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Posts Tagged ‘Garlic’

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic | Relishing It

I’ve mentioned here before that my husband and I were high school sweethearts.  We’ve been together for many years, and if there is one dish that describes “us”, it is this spaghetti sauce.  We’ve been making it together for as long as I can remember.  And even though it has gone through a few subtle changes over the years (because I certainly wasn’t canning my own tomatoes in my dorm room), it has remained much the same as it did those many years ago.  Many of you have been asking for this recipe, so I figure it’s time to to finally write it down and share it.  I mention on here fairly frequently that one dish or another is a family favorite.  But this one is the family favorite.  If the kids get to choose a meal, this is what they pick.  Valentine’s Day rolls around, and this is what we have.  It’s a bit odd, because this dish is ordinary, yet very special to us.

Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic | Relishing It

Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic | Relishing It

A couple of things need mentioning.  As I’ve said, I can my own tomatoes.  I use roasted roma tomatoes for this sauce.  I love how thick and rich they become, compared to regular tomatoes with their abundance of water.  This sauce can be made with any variety of tomatoes, though I’ve settled on roasted romas as my favorite.  The key here is to know what to do if your sauce has extra liquid in it that you don’t necessarily want. Watery spaghetti sauce is, to be honest, gross.  Too much liquid, and it just doesn’t cling to the pasta.  My point, is that you should do your best to find some good quality canned roasted tomatoes.  Muir Glen is my recommendation, if you don’t can your own.  Canned San Marzanos are also another excellent choice.  Whatever type of tomatoes you choose, crushed or whole, etc– give them a few pulses in a food processor to break them up (or use your hands) so they aren’t chunky.  If the sauce is too watery near the end of the cooking time, remove the lid and let it reduce a bit.  Adding another dollop of tomato paste will also help.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic | Relishing It

One more thing,  I normally don’t use fresh basil in this sauce– instead I pull a bit out of my freezer that I’ve preserved for the winter.   In the summer, when my basil is plentiful, I chop it and freeze it in muffin tins and ice cube trays.   Then I vacuum seal it.  When I need a bit of basil in the winter, I  just pull one out and pop it into whatever it is that I’m making.  I love this method.  So, if you happen to have a freezer full of the same, use it!  If you don’t, I’ve tested it with fresh basil, so you will know how much to use– feel free to add more, if you like.  Just please don’t used dried– the flavor is not even comparable.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic | Relishing It

This sauce has a wonderfully earthy flavor from the herbs, garlic, and the crimini mushrooms.  It’s a complex array of flavors that I heighten by using a bit of anchovy.  As I’ve mentioned before, don’t be scared to use it.  It adds such a nice umami flavor.  The other integral ingredient is the bay leaf.  The almighty bay leaf, in my opinion.  It adds such a unique flavor that this sauce relies upon.  When the sauce is finished simmering, swirl in a tablespoon or two of good olive oil– it’s the perfect finish to the sauce.  I hope you and your family enjoy this dish as much as we do.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic | Relishing It

The Recipe: Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic

(serves 4-6)

2 pounds grass-fed ground beef

1 medium white onion, chopped

1 large bulb of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped  (yes, the entire bulb!)

1 quart roasted roma tomatoes, crushed

1 dried bay leaf

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

5-6 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 heaping tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil (about 17 large basil leaves)

1 tablespoon double-concentrated tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped anchovies

8-9 ounces crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced

1-2 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing ( California Olive Ranch, is my favorite)

Parmigiano-reggiano cheese and hot pepper flakes, for serving

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat brown the ground beef, then drain the fat.  Return the pan to the heat and add the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper to the beef.  Sauté for a couple of minutes until the onions are somewhat tender, stirring frequently.  Then add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, tomato paste, anchovies, and bay leaf.  Stir.  Then finally add the mushrooms.   Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 30-40 minutes, covered.   Stirring frequently and carefully, as you don’t want the mushrooms to break apart.  Monitor the amount of liquid near the end of the cooking time.  Remove lid to reduce, if it seems too watery.  If it seems too thick, be patient– the mushrooms release a lot of liquid during the simmering time.  When it is done, remove the bay leaf and stir in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese and hot pepper flakes, if desired.  Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator, or freezer.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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Beer-Braised Pork Shoulder with Polenta | Relishing It

Another polar vortex, another no-school day for the kids.  So another cozy, cold-weather meal is in order.  It was difficult to come up with a name for this dish that would capture the flavors here.  It has so many things going on, but they don’t necessarily fit nicely into a category.  A little bit of Mexican from the ancho chiles and the cumin, and a little bit of Asian from the star anise and the cloves, brought together by the American craft beer.  At any rate, let me tell you about this delicious pork shoulder that you’re going to want to make more than once this winter.

Beer Braised Pork Shoulder with Polenta | Relishing It

For those of you who have a fear of tackling a large cut of meat, this recipe is an ideal entry point.  Braising a pork shoulder could not be easier and the results are dynamite.  For starters, and not to sound like a broken record– please use a piece of meat that has been raised properly, preferably local.  Braising can be done using any variety of liquids– broth, wine, milk, or plain water.  In this recipe I used a local craft beer that paired with the spices to develop a deep, wonderful flavor.  The pork works wonderfully with the sweeter tones of cinnamon/cloves/star anise/and allspice.  It also works well with ancho chiles and cumin.  Marrying the two combinations together is fantastic.  You’ll love it.  Be sure to top it with a bit of fresh jalapeño– it’s not that hot and the freshness really brightens up the flavors.

Beer-Braised Pork Shoulder with Polenta | Relishing It

We generally serve the pork shoulder on top of  polenta.  I love a creamy, hot bowl of polenta when it’s cold outside.  Polenta is basically just yellow cornmeal.  It’s origin is Italian and from what I gather, true Italians wouldn’t dream of putting dairy into their polenta, instead making it only with water.  I’m not Italian.  So, I opted for a couple pats of butter and a sprinkle of parmesan mixed in with mine.  I think my Fortify friends may have influenced this a bit.  You will find different variations of the grind size when buying polenta.  Medium ground seems to make the most satisfying polenta.  Some people think making polenta is fussy, but I haven’t found that to be the case.  I do however advise you to be ready to sit down and eat the moment the polenta is done.  It doesn’t stay creamy all that long before it starts to harden and become a bit clumpy.  While it still maintains it’s lovely flavor, the silky texture will be lost.  So, be ready to sit down at the table and enjoy this lovely meal.

Beer-Braised Pork Shoulder with Polenta | Relishing It

The Recipe: Beer-Braised Pork Shoulder with Polenta

(serves about 4 with leftovers)

For the Pork Shoulder:

2 tablespoons olive oil, for browning

about a 4-pound pork shoulder (bone-in gives a great flavor)

1 medium white onion, diced

7-8 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1 4-inch long cinnamon stick

1 whole star anise

1 dried bay leaf

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 12-ounce bottle of really good craft beer (Locally,  Fulton’s Lonely Blonde or Indeed’s Midnight Ryder work really well.  One is a lighter beer and the other is a black ale.  The end results are each different, but both equally delicious.)

For the Polenta:

5 cups water

1 cup polenta, preferably medium grind

salt

a couple pats of butter

a few grates of fresh parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 250 °F.  Over a med-high flame, heat a large Dutch oven coated with olive oil until it is hot.  Pat the pork shoulder dry with a paper towel and season both sides of it with salt and pepper.  Place the pork in the Dutch oven and brown every side (ends, too) until a deep, dark caramel color has formed on all sides.  Remove from the pot and place on a plate.  In the same pot, add the onion and garlic, and a bit more olive oil, if needed.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  After about 3 minutes, add the the entire list of spices.  Stir and then add the beer.  Place the pork, along with any juices back into the pot.  Bring to an almost boil, then remove from heat.  Cover and place in the heated oven for about 3 hours.  You will know when the pork is done when you touch it with a fork.  It should feel tender, not tough.  It should practically fall off of the bone when gently tugged at.  If there is too much resistance, roast it a bit longer.  Be sure to have an oven thermometer, so you know the accuracy of your oven.

Meanwhile, begin the polenta.  In a large saucepan heat 5 cups of water seasoned with salt.  When it is boiling, sprinkle the polenta on the top.  Whisk everything together and reduce the heat to a medium simmer.  Continue to whisk every so often to avoid the bottom burning.  The mixture will eventually thicken up– the exact time will depend upon the size of the grain and how high you have the heat– so, I won’t give an exact measurement in minutes (anywhere from 20-40 minutes), just look for it to be the thickness that you desire.  When it is done, remove from heat and mix in a couple of pats of butter and a few grates of fresh parmesan cheese.  Polenta requires a decent amount of salt, to bring out the flavor– re-season, if necessary.  (Note:  leftover polenta can be spread out smoothly onto a baking sheet.  Refrigerate, then cut into squares.  You can bake or fry it and top it with all sorts of things– use your imagination!)

While the polenta is cooking, tend to the pork.  When the pork is done, remove it from the pot.  I like to make a smooth sauce out of the liquid, but the choice is entirely yours.  You can certainly skip this step.  Strain the liquid.  Then pour the liquid portion into a gravy separator to remove the fat, or use a spoon to skim it from the top.   Remove the cinnamon, star anise, and bay leaf and discard.  Place the remaining onions and garlic into a blender.  Then pour the liquid (sans fat) into the blender and blend it together (always be careful when blending hot liquids).  Return the mixture to the Dutch oven and re-season with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Meanwhile, separate the meat from the bone and tear it into big chunks.  Place the meat into the sauce.  Serve with jalapeños and polenta, if desired.  This is a wonderful dish to re-warm, as the flavors deepen even more overnight.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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Rustic Potato, Sauerkraut, and Beef Galette | Relishing It

Autumn.  The best of all the seasons, even if it’s only brief here in Minnesota.  Yes, Spring is a close second, but when Autumn rolls around, I’m really, truly happy.  I love the brilliantly colored, crisp, maple leaves that my daughter brings me as bouquets for our dining room.  We live in an old Victorian with dark wood and decor in our living and dining rooms.  I always think about re-painting to brighten things up, but when Fall rolls around, it feels so comfortably warm and cozy, and I’m thankful I haven’t changed a thing.

Rustic Potato, Sauerkraut, and Beef Galette | Relishing It

Rustic Potato, Sauerkraut, and Beef Galette | Relishing It

Rustic Potato, Sauerkraut, and Beef Galette | Relishing It

Rustic Potato, Sauerkraut, and Beef Galette | Relishing It

On of my favorite Fall (and even winter, for that matter) dishes is this amazing Rustic Potato, Sauerkraut, and Beef Galette.  The combination of beef and sauerkraut is incredible.  It’s also a bit nostalgic for me.  I grew up with huge pots of meatballs that had been simmering in tangy sauerkraut for hours.  Wonderful stuff.  This galette showcases those flavors.  Just like my other galettes, the crust is crisp and light.  The potatoes add substance, while the fresh mozzarella ensures that the dish is moist enough.  Of course, you can substitute another mild cheese, like grated regular mozzarella, if you like.  I really wanted the tang from the sauerkraut to be showcased here, rather that hidden underneath a more assertive cheese.  I’m planning to share with you all a quick sauerkraut recipe and technique very soon.   I really hope you give this galette a try– I think you’ll really enjoy it!

Rustic Potato, Sauerkraut, and Beef Galette | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Rustic Potato, Sauerkraut, and Beef Galette

Use this pie crust recipe  (with 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary and 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme mixed into the dough)

1/2 pound ground beef

1/4 cup chopped white onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

black pepper

3/4 pound small steamed yellow potatoes, sliced

1/2 cup sauerkraut, drained a bit

6 slices of fresh mozzarella  (or a bit more)

1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

olive oil

1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon water, for an egg wash

Follow these directions to make the pie dough.  You will only be using one of the dough balls for this recipe.  Freeze the other one for another time.  Add the fresh herbs when you are mixing the dough.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Proceed.

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium/high heat.  Drain and discard the grease.  To the skillet of ground beef add the chopped onions, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and a bit of black pepper (you may want to add a glug or two of olive oil, if the pan seems a little dry). Sauté for a couple of minutes until the onions are tender.  Remove from heat and set aside.

On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll the pie dough out to a 12-inch circle using a lightly floured rolling pin.  Place the sliced potatoes on the dough, leaving about 1 1/2-inch space around the edge.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on the potatoes.  Next, put the sauerkraut on top, followed by the chopped parsley.  Then add the ground beef mixture, and finally place the fresh mozzarella on the very top.  Fold the edges of the dough up and pinch together to seal the seams as much as possible.  Use a pastry brush to apply the egg wash to the edge of the dough.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on the egg wash.

Slide the parchment paper with the galette onto a baking sheet and bake for 43-45 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown.  (Keep in mind that every oven is a bit different.  If you don’t already have an oven thermometer, I highly recommend you get one.  Cheap ones are about $7 and work great.  My oven runs 15 degrees hot.)  Top the galette with chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today!

xo

Laurie

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Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Relishing It

As much as I love to dabble in the kitchen all day long, I admit that there are days when our family is busy or I just don’t feel like dedicating  that much time to dinner.  The problem is, I don’t like to fall back on some overly-processed meal-in-a-box as the alternative.  Sound familiar?  I’ve found that it’s helpful to have a few quick, delicious dishes up my sleeve, and in talking with friends and family I’ve come to realize that I need to blog more about those types of meals.  If you need a little inspiration, I hope you find it in a few of the coming recipes for quick meals that I’ll be writing about throughout the winter.

Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Relishing It

This orecchiette with sausage, broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes, takes barely any time at all.  Maybe 30 minutes to get it on the table, if even.  I love to load a meal up with a healthy vegetable– the broccoli (or broccoli rabe, if you prefer) is just lovely in this dish.  Pairing it with sweet italian sausage is always a good decision.  Make sure to buy a good sweet italian sausage– we get ours locally and the spices are amazing!  And remember all of those sun-dried tomatoes I’ve been making?  The ones I put in a jar of olive oil are absolutely sublime in here.  If you didn’t dedicate the time to preparing your own, you can always buy a jar at your local market.  I like to kick this dish up with a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes and some freshly grated parmesan.  So, even if you’re pressed for time, I hope you can sit down and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal.  Enjoy!

Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

(serves 4)

1 pound sweet Italian sausage

1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets (around 4 1/2 cups)

1/2 pound dried orecchiette

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil  (or substitute part of it with the olive oil from sun-dried tomatoes, if you can spare any)

1/3  cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

1/3 cup (or more) parmesan cheese, for garnish

red pepper flakes, for garnish

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil.

In a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sweet italian sausage.  Drain grease.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta.  To the skillet add the olive oil (if you can spare any from the sun-dried tomatoes, the flavor is incredible), garlic, and broccoli and cook until the broccoli is tender, but not mushy– about 5 minutes.  When the pasta is al dente (follow the cooking instructions), reserve a bit of the water, and drain the rest.  Add the hot pasta to the pan of sausage and broccoli.  Toss in the sun-dried tomatoes.  If more moisture is needed, either loosen with more olive oil, or a bit of pasta water.  Salt and pepper, as needed.  This is big– don’t forget the salt!  Top with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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Garlic Habanero Hot Sauce | Relishing It

There’s a fair chance that our household goes through more hot sauce than any other in the Twin Cities.  I often wish it was sold in vats, rather than puny little bottles.  Speaking of those bottles, we have no fewer than six different kinds of hot sauce in the refrigerator.  And I’ve just added a seventh– my own.  I knew I wanted to make hot sauce this year, and I was initially interested in making a fermented version.  But after talking to a vendor at our farmers market (and I love his unfermented styles), I decided to forge ahead and make a fresh super-spicy version.

Garlic Habanero Hot Sauce | Relishing It

This hot sauce is not for the timid.  It will make you tough or else destroy you.  The primary pepper is the amazing habanero.  I just love it’s unique, sweet, flavor.  With the first bite, it plays nice, and you think, “That’s not so hot.”  But then the burn starts to build.  Of course, you keep eating because it tastes so good, and while the heat is ratcheting up, you think you can handle it.  You start sweating, thinking maybe you should go grab a glass of milk, but no, just one more bite.  And then your face melts off.  That’s this hot sauce.

Garlic Habanero Hot Sauce | Relishing It

Obviously this recipe isn’t for everyone.  But, for those of you who enjoy a good habanero hot sauce, it’s pretty darn amazing.  It has a nice balanced combination of the sweet habanero flavor, a bit of garlic, and vinegar.  It’s also really easy to make.  I decided against making a canned version, instead opting for something that will keep for a while in my refrigerator.  I haven’t tracked down any cute little hot-sauce bottles in the area yet (hence the jars you see here), but I found some on Amazon that are going to work marvelously.  Enjoy!

Garlic Habanero Hot Sauce | Relishing It

The Recipe: Garlic Habanero Hot Sauce

(makes about 3 cups)

1 pound fresh habanero peppers

1 – 1 1/2 bulbs of fresh garlic, peeled and chopped

2 1/4 – 2 1/2 cups white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Note: Working with habaneros is serious business.  Use plastic or latex gloves, if you have them.  Be careful of what you touch.  Also, be mindful of how close you breath-in near the chopped peppers– or coughing will ensue.

Carefully remove the stems from the habaneros and chop them, seeds and all.  Place the habaneros, garlic, salt, and 2 1/4 cups of white vinegar in a large saucepan.  Cook the habaneros on medium/high heat for about 30 minutes, or until the peppers feel a bit soft to the touch  (note: be cautious when removing the lid to check the peppers).  When they are soft enough, place the mixture into a blender, or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Taste.  If you still want a bit more tang, add the remaining 1/4 cup of vinegar.  Place in jars or bottles and store in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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Perfect Canned Summer Salsa | Relishing It

Alright everybody, this post has been a long time coming.  We have here one of my most cherished recipes.  It’s the salsa that causes me to miss out on the first few weeks of fall.  I’m busy chopping tomatoes and canning so many batches that I don’t get a chance to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.  Sounds a bit exaggerated, I know.  But, it’s not.  Now don’t let my canning-in-bulk experience deter you from making this wonderful salsa.  Obviously you need not make as many batches as I do, and realistically you should be able to get everything done in one sitting.  That is, until your friends and family get a taste of it…

Perfect Canned Summer Salsa | Relishing It

I know that was a bit of bragging, but the truth is, nearly everyone I’ve share this salsa with has loved it.  I started small, giving a few jars here and there to family.  Then friends had a chance to sample it at get-togethers, and suddenly I was spending a few weeks every September in the kitchen making batch after batch.  Even now, I inevitably run out of jars to give away by winter’s end.  For me, all the time spent with boxes of tomatoes and piles of peppers is worth it.  I like to share–it’s like giving a little part of myself to those closest to me.  Sometimes, the easiest way for me to say I care is through food.

Perfect Canned Summer Salsa | Relishing It

I started making a version of this salsa years ago– Radd’s aunt shared her base recipe with me.  Over time and many, many experimental batches, the recipe evolved into what you see here.  As you likely know, we like things spicy in our house.  For those less-courageous friends, as well as our kids, I make a much milder version.  The point is, you really have full control over how fiery you want this salsa to be.  If you have questions on how much heat a specific type of pepper adds, take a look here for comparison.  This year I made my mild version, but for my hotter “Inferno” batches I used a pile of habaneros.  And this weekend I tracked down some Bhut Jolokia “Ghost” peppers  (1,000,000+ Scovilles!) for a batch that I hope will be face-meltingly hot for my husband, who is crazy.

Perfect Canned Summer Salsa | Relishing It

Aside from control of the heat, you can also vary how chunky you want the salsa to be.  Over the years I’ve changed my method.  I used to roughly chop everything and then use an immersion blender at the end for a very smooth texture.  More recently, I’ve stopped doing that, since I like my salsa to have a few more chunks.  Instead, I pulse everything in the food processor before cooking it.  It cooks down to the perfect consistency for my taste.  If you don’t have a food processor– you can just chop, chop chop!  To be honest, the bulk of the work in making salsa is chopping the ingredients– the rest is a waiting game.  Waiting for it to become the right consistency.  Waiting for it to process in the water bath.  All in all, it generally takes me about 3-4 hours from start to finish.  But it’s well worth the time.  Especially when you get to open up a jar and settle in front of the t.v. during a January snowstorm.

Perfect Canned Summer Salsa | Relishing It

Just a few notes on preserving your salsa.  Since this recipe is my own, it obviously doesn’t come from a canning website.  Canning is a big responsibility.  It’s not difficult, but there can be risks.  I’ve poked around the internet to compare this recipe with others for safety purposes.  The amounts and ratios of vinegar, tomatoes, and peppers is typical of many from canning sites.  I’ve made my salsa this way for about 15 years and have never encountered a problem.  Even so, if you do have any concerns, I suggest taking a look at one of the many websites and blogs devoted to canning.

Perfect Canned Summer Salsa | Relishing It

So, for those of you who have been patiently waiting for me to share this recipe– here you go!  I hope you love it so much that you make batches upon batches for your family and friends, as well.  Cheers.

The Recipe: Perfect Canned Summer Salsa

(makes about 14-15 pints.  Though I generally get different amounts each batch.  Much will depend on the water content of your tomatoes and how long you cook the salsa.)

16 cups chopped tomatoes  *measured in a liquid measuring cup after they have been through the food processor  (about 8 pounds) I use big, huge canning tomatoes– no need to peel them

3 large green bell peppers, chopped

3 large white onions, chopped

2 bulbs of garlic, chopped  (not 2 cloves–2 entire bulbs!)

hot peppers, seeds too  (to your liking)  *See Note

5 tablespoons ancho chili powder

3 tablespoons canning salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon of EACH of these:

ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and oregano

1 cup plus a splash extra cider vinegar

15 ounce can of plain tomato sauce- preferably organic and definitely without added sugar  (Muir Glen works well)

Note:  You can make this salsa as hot or as mild as you want.  I would suggest using about 3 jalapeños for a mild version.  I chop the seeds and all.  It won’t be spicy, but the jalapeños will give it a great flavor.  For our favorite version that we call “Inferno”, I use: 12 habaneros, 5 jalapeños, 12 chilis, and 8 serranos.  If you do enjoy hot salsa, I would encourage you to seek out some habaneros, as their unique, almost sweet-like flavor cannot be beat.  When working with the very spicy peppers, it is a good idea to use plastic or latex gloves, if possible.  Be very careful about what you touch.  Also, be careful about inhaling too closely to the chopped peppers.  

Note: Jars and rims can be re-used over and over again.  Lids (the flat piece with a glue-like substance)  needs to be replaced every time you can something.  

You will need:  A very large heavy-bottomed canning kettle to hold all of the chopped ingredients.  Another very large kettle (or two) to process the filled jars of salsa, and hopefully a rack to set on the bottom of it (though you’ll be fine without, too).   A small saucepan to boil the lids and tongs to lift them out of the hot water.  A ladle to fill the jars.  A jar lifter, to remove the processed salsa from the hot water bath.  Paper towels, for wiping the edge of the jars clean.  15-16 pint jars with lids and rims.

Let’s get started!  Use a food processor (or a knife and cutting board) and pulse each type  of vegetable separately.  I do mix the onions and garlic together.  You will not want large chunks and you will not want it finely puréed, but something in between.  Place all of the ingredients for the salsa into a large heavy-bottomed kettle and stir.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium (uncovered) and let cook for about an hour (or more), or until it is your desired consistency.  It should be bubbling, but not at a rolling boil.  You may need to cook it longer to get it as thick as you want it.  A lot will depend on your tomatoes and their water content.  Make sure to stir frequently, to avoid scorching.

Meanwhile, fill a large canning kettle (or two) halfway full of water and begin to heat.   You will be using this to give your filled jars a hot water bath.  I used to use two smaller kettles for this, but recently discovered that my husbands huge kettle for brewing beer worked very well.  If you can fit a cooling rack on the bottom, do it.  It’s good to not have the jars on direct heat– but, you should be fine if you don’t have one.  At this point, you should have decided how you want to sterilize your jars and rims.  Some people like to dip them in the boiling water to do so.  I use my dishwasher on the “sterilize cycle” and time it out for them to be done just as the salsa is ready to be jarred.  You will also want to fill a small saucepan with water and place the lids in it.  Turn it on low/medium– this is an important step as it not only sterilizes the lids, but more importantly, it softens the glue-substance, so it can seal properly.

When your salsa is ready, begin ladling each jar with salsa.  Make sure to leave about 1/4 – 1/2-inch space at the top.  Wipe the edge of the jar clean with a wet paper towel.  Place a lid (using tongs to grab them out of the hot water), and then a rim on each jar.  Repeat until all the jars are full and the salsa is gone.  Next,  use a jar lifter to gently place the filled jars into the hot water bath.  Fit as many as you can into the kettle.  The jars should be covered with boiling water.  Cover and process for 20 minutes.  Remove using the jar lifter and place on a kitchen towel.  You will most likely hear the seals start to pop within minutes.  This is a good thing.   Repeat until all the jars are processed.  After a few hours, touch the tops of the jars, they should all be flat against the jar and not make a sound if tapped.   If not, it did not seal properly and you should place that particular jar in the refrigerator and use first.

Alright!  You did it– let me know if you have anymore questions.  I hope I covered everything.  Your first canning experience may seen lengthy, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you will become.  Enjoy!

As always, thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

xo

Laurie

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Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

I’m now well into my sixth month of being obsessed with tacos.  Seriously, we’ve been eating them at least once a week for more than a half year, and I’m not even close to getting sick of them.  Tacos al pastor?  Sure.   Spicy shredded beef?  Yes.  And then there are these amazing carnitas tacos that we’ve been enjoying.  They’re perfect to prepare in advance (and I live for meals like this in the summer), they’re healthy (if you don’t go overboard), and they’re oh so tasty.

Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

Carnitas, or “little meats”, can be served simply as a stand-alone dish, but I love it in these tacos even more.  It’s a new addition to my repetoire, which also includes these, and these— both of which are also favorites.  This carnitas version combines the lively flavors of lime and orange, which pair beautifully with pork, cumin, and garlic.  The recipe couldn’t be simpler–  you can make it on the stovetop.  Perfect for when firing up the oven in the summer heat doesn’t sound so tantalizing.  Put all of the ingredients into a pot, no sautéing required.  When cutting your pork shoulder up into cubes, don’t trim off any fat– you’re going to need that so the meat doesn’t get dry.  Let it cook down for about 2 hours and then sear the pork at the end.  That’s it.  Did I mention that it’s completely delicious?

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

The fresh tomatillo salsa is a fantastic compliment to the carnitas.  You may be tempted to buy a ready-made salsa from the store, but don’t.  The freshness of this topping cannot be bottled and you’ll end up spending more on a store-bought version that pales in comparison.  It only takes a minute to either chop or pulse the ingredients together– definitely worth your time.  And as far as toppings go, I’m stuck on queso fresco cheese, white onions, and cilantro.  The combination is sublime and it tastes so fresh.  Hope you enjoy them as much as my family does.

Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

The Recipe: Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

For the Carnitas:

4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes (do not trim the fat)

2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 3 oranges)

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)

1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted then ground

2 teaspoons kosher salt

6-7 garlic cloves, chopped

Corn tortillas, queso fresco cheese, limes, cilantro, and white onions for toppings

For the Tomatillo Salsa:

4 tomatillos

1/2 medium white onion

4 garlic cloves

1 jalapeño

small handful of cilantro (around 1/3 cup)

juice of 1 lime

kosher salt

To make the Carnitas:  Place all of the ingredients into a large Dutch oven.  Add enough water to just cover the pork.  Bring to a boil, then simmer the pork uncovered for about 2 hours.  Do not touch the pork.  Let it do it’s thing.  After 2 hours, bring the heat up to medium/high and begin reducing the liquid for about the next 45 minutes.  When the liquid is mostly gone, sear all the sides of the pork pieces.  They will be tender and practically fall apart.  Keep a watchful eye at this point, as you don’t want them to burn.

To make the Tomatillo Salsa:  Rough chop the ingredients and place them into a food processor and give them a few pulses until the salsa is your desired consistency.  Alternatively, you can chop all of the ingredients by hand.  Make sure to season correctly with salt.

Source:  Carnitas recipe adapted from The Homesick Texan

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today!

Laurie

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