Please visit mundiworld.com to explore the fabulous music of Mundi. Sadly, their last performance, which I was honored to accompany, was last weekend. It was truly a celebration of their 15 years together under the direction of Darrel Mayers, making extraordinary music. To see a slideshow of the event, go to their facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/mundiworld
What kind of salsas do you more often make at home? There are many types to choose from for different uses aren’t there? Within each type there are many variations to try out or create. Much depends on what is available to you in your stores and markets though I guess just about anything is available online these days. A wider variety have become more readily available in recent years in my area. Do you make salsa as dips for tostadas or are they used for topping your main or side dishes? The kind I seem to be making the most of lately are the roasted tomato or tomatillo variety. It’s for the simple fact that I have all these dried chiles that need to be used up. Chipotle, guajillo, arbol, Anchos, New Mexican are very often the key chile ingredient. They seem to make for the more classic roasted tomato/tomatillo salsas. Because of their particular flavor and/or heat level they can stand alone to suit individual tastes as the sole chile in the recipe. Some dried chiles are not as popular as a stand alone chile in salsas. Which brings me to the mulato chile. It is used indispensibly in many mole recipes for its deep dark color and sweet, almost chocolaty flavor. How does it hold up in a salsa? I started by pureeing roasted tomatoes, onion, and garlic, then began adding the toasted mulato chiles. Although it gave an interesting flavor, it was too muted and needed some balancing out. I added arbol chiles for a brightness, a bit of nuttiness, and heat. Something was still missing so I reached for pasillas, which have fruity notes to them. My next choice would have been guajillos for their lighter flavor but I was completely out of them. The result in any case, was a much more balanced flavor with each chile adding its own qualities. It still needed some brightening up so I added apple cider vinegar. A mere teaspoon really enhanced the flavor. This turned out to be a very tasty salsa with a unique flavor profile. I dipped fried tortilla chips, topped some lentils, tried it on some tacos, and also dabbed it on quesadillas. It was hard to ignore this one.
There are many possibilities to play with in making this type of salsa. We also have the choice of using tomato or tomatillo, or both. Do I want to roast the garlic or leave it raw? Do I roast or saute the onions? Does it need the acidity of lime juice or vinegar. How about adding oregano, cilantro, or thyme. Some combinations don’t work, but many will. Why always settle for the tried and true when you can come up with something uniquely yours.
Left to right are pasilla, arbol, and mulato peppers.
This recipe makes about 1 quart
12 Roma tomatoes
1/2 medium onion
5 unpeeled garlic cloves
2 mulato chiles
7 arbol chiles
2 pasilla chiles
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
Water as needed to adjust consistency
salt to taste
First I broiled the tomatoes until they began to char a bit. I turned them over to slightly char the skin on both sides. I was carefull not to broil them to a mushy state. As they were going I put my comal (iron skillet) on low-medium heat. The onion was sliced and pan roasted on a heavy skillet until softened and slightly blackened. The garlic was also added to the pan and cooked until softened. In another heavy pan, the chiles were toasted. Set the pan to medium-high heat. Remove the seeds from the chiles and one by one press them on both sides on the hot skillet with a metal spatula for a few seconds. You may notice a slight change in color. It will release a nice aroma. Do not burn or it will turn bitter. Immediately remove the chile and continue with the rest. I left many of the chile de arbol seeds in the chile to give more spiciness to the salsa.
When the tomatoes, onions and garlic had cooled down, I peeled the garlic and put everything in the blender to puree. I then added 2 mulato chiles to the blender and after tasting the result, decided that was good on that kind of chile. Next in were the arbol peppers. That would give enough heat and a subtle nuttiness. The pasillas were then added to give more balance. I tasted it after one, then added another. The apple cider vinegar did its trick next. I added a bit of water to adjust the consistency. Roma tomatoes have less juice in them than most other kinds of tomatoes. I finally seasoned with salt to taste.
The salsa paired well with refried lentil quesadillas (vegan). The tortilla is home made with corn masa.
This is one I’ll make again. I’d also like to try substituting guajillos for the pasillas or mulatos.
Be sure to visit Angie’s fabuloso Fiesta Friday where I’ll be taking this bread. There you can find out about Selma’s posthumous award she received from U.K.’s “Observer Food Monthly” at their annual ceremony. Prestigious indeed! Way to go Selma, you continue to touch our hearts!
Before I begin I also wanted to mention an update with an added introduction to my “Hatch Chile Salsa Verde”. Emily, the author of the wonderful blog “Cooking For Kishore” suggested to me to submit it to her fun series, “Food ‘n Film”. The October 2015 edition is still open. Do give her a visit!
I had a hard time trying to think of a good name for my blog when I started. I would have been very happy with “The Cosmic Tortilla”, my first choice, but a French band had already taken that up. “Bread and Tortillas” sounds so unimaginative but there was a simple reason behind the name. The idea was that those two meal accompaniments could be found on our table depending on what was being served. Tortillas for Mexican food, bread for about everything else. This was a time when tortillas were considered way too ethnic for mainstream U.S. of A. I don’t remember how long ago it was, maybe 20 or 25 years ago when I saw a TV commercial for “Mission Flour Tortillas”. The setting was a dining room of a middle to upper class white family. “What!?” I said to myself. “The tortilla has arrived!”, or maybe Mission was pushing it along. We don’t think twice anymore about the diversity of foods that are available to us. On the flip side, the bread we were eating as kids was not very ethnic at all. I could not imagine a TV commercial for say pumpernickel or sourdough or any kind of artisan bread. That would have also been too ethnic for the mainstream. Not including “pan de dulce” which we ate every Sunday at our table, our family had 2 kinds of bread on our shopping list. One was the plain old white sandwich bread, which was our multi-purpose accompaniment for all things “American” like sandwiches or toast. (Special occasions called for “Pan Frances”, which is found in Mexican bakeries.) Oh, and we used white sandwich bread to make “capirotada” (Mexican bread pudding). The second kind of “American” bread we enjoyed was raisin bread. Back in those days, those were the only types of non-Mexican bread available for us to buy in the little towns of the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. What kind of breads or tortillas did you eat growing up?
I can’t help but be reminded of the good old commercial raisin bread we were so fond of as kids when I bite into this mesquite sourdough. The small amount of mesquite flour gives it a different flavor, but the raisins and cinnamon are a natural fit for it. And voila, NO PERSERVATIVES, ADDITIVES, CONDITIONERS or anything else. It tastes much better than the stuff you find on your supermarket shelf. The soft crumb has a great chew though I think the dough could stand a little more water for an even moister crumb. It’s been many years since eating commercial raisin bread but I am willing to bet that in comparison to my loaf, it would now seem to crumble and almost dissipate in your mouth, rather than let you enjoy flavor to the fullest. Not that the flavor is all that great!
I made a version of this bread a couple of weeks ago and decided to add more cinnamon and a little less sugar this time around. It got eaten so fast though that I didn’t have a chance to take any photos. I take a lot of the blame for that. I better take my camera out before it’s too late.
I used a bread loaf pan and also made a boule from this recipe. I didn’t bother trying to make a swirl of raisins like you see with sandwich style loaves. I think it would have disturbed the tiny pockets of air that I carefully tried to nurture during the fermentation phase.
For 2 medium size loaves:
1 tablespoon sourdough starter refreshed 8 hours before
200 grams water at 70 degrees F.
100 grams bread flour
100 grams whole wheat flour
All the levain
475 grams water at 78 degrees F.
525 grams bread flour
125 grams whole wheat flour
150 grams mesquite flour
50 grams granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
12 grams table salt + 30 grams water
1 1/2 heaping cups raisins
Make the levain the night before:
I make this about 8 to 9 hours before I mix the final dough. Dissolve the starter in the 200 grams of water in a small bowl. Mix together the 2 flours and add it to the sourdough mixture. Blend everything well to make sure all the flour is moistened. Cover with plastic and let it ferment overnight at room temperature.
On the day of baking:
The next morning take a spoonful of the levain and drop it into a small bowl of water. It’s ready if it floats. It should be ok as long as it doesn’t smell vinegary.
Dissolve the levain in the 450 grams of water in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the flours, sugar, and cinnamon. Add this to the levain/water solution and mix well to moisten all the flour. Cover with a wet plastic or a wet cloth and let it autolyze for 30 minutes or so. Next, dissolve the salt in the 30 grams water and then squelch this solution into the dough. Now add the raisins. It took me only a minute or two with the help of my 6 quart mixer but you can also do it by hand. Put the dough in a container for the bulk fermentation. I gave it a stretch and fold every 30 minutes for 3 hours. The dough became soft and supple with a slight increase of volume. It also tended to stick less and less to the container throughout the 3 hours.
Divide the dough into two portions and form them into rounds. Let them rest for about 10 minutes. Shape them to your desire. This dough is not so wet that it requires baskets or bannetons to proof but I liked using the loaf pan for one of the portions. Place the free standing loaf on parchment paper if not using a proofing basket. Lightly spray with baking spray oil and cover with plastic. I let these proof for about 4 1/2 hours. They had risen about 50%.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. about 45 minutes before baking. If using loaf pans, place them in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 425 degrees. Bake until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 200 degrees F. I scored the bread with a simple slash though I’m not sure it was necessary. If you shaped the dough into free standing boules, score them as desired and place in the hot oven. Do use your baking stone if you have one.I misted the oven with water 3 times within 10 minutes and then lowered the temperature to 425 degrees. I found that I had to cover the bread with foil about 15 minutes into baking to prevent the crust from getting too dark. Make sure you are rotating the bread every now and them to insure even baking. Remove when it reaches 200 degrees.
Put the bread on a rack and let them cool completely before slicing. It’s a test of patience to resist the temptation of cutting a warm slice of it right away.
This bread has a higher ratio of levain than I usually use. I wanted to go for a quicker ferment and tighter crumb to mimic a loaf of raisin bread.
Mesquite flour has no gluten. That’s why I think it takes longer to rise despite the relatively high amount of levain in the dough.
Gorditas (“little fat ones”) are an absolutely delicious snack or meal which I enjoy making on a semi-regular basis. In case you’re not familiar with them, tortilla masa is the base of the dough, very much like corn tortillas, huaraches, sopes, etc. As the name suggests they are thicker and smaller in size. They are then stuffed with a wide variety of fillings, much as you would a taco. Gorditas are easier to shape and cook than tortillas so I wonder why they are not seen more often in restaurants. There are various recipes and methods of cooking which give slightly different textures and flavors. Some use masa alone, others may include all- purpose flour, shortening, or lard in the dough, others mix in cheese or mashed potato. I’ve also seen recipes with mashed black beans in the mix. I’ve got to try those out. Today I’m doing the masa and mashed potato version. I have come to especially like these since they remind me much of the gorditas I’ve eaten at the many street festivals that you find in San Antonio. I wish I could tell you what recipe the street vendors use, I ought to ask next time I get a chance. The gordita itself has a nice thin crispy exterior and tender inside which results from deep frying. Those made without potato tend to be a little denser in texture but it’s really just a matter of preference. Though they are made to be stuffed, I enjoy them as an accompaniment to meals as I would corn or flour tortillas.
For 8-10 gorditas:
2 cups masa harina
3/4 cup mashed potato (less than 1 medium size Russet)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water
Peel a medium size potato, cut it into 3 or 4 chunks and then boil until just tender. Remove from the water, put it in a small bowl and mash it. Use a ricer if you prefer, but the potato doesn’t have to be perfectly mashed. Let the potato cool.
Mix the masa harina, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add 3/4 cup mashed potato and mix in well. Add most of the water to make a soft pliable dough. It shouldn’t be too wet or sticky. Cover the masa with plastic or a wet cloth and let it rest at least 30 minutes.
Heat a heavy skillet on medium and add enough oil to reach a depth of about 1/2 inch.
Take enough of your prepared dough to shape into a ball perhaps a little smaller than a golf ball. Using your hands, shape it into a disc about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. If the dough cracks too much on the edge, it is too dry. Add water as needed to adjust.
The oil should not be at the smoking point. Lower it if it is. Carefully put the gordita into the hot oil (tongs are recommended) and fry for approximately 1 1/2 minutes. You can put in 2 or 3 at a time depending on how big your skillet is. Carefully turn it over and fry an additional 1 1/2 minutes. Cook the gordita enough so that is a light golden brown. If it darkens quickly, lower the heat. The gordita should be crispy on the outside, but soft inside. Put them on paper or old kitchen towels to remove oil. Let them cool enough to handle and then use a knife to open your gordita as if opening pita bread. Stuff them with your desired filling. Add shredded lettuce, tomato, and salsa if you want. They should be served at once. It’s been suggested that gorditas can be kept warm covered in a very low heated oven though I haven’t tried that. Gorditas are usually eaten up pretty quickly.
The usual suspects as far as traditional options go are mostly meats as used in tacos. Sour cream and cheese are almost obligatory. If you are a vegan or even vegetarian, traditional choices are limited. Avocado, guacamole, refried pinto or black beans, potatoes, lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapeno, salsa, and nopalitos are the most obvious ingredients. It’s probably time to try some non-traditional ideas. How about including stuff like kale, pickled cabbage, steamed swiss chard, corn relish, or cucumber.
Smaller ones would make a great appetizer. Or you can serve them opened faced like a pizza. Just be sure to serve them hot.
I find gorditas to be a great option to keep in your Mexican/Tex-Mex food repertoire. They are a memorable treat for your family or guests.
I know it’s getting late, but I think I’ll head out to Angie’s Fiesta Friday and share these.
These are made simply of refried beans, lettuce, tomato. They are great dressed up with avocado, cilantro, onion, and pickled jalapeno or homemade salsa.
Update: If you haven’t been over to Emily’s “Cooking For Kishore” you should really go give her a visit. Her very tasty looking, interesting recipes and the stories behind are always well presented and her food, whether traditional or fusion in style, reflects her multi-cultural life experience. I feel we kind of have the same general outlook since I post recipes that are based on my Mexican-American upbringing. Even though we come from different cultural backgrounds, we share a desire to make food that satisfies and adapts to a particular time and place without losing the sense of tradition. When she suggested that I participate in her series “Food ‘n Film”, I could not resist. Go here to see the October 2015 edition. Perhaps you’d like to join the fun. Now, you won’t find a salsa in “The War of the Worlds”, but this one will go well on the mentioned “…tamales, enchiladas, and hot dogs.” Of course, if I had a food truck out there, I’d be offering strictly vegan food. My black bean nachos with the Hatch green chile salsa would be a good seasonal special on the imagined menu. Why did I write about this particular movie, well, read on to find out. I’ll add that I’m a big fan of the old science fiction movies, not caring a bit if they are considered a B-picture or lower in rating. They take me back to the Saturday afternoon or late night TV presentations of giant creature movies like “Them!” “Tarantula” or “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms”. Sometimes they were about invaders from outer space like “The War of the Worlds”. It was like a weekly special event watching those old movies. Many of them were weird and wonderful back then, and many of those seem even weirder and more wonderful now.
Thank you Emily for sharing this post!
Below is the post as was originally presented.
Have you seen “The War of the Worlds”, the original 1953 “Golden Era” of sci-fi movies version? It’s a big budget, Technicolor film that was quite a hit during it’s day. In my view, it’s very much an entertaining movie even for today’s era of special effects extravaganzas. While watching a dvd of it recently, I could imagine the blockbuster impact it had on audiences at the time. It’s a great movie all around. There is a scene early in the movie where the townspeople, officials, and journalists are gathered around a smoky crater where what they think is a meteor has crashed. The curious onlookers are discussing what do with the site. Someone suggests turning the area into a tourist attraction. A Mexican bystander(played by Canadian Jewish actor Jack Kruschen) exclaims enthusiastically that ”…tamales, enchiladas, and hot dogs” can be sold to visitors. It doesn’t seem like a big deal today, but this was 1953 Hollywood, decades before food channels and the internet. What’s also interesting to me is that he wants to sell Mexican and American food. He looked, spoke and ate like he could be one of our neighbors. Hotdogs are one of those foods that easily crosses cultural lines. We might have put salsa on ours, or taken a jalapeno with the yellow mustard or relish, but it’s still a hotdog. Fast forward 60 years, you can be sure traditional and non-traditional food trucks would be vying for space around that meteor, and if they’re selling Mexican food and hot dogs, imagine the fusion menu that might be offered. The food world has come a long way in the past 10-20 years don’t you think?
Now on to the salsa. The Hatch green chile buying season is winding down for us. As I mentioned in my “Hatch Green Chile and Roasted Garlic Sourdough Bread” post, we get them in our stores only 2 or 3 weeks out of the year. These chiles, which are imported from New Mexico, are very flavorful and versatile. I have been enjoying incorporating them into just about everything except my coffee. For example I’ve been adding them to a quick vegan rice pilaf/stir fry type of dish I like to make. (There’s fusion for you.) I’ve also been topping my potato tacos as well as my lentils or beans with some of the roasted diced chiles. Today I’m making a salsa verde with the help of a molcajete once again. See my previous post, “Salsa de Chile Pequin” for more photos. You may use the similar looking Anaheim chiles as a substitute, but it won’t be quite the same. Jalapeno or serrano peppers are other options. Our stores had a mild variety as well as a hot variety of Hatch pepper. I used hot chiles for this recipe.
To roast or not to roast. The Hatch chiles should be broiled or roasted. Tomatillos are either broiled, oven roasted or pan roasted. It’s nice to get the black blotches if possible. The cooking brings out flavor and sweetness from them. As far as the garlic and onion, you can do the same to whatever degree you want. I did them both ways and prefered to keep them raw this time.
4 medium garlic cloves
3-4 tablespoons roughly chopped onion
3 Hatch green chiles for a hot salsa (2 for mild)
7-8 small tomatillos
leaves from 4-5 sprigs fresh cilantro
salt to taste
a pinch or two sugar (optional)
fresh lime juice to taste (optional)
Broil the Hatch chiles and tomatillos until they have softened a bit and you have some darkened spots. Turn them over from time to time to cook evenly. The tomatillos will probably take longer. It may take about 15 to 20 minutes for them to be done. Don’t let anything turn to mush as you want substance to work with in the molcajete. After the chiles cool, peel them and remove the seeds.
Begin by grinding the peeled garlic cloves into a paste with the tejolote(pestle). Add the onion and continue working to a paste. Next go in the chiles. Give them a rough chop beforehand if you want. No need to make a complete paste. Leave a bit of chunkiness if you like. Now work the tomatillos in one by one. You can peel them before, but the molcajete will take care of the peels if you keep at it. I like to at least keep the darkened blotches in the salsa. Careful not to squirt juice out while smashing! The salsa should be somewhat chunky. Add chopped cilantro and season with salt. Sugar and lime juice are optional. It’s really an easy salsa to make and the texture and flavor is distinct from those made with a blender. This simple but tasty sauce will brighten up your taco.
It went pretty good with the black bean nachos.
I have these dried chile pequins that have been around in my kitchen for awhile now. They are usually a cook’s third choice after the more popular and accessible serrano or jalapeno peppers when making a salsa ranchera or salsa verde for example. But I very often pick several from my pequin bush to accompany a meal. The bush yields much more than I can eat so I either give some away or pickle them. That’s why I seem to always have a lot of dried ones to make use of. As you may know, they are extremely fiery. I love the burst of flavor and heat of the fresh pequins. If you’re not careful, they can hurt, especially if you chew slowly and deliberately or if you catch some in your throat. Toasting dried chile pequins bring out a wonderful nutty flavor which can best be appreciated by biting one on it’s own. Because they are so hot, a little to go a long way. They will not contribute as much flavor as other chiles like Anchos or Pasillas which need much more to get the same amount of heat. Many times though, I want a less complex tasting salsa to top my taco or to dip my tostadas.
I’m using a molcajete today to make “salsa molcajeteada”. Before blenders were available to the public (1937 according to sources), this was the only way to make this type of salsa. They lend your sauce a touch more of authenticity. The texture that results from “molcajeteando la salsa” adds an enjoyment that’s a little hard to explain. It’s a bit chunky, maybe a little bit juicy, depending on how you roast the tomatoes and how long you grind down the ingredients. It looks and feels more natural. A blender cannot duplicate a salsa made in a molcajete no matter how carefully you pulse.
I was honored to have my grandmother’s molcajete passed down to me. I remember years ago she told me it belonged to her grandmother’s grandmother. I don’t have any reason to doubt her but that would mean it’s been in the family for 6 generations?! That’s a little bit hard to imagine. I’m sure nobody has ever had to send it in for broken parts either.
I didn’t have to worry about curing the molcajete since it has long been prepared for use. (Well more than a century ago?) I’ll only mention today that if you decide to get one, it needs to be seasoned before use to remove tiny lava particles. Another important point is to never use soap to clean your molcajete. Read up on types, care and maintenence before buying one. There is a lot of info and video on the internet.
Dried chile pequins can be bought in many well stocked supermarkets nowadays. If they are not available, substitute with some fresh jalapeno or serrano pepper.
4 medium cloves garlic
3-4 tablespoons roughly diced onions
10-12 chile pequins (for moderate heat)
4 ripe tomatoes
5-6 sprigs fresh cilantro
freshly squeezed lime juice optional to taste
salt to taste
Begin by pan roasting or broiling your tomatoes. To pan roast, heat a heavy skillet on medium and let the tomatoes roast until they have cooked and softened somewhat. Avoid overcooking to a mush. You can also broil the tomatoes for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning them over from time to time. In a separate dry pan, toast the chile pequins until they release their aroma and are lightly browned. Try one if you like.
Smash or grind the peeled garlic to a paste consistency with the tejolote(pestle). Add the toasted chile pequins and grind well. Next add the onions and grind everything into a paste. You’re ready to add the tomatoes one by one, grinding or smashing well after each additions. You can choose to remove the peel, but I find that the molcajete helps pulverize them. The charred bits add flavor. Add the chopped cilantro and optional lime juice and season well with salt. Many cooks add some of the salt in the beginning to help smash the ingredients.
The molcajete and tejolote will extract more flavor from your ingredients than a blender. You can work the ingredients as much as you like, making it chunkier or more blended to your liking.
The simplest of salsas can be the most memorable.
If you want sourdough bread bursting with a southwestern flair, you have it right here. Packed with flavor, ingredients include the Hatch green chiles, freshly toasted and ground pasilla chiles and cumin, and of course the roasted garlic. The overall flavor turned out nicely balanced. The cumin is roughly ground so that every now and then you catch a little burst of its flavor. The pasilla chile, paprika and oregano are just barely in the background. Not one of the ingredients overpowers any of the others. Many times I’ll make a regular bread version first to get a rough idea of how much of each ingredient to use. Sourdoughs take at least 2 days while the simpler breads only take a few hours. Since I can only make sourdough bread on weekends, it saves me from going weekend to weekend coming up with a good recipe. For instance, I knew I had to make changes on the amount of green chiles and comino after I tried the tester.
Hatch green chiles make their way to Austin during August for a couple of weeks. Roasters that look like giant bingo cages are brought in to roast hundreds, probably thousands of pounds of chiles. The green peppers are grandly promoted in some of our supermarkets with all kinds of products featuring the chiles. You’ll find tortilla chips, all kinds of salsas, breads, dips, beverages, and much more proudly displayed for sale. What’s the big deal about these chiles? Because of the unique growing conditions, authentic Hatch green chiles are distinct in flavor and quality and must come from a certain area around Hatch, New Mexico. The small town in New Mexico has a festival devoted to the famed chile every year around Labor day. I’ve never been to it, but a friend co-worker who lived in New Mexico talks enthusiastically about it and the chiles. Do you see fresh Hatch green chiles in your town during this time as well? I wonder how far they travel in the U.S.
Instead of presenting a detailed step by step recipe, I’ll just list the ingredients and give a general description of the procedure. I’ll be happy to go over it in more detail if someone is curious.
This will make 2 medium size loaves
1 1/2 teaspoons starter refreshed 8 hours before
100 grams bread flour
100 grams water (70 degrees F.)
All of the levain
600 grams bread flour
200 grams whole wheat flour
400 grams water (78 degrees)
2 garlic bulbs
5 Hatch green chiles
1 tablespoon pasilla chile powder
1 teaspoon comino powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
18 grams salt
The night before I baked, I made the levain. I also roasted the green chiles and garlic bulbs to have ready the next morning.
On the morning of the baking, I peeled the green chiles and removed the seeds. I also toasted a pasilla pepper and some whole comino to grind. This could be done the night before as well.
I prepared the dough adding all the ingredients except salt. The levain is dissolved in water, the flours are mixed, then the rest of the ingredients are added except salt. The dough is left to autolyse for 30 minutes. I then added the salt and let it ferment for about 4 hours in a plastic container, giving it turns every half hour for 3 hours. For some reason this dough took longer to smooth out and become airy. It might have to do with all the diced green chiles that were in it.
I divided the dough into 2 portions and shaped them. I placed them in bannetons and gave them about a 4 hour final proof. They are placed on parchment paper and scored.
I baked them at 475 degrees in a convection oven for 10 minutes, misting them with water 3 or 4 times during this period. I then lowered the oven to 405 degrees and continued to bake them for about 20 minutes.
Notes: I took cloves from 1 1/2 of the 2 roasted garlic bulbs and mashed them before adding them to the dough. I added the remaining cloves whole.
You can substitute all the spices in the recipe with your favorite chile powder.
You can substitute the Hatch green chile with Anaheim peppers though it probably won’t taste the same. Poblano peppers are another option.
Besides croutons, this loaf makes great sandwich bread.
I’m going to take this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday and share this. I’m very sure I’ll find a lot of tasty food over there.
You know that Salvador Dali painting “The Persistence of Memory”(I looked it up), the one with the melting pocket watch? I’m always reminded of it during these blistery hot Texas summers. The streets look and feel hot enough to melt your shoes and time seems to be stuck at high noon. A good chilled (vegan) soup is always a welcome meal for me at this time of year. Gazpacho, chilled carrot and coconut, chilled tomato, or beet are just a few that I enjoy. Now, to describe some foods, there is “sweet and sour”, “hot and sour”, “chaux froid”, and maybe “sweet and spicy”. These are used in names of foods that have 2 seemingly opposing, or at least distinct, elements in the flavor or making of. Can you think of any others? This potato soup could be described as “hot and chilled”, “spicy and chilled”, “spicy cold”, or perhaps “fiery chilled”. Traditional vichysoisse is off my vegan diet of course, so I left out the cream and added a couple of Mexican ingredients. This full flavored sopa has a few distinct elements going on, the earthy taste of potatoes, the hot spiciness of the Poblano peppers, the herbal green taste of the cilantro, thyme, bay leaf, and peppers, and the cold temperature of the soup itself. By adding a garnish of your choice, you can further enhance the flavor. Now that I think of it, a melting pocket watch has 2 distinct qualities going on, a solid object and its softening as it melts.
For about 2 quarts of soup:
2 Poblano peppers for a mild soup, 3 for a hotter flavor
1 3/4 # to 2# potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves roughly minced
1 small leek (white part only with some green) sliced
1 small bay leaf
Pinch of dried thyme
4 cups vegetable stock (plus more as needed for consistency )
4 to 5 sprigs of fresh cilantro
Salt to taste
Black or white pepper optional
Broil the Poblano peppers for about 15-20 minutes on low to blister them. Turn them over from time to time to broil evenly. Remove from the oven and let them cool. Peel, cut them open, and remove the seeds and stem. Roughly chop the peppers and set them aside. Two peppers will give a mild pleasant spiciness, three gives more kick. I used three but used part of one to garnish with.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks.
Heat the olive oil over low-medium heat in a pot and saute the (well washed) leek a couple minutes to sweat. Add the garlic and saute a minute or two. Add the thyme and bay leaf and continue another minute. Don’t let anything brown or burn. Add the potatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer and cover.
Cook the potatoes until they are tender then add the roasted peppers and cilantro to simmer for just a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat.
Let the soup cool down a few minutes to puree. A hand immersion blender works really well. Otherwise take your trusty processer and puree in batches. I left the bay leaf in there since I was using a blender. If you are processing it, you probably want to remove the bay leaf. I don’t think you’ll be able to get it completely smooth with the leeks and garlic as well. Season to taste with salt and optional pepper.
Put the soup in a container to chill down in the refrigerator. The soup will thicken up as it cools so you may need to add more stock. The soup tasted great when hot, so I couldn’t wait for it to chill down. Have you noticed that hot food seems to bring out spiciness but will temper down when chilled? Serve very cold in chilled cups or bowls. This soup lends itself to many different kinds of garnish to add another layer of flavor. Roasted corn kernels, red bell pepper, fresh oregano, basil or cilantro, or croutons are a few examples.
As I discovered, it’s also very tasty served hot as a fall or winter soup.
Let’s see, there is also “Baked Alaska”, “iced coffee”, “fried ice cream”….