A Duo of Fall Flavors

That wonderful time of year is here. The cold weather has officially set up shop for a while. Fall is beginning to wind down as we all get into the holiday rush. We are also nearing the saturation levels for our tolerance of generic holiday music. I think If I go too much longer I’ll snap, and be forced to find a way to put this wonderfully depressing Type-O Negative classic – Red Water, Christmas Mourning – on 24 hour rotation……The chill is setting in, and the holiday rush is driving us to our breaking points. This time of year its always a good idea to take some time to relax and settle down to nice hot bowl of soup. Its with the comforting nature of a good bowl of soup that I offer up these tasty fall/winter recipes:

Caldo Verde
This soup is a Portuguese Grandma classic. Its basically the national dish for Portugal’s Azores Islands. This home cooked classic combines hearty greens and spicy sausage for a rich satisfying soup. The addition of beer helps cut through and round out the heat.

8oz Linguica sausage – Spicy Portuguese lamb sausage
2 TBLS Olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1.5# potatoes, peeled and diced
1# Kale, washed and chopped
1.5 cups hoppy beer – American style IPA or hoppy red ale
6.5 cups water or chicken stock
Salt and Pepper

On a stove heat up your favorite soup pot over medium heat. Slice up your sausages and brown them off. Remove sausages from the pot and pour off the grease. Add the olive oil and onions. Sweat the onions. When the onions are translucent add the garlic. Cook together for another minute. Add the sausages back, along with the kale, potatoes, beer, and water/stock. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Season soup with salt and pepper. Cook soup until kale is cooked through and potatoes are soft. Serve soup along side your favorite crusty bread.

Classic Texas Chili

With football on the tube and a chill in the air, its nearly impossible to resist a good pot of chili. As a classic Texas chili, this stew will NEVER have beans. If so much as a sliver of a bean makes it into the pot, this ceases to be chile, and becomes nothing more than a spicy stew. With that out of the way here is my recipe for classic chile:

3# chuck roast, cut into a small dice
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup home made chile paste, recipe follows
3 tbls cumin
1 can diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken stock
1.5 cups dark malty beer, bocks and brown ales work great
salt and pepper

In a dutch oven over medium heat, brown, in batches, the chuck roast. Remove meat from the pot and add the onions and garlic. Sweat the the onions and garlic. When onions are translucent add back the meat, along with the chile paste and cumin. Cook together for a minute. Add to that the chicken stock, beer, and tomatoes. Bring chili to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer soup for 2-2.5 hours, or until the meat is tender. Serve and top with shredded cheese and sour cream, or over corn chips for Frito pie, or atop your favorite hot dog or burger.

Chile Paste

A mix of dried chiles – I prefer a blend of Anchos and Pasillas, with a few spicy chiles like Chile de Arbol for some heat.
Boiling water

Heat oven to 450F. Split open the chiles and remove the seeds. Place chiles on a cooking tray. Place chiles in the oven for 1 minute. Remove from the oven and place in a heat safe bowl. Cover the chiles with boiling water. Leave the chiles submerged for 30 minutes, weighting them down if needed. Place the soaked chiles in a blender or food processor. Process adding enough of the soaking liquid to make a loose paste. Pass the paste through a fine mesh strainer. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the fridge.

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~ by thebrewgeek on Tuesday, December 6, 2011.

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