by Ashley Fagan
When Winter approaches, my cooking style instantly shifts to warm, homey, comforting dishes that will warm your belly and your soul. I started making this soup for my Mom about 10 years ago. She is obsessed with Mexican food, but doesn't like to fuss in the kitchen. This entire dish comes together with little hands on time and can be made with mostly pantry staples you already have on hand! It’s a family favorite in our home and I hope it will become one of yours as well!
For the Spice Blend
For the Soup
In a small bowl mix the spice blend together.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the onions become translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute, until fragrant. Now, add the can of diced chili and the spice blend and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the Tomatoes and sauté for another minute or two until everything comes together and smells wonderful! Add the chicken stock and hominy and bring the soup to a simmer (slight boil). Lower the heat to the lowest setting and cover the pot with the lid. Let it cook for about 30 minutes until the flavors combine and your house smells amazing. While the soup cooks you can shred the meat from the rotisserie chicken. I find it's easiest to use my hands to pick the meat from the bird.
Once the soup has simmered away, add the chicken. Stir and taste for seasoning but, be careful not to burn your mouth... it will ruin your soup eating experience haha! Adjust the seasoning, maybe a touch more salt, maybe more chili pepper if you like it spicy, cumin if you like more zing! It’s up to you!
Serve in big bowls and top with a big squeeze of lime, a sprinkle of cilantro, some shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a big handful of tortilla chips! My husband likes to add sliced radishes as well! It’s totally up to you! Add as much or as little as you want! I love mine with lime, sour cream and cilantro! Yum!
So I have a little secret to share.....sometimes I just don't feel like cooking! I know, I know, this is probably completely contradictory to my enthusiasm for encouraging everyone I come into contact with to cook as often as possible, but lets face it, life can be a little overwhelming some days and we all need a fail safe approach to putting a comforting meal on the table for our starving families after a long hard day. This one is hard to pass up with its minimal prep, and set it and forget approach! And lets be honest, who doesn't like tacos! Can I get a "Yum!" ya'll!
4-5 lb Bone in Pork Butt, trimmed of excess fat
1 Onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Bay Leaf
½ Can/bottle of beer, preferably a flavorful beer such as a Pinapple or Mango
Salt and Pepper
For Serving - corn tortillas, sour cream, sliced radishes, shredded cabbage, lime wedges and cilantro.
Place the pork butt in the slow cooker and season generously with salt and pepper, (about 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper). Place the onion slices, brown sugar, orange half, garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf around the pork and pour in half a can of beer. Set to high and cook for 6-8 hours. The pork should be very tender and falling away from the bone.
Pre-heat your broiler. Once the pork is cooked, discard the cinnamon stick, orange half, bay leaf and garlic cloves. Remove the pork butt and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Shred the pork and discard any hunks of fat and gristle along with the bone. Spread the pork evenly on the baking sheet and place under the broiler for a few minutes until it starts to crisp up. Stir it around and set it back under the broiler. Do this a few more times, checking the pork after a few minutes each time, careful not to char the pork pieces. Once you receive your desired crispness, place the shredded pork back into the slow cooker with the juices. Serve with corn tortillas, sour cream, radishes, shredded cabbage, lime wedges and cilantro.
I will be the first to admit that homemade Mexican food has always been a bit intimidating for me. Not because I didn't feel up for a challenge but more so for the fact that I just don’t have the time to immerse myself in a day long cooking extravaganza just to put a plate of food on the table! Most Mexican style recipes I’ve come across are accompanied by a large list of hard to find ingredients and recipes for sauces and add ins that are required to make the original recipe! I’d find myself halfway through reading the directions before I closed the book and focused my attention on a task less daunting. I created this recipe in hopes of limiting the amount of Mexican take out my family was ordering while still being able to create something delicious and satisfying for my family to enjoy on a weeknight. I will admit that this recipe comes with a long list of ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand, and quite a few steps but if you follow the order they are written, you can have this ready to serve in about 40 minutes. Not too shabby for a hearty weeknight dinner!
For the Chicken
1 lb. Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 T. Olive Oil or Canola Oil
2 tsp. Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Coriander
1 tsp. Dried Oregano
1 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp. Chipotle Chili Powder (1 tsp if you like a bit more spice)
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
For the Rice
1 Cup Basmati Rice, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
1 T Tomato Pasta
1 T Butter
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Red Bell Pepper, medium dice
1 Onion, medium dice
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1 Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
3 T Olive Oil or Canola Oil, separated
Cilantro, Avocado, Lime and Sour Cream (for Serving)
In a small bowl combine the cocoa powder through cinnamon to create the spice mixture. Add the chopped chicken, olive oil and spice mixture to a medium size bowl and toss well until the chicken is completely coated. Set aside on the counter and start the rice.
For the rice, add the rice, chicken broth, tomato paste, butter and salt to a medium size sauce pan. Bring the rice to a boil and then cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce to a simmer. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat after 20 minutes (if using an electric burner, move the pot to a cool spot on your stove top) and let sit in the pot for an additional 10 minutes without lifting the lid. After 10 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork.
While the rice cooks, heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat with 2 T olive oil. Once the oil is hot and shimmering add the chopped onion. Sauté for about 3 minutes until the onions begins to appear translucent then add the bell pepper. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes until the vegetable start to take on a bit of color and become soft. Be careful not to let them get too dark, stir them frequently as they cook (hence the word sauté!) Next, add the minced garlic and continue to stir until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer the onion and pepper mixture to a separate bowl and add the remaining 1 T of olive oil to the Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, add the spiced chicken in an even layer to the bottom of the Dutch oven and let in sit for a few minutes before stirring. This allows the chicken to develop a bit of a crust. After a few minutes stir the chicken to allow the other side to crisp up a bit. Once the chicken is fully cooked, about 5 minutes in total, return the onion mixture to the Dutch oven. Add the chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to get up those tasty little charred bits. Add the black beans and simmer the whole mixture on medium low heat for about 3 minutes, until the chicken broth has reduced by half. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked rice and chopped cilantro. Fill a few bowls with heaping spoonfuls of the rice mixture and top with a big squeeze of fresh lime juice (try not to skip the lime as it brightens the dish and adds a ton of flavor), additional fresh cilantro, avocado and sour cream! Delish!