Pork and Pumpkin Stew

Wak Gominda with basmati rice.

Gominda Wak with basmati rice.

Perfect for an autumn meal: this is Gominda Wak (literally: “pumpkin pork,” also sometimes “Wak Gominda”), a hearty traditional stew from the Garo people in northeastern India. It’s a wonderful pork and squash dish that I was introduced to by my Garo friend, who helped prepare it here. It’s surprisingly simple – only 5 ingredients!

Wak Gominda ingredients.

Wak Gominda ingredients.

Ingredients, here for 6-8 generous servings:

  • Boneless pork; here we used about 3 pounds pork loin; a marbled pork roast might be preferred; it need not be this lean.
  • Pumpkin or other squash, a couple pounds; we used about 2/3 in total of the acorn, butternut, and buttercup squashes shown.
  • Chilis, e.g., 8-10 of the thai chilis shown here.
  • Baking soda, about 1/2 teaspoonful.
  • Salt, to taste.
  • Basmati rice, to accompany the stew when serving.

To prepare:

First, rinse, peel, and remove seeds/guts from squash to prepare it for cubing.
I do not endorse my friend’s peeling technique! Use a vegetable peeler if you can. :)

Peel the squash.

Peel the squash.

Cut the pork into large bite-sized pieces, trimming any gristly fat, but leaving some fat for cooking.

Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces.

Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces.

In a large pot, beginning cooking the pork pieces over medium-low heat with fat or oil, as necessary to keep it from sticking.

Begin with the cubed pork, over medium-low heat.

Begin with the cubed pork, over medium-low heat.

Cover the pork, simmering over low heat, stirring occasionally until fat renders and some water is released and cooked until white, i.e., at least mostly cooked through.

Simmer the pork, covered.

Simmer the pork, covered.

While pork is cooking, remove the chili stems and cut the chilis lengthwise, just once so that their seeds can be released and they will disintegrate while cooking.  Also, cube the squash.

Baking soda and sliced chilis.

Baking soda and sliced chilis.

Once the pork is cooked, add the soda and chilis, then stir.

Add baking soda and chilis to cooked, stewing pork.

Add baking soda and chilis to cooked, stewing pork.

Next, add the squash and a bit of salt, and then stir, so that meat is no longer on the bottom (to prevent burning).
Increase heat to medium or medium-low, then cover and stir occasionally.

Add cubed squash to pork mixture.

Add cubed squash to pork mixture.

When lightly boiling in the water released from pork and squash, reduce to low heat and simmer slowly, perhaps 1/2 hour, until squash is soft enough to disintegrate.
If necessary, add water sparingly, so that it boils but remains somewhat thick in consistency.

Pork and pumpkin stewing.

Pork and pumpkin stewing.

Stir and use a spoon to squash any whole squash cubes. Taste for spiciness (it will likely be quite spicy with 8-10 thai chilis) and salt, and adjust as you like.

You’re done!  Serve over basmati rice and enjoy!

Pork and Pumpkin Stew served over basmati rice.

Pork and Pumpkin Stew over basmati rice.

Gołąbki: Polish Cabbage Rolls

Gołąbki with tomatoes and sauce.

Gołąbki with tomatoes and sauce.

Gołąbki are Polish cabbage rolls. I’m of Polish heritage, on my father’s side, and have enjoyed this very common, traditional dish, but hadn’t previously tackled preparation myself. As it turns out, it can be done in about 2 hours preparation time, and 2 hours cooking time. “Gołąbki” is the plural Polish word for pigeon, and is a apparently based on the resulting size of the rolls. To an English speaker, it is pronounced like one would say “gawumpki.”

The occasion that caused me to make gołąbki was that we have a Polish graduate student visiting for a summer internship at my work, and I thought he might like some taste of home… given that our Polish-named staples here in the U.S., such as Polish pickles or Polish sausage, are nothing like he knows from home. It also helped put a good dent in our CSA share of vegetables in that it uses a head of cabbage and my, unusual, vegetarian version also used a fennel bulb.

There are many preparation techniques for gołąbki, some involving pan frying and then boiling or steaming them. I chose to use this recipe as the basis for my gołąbki, which simply has you to bake them, covered, in a 350° F oven for 2 hours.

The filling for the meat-based gołąbki was a combination of the following:

  • 1 cabbage, medium
  • about 2 pounds raw ground pork sausage (I used Italian sausage, or what we call Italian sausage in the states)
  • 2 cups cooked rice, with some butter added during cooking, cooled
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • garlic cloves, minced, sautéed in butter
  • 1 large onion, diced, sautéed in butter
  • butter
  • marjoram
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce

For the vegetarian gołąbki I used the above except substituted the following for the ground meat:

  • chopped fennel bulb, sautéed until tender
  • chopped mushroom, lightly sautéed

For the fillings, mix the above (except for butter, tomatoes and tomato sauce), in a large bowl similar to the way one makes meatballs; cover and refrigerate until ready to fill and roll the cabbage leaves.

To prepare the cabbage leaves, I followed the method show in this video. That is, I brought a large pot of water to very low boil, enough water so that the whole cabbage head could just be submerged. Then removed the core of the cabbage leaves, and boiled it slowly, carefully removing the leaves one by one with tongs and cooled them on a cutting board. It’s important to remove the core complete so that the leaves can separate as they soften and loosen while boiling.

Once the leaves were prepared, cutting out some of the cabbage leaves’ “stem” if it’s too difficult to roll, I filled them with an amount of filling proportional to the size of the leaf (from 1 Tablespoon to 2 or more), and rolled them by folding the sides first, and rolling them, typically with the more substantial base of the leaf toward the outside of the roll.  After rolling, I packed them fairly tightly in a baking dish. (Use a separate baking dish for the meat and vegetarian gołąbki if you make both.)

Gołąbki before cooking.

Gołąbki before cooking.

Once the baking dishes are filled, pour the diced tomato and tomato sauce over the top, spreading evenly, and sprinkle again with marjoram.  Cover the dishes tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a 350° F oven for 2 hours.

Gołąbki, ready to be covered and baked.

Gołąbki, ready to be covered and baked.

Once cooked, let the gołąbki sit and cool a bit and serve them, accompanied by a dollop of sour cream if you like.

Gołąbki with tomato sauce, served with sour cream.

Gołąbki with tomato sauce, served with sour cream.

I really enjoyed making and eating these.These are also nice left-over, even frozen and reheated as necessary; this is a good thing, since it’s best to make quite a large batch given the work. My Polish student friend liked them, but rated them as spicier than his grandmother’s version. (That was by design, in that I used a medium spicy Italian sausage rather than the typical blander combination of ground pork and beef that most gołąbki recipes call for.)  He also noted that they leave the tomato sauce to be added only after cooking.

Here are some related recipes and a video I referenced:

Brussels Sprout and Ham Fried Rice

Brussels Sprouts and Ham Fried Rice.

Brussels Sprout and Ham Fried Rice.

With the goal of making use of some of the leftover Easter ham (admittedly, my Easter is more of a meal than a religious experience… unless the food is exceptionally good), we decided on a dinner of Brussels Sprout and Ham Fried Rice. This was a bit of an East meets West fusion flavored with a touch of mustard and whole mustard seed.

Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts and Ham Fried Rice.

Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts and Ham Fried Rice.

The ingredients are as shown, except for the mustard and freshly-ground black pepper. (You might notice the spring onions are missing their green tops; my partner likes to use the greens in her lunchtime salads, so lately there have been plenty of the white portions available for dinnertime recipes… for flavor, anyway, if not for color.) The rice was prepared in the morning and refrigerated for some hours. The red peppers are some large, spicy variety from our asian grocer. I’d not seen them before but they were sort of like large version of Thai bird chili pepper. (If you know what this larger version is, please let me know! The seeds were hot but not the rest, and not as hot as the typical smaller Thai chili.)

Prepped ingredients for Brussels Sprouts and Ham Fried Rice.

Prepped ingredients for Brussels Sprouts and Ham Fried Rice.

The sauce was what I typically do for fried rice: a combination of soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce, and something sweet (this time a bit of brown sugar), but this time I also added a couple tablespoons of a coarse brown mustard.

Yellow mustard seed in oil.

Yellow mustard seed in oil.

The frying started off with yellow mustard seeds in oil.

Fresh Brussels sprouts, sliced carrot, and ginger.

Fresh Brussels sprouts, sliced carrot, and ginger.

Then the sprouts, carrot and a couple thumbs of ginger (minced)…

Stir frying the Brussels sprouts, carrot, and fresh ginger in mustard seed and oil.

Stir frying the Brussels sprouts, carrot, and fresh ginger in mustard seed and oil.

stir-fried in hot pan until they were cooked through and a bit blackened at the edge. I used a bit of the sauce and a bit of water to keep the fond in the pan from burning by sort of deglazing it along the way.

Stir frying the ham, garlic, spring onion, red pepper, and rice.

Stir frying the ham, garlic, spring onion, red pepper, and rice.

The rice and ham were stirred in and fried a bit over medium heat, and, lastly, the spring onion, hot peppers, and sauce added.

I served this fried rice accompanied by a glass of Red Rice Ale, an appropriate fusion beer for an asian fusion fried rice!

Brussels Sprouts and Ham Fried Rice served accompanied by Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale.

Brussels Sprout and Ham Fried Rice served accompanied by Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale.

Here is a recipe that inspired us to make this dish (but they forgot the ham!):

Corned Beef and Cabbage Pie

Corned beef and cabbage pie.

Corned beef and cabbage pie.

Pi Day, March 14, is not a favorite of mine; I don’t care for sickeningly sweet dessert pies and, to my mind, associating a significant achievement in mathematical understanding with a meaninglessly arbitrary calendar date smacks of numerology. (Consider Neil deGrasse Tyson’s take on it here.)

Still, I appreciate the frivolity of partying for no real reason other than the coincidence of a date and mathematical constant, so I’m up for a Pie Day this year and looking forward to the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day, at least the ridiculous way we observe it in the United States: with lots of beer and delicious corned beef and cabbage, but perhaps not the parades.

For this meal we decided to roll Pi Day and Saint Patrick’s Day treats into one: a meat pie. While corned beef and cabbage would be wonderful fillings for, say, cornish pasties, today’s pie should be as round as possible.

Corned beef brisket.

Corned beef brisket. (No, it wasn’t cooked this way, it’s just resting in the warm oven. :) )

To begin preparing the pie filling, we cooked a store-bought corned beef brisket (3 1/3 pounds including liquid in package) in a roasting pan in the oven. The roasting pan was filled to about 1 inch depth with a mix of water and beer (a bottle of Milwaukee Brewing Co.’s Polish Moon sweet milk stout), pepper corns, whole mustard seed and the random pickling/corning spices supplied in the package. Specifically, we cooked the brisket, fat-side up, for 2.5 hours, covered, at 350° F and then about 20 additional minutes, uncovered, at 375° F.

Corned beef brisket cubed for pie filling.

Corned beef brisket cubed for pie filling.

After resting for some time, about half of the brisket (perhaps a bit more than 1 pound), was cut into medium/large cubes. While larger than the vegetable filling ingredients (below), I wanted to retain the meat texture rather than turning it all into a fine mince.

Onion, carrot, potato, and cabbage for pie filling.

Onion, carrot, potato, and cabbage for pie filling.

To prepare the filling, we finely chopped or cubed savoy cabage (1/2 head), yellow onion (1/2 large), carrot, and a few red potatoes. These were then sautéed in fatty drippings from the corned beef, and seasoned with dill and thyme.

Sautéing vegetables for pie filling.

Sautéing vegetables for pie filling.

So that the filling would be moist, we added water and flour to thicken into a roux-like sauce.

Add water flour while sautéing to make a roux-like sauce.

Add water flour while sautéing to make a roux-like sauce.

Finally, the filling was seasoned to taste with the additions of ground black pepper, nutmeg, and mustard (e.g., Grey Poupon Country Dijon) and the cubed corned beef added; since the corned beef and its drippings are so salty, there’s definitely no need for added salt!

Preparing the pie crust dough in a food processor.

Preparing the pie crust dough in a food processor.

Now, on to the pie crust… not our area of expertise, but my partner volunteered to do all the work here; she prepared a wonderful flaky, cream cheese pie crust guided by this recipe and some tips from a Betty Crocker cook book.

If you’re not willing to make the pie crust from scratch, I’ve had good luck using Trader Joe’s pie crust, although it is sweeter than this and a bit sweeter than I like for a savory meat pie.

Making the pie shell.

Making the pie shell.

The pie shell was filled and the top piece cut slightly larger than the pie dish, so that it could be folded over the edge of the lower crust piece, and pinched closed.

Completing the pie shell.

Completing the pie shell.

Vent slits were cut into the pie top, and we baked it for about 45 minutes at 375° F, painting the top with an egg wash about half way through the cooking, and removing it when the crust was a beautiful golden brown.

Baking the pie.

Baking the pie.

From the oven, let the pie rest for a bit and enjoy a beer before digging in.

The finished, resting corned beef and cabbage pie.

The finished, resting corned beef and cabbage pie.

Thankfully, this meat pie held together quite well and, thus, is the easiest thing in the world to serve… just deliver a piece or two, or three, per person. :)

A slice of corned beef and cabbage pie.

A slice of corned beef and cabbage pie.

This was a great dinner, and the leftovers look good too… so I’ll have it both for Pi Day and for Saint Patrick’s Day. This would make a fine meal for Saint Patrick’s Day itself or based on the leftovers from that feast.

Here is the pie crust recipe we used:

and some pie recipes that we didn’t use, but in which you might be interested:

Here are a couple related posts of mine:

Potato and Italian Sausage Salad

Potato and Italian Sausage Salad.

Potato and Italian Sausage Salad.

A fellow blogger that I’ve just begun following recently posted a winter potato salad that is different than most potato salads especially in that it contained sliced kielbasa sausage. While I’m happy to eat vegetarian dishes, this struck me as particularly satisfying to serve as a meal, so I considered what ingredients I had on hand and came up with this idea: potato and Italian sausage salad. My version is similarly of the season in that today is a cold, snowy New England day… the sort that dissuades you from running to the market for just the right ingredients.

For this salad, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • red potatoes, about 8 large, quartered or smaller (bite-sized)
  • Italian sausages, 3 sweet or hot, fresh (or uncooked from frozen)
  • yellow onion, 1 medium
  • baby spinach leaves, a few hands-full, fresh
  • Parmiagiano-Reggiano or other hard Italian cheese, cut into tiny pieces (about 1/4 inch cubes) or coarsely grated

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and, for the dressing:

  • mayonnaise
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • fennel seed
  • black pepper
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • oregano (sparingly to taste)
  • Dijon mustard
  • apple cider vinegar

My dressing had a generous amount of fennel seed, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
As usual, I didn’t measure my ingredients; if you need hints on quantities, consider this recipe.

Dressing base ingredients. (Red pepper flakes, Dijon mustard, diluted with apple-cider vinegar, not shown.)

Dressing base ingredients. (Red pepper flakes, Dijon mustard, diluted with apple-cider vinegar, not shown.)

I originally meant this to be a potato salad with Italian flavors, but punched it up with Dijon mayonnaise, that of course goes quite well with sausage and potato.

To prepare:

Start by steaming the quartered potato; cook until tender. Meanwhile, cook the sausages. Mine were frozen, so I start by boiling them then, after cooked thoroughly (in a skillet of just-boiling water, over medium low heat, perhaps 20 minutes), poor out the water and brown them.

Boiling fresh Italian sausage and steaming red potato.

Boiling fresh Italian sausage and steaming red potato.

For uncooked sausages that are not frozen, you can also brown them first in a skillet, then boil them to cook through afterwards. (This latter method has the advantage of not risking the separation of fat in the casing, that sometimes results in the casing breaking and spewing hot fat all over.)

While browning the sausages in a pan, add the sliced onion and brown it as well.

Browning onions and cooked Italian sausage.

Browning onions and cooked Italian sausage.

When the potatoes are tender, remove from heat, but add the spinach to the steamer basket (and cover) to lightly steam the spinach.

Once all these ingredients are done, let them sit perhaps an hour to cool to approximately room temperature. This is a good time to prepare the dressing in which you’ll toss the aforementioned prepared ingredients.

Whisk the dressing ingredients in a large bowl to taste, to yield approximately 1/3 cup total; you might wish to use some water to dilute it to a consistency suitable for tossing.

A salad dressing of mayonnaise, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fennel seed, freshly-ground black pepper.

A salad dressing of mayonnaise, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fennel seed, freshly-ground black pepper.

Once cooled, toss the cooked ingredients and cheese in the dressing. I used a bowl scraper to turn and distribute the dressing ingredients.

Ready to toss the ingredients with the dressing.

Ready to toss the ingredients with the dressing.

Lastly, refrigerate the salad for a number of hours, tossing occasionally to redistribute the ingredients and dressing; also, taste test it and, if desired, add more diluted mustard, black pepper, and/or red pepper flakes. Letting the salad sit for a time also allows the fennel seeds and had Italian cheese to soften slightly before serving.

I removed this salad from the refrigerator for an hour or so and served it at about temperature for dinner.
It’s an unusual “meat and potatoes” meal, but perfectly satisfying all on its own!

Potato and Italian sausage salad.

Potato and Italian sausage salad.

Here are some recipes you might like; the first inspired me here and the other is a favorite from Mark Bittman:

Thanks for the inspirational recipe, Mimi! :)

Gua Bao with Five Spice Pork Ribs

Gua bau with five spice ribs and pickled vegetables.

Gua bau with five spice ribs and pickled vegetables.

One of my long-time favorite Chinese treats is cha siu bau: the tasty steamed buns filled with delicious char siu-barbecued pork that is common at dim sum meals.

The Taiwanese gua bao is a similar street food in which the ingredients are inserted in a folded bao after the flat bun is steamed; gua bao have become popular restaurant items in North America lately; for instance, I ordered them at Bahn Mi Boys in Toronto, where they offer a variety of fusion bao fillings.

For our version, we decided to prepare the steamed bao from scratch and dry-rubbed pork ribs and Chinese pickled vegetables for fillings.  As one friend said, ribs in the oven are pretty much “set it and forget it.” Along with the requisite time for pickled vegetables to take on the pickling flavors, there’s plenty of time to dabble in making steamed buns from scratch.

Dry rub ingredients.

Dry rub ingredients (salt and black pepper not shown).

Our sweet and spicy dry rub, inspired by Chinese five spice powder, consisted of: ground clove, cinnamon, whole star anise, fennel seed, dried chili peppers, along with dry rub staples: brown sugar, freshly ground pepper, and kosher salt to taste.  All these ingredients were ground together with a mortar and pestle until most of the ingredients were crushed finely, yielding about 1/3 cup of dry rub seasoning.

Dry rub ready to apply to ribs.

Dry rub ready to apply to ribs.

I used a colander to apply the dry rub evenly (and without large pieces that might be left from the dried chili peppers or star anise), half to each side of a rack of pork ribs, and placed it concave-side down on a foil-covered baking sheet in a 225° F oven for 2 hours, then lowered to 200° F for another 2 hours, (4 hours total) checking and turning occasionally.  (If need be, satisfactory results can be gotten in about 3 hours at 250-275° F.)

Ribs in the oven.

Ribs in the oven.

Next we prepared some Chinese pickled vegetables: matchstick carrot, sliced red onion, sliced cucumber, along with a sliced fresh serrano pepper and some pieces fresh ginger. These were soaked in a brine consisting of approximately half rice vinegar and half water, further flavored with some soy sauce, star anise, sugar, whole black peppercorns and a bit of sake.

Vegetables for pickling.

Vegetables for pickling.

The pickled vegetables where refrigerated for a few hours before use.

Pickled vegetables prepared as a condiment for gua bao.

Pickled vegetables: a condiment for gua bao.

Next, we prepared the dough for the steamed bao.  (My partner is the bread maker; see the sample recipes she provided linked below for details.)

Dough ingredients for steamed bao.

Dough ingredients for steamed bao.

Prepare dough for steamed bao.

Prepare dough for steamed bao.

Preparing bao for steaming.

Preparing bao for steaming.

Rolling out dough for steamed bao.

Rolling out dough for steamed bao.

Once rolled-out, the dough pieces were steamed atop cabbage leaves (to prevent sticking), some flat and some folded over, with a bit of oil on the top to prevent the folded ones from sticking closed.  We found steaming them (covered) about 10 minutes to be sufficient.

Steaming bao.

Steaming bao.

Once the rib rack was cooked, it was cut into individual ribs, with some served as-is and some having the meat stripped from the bone to top or fill the steamed bao with a bit of hoisin sauce and accompanied by a condiment of pickled vegetables.

Slicing ribs.

Slicing ribs.

Gua bao with five spice pork ribs and pickled vegetables.

Gua bao with five spice pork ribs, a dab of hoisin sauce, and a variety of pickled vegetables.

Both the five spice ribs and gua bao were delicious and we enjoyed making this asian treat from scratch.
The ribs and steamed bao reheat well in the microwave for some quick and easy subsequent meals.

Here are some related recipes that you might helpful if you decide to make gua bao yourself!
Enjoy!

Steamed Dumplings and Potstickers

Steamed Dumplings with soy and chili garlic sauces.

Steamed Dumplings with soy and chili garlic sauces.

Here is a popular treat from Chinese restaurants that’s fun to prepare at home, especially if you’re interested in an exotic dinner and aren’t short on time; we spent a couple hours making about 30 dumplings. They can be prepared ahead of time and frozen, but I wouldn’t want to miss the pleasure of eating a few right to reward myself right after the prep work!

The vegetarian dumplings were filled with a mix of napa cabbage (finely chopped), carrot (grated), ginger (finely grated), spring onion (minced), shiitake mushroom (rehydrated from dry, then chopped), tofu (firm, crumbled), garlic (finely grated), and five spice powder. We also tossed the filling with some soy sauce and sesame oil; this is optional, but gave the vegetable filling more flavor and perhaps helped it to clump when wrapping.

The meat dumplings contained the same filling with ground pork sausage flavored with five spice powder.  We used the meat from two store-bought sausages (fresh, raw); any mildly-spiced, coarse sausage would likely work well, but ours were Italian sausage, often spiced with fennel or anise seed, which is commonly used to flavor Chinese foods too.

We wrapped the filling using a simple dough of all-purpose flour and water, about 3 cups flour to about 1 1/4 cups water, rolled into balls and flattened by hand into circular wrappers. Fill each wrapper right after you flatten it to avoid the dough becoming too dry to work with.

Place whole cabbage leaves in the bottom of a steamer tray to keep the dumplings from sticking. After steaming the dumplings for about 20 minutes total (15 minutes is probably sufficient for the vegetarian ones), we served them for dinner along with a miso soup and froze about half of them to steam another time.

Our leftover steamed dumplings were prepared as potstickers the next day; from the refrigerator, they were rewarmed by microwave and then pan-fried in oil until browned on the bottom. I don’t think it’s traditional, but turn to brown the sides if you like – I did. :)

Potstickers.

Potstickers.

Here is the recipe that was basis for these dumplings and a recipe for the somewhat similar Polish dumplings, pierogi:

These dumplings were a fun project for two on a weekend evening and tasted every bit as good as many I’ve had at restaurants, even though this was a first time making them at home. Give them a try!

Turkey Chipotle Chili

Turkey Chipotle Chili with a dollop sour cream

Turkey Chipotle Chili

It’s a few days past Thanksgiving Day and, as usual, I’m already pretty sick of turkey.

Because I’m an idiot, I made a 14lb. bird for just two. Last year I did an even larger one for, essentially, just one. I’m sure I’ll do it again; I just like making the whole turkey including the neck (my personal favorite, when it’s cooked tender) and the giblets for the stuffing.  Still, for Thanksgiving dinner, we ate only the drumsticks, so there are a lot of leftovers, including nearly the whole turkey breast.

The goal with this chili was to have it taste as little like turkey as possible; it’s a twist on chicken chilis that I’ve had, significantly spiced with chipotle peppers and cumin. Ingredients include:

  • diced turkey breast
  • one medium yellow onion (small dice)
  • one green pepper (similarly diced)
  • olive oil, (generously, for sautéing)
  • soup stock (turkey)
  • crushed tomato (1 20 oz. can for two breasts)
  • black beans (I used rehydrated dried beans that had been frozen)
  • Mexican oregano (dried, crushed)
  • cumin (powdered, used generously)
  • chili en adobo (~1/2 can, minced; use sparingly to taste as these can be quite spicy)
  • chili powder
  • salt (to taste)

I found the tomato paste and fresh serrano pepper, shown in the photo below, to be unnecessary so didn’t use it this time.

Turkey Chipotle Chili ingregients

Turkey Chipotle Chili ingredients

Chili is an easy flexible recipe so I won’t bother with all the details, except a couple tips that I find useful. First, I like to sautée the fresh vegetables until tender and then stir them with the dry spices before adding liquid. Second, it’s best not to simmer pre-cooked meat (leftover, here) or beans too long as it can cause them to disintegrate due to overcooking and/or stirring.

Whole turkey breast

Whole turkey breast

I cut turkey breast into approximately 1/2 inch cubes.

Preparing Turkey Chipotle Chili

Preparing Turkey Chipotle Chili

Add the beans toward the end of the simmer and stir carefully thereafter to avoid mashing them.

Turkey chipotle chili

Turkey chipotle chili

That’s it: in about an hour, a simple delicious chili to dispatch with the leftover turkey white meat.

Turkey Chipotle Chili

Turkey Chipotle Chili served with a dollop of sour cream

I’m interested to know your Thanksgiving turkey leftover suggestions; I did the typical pot pie last year. one friend made enchiladas; I may try that with the dark meat.

Another friend posted this recipe for fritters made with stuffing: Latke-Crusted Turkey Stuffing Fritters With Liquid Cranberry Fritters with Liquid Cranberry Core and Schmaltz Gravy.

Happy belated Thanksgiving and peace to you and yours!

Chipotle Pork with Peach Habanero Salsa

Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Peach Salsa and Sautéed Kale.

Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Peach Salsa and sautéed kale greens.

While planning dinner for two, my partner and I realized we had a few too many ripe fresh peaches, so decided to make a spicy fruit salsa for meat, resulting in this nice summertime meal: chipotle pork tenderloin with peach salsa.

Preparing the salsa: fresh habanero, red onion, and cilantro.

Preparing the salsa: fresh habanero, red onion, and cilantro.

She prepared the salsa to generously serve two; the salsa consisted of three ripe peaches, pitted, and diced (medium, with skin intact), diced red onion, and finely chopped fresh cilantro, about 1/2 finely chopped fresh habanero pepper (seeds and veins removed), a touch of sugar and apple cider vinegar, and finally salt and a touch of powdered cumin and chipotle pepper, to taste.

Fresh Peach Salsa with Habanero.

Fresh Peach Salsa with Habanero.

I slathered a fairly small pork tenderloin with olive oil and finely chopped chipotle chile en adobo (from a can), browned it in a hot skillet, seasoned it with salt pepper and a bit of adobo seasoning, then placed the loin (whole) in a lightly-oiled glass baking dish and cooked in a 350° F oven for 30 minutes.  This typically yields a spectrum of doneness: from medium on the narrow end to medium rare on the thicker end, so plan accordingly with a few more minutes baking time, if you prefer it more well done.  We let the pork rest for about five minutes, then sliced it into medallions.

Our kale greens were simply sautéed in olive oil in a skillet (first covered, stirring occasionally, then uncovered for the final minutes to desired doneness) over medium low heat, and seasoned with salt and pepper.

We plated each serving with five or six pork medallions, a generous amount of the salsa, and garnished with a cilantro sprig.

Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Peach Salsa and sautéed kale greens.

Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Peach Salsa and sautéed kale greens.

There are a lot of variations on this pork tenderloin dinner for two that you might like to experiment with as well, such this nice Mustard and Black Pepper Pork Tenderloin.

Turkey Pot Pie

Turkey Pot Pie

Turkey Pot Pie

This year I had a lot of Thanksgiving leftovers.  This is quite a different from the past couple years when I’d made thanksgiving dinner my whole family; this year, however having moved 1000 miles away, I was on my own, but still wanted to make a full dinner, simply because I enjoy the hours of prep.
I decided to make pot pies with the leftovers and was interested to learn that it’s still a legitimate pot pie without any sort of crust or pastry top.  See Wikipedia for details on that; it seems logical to me that a pot pie cooked in a pot instead of a crust.

For the pot pies I used all the leftover turkey breast and green bean casserole (that I had topped with broken sweet potato chips).  The green bean casserole is based on Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, so I added some half and half (sparingly!) to make the pot pie sauce, and stirred in the turkey cut to bite size. I cut and sautéed some carrots, and also tossed in some frozen peas.  Lastly, I seasoned the mixture generously with thyme and filled individual-sized baking dishes and put them in the freezer.

Turkey Pot Pie

Turkey Pot Pie

These simple pot pies reheat from frozen in 1 hour at 350° F, covered with aluminum foil.  Once warm (i.e., boiling a bit – check that it’s thawed by stirring), I topped it with a dinner roll and put it back in the oven for ~5 minutes (max).

Thankfully, these taste great – since I made 8 of them… and they were simple and fun – no recipe or measuring needed!