This past fall, I made a trip to Colorado to visit a friend. We had a great time… because most of what we did revolved around food! One morning we found our way to a local diner for breakfast. I ordered a dish called a Sombrero. It was a substantial pile of hash browns drenched in a green chile pork sauce and topped with shredded cheese. It was sooooooo amazing! I have tried twice to make this dish at home, but the green pork chili just wasn’t right. I did some further research on it and found that it is apparently a Colorado specialty. Unfortunately, most of the recipes out there for this, called for like 20 fresh chiles of varying types roasted, peeled, and chopped. Arrggghhh! I live in Iowa… and it’s winter time! It’s like the culinary black hole! There’s no way I could find 20 good quality chiles in any store around here. So, with a slight sense of melancholy, I switched gears and began looking for a recipe for a green chicken chili instead. This was a good change anyway, because I try not to use pork if I can avoid it (is there such a thing as organic pasture fed free range pork? LOL). Most of the recipes used canned green enchilada sauce, canned chiles, and jarred salsa verde various combinations and amounts. Here’s what I tried:
Green Chicken Chili
- 1 T. canola or olive oil
- 1/2 lg onion, diced
- 4 oz can of diced green chiles (I gave mine an extra chop before using)
- 1 1/2 t. cumin
- 1/2 t. coriander
- 1 clove of garlic minced (or the equivalent in garlic powder or the pre-minced jarred stuff)
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1 1/2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
- 15 oz can of white beans
- 15 oz jar of salsa verde
- 2 c. chicken stock (set aside 1/4 c. to mix with the masa)
- 1/4 c. of masa
- shredded cheese for topping
Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and canned chiles and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt. Cook for 3 or 4 more minutes. Add everything else except for the reserved chicken stock and the masa. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Mix the reserved chicken stock and masa together in a small bowl. It should be thin like a slurry, not like dough. If it’s too thick add some water. If you add it to the soup and it’s too thick you’ll end up with something like dumplings that are a pain to break up and mix in. Can you guess that this happened to me ^_^ ? ANYWAY… stir in the masa slurry and give it another minute or two of simmering. Then ladle into bowls and top with shredded cheese.
I was NOT completely satisfied with my results. I think using a whole jar of salsa verde made it too tangy and a bit too salty. Next time I will try LESS salsa verde… maybe 2 cans of chiles and 1/2 a jar of the salsa instead? Also… a pinch of salt would have been enough. Maybe this summer I’ll be fortunate enough to find a bunch of fresh chiles to roast, peel, and freeze!
UPDATE: So, the next day I used some of the left over Green Chicken Chili to recreate (sort of) the original inspirational dish that I had in Colorado. I used tater tots (I’ve got a 3 year old boy, give me a break), smothered them in the reheated chili, topped with shredded cheese, a fried egg on the side, along with some toast and jelly. Oh my God… OH MY GOD. It might just have been the best thing I have eaten to date. The flavors of the chili that I wasn’t crazy about the day before seemed to have vanished. So maybe my tweek should be to make it a day ahead! *still dreaming about the green chili drenched tots*
On to the Cornbread
When it comes to cornbread, I am of the belief that it MUST be cooked in cast iron. I am also of the belief that it must NOT be “sweet”. These things are simply because that is how my Mama always made it. She has been making her cornbread this same way my whole life (until recently when she became vegan). I’m now 34 years old. ^_^ Anyway, there’s not much to say about it other than it’s perfect:
- 1 c. all purpose flour
- 1 c. cornmeal
- 1 T. baking powder
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 2 T. sugar
- 1/4 c. oil
- 1 egg
- 1 1/3 – 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Mix the first six ingredients together in a bowl until well mixed. Add the oil, egg, and buttermilk and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Pour into a large (about 10″) greased cast iron skillet. I grease mine with shortening… so sue me. Bake for 30 minutes. The top should be nicely browned, like this…
You can cut this bad boy and serve it pretty much immediately. Also… you can add cheese, or herbs, or chile peppers if you like. I’ve made cheesey cornbread before; it’s very nice. 🙂
DISCLAIMER: I deeply apologize for my lack luster food photography skills.