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Monday, October 24, 2005

Smothered burritos with Mom’s chile verde

Chile verde means “green sauce,” but the sauce won’t be exactly green, especially as it uses tomatoes. Green denotes the color of chilies used. This is not a traditional Mexican dish. Rather, it is a Tex Mex dish sent to me by my mother, also a Tex Mex.

Start by browning some pork in a saucepan. I cut a large, thick pork chop into smaller-than-bite-size pieces. If some fat was rendered as well, add half a chopped onion and one or two minced garlic cloves (if the meat was lean, add some olive oil or bacon grease). Soften the onion and garlic and then add about 1 ½ tablespoons of flour. Brown the flour and then add about ¼ cup chicken broth and one can diced tomatoes. Stir well and simmer until sauce thickens and pork is cooked.

Puree some green chilies (I used a dozen Hatch chilies) and add gradually, tasting as you go. Peppers can be unpredictable with their heat. Then add salt and pepper to taste. After I added the tomatoes I threw in the pork chop bone for extra flavoring. I think some dried Mexican oregano would probably be good in this a well.

Meanwhile you’ll want some refried beans to stuff the tortillas. The basic recipe is to cook some beans in some fat and (if you use canned beans) the juice that comes with the beans. You mash the beans as you cook them. I like to use black beans in olive oil, adding some chopped onions and cilantro at the end. But this night I was in a more traditional mood, so I used bacon grease. I also would have used pinto beans, but unfortunately I’d accidentally grabbed Adzuki, which are teeny and difficult to mash. Dang.

To assemble, spread beans in a heated tortilla and fill with a little bit of the sauce. Roll and fold burrito and then cover with more of the sauce. Top with sour cream

I made this Sunday night. Saturday we ended up eating leftovers and cereal because we’d had a late, large lunch. We took a break from gallery hopping in Chelsea and stopped in at the Half King on 23rd Street. I’d always assumed it was just some greasy pub for sceansters but it was actually great. They gave us a big table by the front window with sofas for chairs, so Jasper had plenty of room. And my fried clams were splendidly crisp. I’m always impressed by a good fry job. My bloody mary was perfectly balanced, with lots of horseradish. Before we headed back out into the wind they gave me a cup of tea to go. It was all such a warm, cozy surprise.

Friday we had one of our old stand bys for dinner: Kofta Curry. This is a frozen entrée by Deep Foods consisting of kofta balls in a curry sauce. You defrost it, dump it on some rice, and then add fresh chopped tomato and red onion with a squirt of lemon, and it’s actually pretty tasty. I wouldn’t serve it at a dinner party, but for a Friday night it’ll do.

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