Mexican Stuffed Peppers with Kale and Chorizo

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Offer different versions at a buffet by omitting sausage for vegetarians and further omitting cheese for vegans.

Add color and taste to your Cinco de Mayo buffet with stuffed red, orange and yellow bell peppers.

The filling is mild ’cause chorizo spices up the dish and it’s gluten-free, using rice instead of breadcrumbs. Look for sausage with no fillers. In a pinch, use fully cooked, gluten-free, no nitrates or hormone links found in most supermarkets. If you can’t find chorizo, try the cooked versions of Andouille or chicken sausage with mango. For “cleaner” eating, I prefer less cheese.

6 bell peppers, tops cut off and seeded
3 – 5 chorizo sausage links, skins removed and chopped
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 celery stalks, minced
1 cup chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup loosely shredded kale
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 small eggplant
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon wheat-free soy sauce
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 Tablespoon dried oregano, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 – 1 cup shredded cheese  – optional (queso blanco, cheddar, Monterey Jack, goat cheese)
1 1/2 cups rice, cooked
1 cup red wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, coat with olive oil and roast in the oven 45 minutes or until a knife goes easily through the flesh. When cool enough to handle scrape out flesh and chop with a spoon.  Set aside. In a heavy skillet, brown sausage and drain fat. Remove and set aside. In a stock pot, add olive oil, onion, celery, garlic and kale. Saute until the mixture is softened. Add plum tomatoes, 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes, eggplant, soy sauce, parsley, basil, oregano and salt and pepper. Add rice and cheese. Stuff peppers and add extra cheese on top if desired

In an oven proof 9 x 13 inch glass dish, mix tomatoes with wine. Add salt and pepper and stir. Place peppers upright in dish and add pepper tops into the tomato mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

“Cleaner” Churros

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The classic churro is dusted with cinnamon-sugar, but try dipping these GF Mexican “donuts” in honey-cinnamon for a treat!

I’ve discovered a gluten-free churro that is just as yum as the original!

The other big change is coconut oil instead of butter. I even tried baking them but the results were marginal. So, to be as authentic as possible with ridges, crunch and all, fried is best. Hey, two out of three ain’t bad!

1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
24 oz canola oil
Cinnamon and sugar for dusting or honey for dipping

In a saucepan, heat coconut oil, water and salt till boiling. Remove pan from heat and add flour. Stir until a dough is formed and pulls away from the sides.

Transfer to a stand mixer with a dough paddle. Add one egg at a time on medium speed. Then add vanilla. Alternately, a hand mixer can be used but the dough tends to clump on the beaters.

Meanwhile, heat oil to 325 degrees. Put dough into a pastry bag with a large star tip. Oil is ready when a test piece of dough sizzles on the edges. Pipe 2 1/2 to 3 inch churros into the oil, cutting the dough with kitchen shears at desired length. Turn with a slotted spoon when dough is lightly brown and repeat on the other side. Transfer churros to a cooling rack lined with a paper towel for 1 minute then carefully roll them in cinnamon sugar or serve with honey laced with cinnamon.

 

 

Mexican Stack

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This Mexican lasagna is mild to go along with spicier dishes for Cinco de Mayo!

Try a stack instead of nachos. Use farm-fresh grass fed ground beef for a true farm-to-table dish loaded with taste. Substitute more beans for the beef if going vegetarian.

3 Tablespoons pextra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef
27 oz chopped tomatoes
8 oz kidney or black beans
1/2 cup loosely pack cilantro, chopped
2 cups corn kernels
4 cups baby spinach
3 cups shredded queso blanco or mild cheddar
4 rice or sprouted grain tortilla

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray casserole pan with olive or canola oil. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium high heat and add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Meanwhile, brown ground beef in another heavy skillet adding olive oil if necessary. Transfer beef to the onion mixture and add oregano, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon. Stir in tomatoes, beans, corn and cilantro and simmer for 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Place 1 tortilla in the pan and sprinkle spinach on top. Spread enough beef mixture over spinach to coat and sprinkle on cheese. Place another tortilla on top and repeat until the last tortilla is used and cheese is sprinkled on top. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Bake uncovered for another few minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Let sit a few minutes to set. Cut into wedges and serve with guacamole, sour cream or yogurt, rice and salsas of your choice.

Braised Chicken Tortilla Soup

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When paired with Mexican spices, smoked paprika and lime, this soup stands out as one of my favorites!

The intense flavor of this dish comes from braising chicken breasts (not boneless) rubbed with chipotle oil combined with the right mixture of spices and a splash of citrusy lime. Use sprouted grain tortillas for texture and crunch!

2 chicken breasts with bones
1/4 cup chipotle oil
-or 1/4 cup olive oil mixed with 1 teaspoon chipotle spice (or 1/2 teaspoon chili powder plus 1/2 teaspoon cumin)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onions, chopped
1 cup orange, red and yellow peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalepeno pepper, minced
28 oz can peeled tomatoes
4 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup water
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
Corn or sprouted-grain tortillas
Extra virgin olive oil

Rub chicken breasts with chipotle oil. Set aside for 1 hour. Meanwhile preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat bottom of heavy skillet with EVOO and heat to medium high. Brown chicken breasts on each side. Place chicken in a glass oven proof dish and fill with chicken broth. Cover with aluminum foil and braise in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until just cooked throughout. Remove from oven and cool enough to shred chicken with a fork, reserving the chicken broth.

In a large stock pot, place onion, peppers and garlic in 1/4 cup EVOO and saute until onions are translucent. Add jalepeno pepper and saute 1 – 2 minutes more. Pulse tomatoes in a food processor until chunky and add to stock pot. Add chicken broth (approximately 2 cups), cilantro, remaining spices and chicken plus 1 cup of water or more for desired consistency. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Coat bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil and heat to medium high. Place tortilla and lightly brown. Flip and lightly brown other side. Remove to a cutting board and let cool. Cut into strips. Ladle soup in bowls and top with tortilla strips and chopped cilantro if desired.