Salvadorian-Style Red Bean & Short Rib Stew with Salsa Cruda

This is an adapted version of the Salvadorian classic, made with ingredients more readily available to American cooks. The stew is rich and saucy, and the salsa cruda (“raw sauce”) is fresh and a perfect flavor compliment.

In the original version, several hard-to-find vegetables are called for, as well as much less meat. I also add onion and garlic when cooking the chicken. Chayote is a fruit that tastes like a cross between a papaya, avocado, and squash; it’s available in my grocery store, but if you can’t find it, leave it out or substitute yellow crookneck squash.

I like to serve this stew over white rice, with one short rib per person. Give everyone a small bowl of salsa cruda for topping, and you’re all set. ¡Muy delicioso!

Red Bean Stew Closeup

Salvadorian-Style

  • 2 pounds short ribs
  • 3 cans undrained red beans
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 6 whole peeled garlic cloves
  •  3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 green plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 1 light or dark green chayote (1 pound), pitted, peeled and cut into a 1-inch dice (peel skin with a vegetable peeler, taking off just the top layer of skin)
  • 1/2 medium green cabbage, cut into 1-inch strips
  • salt to taste

for the salsa cruda:

  • 1 pound plum (Roma) tomatoes (4-6 count), seeded and cut into cubes
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 small green pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large cooking pot; simmer 1 hour covered.

When ribs are tender, remove them along with the garlic cloves. In a fry pan, heat oil over medium heat and brown garlic and ribs on all sides (keep pot of beans simmering while you do this).

While the ribs brown, add parsley, cilantro, plantains, chayote, and salt (if needed) to beans; stir. Add ribs and garlic back to pot. Simmer 20 more minutes or until vegetables are getting tender, then add cabbage and cook another 10-15 minutes until all vegetables are done.

Make the salsa while the pot finishes cooking: combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir. Serve immediately. Enjoy!


Chorizo & Goat Cheese Pizza with Roasted Vegetables

I love pizza. I mean, who doesn’t?

And it’s nice to sometimes switch it up from the usual pepperoni-sauce-cheese mix.

I love smooth, creamy goat cheese on pizza – mixed with basil pesto! – instead of tomato sauce.

Add spicy Mexican chorizo and roasted vegetables and I think I just died and went to heaven.

By the way, there is a reason I say Mexican chorizo: it’s the kind you buy raw and must cook, as opposed to Spanish chorizo that’s already cooked and more salami-like.

Not that anything would be wrong with using Spanish chorizo. That would be delicious. But on this particular weekend night, I had Mexican chorizo in my fridge.

And so it was.

Kale, green pepper, and onions flavored with garlic roast in the oven until tender. I love how the kale gets a little crispy! Mmmm, good texture.

Did you know Pillsbury makes (dedicated facility) gluten free pizza crust? It’s in a tub next to their cans of regular dough (the ones you have to “pop” open with a spoon. I hate those cans.) It is delicious. Udi’s also makes precooked pizza dough, in the frozen section by the pizza. Take your pick! If you go with the Pillsbury dough, I suggest flipping it over in the oven halfway through to crisp it all over.

Then make this pizza!

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Chorizo & Goat Cheese Pizza with Roasted Vegetables

Makes one 12-inch pizza.

  • one premade pizza crust of your choosing, refrigerated or frozen
  • 4 ounces Mexican chorizo sausage, casings removed
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons jarred basil pesto
  • 1 cup red or green kale, stems removed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 green pepper, cored and sliced into thin strips
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Toss the green pepper, red onion, and garlic in the tablespoon of olive oil and a little salt. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring once. Set pan aside.

Toss the chopped kale in the teaspoon of olive oil and salt. Spread on another baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 7-10 minutes, or until kale starts to crisp at the ends. Set pan aside.

Prebake your pizza crust per it’s package directions (or skip this step if it’s already fully cooked). One helpful hint: the more toppings you plan to pile on your pizza, the more done you’ll want the crust to be before topping it.

While the pizza bakes, heat a dry skillet over medium-high. Cook the chorizo until no longer pink; drain off the fat.

Remove pizza crust from oven, keeping temperature in accordance to the crust’s directions.

Mix goat cheese and pesto together; spread on pizza crust. Top with crumbled chorizo, vegetables, and kale and put back in the oven to warm everything up.

When pizza is heated through, add freshly cracked pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Enjoy!


Lemon & Rosemary Baked Fish with Onions

I bought a bit of fresh rosemary today. So I’m going to make a few recipes featuring this sweet herb!

This is an adapted version of one of my mom’s recipes. Use any whitefish (although salmon would probably work too).  Tilapia, cobia, grouper, etc.

You can also swap out the mayo for Greek yogurt if you like.

The fish comes out moist and perfect because of the mayonnaise sauce; just really watch it while the pan’s under the broiler, and turn the oven off when you start to see little brown spots forming on the top.

Try this same recipe using thinly sliced pork chops as well!

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Lemon & Rosemary Baked Fish with Onions

  • 1 pound whitefish filets, approx. 3-4 count per pound
  • 1 large white onion

for the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil mayo (or any you choose)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper

Set the oven rack 2 levels below the top setting and preheat the broiler on high or medium-high.

Cut the ends off the onion; remove the peel.  Cut it into 4-6 thick slices.

Heat the butter in a broiler proof pan over medium-high heat; add the onion slices. Cook about 5 minutes per side,or until beginning to brown. Take care to keep the rings from separating. Remove pan from heat.

Mix the ingredients for the sauce together in a small bowl.

Rinse and pat the fish dry. Sprinkle with a little salt. Lay the filets on top of the cooked onion planks, overlapping the ends slightly so they’ll fit in the pan.

Spoon the sauce over the fish, smoothing it out into a thin layer.

Transfer the pan to the oven.  Broil about 5 minutes, or until sauce begins to turn brown in spots.  When you see this happen, immediately turn the oven off broil and switch to bake at 350°F.  Continue baking for another 5 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Enjoy!