Viva Mexico – Pozole Verde

I adore the food of Mexico and I’m pleased that I got Margarita Arronte’s new cookbook for Christmas. I haven’t had a chance to delve into it yet but thought I’d share a Mexican dish that I’ve been cooking for years, pozole.

Each year our family hosts a Mexican themed new years party for friends who have kids. As much as us Scots love Hogmanay, the reality amongst our friendship group or urban family is that often we find ourselves at home with the kids watching the bells on STV, having the obligatory tipple before heading off to bed. So a few years ago I devised this daytime event where folk could bring along their kids, who would upon arrival, disappear into the sea of toys in our kids’ bedroom while the adults would share food, talk and celebrate the new year.

IMG_2182

Pozole is a traditional hominy-based stew from the Guerrero region. I’ve no idea where I got the original recipe from and like most regional dishes the world over there are many, many variations of this dish. This particular one, the verde version, gets its name from the addition of green tomatillos and big fat poblano peppers. Most of the ingredients aren’t averrable to me fresh so I have to buy them in tinned. Comment below for some links to grocers.

IMG_2190Serves 6

  • 1.65L chicken stock
  • 500ml water
  • 4 chicken breasts (optional – on the bone), with skin
  • 450g tomatillos (fresh or tinned and drained – husked and halved)
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 2 poblano chiles (tinned or fresh – cored, seeded and quartered)
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and quartered
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • A handful chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp oregano leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Three 450g cans of hominy, drained
  • Finely shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced radishes, chopped onion, diced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips and lime wedges, for serving
  1. In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts, skin side down, cover and simmer over very low heat until they’re tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and shred the meat; discard the bones and skin, if any. Skim any fat from the cooking liquid and reserve.
  2. In a blender, combine the halved tomatillos with the quartered onion, poblanos and jalapeños, smashed garlic, chopped cilantro and oregano. Pulse until coarsely chopped, scraping down the side. With the machine on, add 250ml of the cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Season the tomatillo puree with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the tomatillo puree and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce turns a deep green, about 12 minutes.
  4. Pour the green sauce into the cooking liquid in the casserole. Add the hominy and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the shredded chicken to the stew, season with salt and pepper and cook just until heated through. Serve the pozole in deep bowls, passing the lettuce, radishes, onion, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips and lime wedges at the table.

Food Glorious Food – Moussaka bil Tahini

10262154_10152141612653037_2057030862124870274_n

So, I love food. I love to cook and feed people.

This is my first recipe outing on this blog. I love exploring different cultures and different cuisines. 

After reading an excerpt from a book called Comptoir Libanais by Tony Kitous. My mouth was watering at this one recipe in particular, Moussaka. This is Lebanese version (moussaka bil tahini) without the bechamel sauce and served with a delicious tahini and za’atar dip instead. The recipe here is the one that I’ve copied from the book and calls for salting the aubergines. I don’t always bother. Taste a piece of the vegetable first, if you find it bitter and it’s verging on being soft then by all means salt until your heart’s content. If you’ve picked up fairly fresh, young ones then the salting isn’t necessary.

I’d recommend serving with flatbreads and a green salad.

  • aubergines
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing and drizzling
  • large onion, finely chopped
  • garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 6 fresh tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tahini dressing:

  • 125g yoghurt
  • 40g tahini
  • Couple of pinches of za’atar
  • Flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Take one aubergine and chop into bite-size cubes, lay on a plate and cover with salt. Set aside for 15 minutes to draw out all the bitter juices. Slice the other aubergine into rounds then salt and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for around 10-15 minutes until it’s starting to soften and caramelise.

Rinse the cubed aubergine and add to the pan with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cook, stirring from time to time, for about 10 minutes until the cubes have softened and turned golden.

Stir in the garlic and cook in the heat of the pan for a couple of minutes until you can smell the aroma. Pour in the tomatoes, and tomato puree and bring everything to a simmer. Cover and cook on the lowest heat for 15 minutes.

photo 1

Rinse the salt from the remaining aubergine. Preheat the grill and oil a baking sheet. Brush the aubergine slices liberally with oil and grill until golden, turning halfway through. Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas 6. (I griddled them)

Place a layer of the aubergine sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof dish, then cover this with the sliced tomatoes, chickpeas and finally the grilled aubergine. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil.

Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top. To make the dressing, stir together the yoghurt, tahini and za’atar to taste. Scatter the chopped parsley over the moussaka and serve with the tahini dressing.

photo 2 photo 3

This dish pops up in several countries (Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Serbia) with their own distinctive take on it. Do you have a favourite?