Tasty Tuesday: Chili Verde

Have I MENTIONED that I love food?

I mean, really, I do.  I love to cook it; I love to look at it; love to read about it… *sigh*

Wow.  I sound HIGHLY unbalanced.

I swear I’m not salivating as I write this.

Well, much.

Anyways, one of my favorite things to make for the citizens of Boystown is Chilie Verde.  What KIND usually depends on the best price I find on the meat when I’m shopping.  Sometimes its a boneless pork butt or picnic roast; sometimes its chuck (the kind of cut you’d use for pot roast); and sometimes its a few boneless/skinless chicken breasts.  It just depends, but whatever I use, its always tasty and gives AMAZING leftovers.

But, enough talking- let’s get to cooking, shall we?

Chili Verde

Sauce

4 onions, diced

1/2 cup chopped garlic

2 Serrano chilies, diced

1 jalapeno, diced

15-20 Anaheim chilies, roasted and seeded, peels removed as much as possible (if you don’t have any on hand, I’ll post a tip at the end of this for how to do it at home)

12-15 tomatillos (outer skins removed and given a good rinse), roasted

5 tbsp. garlic powder

1 tsp pepper

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp coriander

2 tsp salt (I like to use 2 tsp of chicken bouillon- it adds a little bit more flavor for me 🙂 )

Remove seeds and as much of the skins of the peppers as possible.  Puree w/ tomatillos and place the mixture into a large pot.  If you’re one of those lucky ducks with a Vitamixer, I’m extremely jealous, and you MIGHT not even have to worry about getting all the skins off- considering a Vitamixer could puree a penny into a delicious -slightly metallic- smoothie.

Ok, maybe not.  But the peels, yes.  Let me know if you do.

In a med. saucepan over med. heat, add 1/2 cup olive oil.  Stir in onion, garlic, Serrano and jalapeno chilies.  Cook until soft.  Puree and add to the large pot.

Add garlic powder, pepper, oregano, coriander, and salt (or bouillon) to the large pot.  Stir well and simmer for 10 minutes.  Cool and separate into 2 cup amounts (zip lock freezer bags work awesome).  Freeze them until you feel it calling to you to use it.  I give it a week.  Maybe 2.

OR…

You can use one of those 2 cup portions to make yummy nummy Chili Verde for your family.  This is my choice.

Chili Verde Pork/Chicken/Beef

2 cups Chili Verde sauce

1/2 cup Olive Oil (+1/2 cup)

5 lbs trimmed pork shoulder/pork picnic roast/boneless,skinless chicken breasts/or trimmed chuck roast (whatever is the best price) (and, yes, it makes A LOT- I’ll post a recipe later for using some of those leftovers ;-D )

1 qt chicken broth

1/2 corn flour (masa)

Cover a large pot with 1/2 c olive oil.  When it gets hot enough (read: the oil starts to look shimmer-y), place the meat in.  Sear over med. heat til well browned on all sides.

Deglaze the pan with the broth, scraping the bottom to get the brown bits off.

Add chili verde sauce, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Now, from here you can stick it in the oven and cook at 350 for a couple of hours (or till it shreds easily), but I usually like to use the crock pot.  I live in an apartment and the oven isn’t always the greatest to use (especially during the Summer).  If you use the crockpot, just put the whole mixture in and cook on LOW for around 8 hours.  The last half hour, mix that 1/2 cup olive oil you had left and that masa to make a slurry.  Mix all of THAT into the crockpot.  It’ll help to thicken everything.

Oh, you can also do all this on the stove top, too: bring everything up to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours uncovered or until the pork pulls apart easily.

Serve this yummy-ness with refried beans and Spanish rice to have a great Mexican fiesta.  And if you don’t have any great recipes for either of those, then stay tuned- I do.  One of them is over 100 years old and is DELISH.

***As promised, here’s a tip for making your own roasted chilies.  There are SOME markets out there that will do all the work for you and give it to you in a bag, all ready to use, but they also charge you for that service.  Why pay when its SO easy?  Not to mention, fresh ALWAYS beats out.  Period.

So, what you want to do is take your peppers (and tomatillos you’ve taken the skins off of, if you’re making the sauce), put them on a cookie sheet and coat it all with olive oil.  Roast in a 350 oven until soft.  If need be (if they aren’t getting soft or you’ve noticed they aren’t peeling easily), you can roast them directly on the oven rack, but make sure to place the cookie sheet below to catch the oil and juices as they drip or your oven will smoke.

Once everything is soft, place the peppers into a plastic bag to steam.  (5 minutes should work, but you can basically let them til you’re ready to peel them.)***

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Dear Pre-Pregnancy Life,

Today, while I was out shopping, I passed by a rack of size 12s and I thought of you.  Just for a moment- because the Mini-Master decided it wasn’t right that I should have my eyes anywhere but on him- but in that moment, a mix of emotions filled me like you wouldn’t believe.

I tried to deny the way that I felt, but all the great memories got to me.  I thought about the trip to Hawaii when we were 17 and how I had complained about my hips and thighs then.  I was 17- I HAD no hips or thighs, at least, not like now.  I had a teenage body, void of birthing hips and stretch marks, wrinkles and less than ample boobage.  I thought about that night when my friend was describing me to someone else and she used the words “flat stomach”.  Now the only time I have a flat stomach is when I make the choice not to breathe or sit down by wearing too-tight pants.

As I walked through the store, my eyes drifted to the purses, and I thought of my ever present addiction- the one I’ve had to put on hold ever since needing a diaper bag.  Even as trendy as diaper bags have gotten -and mine is PRETTY cool- they’re still diaper bags.  They hold everything, though, so carrying a purse as well is kind of superfluous.

I strolled slowly by the cosmetics aisle and I thought about when I used to put on make up.  I guess “used to” isn’t exactly correct; I still do occasionally, but its almost like building a sand castle near the tide now.  Why put on make up when its going to be mauled off by messy face kisses and grubby hands?

I looked over at the men’s aisle as I headed toward the electronics and I thought about how many times Date Night has been thwarted.  We used to have money to do stuff!  We used to have the ENERGY to do stuff!  We used to not need a sitter crazy enough to watch 3 boys so we could do stuff!

I perused the DVDs, looking for something kid friendly- KID FRIENDLY.  I remember when our DVD collection didn’t include a single ‘G’ rating; when we didn’t need to say,”We should probably wait til the kiddos are in bed” when deciding what to watch on TV.

Buying new stuff would have to wait, though.  I wasn’t here to buy a movie- I was here with a purpose.  I headed to the kids/ baby department for the wipes.

Dear, sweet, Pre-Pregnancy life- as I made my way to the back of the store, where all the baby stuff was located, I kept thinking of you and how even trips to the store were different back then.  Lingerie meant Victoria’s Secret, not Kohl’s Clearance; necessities meant chocolate and other junk food, not diapers, wipes, baby food, and Gerber’s Puffs; PJs meant Frederick’s, not cotton PJ sets from Kmart; and toys meant, well, nothing by Fisher Price.

I have to tell you, though- as I stood there, comparing prices on sippy cups, diapers, and wipes, it hit me what else is different about this new life compared to you.

  • I waste less time on TV.  Oh, sure, the TV is on, but as a kind of defense mechanism, my mind has tuned it out so as not to hear the constant chatter of cartoon characters.
  • My husband and I have fallen in love with each other in a whole new way and we’ve learned to get creative with Date Nights.  (To be honest, that was done out of pure necessity.  It was either get creative or start carrying around each other’s photo so we didn’t forget what each other looked like.)
  • And, also, to be honest, my diaper bag IS really cool.  I’ve had loads of people ask me where I got my “purse” from.  I don’t correct them.
  • And my body?  If I ever have the money or the desire for it, I can get cosmetic surgery, but I’m not really disappointed with my wrinkles.  The stress wrinkles are linear badges of honor, and laugh lines should be cherished- and my boys make me laugh.  A lot.

Actually, Pre-Pregnancy Life, a lot of the feelings I had while I debated the different sippy cups were feelings of thankfulness.  You never got to hear a 5 year old tell his 11 year old brother that girls are made to be friends- nothing else; you never knew the pride that can come from looking at progress reports (and making a mental list of private colleges to send such smart boys); and you never knew how sweet and extremely gross -all at the same time- it could feel to have your face mauled by a 9 month old that has just eaten breakfast.

Sure, some things changed when we parted ways, but right now, as I sit next to my youngest who is slightly snoring and listening to my two older boys singing a duet of “Lollipop” in the next room, I’m pretty sure I made out better with the exchange rate.

Paybacks are wet and furry

Oh gosh- get your heads out of the gutter, lol.

Today was one of those days where its so peaceful-

you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I sat on the couch, working on my laptop, listening to laughter coming from the boys’ room.  It started as giggling and I couldn’t help but think,”This is the life.”

When the laughter grew louder, I smiled a little bigger,”Finally!  They aren’t fighting!”

A few moments later, the laughter increased, reached a higher pitch, and was accompanied by a spitting sound.  Reluctantly, I got up to investigate.

There they were- my sweet, two youngest offspring… and the cat.

And so went the following conversation:

Me: (extreme trepidation in voice) “What’s going on in here?”

Jacob: (still laughing hard) “Nicholas stuck out his tongue and licked me!”

Me: “And it made you BOTH crack up?”

Jacob: (laughing harder) “He’s laughing because I licked him back!”

Me: “So, why is he spitting now?”

Jacob: (laughing so hard I thought he’d throw up) “Stever came into the room-” (busting up now)

Me: “Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaah…?”

Jacob: (practically peeing his pants) “Nicholas licked STEVER!”

Nicholas: (pointing to Stever) “Ki Ki!”

(Not the Mini Master OBVIOUSLY.  This is a girl.  And she doesn’t appear to be spitting out cat fur.)

(And not Stever.  I just liked this pic I found.)

I learned a few things at that moment:

  • Stever is a VERY loved cat.
  • Boys will never just “let something go”- lick them and they’ll lick you back.
  • I really need to start kissing my boys on their foreheads because I’m starting to see where their mouths have been.

My Indian name: Dances with Snails

Its never a simple task- walking Bug to and from school- but in the mornings its the most difficult.

Why?

Snails.

How can such a tiny, slimy creature create an issue?  Because of a little game I’ve dubbed “Dodge Snail”.  It goes something like this:

“Mom!  Look out!  You almost squished a snail!”

“Bug, we’ve got to get you to school, there are a MILLION snails out right now, and your brother’s in a stroller.  How am I supposed to keep from running them over?  Tell me.”

“Carefully.”

How do you argue with that kind of logic?

It has hit me multiple times what we must look like in the morning- nothing can be seen by passing motorists to be blocking us, and yet, we dodge and weave like ninjas in a sword fight.

DO ninjas sword fight?

I dunno.

If they did or do, THAT’S what we look like.

I’m sure we probably look like we’re on drugs -jerking from side to side with no apparent rhyme or reason- but WE know the truth: we’re saving some poor snail family the pain of losing a loved one.

Its amazing the impact your kids can have on you.  While I’ve never REALLY been the type to squish bugs and things, I also never went out of my way to avoid hurting them, either.

I didn’t, that is, til MY little Bug pointed to 3 snails of different sizes while we were walking the other day and said,”Look mom!  3 snail brothers- just like me, Bubba, and Nicholas.”  He then went on to tell me how they were probably on THEIR way to school just like he was.

Great.  So, now I had to worry that I might step on the snail version of my boys.  This just keeps getting better.  NOW, if I accidentally step on a snail, I didn’t take out just ANY snail, but possibly the snail version of one of my boys.

So, what happened next?

Well, of course, 3 snails SLOWLY block my path as we’re strolling along.

My choice?  Which child do I kill?

So, I made the only choice I could.

I waited.

What?!  The last thing I wanted was Bug telling Camo later,”Mom killed the snail you instead of the snail ME!  Ha ha ha!  She loves me more!”  Can you IMAGINE the ridiculous fighting??

I would like to say that I was less obsessive about avoiding snails once I dropped Bug off, but -funny thing- I can’t help but avoid them now.  Its gotten to the point where -today- I saw 2 kids INTENTIONALLY crushing snails (the mom was even pointing them out to them!) and I found myself humming:

Oh, be kind to your small, slimy friend

For the next might be some snail’s Mooooother…

I guess it could’ve been worse.  I could’ve freaked them out by yelling,”Be careful!  You could step on me!!”