Cook once, eat twice... use recipes that let you transform one night's delicious meal into something just as great tomorrow...That has been the case lately as we enjoy crowd-sized pots of soups, stews and chilies. It seems I am incapable of preparing these favorite dishes in small batches, creating "The Leftover Challenge". It gets boring eating the same thing meal after meal, so the still delicious leftovers make repeat appearances
This week it has been all about green things, but I'm not talking about a pile of iceberg lettuce salad greens. Oh no, during Seattle's cool winter weather it's more like a craving for all-things-Southwest green things; things like poblano or Anaheim or jalapeño chiles, tomatillos, cilantro, nopales, etc. that bring a little heat and virtual sunshine to the kitchen.
This dish began with a Roasted Poblano, Jalapeño, Onion and Tomatillo Sauce, incorporating the usual ingredients and method.
The sauce led to a big pot of Chili Verde simmering on the stovetop; tender chunks of pork smothered in that tangy, zesty, tastebud-tingling, green chili sauce. I did thin the sauce a bit with chicken broth and finished it with dollops of Mexican crema to ease the chili bite.
The sauce was an amazing addition to a pan of Cheese Grits. Why did it take me so long to pair these ingredients? I sampled many spoonfuls of green sauced cheese grits before plating any for dinner. These grits were even terrific cold, straight from the fridge during a late night snack raid. And there were still grits leftover. Do you see this dish developing?
Ahem! did I mention this was a big pot of chili? Chili Verde is good on day 1, even better on day 2, and then you still have leftovers to work with or freeze. Today's winning option was a riff on Tamale Pie, a peppy Poblano Pork Chili version sprinkled with grated white and yellow cheddar cheeses and topped with Cheesy Green Sauce Grits. The grits alone were pure heaven on a spoon! While this dish is not a traditional tamale pie, it is packed with Southwest flavor.
We finished all of the leftover Chili Verde and Green Sauced Cheese Grits, but one container of that peppy green sauce still remains. Hmmm, I'm dreaming of green sauced omelets, tacos, enchiladas, pulled pork sandwiches... Yum!
Roasted Pepper and Tomatillo Sauce
2 large poblano chile peppers
1 large Anaheim, Hatch or jalapeno chile pepper
1 pound fresh tomatillos (not canned)
1 large onion, cut in half around its middle
4 fat cloves garlic, peeled & minced
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, stems and leaves
salt and white pepper to taste
squirt of lime juice (optional)
- Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and wash to remove sticky residue. Cut the onion in half.
- Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the chile peppers, tomatillos and onion halves on the foil in one layer. Broil until peppers blister and the tomatillos and onion brown; turn and continue on remaining side(s). Remove from the oven and cool.
- Peel charred skin from peppers. Remove seeds and veins, retaining any juices.
- Add onions, tomatillos, garlic, peeled peppers, any accumulated juices and cilantro to a blender jar. Cover and pulse to blend.
- Transfer to a pan or skillet and simmer over medium-low heat to reduce and thicken to desired consistency.
- Add salt, pepper and optional lime to taste.