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Green Pozole with Zucchini

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A scrumptious base of toasted pumpkin seeds, simmered with poblano chilis and tomatillos, spiked with pork rib meat and topped with cilantro, radishes and a squeeze of lime. 

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First things first, gather your ingredients. Then chop up the chilis, tomatillos, onion, and garlic. Add them with some water into a blender and puree until smooth. 
I thought I had some tomatillos on hand but I didn't, and I was making this a couple of days before Thanksgiving so no way I was going to darken the door of any supermarket, so I used a 7 oz can of mild salsa verde that I found in the cupboard, bingo!! the first ingredient, tomatillos. 

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The next thing to do is toast the pumpkin seeds, then the oregano. Set aside

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While the pumpkin seeds and oregano are cooling, add the green chili puree to a hot but not smoking skillet, add some salt and simmer for about 10 minutes.
While the green chili puree is simmering, place the pumpkin seeds and oregano in the blender with some broth and puree until smooth. Stir the pumpkin seed mixture into the simmering green sauce and simmer for about 8 minutes more. 

By now the aromas are killing you and you can't wait for this to be done. 

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Finally, add more broth, pozole, zucchini and simmer for 10 minutes more. 
The "real deal" recipe is vegetarian and features more and some different vegetables than I used and I added some pork. 

I'm still receiving compliments and comments about the soup.
I know you'll make this soup your own and add what you and your family like. Trust me, you'll love it. 

Green Pozole with Zucchini, Chayote, and Mushrooms

Serves 8
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 pound tomatillos (about 6 medium), husked, thoroughly rinsed, and quartered
1 pound poblano chiles (4 or 5), seeded and coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped white onion
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and upper part of stems
1 garlic clove
1 cup water
3 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
8 cups vegetable or chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
3 cups cooked hominy (one 29-ounce can) or cooked dried hominy
1 1/4 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), diced (4 cups)
1 1/4 pounds chayote squash (about 2), peeled and diced (4 cups)
8 ounces mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned, and diced for garnish
2 limes, quartered
Chopped fresh cilantro Chopped white onion
4 radishes, halved and thinly sliced

1. Heat a small skillet or comal over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and toast for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until they begin to brown and pop, like popcorn. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Toast the oregano in the same pan for 8 to 10 seconds, just until it goes from green to brown, stirring constantly and taking care not to burn. Immediately transfer to the bowl with the pumpkin seeds.
3. Place the tomatillos, chiles, onion, cilantro, and garlic in a blender, add the water, and puree until smooth.
4. In a large heavy pot or casserole, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the green puree. It will sizzle, sear, and smoke, which is what you want! Add the salt and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken and darken in color and the flavors will intensify.
5. Meanwhile, place the toasted pumpkin seeds and oregano in the blender, along with 3 cups of the broth, and puree until completely smooth.
6. Stir the pumpkin seed mixture into the simmering green sauce and reduce the heat to medium. Cover partially, as the mixture will splutter, and simmer for 8 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot; it will be thicker and pastier on the bottom.
7. Add the remaining 5 cups broth and bring to a simmer. Add the hominy, cover partially, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, chayote, and mushrooms, cover partially, and simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the soup is thick and olive green. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
8. Ladle the pozole into bowls and serve, passing the garnishes on the side.

Pati Jinich, Mexican Today Cookbook

 

And that's that!


Braised Beef Rolls (Braciole di Manzo)

 

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Perhaps I should re-name this "Braciole di Manzo il Frigo" because I wrapped the beef around what I could scrounge up from the fridge.

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But don't worry, I'm posting the real recipe here, thank you Lidia Bastianich. 
I've been avoiding gluten but I had to have my pasta fix so I served the beef roll over fettuccine. That should keep me happy for a while. 

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I started the filling by cutting up and soaking two pieces of pita bread in just enough milk to cover them and added milk as needed to hydrate them. While the bread was soaking, two ribs of celery and 1/4 of a white onion were diced and sautéed with a minced clove of garlic and set aside to cool before adding to the soaked bread. 
I had some salami slices leftover from a party so that got diced and added to the bread-veggie mix along with some chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese. 

After I laid out the slices of beef I mounded some filling up on the wide end of the meat, then added a half a slice of string cheese, rolled up and secured with toothpicks. 

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In a large skillet heat some oil and brown the rolls. Once the rolls are browned add the sauce. I took a short cut and used jarred spaghetti sauce that I jazzed up a little with some red wine and red pepper flakes. 
Spoon the sauce over the rolls, turn down the heat cover and simmer until the meat is fork-tender. 

Can it be more obvious I'm not a recipe writer? Basically, just about anything you have on hand can be used, use your imagination and leftovers. 

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It still was a plate of awesomeness. Next time I'd like to use some pepperoni, I think that would be great. 

Here's the real deal recipe. 

Braciole di Manzo

Ingredients

  • FOR THE BRACIOLE
    1 1/2 cups milk
    2 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes, cut from day-old Italian bread with crusts removed
    2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
    1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
    1/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    1/4 cup raisins
    1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    2 pounds beef bottom round, cut into 12 slices each about ½ inch thick
    12 slices imported Italian prosciutto (about 6 ounces)
    1/4 pound imported provola or provolone cheese, cut into ¼-by-¼-by-1-inch sticks
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • FOR THE SAUCE
    One 35-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 small onions (about 8 ounces), chopped
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1/2 cup dry red wine
    3 tablespoons tomato paste
    2 fresh or dried bay leaves
    Salt and hot red pepper flakes to taste


Directions

  1. To make the stuffing:
    Pour the milk into a medium bowl, add the bread cubes, and let soak until the bread is very soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the bread, squeeze out excess milk from the cubes with your hands, and return bread to the bowl. Stir in the chopped eggs, parsley, Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, raisins, pine nuts, and garlic. Mix well, and set aside.
    With the toothed side of a heavy meat mallet, pound each slice of beef round to a thickness of about ¼ inch. Arrange one of the pounded meat slices in front of you with one of the short sides closest to you. Top with a slice of prosciutto, and tap the prosciutto with the backside of a knife so it adheres to the beef. Spread 2 tablespoons of the stuffing over the beef slice, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Place a stick of provolone crosswise over the edge of the stuffing closest to you. Fold the border over the provolone, then fold the side borders in to overlap the edges of the stuffing. Roll into a compact tube. Secure the end flap with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining beef and stuffing, then season the rolls with salt and pepper.
    Empty the tomatoes into a bowl, and squeeze them with your hands until coarsely crushed, removing the cores as you do. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy casserole over medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are wilted, about 5 minutes. Add as many of the braciole as will fit in a single layer, and cook, turning the braciole as necessary, until golden on all sides, about 7 minutes. If necessary, repeat with any remaining braciole. Adjust the heat under the pan as necessary to prevent the beef from scorching. Pour the wine into the casserole, bring to a boil, and cook until most of it has evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Add tomato paste and bay leaves, and stir until the paste is dissolved. Season lightly with salt and red pepper flakes, adjust the heat so the liquid is simmering, and cook, adding water as necessary to keep the braciole completely submerged, until the beef is tender, about 3 hours.

And that's that!