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11/28/2014

Roasted Root Vegetables

As Thanksgiving Day winks at us, what a great time of year to celebrate root vegetables. Carrots this year have been particularly sweet and colorful. While I tend to focus on the a big turkey leg and dressing smothered in gravy, my vegan daughter loves the mashed potatoes (churched up with some vegetable stock and soy milk) and vegetables roasted to a crisp caramel-brown in the oven.

The recipe for roasted veggies is below. It’s the most unfussy dish you will ever throw in a pan. Key ingredients can vary depending on which are your favorites and which look best in the store. Or, if you're really lucky, which grew best in your garden. Carrots, sweet potatoes and onions all tend to be low priced this time of year.

If you read my earlier blog post about potting up rosemary and wintering it in a sunny window, here's a photo of my rosemary which is doing very well so far. That’s what I’ve used in the recipe below.

Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe

Ingredients:

• 1 pound carrots
• 1 pound yams or sweet potatoes
• 1/2 pound parsnips
• 1 medium onion, cut in chunks
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
• 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions:

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and slide it into the oven to heat on the middle rack. Putting the vegetables on a sizzling pan kick-starts the browning process. In my case, removing the hot tray from the oven also gives me one more chance to burn myself – so I can get that out of the way early.

2. Cut the vegetables into consistent pieces, each about the size of a small French fry. Place them in a large bowl along with the onion, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and oil.

3. Spread the vegetables evenly over the hot cookie sheet and put in the oven. After about 15 minutes, turn the veggies over. Continue to bake until they are tender on the inside and brown on the outside. Remove from the oven and season to taste. Vegetables can absorb a lot of salt. 

Using Leftovers

If you have leftovers, they are best quickly sautéed just to heat through before serving a second time. You can also microwave them, but they may get a little soggy. For something slightly more transformed, put them all in the blender, add some vegetable stock and make a sweet, nutritious puree.

You can read more about Dede's publishing credits at her website, DedeRyan.com.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



11/25/2014

Making your own chili powder or other spice mix is a quick DIY project. It takes five minutes, using ingredients you probably already have in your spice drawer. The price benefit is significant, proportionally — one blogger calculated that his homemade taco mix cost 18 cents to make instead of the $2.39 it would cost him to buy a ready-made packet. Neither of those is big bucks, but the mix is twelve times the price of mixing your own. And the wellness benefits are significant: you get to skip the preservatives and fillers, ensure freshness and adjust the recipe to your tastebuds.

I started making my own spice mixes because I grow and preserve some of the ingredients and I wanted to utilize them. I want to blend my oregano, ancho pepper powder and garlic powder into homemade chili powder; add my rosemary, thyme and oregano into an Italian mix; dry my own parsley and include it in a green salad dressing mix.

Use With Chicken

These are all reason enough for me, but when I got started, I quickly realized the benefits are deeper for me. I am gaining valuable education in the kitchen.  I now know what makes chili taste good. It is garlic and cumin and paprika and cayenne and oregano. I am learning more about spices, their individual fragrances, how they combine with other spices, and the magic they offer to culinary dishes. Once I become more familiar with spices, I will learn how to use them better.  Making my own spice mixes will teach me more about how to cook with them.

Making my own is teaching me more than buying a spice mix ever could. A mix that says “use with chicken” offers some good information, but that can only get me so far. I’m going to end up with even more understanding when I know its component spices and how they work. I will de-mystify the “chili powder” or “taco seasoning”. I can start to identify the nuances of the ingredients and tinker with the proportions, to make an even better chili.

Here’s a story of how this simple DIY project went array. But as in many cases, that is when the learning begins.

First I grew and dried and dehydrated and powdered ancho chilis, straight from the garden. A very satisfied gardener gone spice maven, I labeled my jar “Ancho Chili Powder” and I added it to the spice cabinet.

 Ancho Pepper Powder

Chiles in Your Chili

My brother Ron, an innocent bystander, set out to make a crock of chili in my kitchen. He used the jar of Ancho Chili Powder, and he used extra because he likes it spicy. You may recall that chili powder is a blend of spices. Ron used this pure ancho powder, rather than a chili powder mix, and WOW did it punch back! He learned the hard way that chili powder is made of paprika, cumin, and garlic as well as chiles, usually ancho or cayenne. And he learned that he better be wary of the homemade home-labeled spices he will find in my spice cabinet.

My friend Leah taught us something we needed to know about the Spanish language—chile is the Spanish word for pepper and chili is the stew made with peppers. I have only ever seen the spelling for “chili” in a recipe, so I did some investigating. I walked around our natural food co-op for some spellings. Bags of dried whole peppers were labeled as “dried chiles”. And there was the “chili powder” in the spice section. OK, I see the distinction. But look at the first ingredient of the Frontier brand chili powder: it is chili powder. Now do not try to convince me that they are referring to the blend they are making. That’s chile powder, dried peppers, right? See, so I’m not going crazy here. Americans are using the word “chili” for both chiles and for chili stew, confusing the issue further. How am I supposed to know when the recipe needs my dried ancho chile powder and when it needs chili powder blend?

Chili Powder

So I am experimenting. I combined my chile powder with cumin, oregano, paprika and garlic to make chili powder. I combined my newly mixed chili powder with more paprika, oregano and cumin to make fajita seasoning. It doesn’t smell strong enough. But now I think the “chili powder” listed in my fajita recipe really meant pure chile powder and not chili powder? I would have no idea. At 18 cents a batch, I will try both. I look forward to testing them out and tinkering the recipes to perfection.

If you are concerned about Ron’s crock of chili, rest assured, we fixed it. We poured out the liquid, added a jar of ketchup and tomato puree and garlic and cumin, and simmered it another day. It was still spicy but better. Mixed with some pumpkin soup, it was great.

When people started using ready-made spice mixes, we lost education in the kitchen. We lost education about what spices do, so now everyone buys mixes, even though they are so inexpensive and easy and better to make. Reignite your appreciation for cooking and spices by understanding what goes into those mysterious mixes. But I’m warning you, you may uncover some mysteries along the way.

Recipes are readily available online, especially by way of Pinterest. You can start with my Pinterest board, which will lead you to many others.  And please, share with me a good chili powder recipe that does not include chili powder as one of the ingredients.

Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband, Phil, in Frederick, Maryland. The Freedmans are one of six 2013 MOTHER EARTH NEWS Homesteaders of the Year. Ilene blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life at MOTHER EARTH NEWS and House In the Woods Blog, easy to follow from our Facebook Page. For more about the farm, go to  House In The Woods Blog


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


11/25/2014

As Boletus edulis is the mighty king and Cantharellus cibarius, the dainty queen of Kingdom Fungi, Chicken of the Woods and Witch’s Butter are brightly costumed jokers.  Parasites in the mushroom realm, these shelf mushrooms feed on trees, unlike saprophytic mushrooms that live on dead organic matter or mycorrhizal fungi that form symbiotic relationships with soil and roots.

Chicken of the Woods

Laetiporus sulphureus is a showcase find. Spiraling skyward on live trees or hiding on the under side of dead ones, Chicken of the Woods flaunts her neon feathers to all who pass by.

Witch's Butter

Key Features 

Chicken of the woods is easily distinguishable, growing laterally from trees, like a shelf, overlapped and often in great quantity. The cap is bright yellow-orange to orange, with brightly yellow tips that stands in stark contrast to the neutral colors of the forest.  Tiny pores are found on the underside of the cap. When older, this variety is medium-size to very large, tough, and faded in color.

Where and When to Find

Surprisingly, this species is not uncommon. Take a walk deep in the woods and you will probably see the flicker of a tail feather that leads to the whole flock. Chicken of the Woods grows on living and dead hardwoods and conifers, such as: eucalyptus, oak, plum, fir, hemlock, and spruce from late August to November. Harvest Chicken of the Woods when small, brightly colored, and tender. Otherwise, tree bark may be a softer, more palatable choice.

Identification of False Varieties

Although there are no false varieties or poisonous look-alikes, dietary distress has been linked to varieties found on eucalyptus trees and conifers. Instead of pocketing the mushroom field book, you’ll want to reference your tree guidebook for this one.

Cooking with Chicken of the Woods

Lemony, tofu-like, and hearty, Chicken of the Woods is a culinary treat. Like any other wild variety, cook thoroughly, and take advice from David Aurora, author of Mushrooms Demystified “if you eat and enjoy this mushroom…do not serve it to lawyers, landlords, employers, policemen, pit bull owners or others whose good will you cherish!” Only cook the tender tips, and be creative with recipes.  

witch's butter

Witch’s Butter

Slimy and weird, Tremella mesenterica, is the perfect Halloween treat. The first time I found Witch’s Butter, I stood transfixed by the gelatinous mass oozing from the tree branch. I was on a backpacking trip in the Hoh River Valley, in the Olympic Mountain Range in Washington State. Each step was a narrow avoidance of bright banana slugs and monstrous black slugs. Could this be yet another snail variety? No, to my amazement, I was in the presence of the strange species of Witch’s Butter.

Key Features

Aside from slimy and weird, a more technical description of Tremella mesenterica would be a gelatinous substance, yellow to orange. The shape can vary from bloblike to wrinkled and brainlike. It is one mass body, with no stalk present. The size is small to medium (1-3 inches) and it is more prevalent in moist areas.

Where and When to Find

Witch’s butter can be found year round, but thrives in a cooler environment in late fall and early winter. Like Chicken of the Woods, it is a common parasitic species, thriving on logs, stumps, or fallen branches. If the weather turns dry, it will shrivel up, only to swell after a good rain.

Identification of False Varieties 

Witch’s butter is a safe mushroom in the respect that no toxic lookalikes exist. However, Dacyrmyces palmatus, otherwise known as dissolving mushroom, is its doppelganger. This twin is considerably smaller, more orange, and has a whitish point of attachment to its host.

Edibility

Edible? That’s your preference, but yes, you may butter your toast.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


11/21/2014

Pickled peppers

It may seem way past the season for canning but if you have end-of-the-season peppers like I did, it’s a great time to put them up. And now I have my first entry ready for next year’s State Fair.

Pickled peppers can add a nice pop of color and taste to Thanksgiving dinner, especially if you have holiday guests who aren’t crazy about cranberry sauce. These peppers also make a festive appetizer if you chop them up and use them to top crackers and cream cheese.

Pickled Pepper Recipe

Here’s my tried-and-true Pickled Pepper recipe. Some like to use cider vinegar instead of white, but I like to keep the brine clear so the color of the peppers comes through.

Ingredients

• 4 pounds sweet peppers (red, green or yellow)
• 2 pounds hot peppers (jalapeno, red tomato, banana)
• 6-1/2 cups white vinegar
• 1-1/3 cup water
• 2/3 cups sugar
• 4 tsp pickling salt
• 3 garlic cloves cut in quarters

Nice clean jars are ready

Instructions for Pickling Peppers

1. Wash peppers. Remove the stems, membranes and seeds. Keep whole, but slice along the length of each pepper so the brine can penetrate easily.

2. Wash canning jars, lids and bands in warm soapy water. You’ll need six pint jars or 12 half-pints.

3. Fill a boiling-water canner about two-thirds full with water and put on high heat to bring it to a boil. Turn it down to simmer, and carefully put in your canning jars to sterilize them. Water should be at least 1 inch above jars. Bring a separate pot of water to boil that you can pour over the lids and bands in a bowl.

4. In a large sauce pan, bring the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and garlic to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and gently add your peppers and cook about one minute. Some canners put the peppers in the jars without this step, but I like to heat them through.

5. Remove the sterilized jars from the canner and gently layer peppers, making sure that each jar gets a nice mix of peppers and garlic. Pour the hot pickling brine over the peppers and leave 1/2-inch headspace. Run a sterilized stainless steel knife around the inside of each jar to remove any air bubbles. Use a clean, lint-free towel to wipe the jar rims. Put lids on the jars and adjust the bands.

6. Lift jars into water bath and bring canner back to a rolling boil. Process jars for 15 minutes if you are at sea level. Here in Boise, we are at nearly 3,000 feet, so I add three minutes. Rule of thumb is to add one minute for each 1,000 feet altitude. I always smile, thinking of it as an “altitude adjustment.” Remove the jars from the water bath and wait to hear that satisfying “ping” as each one seals.

For the end-of-the-season peppers, I’ve had good luck reducing the size of the recipe. Just make sure the proportion of product-to-brine is the same as for a full batch.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



11/18/2014

I told Santa that I would like to have an Excalibur Dehydrator for Christmas. Or my birthday, I could wait until the 12th day of Christmas for it.  It's the Rolls Royce of food dehydrators.  I know people who have one and I am jealous as all get out.

You know that I am a canning fool. Right now I have enough food canned to ward off the Zombie Apocalypse. What I don't have is more shelf space. I am full up. Well...I say that., but you can always find more room around your house if you really look. If I recall, that is exactly how I have almost lost my spare bedroom. I filled up the kitchen cabinets. I filled up the shelves that I bought and the ones that we built that are in the walk-in closet of the office. And then, because we really don't have that much company, I thought "Why can't I use some of that wasted space?"  And then I was off and running.

Before I knew what had happened, there was a new shelving unit in the spare room closet — it's also a walk-in closet. There were heavy cardboard sheets that slid under the bed in there for storing butternut squash. There were 3 wooden boxes along the wall that contained about 50 to 60 pounds each of white potatoes, red potatoes and sweet potatoes. And since we don't have a basement or root cellar, why not bring our water storage system in here as well? Understand that our "system" is not really a system at all, but instead a collection of about 35 to 40 heavy duty white vinegar jugs that are filled with the spring water we drink from a local spring. When we first moved here, all we had was a cistern that we had to fill all the time. The good news is that we became water conservation geniuses. The bad news was that you couldn't drink out of it. They've since brought city water out here on our country road, but we don't drink it either, with all the chlorine and fluoride in the water. It doesn't taste good. Weekly we round up the empty jugs, rotate what's left, and drive out to fill the jugs. But...I digress...

Back in the early 70s, when my son was little, I started dehydrating fruits from around our place to fruit leathers and snacks. And I dried the herbs from my garden. That was about the extent of my experience then. It was enough. Back in those days, I dried stuff out in the sun on scrubbed clean old window screens. Primitive, huh? Sometime in the 80s I bought my first dehydrator, a little brown plastic thing with trays in it and a heating element in the bottom. I think it cost about $10.  It took forever to dry things, but was still a little faster than doping it out in the sun.

Fast forward a few years. I picked up a couple of dehydrators at a garage sale for about $5. I gave one to my son. One had a fan in it and, buddy, it worked like a charm! I played around and dried odds and ends of stuff, and kept stretching and drying more things and different things and was having a ball. Then for Christmas one year, my husband bought me a Nesco American Harvest dehydrator. It too has a fan. And settings! You can set the temperature for anywhere from 95 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit. It does a good job, and I have purchased extra trays and silicone liners for the trays, to use when drying some of the messier stuff.

I dehydrate everything from apples that aren't getting eaten quickly enough to chicken jerky to pumpkin puree. I dry herbs — I just finished about 6 pounds of spearmint last week. I dry tomatoes — especially the sweet little meaty Roma tomatoes that I love so much. They are like candy when dried. After drying I can also pulverize them for vegetable bouillon. I dry all manner of fruit — stuff from my own yard (apples, peaches, cherries, strawberries) to fruits that I find great buys on (mangoes at $0.29/each  or bananas for $0.39/lb. I dry corn off the cob to throw in soups. I dry kale, Swiss Chard and wild mushrooms. I dry onions when the garden has blessed us or I find them on a great sale. And it requires so much less storage space that it's mind boggling. Last week I had 2 water bath canner pots full of pumpkin chunks, from my latest insane adventure with pumpkins. I peeled them after steaming them, and mooshed them up and spread out on the silicone liners in the dehydrator. When it was all dry as a bone, I put the pieces in my Vitamix and pulverized them. Voila! Pumpkin powder. And it all fit in a 1-quart jar. Measure it out, add water and stir.  In a few minutes — pumpkin puree.

The more important it becomes to me to be less dependent on the power grid, the more I appreciate the stability and  usefulness of dehydrating.  I lost a freezer last year from a malfunction and lost a fair amount of food.  Most of it was bell peppers and other vegetables that I had spent a whole summer growing, tending and getting into the freezer. But for me, losing any of the stuff I worked so hard for was way too much, no matter what it was.  A little manual labor cutting up vegetables is all it takes to preserve some of your produce for a long long time. I sometimes use my foodsaver, but more often I just put the dehydrated goods into quart sized ziplock bags and then store them in appropriate containers.   I use 1 gallon jars and 5 gallon food grade buckets.  I was gifted a LOT of rainbow chard last year just before the first hard frost, and I mean a LOT, like 5 or 6 big grocery bags full.  I dried every bit of it.  I use it  to sprinkle into soups, rice dishes, scrambled eggs, smoothies--you name it. Same with the kale that I grow. Same with the dandelion roots and leaves and flowers. Same for the yarrow.  Mints for teas and other concoctions.  Fruits for snacks, granola bars, granola and desserts.   Herbs that I use for spices...rosemary, basil, oregano, sage, lemongrass.

So when I tell you that my best friend is a dehydrator, I'm not kidding. But I think he needs a high class friend, so I'm still asking Santa for that Excalibur.  It's a little costly for most of us, but I look at it like a really good investment when you dehydrate as much as I do.  We'll see...but maybe I haven't been a good enough girl this year. Even if I have to wait another year, I still have my old sidekick Nesco and his cheaper version with the heating element in the bottom.  It takes a little longer, but still does the job. You can start wherever you are. You can get the $20 one, you can build a solar dehydrator, or you can ask Santa for one. Jump in!

Happy Dehydrating!


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



11/17/2014

Grandma’s cold remedy — chicken noodle soup — may be warming and nourishing, but it’s not the best soup for a cold. An even better soup for colds is one that is actually therapeutic in the medicinal sense. This means it contains proven, immune-boosting foods like medicinal mushrooms (such as maitake and reishi) and astragalus root.

Astragalus

Astragalus membranaceus is one of the most extensively studied herbal medicines and has been used as part of traditional Chinese medicine to treat infections and other ailments for thousands of years. The dried roots of Astragalus contain compounds that possess immune-modulating, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties, among others.[2,3] Astragalus and herbal formulas that contain it can prevent upper respiratory infections in people whose immune systems aren’t functioning optimally.[1] (Read more about astragalus at the Natural Health Advisory website.)

Astragalus has firm, fibrous roots that are light yellow in color and have a sweet, pleasant taste. Dried astragalus root can be purchased in long slices, small pieces, or as a powder. The type most often used in soups is the sliced, dried root which is typically added to soups during cooking and then removed before eating. Since the bioactive compounds in astragalus are soluble in water, they are extracted into the broth while the soup is cooking.

Medicinal Mushrooms for Immune Enhancement

Of the approximately 130 healing actions of medicinal mushrooms, they are perhaps best known for their ability to boost immune function.[4] Even white button mushrooms, the most commonly eaten variety, enhance immune function.[5]

But certain mushrooms have more potent immune-modulating activities.[4,6] The medicinal mushrooms with the most powerful effects on immune function include:

• Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
• Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
• Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
• Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus)
• Turkey tail (Coriolus versicolor)

In addition to improving a number of aspects of immune function, some of these medicinal mushrooms, like reishi, have antimicrobial actions, especially against viruses.[7,8]

Both fresh and dried mushrooms can be used for soups. Some medicinal mushrooms, like reishi, are difficult to find fresh (unless you grow them yourself). Plus, reishi are tough and therefore you’ll likely want to take them out of the soup before you eat it. Others, like shiitake, are more widely available in their fresh form for culinary use and are delicious to eat as part of the soup.

You can find dried mushrooms and organically-grown, dried, sliced astragalus root for sale online. Many western herbalists, acupuncturists, and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners carry dried astragalus root in their dispensaries.

The best soup for a cold is one that contains fresh or dried versions of these mushrooms along with astragalus and other immune boosting foods like garlic and ginger. Try the chicken soup recipe below, and feel free to add or adapt it to your liking.

Chicken Soup Recipe for a Cold

Ingredients:

• 5 pounds organic chicken (If using a whole chicken, remove chicken meat just after stock is brought to boil and reserve.)
• 12 cups fresh water
• 3 carrots, cut into thirds
• 2 parsnips, quartered
• 2 celery stalks, cut into thirds
• 2 onions, quartered
• 1 oz astragalus root
• 2 oz dried medicinal mushrooms of choice
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 to 2 tsp sea salt

Instructions:

1. Bring all ingredients to a boil. Skim the top layer of the stock and discard. Then cover and simmer for at least 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Strain and keep stock. Discard veggies, astragalus, mushrooms, and chicken carcass.

2. To the homemade chicken broth, add:

Reserved chicken
• 2 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms (or fresh, if available)
• 2 inches grated ginger root
• 6 to 8 cloves garlic, crushed
• Additional vegetables and grains as desired

3. Simmer 15 to 30 minutes, or until all ingredients are tender. Serve immediately.[9] Eat throughout the cold and flu season and up to three times per day during active upper respiratory infections. (If you like this recipe, find more at the Natural Health Advisory website.)

4. Another key element of preventing and treating colds is keeping your immune system in top shape by following healthy living practices. For a quick look at basic Natural Health 101 principles, download a free report from the Natural Health Advisory.

References:

1. Evid Bas Comp Alt Med. 2013; 352130.
2. Phytother Res. 2014 Sep;28(9):1275-83.
3. Int J Biol Macromol. 2014 Mar;64:257-66.
4. Biomed J. 2014 Sep 2. [Epub ahead of print]
5. Nutrition. 2012 May;28(5):527-31.
6. Trends Biotechnol. 2013 Dec;31(12):668-77.
7. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013;15(2):127-43.
8. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nded;Ch.9.
9. BACHA News. 2006 Winter;1(4). Adapted from a recipe by Kara Sigler.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



11/17/2014

Turkey Stuffed Poblanos with Cranberry Mole Recipe

Thanksgiving means leftovers. At my house the turkey can sometimes take up a whole shelf-worth of space in the fridge! But transforming the leftover bits into something wonderful can be a challenge, especially when you tire of sandwiches. My answer to turkey leftovers is Mexican stuffed poblano peppers.

Poblano chiles are those dark green, hand-sized peppers you often find in the Mexican produce section. They have a dark, rich pepper flavor that is not hot. They hold up beautifully when roasted and stuffed. If you can’t find these peppers, feel free to use green or red bell peppers, just don’t peel them as they are more delicate than poblanos.

The best part about this recipe is that you can make each component ahead of time and assemble them a half hour before dinner. All the parts will hold for several days in the fridge. The topping is perfectly fine stored in a sealed container the cupboard. So relax and enjoy your post-Thanksgiving time. And when you’re tired of leftovers, you can hit them with this recipe. They’ll never know!  

Turkey Stuffed Poblanos with Cranberry Mole Recipe

Ingredients:

Mole:
• 4 dried poblano chiles or 6 dried pasillo chiles
• 1/2 cup dried cranberries
• 1 cup turkey or chicken stock
• 1/2 onion
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• canola or olive oil
• salt

Stuffed Poblanos:
• 4 fresh poblano chiles, medium sized
• 2 cups cooked turkey, (preferably dark meat), finely chopped
• 2 slices bacon
• 4 cloves garlic
• 1/2 onion
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 cup crumbled goat cheese or other shredded cheese
• canola or olive oil
• salt & pepper

Topping:
• 1 cup corn cereal or crushed corn tortilla chips
• 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
• 2 tsp smoked paprika
• 1/2 tsp salt
• canola oil
• cilantro

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring the stock to a boil and pour over the dried poblanos and cranberries. Let steep for 15 minutes. Finely dice half an onion and sauté in a little oil until they just turn brown. When the chiles and cherries are soft, remove the chile stems and seeds. Add the chiles, cherries, stock, onion and tomato paste to a blender and blend until very smooth. Season to taste with salt. In a sauce pan, heat a tablespoon of oil till almost smoking, then add the mole sauce (careful, it sputters). Sauté briefly in the oil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Roast the fresh poblanos over a gas flame or under a broiler until the skin is charred all over. Place in a bowl and cover with a towel to steam. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin. Gently slit open one side of each chile and remove the seeds, being careful to keep the stem and chile intact for stuffing. Set aside.

3. Finely dice the bacon and onion. Mince the garlic. Sauté the bacon and onion until soft. Add the garlic, chopped turkey and cumin. Salt and pepper to taste, then remove from heat. Reserve a 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping, then blend the remaining cheese into the turkey mixture until creamy. In a sauté pan, heat the canola oil until hot. Add the crushed cereal or tortilla chips and almonds and sauté until fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat and add the smoked paprika and salt, tossing quickly to combine. The paprika may smoke a bit. Empty the topping into a heat proof bowl.

4. To assemble the dish, pour the mole sauce into a casserole dish big enough to hold the four poblanos. Carefully stuff each poblano with 1/4 of the chicken filling, then lay them on top of the mole. Top each chile with the topping, then with a sprinkling of goat cheese. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees until the mole is bubbly and the goat cheese is light brown on top. To serve, lift out the stuffed pepper onto a plate, spoon mole around the pepper. Sprinkle with any extra cereal mix and a bit of cilantro.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.












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Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.