for the recipe, saying what they missed most after leaving was a really good bowl of chili.

In 1893,  Texas chili went national when Texas set up a San Antonio Chili Stand at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

In 1895,  Lyman T. Davis of Corsicana, Texas made chili that he sold from the back of a wagon for five cents a bowl with all the crackers you wanted. He later opened a meat market where he sold his chili in brick form, using the brand name of Lyman’s Famous Home Made Chili. In 1921, he started to can chili in the back of his market and named it after his pet wolf, Kaiser Bill and called it Wolf Brand Chili (a picture of the wolf is still used on the label today).

By the 1880’s, San Antonio was a wide-open cattle, army, and railroad town.  At the center of all the activity were the “Chili Queens” selling their wares on the Plaza, feeding the cowboys, soldiers, and railway workers.  Even the tourists enjoyed the novelty of the Chili Queens.  It was a delicious, slightly exotic, homemade, cheap meal served from colorful carts for a dime.  By 1937, however, the era of the Chili Queens was over when the San Antonio Department of Health decreed that outside food stands had to be held to the same sanitation standards as restaurants.  The Chili Queens disappeared overnight.

(All historical references come from Text by Linda Stradley.)

There are many chili cook-offs all over the country (  The oldest and biggest of these is held in Terlingua, Texas every first weekend of November.  This year will be 46th annual.  It’s a wonderful mix of carnival, party, and really good food.

They type of chili made in cook-offs are quite different from chilis made at home.  In competition, a chili has to make a quick and lasting impression on judges who might be tasting dozens of chilis in a sitting.  They tend to be more highly spiced, hotter, and saltier.  Chili made at home tends to be quite a bit milder.  Depending on the recipe and cook.

The main component in chili, besides meat, is chili powder.  Legend is that two different men, DeWitt Clinton Pendry in Fort Worth and William Gebhardt in San Antonio, invented spice blends to sell to restaurants, and later to consumers.  This was a way to make chiles available year-round by drying and grinding them as opposed to them being available only seasonally.  There are dozens of different types of blended chili powders on the market.  You can also find single-ingredient chile powders, like Ancho or Chipotle.

Also, chili as we know it is not known in Mexico.  The recipe may have originated with the Spanish and been brought to Texas by the Mexican people already living here, but it is a purely American dish.  In effect, one of the original Tex-Mex recipes. In Mexico, chili is defined as “detestable food passing itself off as Mexican, sold in the US from Texas to New York”.


Now, to the recipe.

This is my own.  It came over many attempts of trial and error. It is a traditional Texas-style chili.  No beans.


Sahar’s Bowl of Red

3 lbs. beef chuck roast , cut into 1″ pieces -or- 3 lbs. beef chili grind

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 med. onions, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 tbsp. tomato paste


2 tbsp. chili powder (My preference is for San Antonio blend. But, use any style you like)

1 tbsp. ancho chile powder

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. Mexican oregano

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tbsp. salt (use kosher or sea salt)

2 tsp. ground black pepper

2 tbsp. paprika

2 tbsp. light brown sugar


Beef Broth, as needed

1 15-oz. can tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Tomatoes)


2 tbsp. masa mixed with 2 tbsp. broth or water to make a slurry


The ingredients


The spices: Left, clockwise - chile powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne, ancho powder, cumin; Right, clockwise - brown sugar, pepper, salt


My personal preference, beef chuck cut into 1" pieces.


1.  Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the meat and cook, stirring frequently, until it is no longer pink.

Browning the meat


Add the onion & garlic and continue cooking until the onions are soft.

Cooking the meat with the onions and garlic


2.  Add the tomato paste and cook until it is well blended with the meat, onions and garlic.

3.  Add the spices and mix in with the meat, onions, and garlic.  Cook until the spices begin to have a scent, about 1 – 2 minutes.

Meat after the spices and tomato paste are added


4.  Mix in the can of tomatoes, with their juice, and just enough beef broth to cover the meat.  Cover and bring to a boil.

After the tomatoes and broth are added


5.  Once the chili comes to a boil, uncover the pot, turn the heat down to low and simmer, stirring occasionally.  Cook until the meat is tender, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

After 30 minutes


After 1 hour


6.  At the end if the cooking time, add the masa slurry to the chili and blend in thoroughly.  Cook for about 5 more minutes to let the chili thicken slightly.  Taste for seasoning.

After about 1-1/2 hours and mixing in the masa.


7.  Serve with cornbread or corn tortillas.  If you want to sprinkle a few onions on top, go ahead.  But, no cheese.  Also, to make this as authentic as possible, DO NOT serve this with beans or rice.  If you do, don’t tell me about it.

The finished recipe. Yummy.

Chili, like most other soups and stews, is always better the next day.  This freezes well, too.







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