Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tomato verde

Have I said anything about our bumper crop of green tomatoes this fall? I didn't think so.

Let me just say we had a BUMPER, as in ginormous, crop. When God gives you green tomatoes. . . . then I say, make things with green tomatoes. I present you with Tomato Verde Chili -- a new take on one of my favs, Chili Verde. When served with the polenta (see below), you get this crazy reversed tamale effect. Seriously. True comfort food as we head into these dark, chilly winter (meh!) evenings:

Tomato Verde Chili

2 1/2 c chopped green tomatoes
1 c onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 link linguisa sausage (or chorizo or andouille, just make sure it's smoked), cut into small cubes
1 t ground cumin
3 T canned diced chiles
1 T flour
2 c chicken broth
1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
1 to 1 1/2 lbs country-style boneless pork ribs, cubed into bite-size pieces (the Wonderfully Patient Spouse gets a serious assist on this!)
Kosher or sea salt
Pinch cumin and cayenne pepper to taste right before serving
Canola oil

Polenta (I know, it's masa in Mexican food, but I had polenta and that's what I ran with)

1 c polenta
1 c chicken broth
1 T sour cream (or plain yogurt would probably do in a pinch)
1/4 t ground cumin
Pinch salt

Place chopped green tomatoes in colander, sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, toss and let "sweat" for 30-45 minutes.

Rinse and drain green tomatoes. Heat 1-2 teaspoons canola oil in deep skillet, saute sausage till browned, remove with slotted spoon and save, reserving flavored oil. Add tomatoes, onions and garlic to oil and begin to saute. Add cumin and diced green chiles and cook till tomatoes and onions are soft. Add flour, stir till veggies are coated, then add chicken broth, stir till thickened, add tomatoes and sausage and simmer for 30-45 minutes.*

*Note: You can stop here and freeze sauce and add pork later OR, do what we did this week -- stick the sauce in the fridge for a day, come home from work, chop up the pork and cook away. OR just cook the whole ding-dong-dang thing at once and consume. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

If you're not hoarding the sauce for a later day, add the cubed pork and simmer another 45 minutes or so till pork is tender. Season to taste with a little more salt, cumin and cayenne according to taste.

While pork is simmering, prepare polenta:

Bring chicken broth to boil in separate saucepan. Add polenta and stir constantly till you get a thick but soft cake-like consistency. Add sour cream, cumin and a pinch of salt to taste and mix thoroughly. Cover and keep warm till serving. (Hint: If polenta seems like it's getting too stiff you can always add a little chicken broth, adjusting the cumin and salt, and stir to preferred consistency.)

To serve, place a scoop of polenta in deep soup bowl. Spoon tomato verde chili around it. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and cilantro if so desired. Nummmmmm. Comfort food.

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