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Leek Potato Charred Poblano Soup

Hello, hello! We are back in the saddle and hope you had a fantastic Holidays and a fresh start to 2017. We have been on a rollercoaster of change and highly focused on our book. Besides some adversities with Miss. Mildred (our stove), we are working on her retirement and the stove transition to make it happen. We are extremely grateful for all the great people who have supported us during this time, whether if it has been a word of encouragement, an e-mail, a phone call, or a donation funding for the new stove to come. To all of you, THANK YOU so much! On the other hand, It is taking a little longer than we expected, with permits and responses, but as soon we have the stove we will shout it out loud and proud!, and of course we will send you a photo.

In the meantime, dealing with our bi-polar weather and stove, soups have been my ultimate effort to save our dinners. One coil burner and a quick prep and 20-25 minutes in the kitchen, can yield the coziest, warmest, and most rewarding bowl of goodness to your table on any given dinner night. This classic velvety soup of leeks, potatoes, and cream has the flavor force of 1,000 horses. It always amazes me how so few ingredients treated with care can yield some of the best soups. Despite the classic version of this soup being one of my favorites, I’m giving this classic velvety soup a rustic and hearty twist. I find this soup much more comforting when its not blended all the way. So I reserved some sautéed leeks, and when it comes the time to pure, I used my immersion blender just a few times, enough to give the desired creaminess from the classic version, and leaving about half of the potato bites. These slight changes give great texture and hearty body to the soup. My irreverence, the addition of charred poblanos, I think is the best thing that could happen to this soup

Chiles Poblanos, as you know, when charred take on a smoky, and pleasant heat that when added to the soup create a spectacular synergy of flavors. Creamy texture small potato bites, soft buttery leeks with a smoky mildly spicy accent, a dollop of Greek yogurt, some sea salt, and a crusty bread on the side is all you need to make your dinner memorable.
Best 25 minutes invested in your kitchen. Hell yeah!

Leek Potato Charred Poblano Soup

Serves 1 Mama bear, 1 Papa Bear, 2 cubs

3  large leeks washed, use just bright lime and white parts, sliced.
1  pound Maris piper or yellow wax potatoes, peeled and medium diced.
3  tablespoons butter
1  tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3  cups chicken stock
1  cup heavy cream*
1/4  teaspoon dry dill
3/4  teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
2  poblano peppers, charred, skinned, de-seeded and cut into strips.

Garnish with:
Greek yogurt, dry or fresh dill, serve with toasted cheese crostinis or rustic bread.

* For vegan or non-dairy soup version, use about 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk and add just one clove of garlic when sweating the leeks, to tame the coconut flavor…it makes a delicious version!

Preparation:

1. Rinse and wash leeks. The best method I have find is to cut the green parts just above when the bright lime and white leek color starts. Cut the top hairs of the leeks and slice in half length wise. Rinse under running water holding from white tops to greenish ends. This will
prevent the sand and dirt getting into the white parts. Make sure you use a clean board to slice the leeks after washing them. Sand particles are very sneaky and they can ruin your soup, be alert. On a separate note, Save deep green parts, wash them, and cut into 3″ pieces, you can make a marvelous stock for feature soups.


2. Over medium heat, warm up a medium large pot, melt butter and oil, add leeks a pinch of salt and 4 tablespoons of chicken stock. Toss well, cover pot with a lid, lower the heat and let them sweat for about 4-5 minutes.
3. When the leeks start softening, and still bright green, reserve about 4 tablespoons in a little ramekin set aside.
4.Add diced potatoes, chicken stock, black pepper and salt, bring it to a high simmer, cover pot and reduce heat. Cook for about 8 minutes or until potatoes are soft but still retain their shape.

5. Meantime charr the popblanos on the direct flame of your stove, use tonges in order to rotate and char them evenly.Set aside cover them with a plate and let them rest for 3-4 minutes. Te plate will create steam and will help when its time to remove the skins. With a spoon, gently scrape the skin, cut the top of the Chile, then slice and open. scrape all the seeds with the spoon and remove the veins. process to think slice or dice what ever you prefer. If you do not own a gas stove… As we do not…use a torch or rub the chiles with a tinny drop of oil, and use the oven broiler. watch them at all times because they can get from char to burnt on a blink of an eye!… Then proceed with the same method to de-vein and de-seed them.
6.Once potatoes are cooked to your desired consistency, add dill, and heavy cream. Stir, and lower the temperature about medium low. with the help of an immersion blender just pulse 2-3 times into the soup to add some creaminess. I leave about 1/2 of the potato diced and half pureed. If you do not have an immersion blender, grab a potato masher, or puree 1 cup of the soup in the blender, until smooth, then add to the soup and stir until well incorporated. At last add the poblanos, cut into strips or diced, and save some to garnish the soup when served. Let the soup warm up, do not let it boil. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and extra slices of charred poblanos. Enjoy!

Music Pairing:  Segundo, Pink Maritini – Je dis Oui!

 

 

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Leek Potato Charred Poblano Soup

Course Soup
Cuisine wholesome
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Author Mariana McEnroe

Ingredients

  • 3 large leeks washed, use just bright lime and white parts, sliced.
  • 1 pound Maris piper or yellow wax potatoes peeled and medium diced.
  • 3 tablespoons un salted, butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cup heavy cream* * For vegan or non-dairy soup version, use about 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk and add just one clove of garlic when sweating the leeks, to tame the coconut flavor...it makes a delicious version!
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry dill
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Fresh, ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium Poblano Peppers, charred, skinned, de-seeded and cut into strips.

Instructions

  1. 1. Rinse and wash leeks. The best method I have find is to cut the green parts just above when the bright lime and white leek color starts. Cut the top hairs of the leeks and slice in half length wise. Rinse under running water holding from white tops to greenish ends. This will

    prevent the sand and dirt getting into the white parts. Make sure you use a clean board to slice the leeks after washing them. Sand particles are very sneaky and they can ruin your soup, be alert. On a separate note, Save deep green parts, wash them, and cut into 3" pieces, you can make a marvelous stock for feature soups. 

  2. 2. Over medium heat, warm up a medium large pot, melt butter and oil, add leeks a pinch of salt and 4 tablespoons of chicken stock. Toss well, cover pot with a lid, lower the heat and let them sweat for about 4-5 minutes.

  3. 3. When the leeks start softening, and still bright green, reserve about 4 tablespoons in a little ramekin set aside.

    4.Add diced potatoes, chicken stock, black pepper and salt, bring it to a high simmer, cover pot and reduce heat. Cook for about 8 minutes or until potatoes are soft but still retain their shape.

  4. 5.Once potatoes are cooked to your desired consistency, add dill, and heavy cream. Stir, and lower the temperature about medium low. with the help of an immersion blender just pulse 2-3 times into the soup to add some creaminess. I leave about 1/2 of the potato diced and half pureed. If you do not have an immersion blender, grab a potato masher, or puree 1 cup of the soup in the blender, until smooth, then add to the soup and stir until well incorporated. At last add the poblanos, cut into strips or diced, and save some to garnish the soup when served. Let the soup warm up, do not let it boil. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and extra slices of charred poblanos. Enjoy!

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Gluten free Cornbread Muffins with Poblano Peppers and Smoked Gouda

Corn-Bread-Muffins-with-Poblano-peppers-and-Smoked-Gouda-ready-to-serve-Yes,-more-please!

This is the time of the year when quick breads like this fill up the house with warmth and delicious comforting aromas. MAKE THEM, It’s a must.
I have had this recipe for about 25 years …from one of my grandma’s best friends. It is one of the first encounters I had with baking. My modern grandma Ana Fernanda used to make this cornbread; she used some canned goods and different chiles from the north part of Mexico including chile California a bright green chile mild in spice. Also she used Chihuahua style cheese and baked it in a big rectangular dish. By the time this corn bread hit the table it was pretty much gone, absolutely delicious.

I decided to adjust the recipe and replace the canned goods by using fresh ingredients. For me it makes such a big difference in flavor and in texture. I used corn meal instead of corn mix, and interchanged the flour for gluten-free flour mix, which gives them a lighter and fluffier texture. The recipe works great with both types of flour, whether if you are using all-purpose flour, or a gluten-free all-purpose mix.

Now, instead of a big rectangular bread, I think to portion them out it’s the ticket! It cuts down the cooking time and each muffin gets an irresistible crusty top. I used Poblano peppers instead of California, Hatch chiles would be also great if you happen to have some frozen ones from this last season. Now, do not worry about the Poblanos, they are mild with just a hint of heat that play really well with the sweet corn. Instead of Chihuahua cheese, since I could not find one of a good quality and flavor, I used Smoked Gouda. Use what you like, perhaps something local, mild with good melting qualities.

These Cornbread Muffins with Poblano peppers and Smoked Gouda will make everybody happy at the table, including your gluten-free guests, they are moist , fluffy and  flavorful, I assure you this babies can be the hit at your Thanksgiving table or any given baking night!…Or Breakfast…Ian and I split them in half, warmed them on the pan with a dash of butter and topped them with a sunny side up egg…you’ve got to love the leftovers, if there are any…

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Corn-Bread-Muffins_ingredients

Gluten free Cornbread Muffins with Poblano Peppers and Smoked Gouda

Makes 12 muffins or one 9×13 rectangular baking dish.

1-1/2 cups organic corn meal flour *
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour ** Not gluten-free fan? you can use regular all-purpose flour.
2 teaspoons baking powder***
1 teaspoon plus one pinch kosher salt
4 eggs
½ cup greek yogurt
1-1/2 tablespoons honey
¾ cup corn oil. Grape seed oil, sunflower will work too.
4 tablespoons melted butter
4 small medium fresh ears of sweet corn
1 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese
2 Poblano peppers roasted, skinned, de seeded and sliced into strips. Remember to save some strips to top the muffins!
1 pinch smoked paprika

Topping with:

½ cup shredded cheese
12 thin Poblano strips
smoked paprika to sprinkle on top
12 baking liners

*If you are in Austin, Boggy Creek Farm has the best one, Lamb’s stone ground meal, or Bob’s Red Mill for a national brand.
**The brands I prefer for gluten-free all-purpose flour: Cup4Cup, King Arthur all-purpose gluten-free mix.Not a gluten-free fan, you can use regular unbleached all-purpose flour.

*** I always use aluminum free Baking Powder.

Preparation Method:

1. De-kernel 3 ears of corn and blend on the food processor or immersion hand blender, until a coarse purée. De-kernel the 4th ear of corn and add the kernels to the purée.

Corn-Bread-Muffins_Corn-puree
2. Preheat your oven at 375F. Line two muffin baking pans with the large muffin liners 6 on each pan alternating spots. (Please: Read bottom note about baking liners and baking times.)
3. In a medium size bowl mix all DRY ingredients, whisk well to incorporate. Add cheese and toss.
4. In another medium size bowl, mix all your WET ingredients, including the corn kernel purée and the poblano strips. Remember to save some poblano strips to top the muffins.

Corn-Bread-Muffins-with-Poblano-Peppers-and-Smoked-Gouda_Mixing-the-batter
5. Combine wet ingredients into Dry with a wood spatula, until well incorporated, do not over mix.

Corn-Bread-Muffins_Mixing-wet-and-Dry-ingredients
6. Apply a little oil to a standard size Ice cream scooper, and fill each cup with a well-rounded heaping scoop of the batter. If you are using smaller cups use a leveled scoop.

Corn-Bread-Muffins-with-Poblano-Peppers-and-Smoked-Gouda_Scooping-the-muffins
7. Sprinkle a little cheese, a poblano strip and a dash of paprika on each muffin.

Corn-Bread-Muffins-with-Poblano-peppers-and-Smoked-Gouda-cheese_toppings
8. Place them into the oven on the lower third rack and LOWER the temperature to 350F.
9. Bake at 350F for 17-20 minutes until golden brown tops and a toothpick comes out almost clean with a few crumbs. Remove from oven and wait for 1-2 minutes, remove from pan into a baking rack or a basket and take them to the table. Enjoy.

Note:
Baking liners: I used a large paper cups that overlap if you bake them to close. That’s why I alternate them, and I used two trays. I love the medium size muffins and the raised muffin tops. They take about 17-20 minutes to bake.
If you are using regular cupcake liners I would say you might have more than a dozen, since they are smaller, and they will bake faster, perhaps 12-15 minutes. So, watch out and keep an eye on them.
If you are using dark muffin pans you might have to lower down your oven temperature at 325F since the darker pans retain more heat.

Corn-Bread-Muffins-with-Poblano-peppers-and-Smoked-Gouda-Yes,-more-please!Corn-Braead-Muffins-with-Poblano-Peppers-and-Smoked-Gouda_spread-some-butter!_Yes,-more-please!

Corn-Bread-Muffins-with-Poblano-Peppers-and-Smoked-gouda-Cheese_tear-apart

Enjoy!

Music Pairing: Billie Holiday – The very thought of you

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Mariana’s Mexican Tuna Sashimi

Mexican-Sashimi-Yes,-more-please!

This makes for a versatile dish: appetizer, summer dinner, or lunch; place it in any part of a summer’s day. If you just want something lighter, easy, and extremely tasty, with a little Mexican flair, this is your recipe to go!.

Forget for a bit about the tired guacamole and chips or ceviche. I know they are delicious, but this is going to turn on your appetizer-snack light bulb. There are so many other ingredients in Mexican cuisine, and so many fusions that can take place, that this dish stroked me last night and it was a delicious dinner…Yes, yes we had this for dinner, along with a couple of pomegranate Margaritas…if you want the recipe for them leave me a comment and I will post it next week…

Let me introduce you to my version of Mexican Tuna Sashimi. In Mexico there is a kind of sashimi preparation named Agua chile. Agua Chile is a quick appetizer in which shrimp, octopus, are partially cooked in lime juice and a fresh serrano pepper and a couple of dashes of a well known dark sauce seasoning starting with “M” are added. It is ridiculously simple and delicious.

With this Agua chile dish in mind and Masaharu Morimoto whispering in my ear: “Tuna Sashimi”~
I fused a couple of ideas and created this scrumptious appetizer, summer lunch, Desperate Housewives re-runs, or foodie football game night.

Mexican-Sashimi-ready-to-eat!

For the recipe sushi grade tuna, a crisp English cucumber, creamy avocado, red onion, lemon juice, soy sauce are plated and combined with my weapon of choice: a red toasted chile de arbol oil sauce. To add some fun and crunch factor, Kettle potato chips or some salty crispy rice chips are delicious on the side to complement the ingredients in this crazy adventure.

The result is a cosmic bite that takes you to Japan and back to play at a mariachi band! Please, you must try this. Share and repeat.

You will find your self craving this appetizer often. Just like we now do…

Mexican-Sashimi_Ingredients

Mariana’s Mexican Tuna Sashimi

Serves 2 or 4.

½ lb tuna steak, sashimi quality, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger for best available.
½ English cucumber thinly sliced
½ small red onion thinly sliced
½ Mexican Hass avocado
1 lemon
1-2 teaspoons mirin
2 teaspoons tamari sauce or soy sauce

For the Chile de Arbol oil-sauce :

12 dry Chiles de Arbol remove stems if any.
1 garlic clove
2 good pinches of sea salt
¼ cup grape seed oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds.

Garnish with:

2 tablespoons unsalted roasted peanuts
toasted golden sesame seeds.

Preparation:

1. First make the sauce. In a small pot heat up the oil and chiles on medium-low, until the chiles are deep dark red, almost black. Set aside and let it cool. Once its cooled down blend the chiles, the oil, sesame seeds, garlic, and salt until you have thick chili oil. Feel free to add a bit more oil if it is too thick. Set aside.

Mexican-Sashimi_toasted-arbol-salsa
2. Now, place your tuna steak in the freezer for about 10 minutes before slicing, this way it will slice easily. I usually set up a timer so I don’t forget its there and you end up with a tuna lollipop!
3. Meantime, with a Mandolin or a sharp knife, thinly slice: cucumber, red onion, avocado.

Mexican-Sashimi_Slicing_avocado,-cucumber,-red-onion
4. Remove the tuna from freezer and slice with the sharpest knives you have. It can be a filet knife, a fish knife, if you own a sashimi knife you are my idol!… Me, I used what I was confident would make a great thin slices, My Santoku knife…I know a lot of people will be reading this and they would want to hang my neck for this… The only person that I could feel I need to apologize to is Masaharo Morimoto… “sorry Chef… I had to”
So yes, using my sharp confidence knife I proceed to slice my tuna steak. It is very important you follow the picture below, on how you cut your tuna steak to avoid a tuna massacre.
There is just a few points to follow:
– Cut the tip of the triangle that is separated by a silver tissue.
– remove the opposite tip of the triangle, the one that looks darker in color and it almost have no visible grain. This is the most tender and delicious part of the tuna steak, its the little corner that it is closer to the vertebra, therefore its tender. Save it to make two special bites if you want.
– Once you remove the two tips, your tuna steak will look more like a rectangular shape.
– Start slicing your tuna from the shortest side of the rectangular shape. Making sure you use just one slide motion on your knife like if you are cutting air. Sway the knife to get the cleanest cut possible.

Mexican-Sashimi-Slicing-Tuna
5. Now the fun part begins, layering the flavors. In a large plate or platter, start layering the cucumber slices, onion, avocado and tuna. Squeeze some lime juice, soy sauce, mirin, sesame seeds, and little drops of the chili oil. Start another layer, until you finish with your vegetables and tuna.

Mexican-Sashimi_Fun-platting

Note: You will have lots of chile de arbol oil left. You can use it on stir fried dishes, shrimp, fish, or save it in a air-tight container in the refrigerator and it will be good for at least 4 weeks.

6. To finish up sprinkle the roughly chopped roasted peanuts on top of the plated items, grab you kettle potato chips, a nice pomegranate margarita, or any drink of your choice, sake, Japanese or Mexican beer will work too!
And enjoy!

Mexican-Sashimi-tuna-agua-chile

Mariana's-Mexican-Sashimi_Yes,-more-please!

Enjoy!

Music Pairing: Mucha Muchacha by Esquivel

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Roasted Pumpkin-Poblano Soup

Roasted_Pumpkin-Poblano_Soup_serving presentation

Warm and velvety and with a hint of roasted sweetness….It is inevitable to succumb to the cliche of pumpkin soup. I assure you there are 1,000 recipes out there with all different combinations spices, creamy, vegan, vegetarian…This version is my humble version of Roasted pumpkin-poblano soup.

For the past few years I’ve been making my vegetable soups under one principle: “do not add chicken stock”. Yes, it is that simple. I don’t want, under any circumstance, my broccoli soup to taste like chicken (or my potatoes, carrots, or any vegetable to taste like the bird). I want to savor the flavor of the vegetable. It is certainly a challenge to follow this principle, because our inner chicken stock flavored souls desperately want to add more “depth of flavor”. For me this is totally wrong. The way I make my vegetable soups is by enhancing the vegetables using different cooking methods like roasting, grilling, braising; all these cooking methods bring out the vegetable qualities, enhance the sweetness and flavor concentration to the soup. And yes, at times just a little help from other vegetable friends can harmonize the flavor.

Pumpkin has a delicate flavor so it is easy to mask, yet easier to harmonize. I love roasting or braising. In this case I chose to roast the pumpkin and add some caramelized sweet onions to bring out the sweet and earthy flavor of the pumpkin. Roasted poblanos, charred sweet corn, and some tortilla crisps play perfectly in this soup and add contrast in texture. With no doubt it is one of my favorite soups to make, so easy and comforting. It freezes well if you want to store it for a quick-thaw meal and I just can tell you that after the photo shooting this soup was our good comforting dinner…

ROasted_Pumpkin-Poblano_soup_close up

Roasted_Pumpkin_soup_ roasting&puree

Roasted_Pumpkin-Poblano_Soup_puree

Roasted Pumpkin-Poblano soup

Serves 2 hungry persons as main dish for dinner or 4 starters soups.

 

2 cups roasted pumpkin purée (I do prefer natural and roasting my own, you can use canned, but it is definitely not my favorite option)
4 cups water
1 small sweet yellow onion caramelized
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon freely grated nutmeg

To garnish:

2 poblanos roasted, skin, devein and cut into stripes. 1 cup of corn kernels (about 1-2 ears of corn depending on size)
¼ cup of cream or greek yogurt.
2 corn tortillas thinly cut into strips, baked or fried.

Roasted_Pumpkin-Poblano_Soup_Garnish-Toppings

Directions:

Over medium high heat in a soup pot, place the oil the onions and a pinch of salt. Until they are soft and translucent. Lower the heat and let them become brown and caramelized.
Add pumpkin puree, water salt, pepper nutmeg. Let it simmer until bubbly hot. Adjust the liquids for desire consistency. At last add the tablespoon of butter and stir until melted and incorporated.

Roasted_Pumpkin_Poblano_Soup_caramelized onions-fried tortilla strips

Serve warm in a soup bowl and garnish with the poblanos, charred corn and thinly fried tortilla strips.
You can add a dolop of greek yogurt or swirl of cream.

For vegan:

Use : vegan butter and replace cream swirl with any soy or coconut or almond  based cream.

Roasted_Pumpkin-Poblano_Soup_Serving bowl

Roasted-Pumpkin-Poblano_Soup_serving presentation bowl

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