Last month Adam and I did some work for Design*Sponge’s In The Kitchen With Column. Our friend Kristina, the column’s editor, was in town from Rome and we spent a marvelous day styling and photographing. I had a slight creative melt-down over one of the recipe’s images, more on that later. But it’s always a blast working with Grace and Kristina. Make sure you head over there for the recipe for this delicious salad and check out the column over the next couple of weeks. Have a great weekend and for those of you heading to the Food Blogging Camp in Mexico this weekend I’ll see you guys soon!
I’m not quite sure I’m ready to give up my summer. It’s already obvious the days are growing shorter and I know cooler weather is right around the corner. In a last ditch effort to hold on to summer I had a little get-together, almost as a way to say goodbye to all that the warm summer gives us and hello to new experiences, new meals and new recipes. Ok, so maybe it’s not that bad after all!
This is a Spicy Black Bean Chipotle Dip that I absolutely love. I wanted to make something that that be served as a dip but also be flexible. And mostly because I wanted to find a way to use the vegetarian chorizo that I love so much. If you’ve never tried it please do. It’s packed with so much flavor and cooks the exact same way a Mexican pork chorizo does. I don’t have to tell you that it’s less in saturated fat and cholesterol and for a boy like me who has to be careful not to morph into El Gordito that means something. But since I’m driven by flavor I still feel like I’m eating chorizo.
(and FYI: we’ve prepared this recipe side by side with both pork and vegetarian chorizo and you can’t tell the difference. Take that!)
Oh, and another reason I love this recipe so much is because it’s not just perfect as a dip but also spread on tortillas or bread for tortas or cemitas. The chipotle flavor adds mild heat, the texture of the beans holds things together and it’s definitely something you can use in a variety of ways. You can make your own black beans if you have them but canned black beans work perfectly and saves time.
Spicy Black Bean Chipotle Dip
2 15-oz cans of black beans (1 can drained, 1 can undrained)
6 oz pork or vegetarian chorizo
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon coriander
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 whole chipotle in adobo plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
juice of 1 lime
Place 1 whole can of the black beans with liquid in a food processor with chipotle and 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat and cook onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add all spices and garlic to the onions and cook 1 more minute until fragrant. Remove from heat and add onion spice mixture to the food processor with the beans. Process until smooth.
In the same skillet heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium high heat and cook the chorizo until slightly crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining can of black beans and ½ cup of water, stir to combine. Immediately add pureed bean mixture and cook over medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stiry in lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, makes about 3 cups. Can be served cold or room temperature. Garnish with long cilantro sprigs or lime wedges. Aye que purdy!
Let’s pretend for just a tiny moment that it has not been in the 80s here in Los Angeles over the past few days. We can also pretend that I did not lay outside in shorts and no t-shirt in the sun on a big madras print blanket with a book and three small dogs who insisted on standing on my back, butt and head. And let’s also pretend that yesterday I didn’t get home and fight the urge to run straight to the grill with a beer in my hand.
Let’s just pretend, shall we?
It’s during these chilly months that we turn to soup and all things comfort. With the chillier
OH I JUST CAN’T! I CAN’T I CAN’T I CAN’T!
I really wanted to wrap myself in the briskness of a Southern California winter but damnit it’s just not going to happen! It’s hot here — as in yes, you will sweat if you stand outside — and it’s throwing my seasonal eating outta whack something terrible! How on earth can I crave comfort foods when it not only seems like summer but smells like it, too? It’s hot and all my plans of braising and roasting just really don’t make that much sense. And you know it’s bad when you stroll around the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market looking in earnest for summer vegetables when you know it’s smack dab in the middle of January.
It’s wrong wrong wrong.
So something funny happened as I began working on this post. I wanted something warm and homey but wouldn’t you know it the temps soared and I was distracted. And then I realized that tortilla soup actually worked for everyone: it’ll warm you up in the dead of winter and it’ll also warm you up (and cool you down provided you keep plenty of cold cerveza nearby) in the, um, JanuarySummer of Southern California.
I grew up with Caldo De Res, Menudo and Albondigas soups and stews and didn’t discover the pleasures of Tortilla Soup until I was an adult. And even then it seems like a funny invention to me. Why not Enchilada Soup or Taco Soup? Luckily this recipe isn’t really about throwing something else in a bowl with liquid and giving it a new fast name as much as it’s a very simple soup with some crunchy bits on top. Because we all love crunchy bits, don’t we? And once again the cuisine of my peeps is so ever adaptable and can be made brighter and snappier (limes! lemons!) or mas caliente (salsa! peppers!) or ever thicker and cheesier (cheese! cheese! cheese!). I’ll go ahead and stop now with the snappy! remarks! because I’m sure I’m annoying you.
But seriously, this soup is really simple and delicious and hits the spot.
3 garlic cloves with skin on
1/2 yellow onion
8 cups chicken stock (you can easily use vegetable stock too!)
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 anaheim chiles
1/2 cup water
8 corn tortillas (and of course you can fry more if you want, I certainly wouldn’t mind)
oil for frying
1 cup Oaxacan cheese
Broil the tomatoes, onions, chiles and garlic in the oven til blackened. Make sure to flip over and broil them completely. Once done remove the skin from the tomatoes, garlic and chiles.
Place the tomatoes, onion, chiles and garlic in a blender with 1/2 cup of water and puree. Strain the mixture.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot over medium high heat and add the pureed mixture. Boil it until it thickens and turks a dark red, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and salt to taste and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
Cut the tortillas into 1/2-inch strips and fry in hot oil until golden brown. Careful not to burn them! Dry them on paper towels to remove excess oil.
To serve the soup place the tortilla strips in the bowl and ladle the soup over them. Garnish with cheese and a wedge of lime and if you’re feeling colorful you can add chopped cilantro on top.