Thanksgiving leftovers are a wonderful thing, but making something new and interesting with them can sometimes be challenging. Enter Pozole! Pozole, which is Spanish for hominy, a type of white corn, is a traditional Mexican stew often served on special occasions. Pozole can be red, white or green in color, depending on the kind and color of the peppers. I love the green version that hails from the state of Guerrero, with tangy tomatillos and shiny green peppers. If you've never tried it, hominy is interestingly chewy and satisfying. Although typically made with pork, pozole is just as delicious made with turkey and will transform your leftovers into a mini south-of-the-border vacay—just what I need this time of year!
Pozole Verde with Turkey
1/4 c olive oil
1 white onion, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
i jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded & chopped coarsely
1 Anaheim pepper, stemmed, seeded & chopped coarsely
1 pasilla pepper, stemmed, seeded & chopped coarsely
1/2 c roasted/salted pumpkin seeds (on the snack rack at the store)
1 lb tomatillos, papery covering removed & cut into quarters
1 T dried Mexican oregano
1 t ground cumin
1/2 c cilantro, chopped coarsely
6 c turkey (or chicken) stock, homemade is best
3 15.5 oz cans of white hominy, drained and rinsed
2 c shredded, cooked turkey (or chicken) meat (a store roasted chicken works great!)
Heat the oil in a large soup pot and add the onions, garlic, peppers, pumpkin seeds tomatillos, cumin, oregano and cilantro. Stir together and cook for about 10 minutes until the veggies are starting to turn a little brown. Add the stock and cook for about 15 more minutes until the veggies soften a bit. Use an *immersion blender to puree the veggies, etc. in the stock. Add the hominy and turkey and cook until warmed through. Serve with condiments like, avocado, shredded cabbage, Cotija cheese (a salty, dry and crumbly Mexican cheese), lime wedges, fresh cilantro and sliced radishes. Serves 6.
* if you don't have an immersion blender, get one! In the meantime, use a strainer to scoop out most of the solids and purée in a blender with a little of the hot liquid. Add the purée back to the pot.
When I was growing up, Thanksgiving dinner always included green beans. I loved the way my mom cooked them—to death—covered in water with a slice of smokey bacon until they were "done". She still likes them cooked this way but I have grown to love the vivid green color on the plate and a crisp al dente snap instead of the unappetizing grayish-green color of overdone, mushy beans. Now, I first par them in boiling water for just a few minutes and then shock them in ice water so they retain their beautiful, bright color. After that, all you have to do is melt the prepared butter in a skillet, throw the beans in until they're warmed through, and voila—a green bean dish that manages to be easy, memorable, and delicious.
Green Beans + Toasted Pecan, Bacon, Garlic Butter
1 stick unsalted butter
2 lbs fresh green beans, stem end removed
1/4 c pecans
4 pieces bacon (I use Dailey's brand )
1 medium clove garlic
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
Pull the butter out of the fridge and allow to soften on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour. In the meantime, par the green beans in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until just tender to the bite. Immediately drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water to shock them so they will retain their color, drain after they are cooled completely. Set aside or put in a baggie with a paper towel until the next day (bring to room temp before reheating).
Toast the pecans in a 35o degree oven for 15 minutes, cool then chop finely. Chop the bacon into a small dice and fry until crispy, drain on paper toweling. Finely chop the garlic.
Mash the butter with a fork in a bowl with the salt and pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients except the beans. You can refrigerate ahead at this point for a day or two.
When ready to serve warm the butter in a wide pan, add the green beans and toss to heat through. Serves 8.
I thought I had an original idea the other day when I thought of using butternut squash to make a holiday version of hummus...nope. There were several recipes already on the internet and after reading a few, I settled on one from Ina Garten. She's my hero, I want to BE her. I changed a couple of things to make it 'mine' and it turned out delicious. Seasonal and beautiful, it can be made a few days ahead of time so you can tick off the box that says "appetizer" and get to more important things like time with family and raising toasts.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus
1 1/4 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut in a 1" dice
3 T good olive oil
1 t ground cinnamon
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained with liquid reserved
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt (I use Fage)
1/4 c tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 lemons juiced
2 medium cloves minced garlic
pinch of cayenne
pure Grade A maple syrup, to drizzle on top (optional)
parsley chopped for garnish
toasted and salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), for garnish
*toasted pita bread , for dipping or store bought pita chips
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, 2 t salt, and 1 t pepper. Toss with your hands and spread the squash out in one layer on the pan. Roast for 35 minutes, stirring once, until tender, and set aside for 15 minutes to cool.
Reserve ¼ cup of squash for the garnish and transfer the rest to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the chickpeas, yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and pulse until coarsely processed but not pureed. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved chickpea liquid and pulse a few times to combine. If the hummus is too thick, add more liquid a few tablespoons at a time (I did add more to get to the consistency I liked). Taste for seasonings, transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the reserved butternut squash, chopped parsley, toasted pumpkin seeds and drizzle with maple syrup, if desired. Serve at room temperature with toasted pita bread. For a less sweet version, substitute curry powder or cumin for the cinnamon, lime juice for the lemon juice and cilantro for the parsley.
*to make toasted pita chips
Cut store bought pita bread into 6 or 8 wedges. Pull apart the wedges from two layers to one layer and place on a sheet pan. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees until light brown and crispy.
Chicken Tortilla Bake
I catered a luncheon last week for a group of guys. They didn't want sandwiches but something warm and hearty instead. Since it was really close to Dia de Los Muertos, I decided to put together a tortilla bake with some "south of the border" flavors. They LOVED it and I know you will too. Don't let the list of ingredients put you off, after you make it the first time, the then familiar process goes quickly. Make this after Thanksgiving and you can use your leftover turkey instead of chicken or, instead of meat, layer in butternut or Delicata squash for a vegetarian version. This 'bake' has bold Mexican flavor without being too spicy, it freezes well so you can make it ahead and it feeds a crowd of 8-10. Add your own salsa to kick it up a notch!
Chicken Tortilla Bake
4 T butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped to 1/4"
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped to 1/4"
2 medium poblano peppers, chopped to 1/4"
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 T New Mexico chile powder
1 T ground cumin
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t pepper
1/4 c flour (use an alternative flour for a gluten free version)
1 - 14 oz can chicken broth (or about 1 3/4 c)
1 - 10 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 c sour cream
2 lbs cooked chicken, (I used poached breast meat the first time and a store bought rotisserie chicken the second time I made it.)
1 c fresh cilantro leaves, chopped coarsely
2 c grated jack cheese (about 8 oz)
2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 8 oz)
18 (8") soft taco-size corn tortillas
1/4 c veggie oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the two cheeses in a bowl. Put the chicken and the cilantro in a bowl and toss to combine. Melt the butter in a wide skillet over med-high heat. Add the onion and all of the peppers, cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened and browned lightly. Add in the garlic, spices, salt and pepper and cook for about a minute more. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly. Add the broth and bring to a boil, stirring until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes and sour cream, then add the veggie, sour cream mixture to the chicken.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Brush the tortillas with the oil on both sides and cook in batches, a few of minutes on each side until slightly crispy.
Lightly grease a 13" x 9" and line with 6 of the crisped tortillas. Top with 1/2 of the chicken mixture and 1/3 of the cheese. Add another layer of tortillas, the rest of the chicken mixture and 1/2 of the remaining cheese. Add the last layer of tortillas and the rest of the cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes more until it is browned and bubbly. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.
Serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, sliced avocado and your favorite salsa.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"