Happy to be eating things within 100 miles of Portland again, last night we made Spicy Green Chile and Pinto Bean Soup.
One of the reasons that we wanted to try to eat foods grown and raised within 100 miles of Portland was because we assumed that they would taste better.
“At a farmers’ market, most local produce has been picked inside of 24 hours. It comes to you ripe, fresh, and with its full flavor, unlike supermarket food that may have been picked weeks or months before. Close-to-home foods can also be bred for taste, rather than withstanding the abuse of shipping or industrial harvesting.”
This soup and the salad we made last night proved this assumption true for us. You could taste the Ayers Creek Farm pinto beans. The beans tasted like PINTO beans. Stefan made a lime vinaigrette salad dressing loaded with garlic to
drizzle pour on the lettuce from our covered garden beds. The dressing evened out the very bitter lettuce. I don’t like bitter lettuce.
Spicy Green Chile and Pinto Bean Soup
• Oil for cooking, I use what I have handy, usually olive oil, coconut oil, chicken fat or beef tallow
• One large onion, chopped or diced
• Four cloves garlic, minced
• One teaspoon cumin
• One teaspoon dried oregano, (preferably from your own garden)
• Sea salt to taste, usually 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons
• 2-3 cups of canned diced tomatoes, (a home canned pint or a 15oz can if you are purchasing from a store; also check your fridge to see if you haven any partial jars of tomatoes in there and throw those in too)
• Chiles to taste, this will vary for your palate and what chiles you have on hand; I used about 3/4 c. of frozen green chiles
• One pound of dried beans, previously soaked and cooked
• 3 – 5 cups of water or vegetable, chicken or beef stock
***I omitted the cumin and added elk sausage
Heat a dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add several tablespoons of your chosen oil or fat and heat the oil. Add the onions and cook for several minutes until they start to soften and brown, stir frequently to prevent burning. Add garlic, cumin and oregano and cook for another minute or two until it starts to smell fragrant. Be especially watchful and stir often, burned garlic and spices don’t add anything appealing to a dish. When it is fragrant, add salt, tomatoes and chiles. If you are adding frozen chiles, let the chiles melt and incorporate into the soup; if you are adding fresh let the chiles cook and soften a bit. Then, add beans and water or stock. Simmer until heated through and flavors meld a bit. This is usually only about 10 minutes for me, because I’m always late with getting dinner on, but for you people who are better in the time management department, I would say up to 30 or 45 minutes. Just don’t let the beans get too soft, unless you like them that way.
Serve this with some grated raw cheddar and sour cream on the table so everyone can garnish as they like.
Last weekend, in Hood River with friends, we made a Neopolitan style ragu. Although not all of the ingredients we used were from 100 miles of Portland, it would be easy to source the ingredients and eat this during an “on” week. Problem was the power went out as we were supposed to be feeding our friends. We had prepared the dish and still had gas in the house so heated everything up on the stove. By headlight, we chowed down. Unfortunately, we did not take any food pictures since eating was all we could manage at that point.
Total time: About 6 hours
Servings: 6 to 8
Note: From Russ Parsons. The pork butt cooked in this recipe is not part of the final dish; it flavors the sauce as it cooks and is to be served separately.
2 pounds boneless pork butt, in 1 piece
2 teaspoons salt, divided, more to taste
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
1 pound onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup chopped pancetta
1/4 cup chopped prosciutto
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups dry red wine
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
1/2 pound Italian sausage, crumbled
1 pound dried pasta, such as rigatoni, penne or fusilli
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more on the side
1. Season the pork all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
2. In a food processor, chop together parsley, onions, garlic, pancetta and prosciutto to make a very coarse paste.
3. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the seasoning paste and another teaspoon of salt and cook until the paste is fragrant and no more liquid appears when it is stirred, about 7 minutes.
4. Add the pork roast, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook, turning every 15 minutes, until the meat is lightly browned and the onions have begun to color, about 1 hour.
5. Add the red wine, loosely cover and continue cooking until the wine reduces to a thick sauce, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If, after 1 hour and 15 minutes, the wine has not reduced sufficiently, remove the roast to a plate, increase the heat to medium-high and cook the sauce until it thickens.
6. Over low heat, stir in the tomato paste, 2 or 3 tablespoons at a time, stirring in each addition until it mixes into the sauce and darkens to a brick color. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, return the roast to the pan if previously removed, and cover and continue to cook, turning the meat every 30 minutes and stirring the sauce until the meat is tender enough to be easily pierced with a meat fork, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. If the sauce dries out too much and the meat begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, stir in a tablespoon or two of water.
7. Remove the roast to a plate and keep warm until ready to serve. Crumble the Italian sausage into the sauce and cook until the sauce is extremely dark, unctuous, shiny and thick, stirring occasionally, about another hour. (The dish can be prepared to this point and refrigerated overnight.)
8. Cook the pasta in plenty of rapidly boiling, heavily salted water. Warm the sauce if it has been refrigerated.
9. When the pasta is cooked but still slightly chewy, drain it and toss it in a bowl with the butter. Spoon over half of the sauce and toss just to coat lightly. Transfer to a serving bowl and spoon more sauce over the top. Sprinkle over the Parmigiano-Reggiano and pass more on the side.
Each of 8 servings, not including the pork butt: 472 calories; 17 grams protein; 56 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 16 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 24 mg. cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 980 mg. sodium.
Here is the pistachio poppyseed cake recipe we made for dessert. I can find no way to make this a local dish and don’t care. My friend and college roommate Julia McMorran made this and shared the recipe with me again recently. I like it in the morning and the evening.
Pistachio Poppyseed Cake
• 1 box of Yellow Cake Mix
• 1 box (small) of Pistachio Instant Pudding
• 1/4 cup of poppyseeds, pre-soaked in 1 cup of HOT water for an hour
• 3/4 cup veggie oil
• 4 eggs
Blend all ingredients together with a mixer for 4 minutes.
Pour into well greased and floured bundt pan and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. It may take up to 50 minutes to bake.