Romesco 3 Ways

First of all, I have to send love out to Boston. Miguel and I traveled there for our friends’ wedding almost 4 years ago and developed such an affinity for that city that has lasted since, probably because our very close friend, the bride, grew up there. Attending a Red Sox Yankees game and singing “Sweet Caroline” is probably top 10 in life highlights. Miguel still brags he ate 17 different types of sea creatures there. I hate that these tragedies keep happening. And while I don’t know why, I know that they do remind us all of what is important in life and bring us all together, if just for a little while. Now on to the post…

Romesco sauce has become a Saturday night tradition in the Diaz household. It all Romescostarted a few years ago when Miguel was sitting in the “husband chairs” at Anthropologie and picked up a cookbook about Spain. That day it was him, not me, buying something from Anthropologie–the irony. For some reason, he chose to make romesco sauce from the cookbook, which is a red pepper and nut-based sauce from Spain that is traditionally served with seafood. The food that we have with romesco, usually grilled chicken and potatoes, has just become a vehicle for the romesco. And what’s great is that romesco tastes amazing on pretty much anything, hence the title of my post. Romesco does take a bit of work to put together, but the reward is well worth it and it lasts in the fridge for at least a week. Also, no, I did not have a bet with someone about how many times I can use the word “romesco” in a pharagraph. Wow. If you’re counting, it was 7.

We started off Saturday night with the usual: grilled chicken, potatoes and salad. Saturday morning: scrambled egg tacos (they also make a delicious and quick worknight meal). Saturday night: chicken enchiladas. All smothered in romesco. That makes 8 now.

(In the name of full disclosure, I have never made this myself but I have had a few requests for this recipe, and Miguel has been dying to be a “guest blogger”.)

Romesco sauce:

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 15 oz. jar of roasted red bell peppers
  • 2 small roma tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic, unpeeled, wrapped in aluminum foil pouch
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 tbsp smoked paprika (It can have a bit of a bite to it, so add 1 tbsp if you’re sensitive to heat.)

Preheat the oven to 400˚. On a parchment lined baking sheet, roast the fresh red bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic for about 15-20 minutes, until the skins of the bell peppers are starting to blacken. Allow the bell peppers and tomatoes to cool slightly and then remove as much of the skins as possible (I’ve found the easiest way to do this is place them in a brown paper bag and allow them to steam for a few minutes, the skins will come right off). Remove the skins from the garlic once they have cooled.

Bring a small pot of water to boil. When you reach a rolling boil, blanch the hazelnuts for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.

Combine jarred red bell peppers, freshly roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, hazelnuts, smoked paprika, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and 1/2 cup of olive oil in a food processor. Pureé until smooth. If necessary, with the motor running, drizzle in more olive oil until you reach a pesto-like consistency.

Saturday Morning Egg Tacos (Serves 2 people who eat a lot)

  • 3 whole eggs, 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk 
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 6 tortillas
  • 1 cup arugula
  • Romesco sauce!

Whisk the whole eggs, egg whites, olive oil and a generous pinch of salt together in aEggs, tacos, romesco, breakfast small bowl. Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Add the eggs when the pan is good and warm. Gently bring the cooked eggs from the outside of the pan towards the middle of the pan, allowing the uncooked egg to spread out to the edges, which will allow the eggs to cook evenly.

While your eggs cook, bring a small saute pan to medium heat. Crisp the tortillas for about 2-3 minutes per side, until starting to brown slightly.

Evenly divide eggs between the tortillas, top with a bit of minced shallot, a few avocado slices, a few arugula leaves, and of course a very generous dollop of romesco sauce!

Sunday night: Chicken enchiladas with, you guessed it!, romesco sauce! For this recipe, I used my previous recipe, black bean, cauliflower & pickled red onion enchiladas, but substituted 6 oz of shredded jack cheese for the goat cheese, and added left over shredded chicken from Saturday night. I also left the pickled red onions out of the enchilada filling, instead using them as just a topping. And, of course, I used romesco as the enchilada sauce. I had about 2 cups of romesco left over, to which I added about 1/2 cup of chicken broth to thin it out and cover the enchiladas. I then covered the enchiladas with another 2 oz of jack cheese and baked for 20 minutes in a 400 oven until the cheese was melted and golden.

Pozole-ish

If you’re reading this, I’m hoping the title of the post piqued your interest, or maybe you thought it was one giant typo. But it’s not.

My poor hubby has a cold, which in man world means that he is near death. He requested soup for dinner, and I immediately though of pozole, which is a traditional Mexican stew. Two of Miguel’s grandparents are from Mexico, and I would have thought pozole was a typo if not for his family.

Traditional pozole is made with pork and hominy. (In case you don’t know, hominy is a type Pozoleof corn, which has a firm texture and nutty taste. It is available in canned form in most major supermarkets.) The broth is made from dried ancho chiles. Traditional forms of pozole take upwards of 5 hours to put together plus a trip to a specialty market for dried chiles, never mind the less-than-lean cuts of pork. So I decided to put my own spin on this comforting stew, hence the name: pozole-ish. Instead of hours, this took 1 hour total from the moment I started prepping the ingredients to when we were sitting down to eat.

Pozole-ish (serves 4)

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp adobo sauce (Look for chiles in adobo sauce carried in most major supermakets. Adobo sauce does have a bit ofa bite, so add as much or as little as you’d like.)
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 30 oz can of hominy, drained and rinsed

Toppings:

  • 1/2 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 avocados
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped fine
  • 4 tortillas (or store bought tortilla chips)

Preheat the oven to 400˚ for your tortilla chips before you start the stew.

Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts liberally with salt and fresh cracked pepper. When the pan is good and hot, brown the chicken on both sides, about 5 minutes each side. Set the chicken aside on a paper towel lined plate.

Leave the pan on medium-high heat and sauté the onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes, trying to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add both cans of diced tomatoes and return the chicken breasts to the pan. Cover with the 3 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, cut 4 tortillas in to thin strips, toss with about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and spead out in one layer on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake the tortillas until starting to brown and cripsy, about 5-7 minutes. Alternatively, you can buy store bought tortilla chips.

Remove the cooked chicken from the pan. Using two forks, shred both chicken breasts. UsePozole one fork to hold the chicken breast in place and use the other to pull the meat apart. Return the shredded chicken to the pan, and add the adobo sauce, bay leaf, oregano, and hominy. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for about 15 minutes.

While the stew simmers, prep your toppings. When the stew is done, season with about a teaspoon of salt. Ladle portions of your stew in to bowls, and top with cabbage, avocado, tortilla chips and radish as you’d like.