Vegetarian posole stew

We’d like to be the first to say Feliz Cinco de Mayo. It’s always a red-letter day here at Chile Trail HQ but even more so this year because – drumroll please – it falls on a Saturday. Can you believe it? No, we can’t either. Let’s just say that it’s Cinco & Seis de Mayo. Heck, let’s throw in Friday too and call it Cuatro, Cinco, Seis de Mayo. Ok, maybe a bit too long but you get the point.

So you know what’s on our minds. Yep, food. Everyone has a favourite but we’ve got a couple of thoughts (naturally).

Number one: make sure there’s a lot of it. There is nothing worse that running out of food and drink. People, your guests are hungry. They’re thirsty. Stock up.

Number two: variety. You’ve got your mole, you’ve got your guacamole, you’ve got your tres leche cake. This is a time to test the architectural endurance of your dining room table. We’re talking heaving folks.

Number three: delegate. You didn’t actually think we expected you to cook all that food, did you? Of course not. When someone asks what they can bring, tell ‘em. And when you ask us – and we know you will, right? – we’ll be bringing a pot of posole.

Now you know posole, but this one is vegetarian and vegan, all in one lip smacking tasty bowl of happiness. It’s so good that even the most committed carnivores will be pushing over old ladies to get a bowlful. But please don’t. There’s plenty to go around.

Vegetarian posole stew

1-12oz package of white corn posole

1-1oz package of posole spice blend

3 small zucchini, about 10-12 oz, sliced into discs (diced if larger)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 small clove garlic, minced

1-14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

Garnish (optional)

Chopped green onions

Chopped cilantro

Lime wedges

Sliced avocado

Place the posole in a non-reactive bowl or pan and cover with water and let soak overnight. Drain and rinse well. Put the posole in a large pot, cover with water and simmer for one hour.

Drain and add the posole mix and enough fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for about 3 hours or until the posole has ‘popped’ and is tender. Check the water levels periodically and top up as needed.

Just before serving, warm the oil and sauté the zucchini over medium-high heat, just until tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the drained and rinsed black beans and the zucchini into the posole. Taste and season with salt and more chile if you desire.

Serve in bowls with your choice of garnishes.

Ho Ho Humbug

As soon as the words are out of your mouth you want to take them back. “Pop over for a drink during the holidays.” Are you out of your mind? What were you thinking? Pop over??? That basically means: 1) come over anytime, 2) stay for as long as you want, and 3) I’ll make sure there’s plenty to eat and drink. Big mistake.


Picture the scene…you’re watching your favorite shopping channel, just about to order that 44-piece kitchen knife set (only $29.95 and if you order in the next :30 seconds they’ll throw in a set of steak knives FREE!) when ding-dong goes the doorbell. And it’s Bob from Accounting, his kids and that lovely wife of his. So you hide your bag of cheetos, turn off the TV and hope they like your reindeer pj’s.

Now of course, if you’ve planned ahead – stashed a case or two of wine and made some nibbles, it’s really no big deal. I make a batch of Chile Logs and keep them in the fridge, ready for Bob. They’re chile-cheesy and you do want to eat more and more of them. Start with a mix of cream cheese and cheddar cheese and then hot it up with some chile powder and dust with more chile powder (cuz you can’t ever get enough chile) and sprinkle with some nuts (totally optional but definitely good eating).

And if I’m really smart (50-50 chance on that one) I make an extra batch so I can bring some along when I “pop over” to see friends. If I swing by your place this season and you’re in the middle of a big shopping channel order then not to worry. Take your time answering the doorbell. I know that steak knife freebie won’t last forever.     

chile log finalChile Cheese Logs

I’d like to make this sound incredibly difficult to make but it’s not. It’s kind of ‘Mad Men’ food – you could even serve it with triscuits for a really retro feel. I like to make it in a food processor because it’s easier and less messy but you decide. The logs definitely improve with age so keep in the fridge for a day or two before serving. I made one with a dusting of chipotle and New Mexico and one with the addition of toasted pine nuts – but create your own combos.

Makes two logs; serves approximately 6-10 people

12 oz white cheddar cheese, medium grated
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp salt
1 tsp Chile Molido hot
½ tsp Child Molido mild

Additional chile powder for rolling (I used a combination of Chipotle and Child Molido)

Toasted pine nuts (or chopped walnuts, pecans or sliced almonds would be good too).

INGRED 2chile log 2

Combine the first six ingredients, divide into two and shape into two logs. Roll the logs in the additional chile powder to coat and then roll in toasted pine nuts if using (make sure the nuts have cooled first). Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least a day – preferably 2 or 3 – before serving with crackers or bread. Any leftovers are great spread on toast or in sandwiches.