Friday, October 28, 2016

Green Zombie Chili Mac

     Halloween Cuisine!
     Why go to a bar or restaurant on Halloween just to eat the same old chicken fingers that probably are nothing more than a cheap manufactured frozen product that is loaded with everything from growth hormones to preservatives that have a mile long name?  That is pretty scary!  Even worse, the chicken fingers are probably deep fried in a blend of vegetable oil and cottonseed oil.  Cottonseed oil is loaded with pesticides and saturated fat.  Now that is as scary as being chased by a herd of creepy clowns!
     Food is a scary subject in reality, but it does not have to be.  Being more selective about food choices is the first step.  By actively choosing organic Non-GMO food products, that are preferably locally sourced, a consumer supports a system of safe guilt free food.  That is not scary thought at all and this is the way things should be.
     Halloween party food is meant to be fun and entertaining.  Guests want to have a good time and they do not want to be distracted by unhealthy food issues.  The best way to please Halloween party guests in this modern age is to use healthy ingredients to make some appetizers and creepy looking food items.  Scary Halloween food should be guilt free healthy food! 
     Chili Mac is a scary topic of its own, especially when it is made with Chile Verde.  A mixture of Green Chile Sauce, Pork and Macaroni does look kind of gross, but it tastes great and it is a real crowd pleaser.  Gross food qualifies as Halloween food, so today's Green Zombie Chili Mac certainly is en vogue. 
     The ingredients for the recipe example in the photos were sourced at a local organic food market in Las Vegas.  Even the organic pork was drug and hormone free.  As mentioned before, Green Chili Mac always looks gross, but it tastes great and when it is made with organic ingredients, this creepy chili mac is quite healthy.            
     Fresh Nopales Preparation:
     This recipe yields 1 1/2 to 2 cups.  
     A trimmed Prickly Pear Cactus Paddle that is cut into strips is called Nopales in Mexico.  Canned Nopales can be used for this recipe, but fresh Prickly Pear Cactus Nopales are much better.
     *When trimming cactus paddles, wear thick heavy gauge rubber dishwasher gloves to protect the hands from the small cactus spines.  A sharp curved boning knife is best for shaving the patches of spines off of a cactus paddle.
     Step 1:  *About 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups of fresh nopales strips are needed for the chili recipe.  
     Select 1 prickly pear cactus paddle that measures about 5" x 8".  
     Use a shallow escallop style shaving motion with the knife to cut through the cactus skin under each group of small cactus spines.  Try to retain as much of the cactus paddle skin as possible and try to only remove the spines.
     Step 2:  Slice the trimmed prickly pear cactus paddle into thin 1/4" wide strips.
     Step 3:  Blanch the nopales in boiling salted water for 1 minute or till they are cooked al dente.
     Step 4:  Use a pasta net to remove the nopales from the hot water.
     Place the nopales in a container of ice water.
     Step 5:  Drain off the water.
     Refrigerate the prepared nopales till they are needed.  
     Salsa Verde:
     This recipe yields 2 cups of salsa verde!
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/2 cups of chopped tomatillos in a stainless steel sauce pot.
     Add 1 or 2 coarsely chopped seeded green jalapeño peppers.  (to taste)
     Add 2 coarsely chopped roasted poblano peppers.
     Add 3/4 cup of chopped onion.
     Add 2 chopped garlic cloves.
     Step 2:  Cover the ingredients with 1" of extra water.
     Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer the vegetables till they become very tender.
     Step 4:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Allow the vegetables and liquid to cool to room temperature.
     Puree the vegetable stew with a blending wand (emersion blender), blender or food processor.
     Step 5:  Return the vegetable puree to the sauce pot.
     Place the pot over low heat.
     Step 6:  Add 1 teaspoon of minced epazote.
     Add 2 pinches of Mexican oregano.
     Add 2 pinches of cumin.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
     Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Step 7:  Simmer and reduce till the puree is a medium thin sauce consistency.
     Step 8:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro.
     Stir the sauce.
     Set the salsa verde aside or chill it for later use.

     This recipe yields 2 portions.
     Step 1:  Cook 2 portions of elbow macaroni pasta in salted boiling water over high heat.
     When the pasta becomes al dente, drain off the water.
     Step 2:  Cool the macaroni under cold running water.
     Drain off the water.
     Chill the macaroni till it is needed.
     Green Zombie Chili Mac:
     This recipe yields 4 portions. 
     The level of spicy heat is very mild!  
     Pork Chile Verde does not need to simmer all day.  This chile only needs to simmer till the chunks of pork shoulder become tender.  Too much stewing time will result in shredded meat.  Some folks actually prefer shredded pork in a green chili, but chunks of tender pork add a nicer visual effect.
     Step 1:  Heat a braising pan or a wide sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or lard.
     Add 16 to 18 ounces of lean pork shoulder that is cut into bite size pieces.
     Sauté the pork till light golden highlights appear.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Drain off any excess grease, but leave about 1 tablespoon in the pot.
     Step 3:  Add 2 1/2 teaspoons of masa harina (Nixtamal Corn Flour) while stirring.
     Stir till the corn flour combines with the grease in the pot.
     Step 4:  Add 1 cup of chicken broth or light pork broth.
     Add 1 1/2 cups of water.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil over medium heat.  Stir occasionally.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer till the pork starts to become tender and the volume of liquid reduces by half.
     Step 6:  Add the reserved 2 cups of salsa verde.
     Add the reserved nopales.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 2 minced green onions.
     Adjust the seasoning with sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 7:  Simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin consistency that can cling to a spoon.
     Step 8:  Add the reserved prepared macaroni pasta.
     Simmer till the green chili mac is hot and the sauce clings to the pasta.
     Step 9:  Keep the chili mac warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced cilantro before serving.
     Serve with sour cream on the side.

     Healthy, tasty and gross looking Halloween party food!

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