Saturday, March 24, 2012

I Hella ♥ Oakland Skillet

Chicken Roasted Pepper and Black Bean Soup with Avocado
I started Oakland Skillet to journal my explorations of food and share my recipes with my friends and family. (And, as a way of cutting down on the number of "Hey look what I made!!!" txt's I was sending out). I know it's been a few weeks since my last post, but I've been quite busy lately. I've taken quite an interest in the woman I've been dating. It is so easy for me to get absorbed in the excitement and loose track of what I'm doing for myself. Last night my sister reminded me how important it is to keep doing the things that made me happy before I entered this relationship. One of those things is Oakland Skillet. This project has, of course, reenforced some of my more established interests. More surprisingly, it has led me me to discover some that I previously snubbed.

First of all I want to thank all my Hungry Patrons for all of your praise and positive feedback. Nothing pleases me more than to hear that you are trying these recipes at home with great success. I've received Facebook messages from acquaintances I haven't seen in years. Phone calls from friends and family thanking me for inspiring for their dinner. At least one adventurous follower told me she made the Crispy Pata! Complements from my colleagues regarding my writing are among the most flattering. This blog has given me a lot to feel good about.

Oakland Skillet is not only a way for me share my recipes, it has become an outlet for me to demonstrate my creativity and foster my more expressive passions. Long before I found my passion for food I loved photography. Tying food photography in with this blog has forced me to see my subjects with a fresh objective. I will admit that I'm not as meticulous as I could be with the photography since I am always anxious to feast on the final product. I have shared a few of my photos from the Philippines in the Crispy Pata post and I'd like to continue to find ways to incorporate more of my photographs from my travels in upcoming posts.

Since starting Oakland Skillet I have come to realize: I like to write! I find the nonlinear potential of a word processor facilitates my re-reading changes and editing. These capabilities are very much in accord with the way I think. When speaking I can't go back and change what I've already said, but when I sit down to write I'm allowed to take my time and clarify my message. Writing provides me with a platform for articulating and expounding on my passions. I have struggled with writing all my life, but particularly in school. What might take the average student an hour to write would often take me a full day. I wrote it off as a weakness, telling myself that I wasn't fit for writing. I remember thinking when I started this blog I wasn't going to write long introductions in posts. I discarded that attitude while writing my second post: My Bread. Recalling what lead me to try that recipe for the first time and considering what a great experience I had in New York this past Fall was all I needed to get started.

I am really excited about this new relationship and it is the most adult-feeling relationship I have ever felt. I'm not going to promise a post a week or make any promise of any regular frequency. I am promising myself that I will remember to take the time I need with my own projects and see to it that I keep doing the things that make me such an awesome guy.


A recipe for Chicken Roasted Pepper and Black Bean Soup with Avocado follows

This is not exactly the season for peppers, but the weather was cold and rainy and I wanted something a little spicy and warm. I based this recipe on a recipe for Chicken Posole my mom made a few years ago. Berkeley Bowl doesn't seem to carry hominy, so I pretty much substituted black beans here.

Chicken Roasted Pepper and Black Bean Soup with Avocado
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons New Mexico chilli powder, divided in half
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 medium fresh Poblano chillies (not dried)
  • 2 medium red bell peppers
  • 1 jalapeno (optional) *
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, half inch dice
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes in their juice (fire roasted are great for this)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 - 3 cups cooked or canned black beans
  • avocado, limes, cilantro, and Queso Fresco for garnish
Combine half the chilli powder (1 1/2 tablespoons), cumin, and salt. Place chicken in a bowl and add spice mixture. Mix to coat chicken and set aside.

Wash the peppers and place directly on top of a gas burner turning the peppers as the skin chars. The skin should blister and become charred all the way around, about 10 minutes. On a single burner two peppers at a time work well. When the peppers are blackened on all sides place them in a paper bag or a bowl covered with a towel and allow them to cool. When the peppers have cooled remove the blackened skin and dice them, between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch. A very hot grill or broiler can be used instead. If using a broiler cut the peppers into flat wide strips and discard the veins and seeds. Broil skin side up close to the heat source. Watch the peppers and don't burn them under the broiler.

Heat a 5 - 8 quart pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil. Brown the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Remove chicken and set aside. Add the onions, garlic, oregano, and remaining chilli powder. Saute the onions until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir the tomatoes and onions occasionally for about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken and chicken stock and bring the soup to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the peppers and black beans and simmer for 5 to 10 more minutes. The soup is ready to serve.

Serve the soup with sliced avocado, cilantro, and crumbled quesoo fresco and lime wedges.

* Poblano chillies are usually very mild, but every once in a while you will pick one that, for whatever reason, has quite a bit of heat. You should determine if your peppers are hot by tasting a piece before adding the jalapeno. This soup has good flavor and doesn't need to be super spicy.

No comments:

Post a Comment