This week, it’s time for another special guest chef. One of the things I love about social media, when done right, is the meaningful and lasting relationships that can be formed. For me personally, some of my dearest and closest friends, members of my real family, were first met online. Now, we vacation with them every year, and I can’t imagine not having that in our lives. What we get from stuff like this blog, or food groups on FB, or any other decent source, can and should be genuine connections that grow and prosper, even when we live worlds apart. Here, as elsewhere, the six degrees of separation principle is very much in play – I became FB friends with Gloria Goodwin Raheja through our Soul Sister, Christy Hohman – They met at a house concert in Crosslake, Minnesota, which is just a bit southeast of where we conduct the annual Stringfest Gathering that y’all have seen posted here for many years now – Andy Cohen was playing, and we met him last year – at Stringfest. For the final degree, here’s Gloria’s glorious Turkey Chile Verde with Heirloom Eye of the Goat Beans and Homemade Salsa Verde.
Gloria is a Professor of Anthropology at the U of M, Twin Cities, from which she conducted many years of fieldwork and wrote extensively about rural northern India. For roughly the last decade, her research has been focused in Appalachia. Her front burner project is Logan County Blues: Frank Hutchison in the Sonic Landscape of the Appalachian Coalfields, a book about music and the coming of industrial capitalism to the mountains.
Our online interaction is in keeping with many who haunt FB, namely what we’re cooking and what our pets are up to, (Her dog Harry, like our Bandito, is quite sure he is the de facto Head of Household, and strives mightily to train his humans on proper etiquette.) Like so many brilliant and driven people, Gloria loves to cook, and does so very well, indeed. She dabbles in Indian, Moroccan, Mexican, and Appalachian foods for people who like to eat, and she frequents the St. Paul Farmers Market, and other shops that offer local and ethically produced meats.
She has, of late, become a devotee of the incredibly popular kitchen tool, the instant cooker, (or multi-cooker). If you’re not familiar with this tool, then, well… I don’t know what to say – They’re ubiquitous in online cooking groups and sites. They are, fundamentally, programmable electronic pressure cookers. Instant Pot is a brand name, and hands down the most popular one out there. These things will pressure or slow cook, cook rice, sauté, steam, or warm, and advanced version add yoghurt making, cake baking, egg cooking, sous vide, and sterilizing to the menu.
While many a kitchen gadget gets bought or gifted and soon forgotten, these things seem to have serious legs. In a very authentic Vietnamese cooking forum I belong to, almost every home chef has and regularly uses an instant cooker. For dishes like Pho that normally take 24 to 48 hours to cook, an instant cooker can do the job in an hour or two – And believe me, if the folks on that site find the results not only acceptable, but preferable in many instances, there’s something to these cookers.
Regarding her Instant Pot, Gloria noted, “Well, we totally love ours, really. It’s so great for things like chili verde, ragus, and of course beans. Tonight we’re making black chickpeas with kale, Moroccan style. Chunks of lamb and pork turn out, well, divinely – I dislike having a lot of kitchen toys piling up, plus my counter space is quite limited, but I cleared a permanent space for it, after using it just once!” That’s a pretty solid endorsement, in my book.
Now, before we dive into that Chile Verde, let’s talk about beans, because this is another place where Gloria and I are much of a mind. When M and I lived down in Tejas, I became acquainted with Rancho Gordo, Steve Sando’s Napa, California based magnum opus of heirloom goodness, and specifically, with their heirloom beans – If you don’t know about them, y’all should. Steve took frustration with a lack of great local produce (while living in Napa, fer cryin’ out loud) from a gardening whim to a full blown conservation operation, and Rancho Gordo is the result. What Home roasting brought to coffee beans, Steve brought to heirloom beans. He writes, ‘All of my agricultural pursuits have been based on being someone who likes to cook but gets frustrated by the lack of ingredients, especially those that are native to the New World.’ What I learned living and cooking down south was a primal love for all things culinarily Mesoamerican, and frankly, no foodstuff speaks to that more clearly than beans do. Like tomatoes, beans were devastated by the green revolution, and it’s only through the tireless work of folks like Steve that we’re blessed with what was and what shall be, if we’re even halfway smart.
And now, on to Gloria’s Turkey Chile Verde with Heirloom Eye of the Goat Beans and Homemade Salsa Verde. What I love about this, and I mean dearly love, is what she has to say about the genesis of this recipe, because folks? If you’ve been here at all, you know my mantra – Here’s a recipe, try it, and then do what you like to it and make it yours – That’s exactly what she did.
She writes, ‘I got the idea for this dish from Coco Morante’s “The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook,” but I modified it quite a bit. For one thing, I made my own roasted tomatillo and poblano and serrano chile salsa instead of used store-bought salsa, and for another thing I used heirloom Ojo de Cabra beans instead of canned pinto beans.’
For the tomatillo salsa.
1 1/2 Pounds Tomatillos
5 cloves Garlic cloves
2 Poblano chiles
2 Serrano chiles
1 bunch Cilantro
Remove papery husks from tomatillos, rinse well, and cut in half.
Rinse chiles and cilantro. Stem serranos and rough chop. Rough chop cilantro
On a foil lined baking sheet, arrange tomatillos cut side down, along with the unpeeled garlic cloves.
Position an oven rack 5” to 6” under your broiler. Broil for 5-7 minutes, turning evenly, until tomatillos are lightly blackened.
Remove from oven, set aside to cool.
Arrange poblanos on a foil-lined pan, place them under a broiler until blackened all around.
Transfer poblanos to a a paper bag with the top folded closed. This allows the cooling chiles to steep in their own steam as they cool, which adds a bit to their flavor, and helps loosen the skins – You can also do this in a baking dish or casserole with a tight fitting lid.
When the poblano are cool enough to handle, remove the skin, stem, and deseed.
Skin the roasted garlic.
Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender, and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and evenly mixed.
Transfer to a mixing bowl or glass jar.
For the beans.
1 Lb Eye of the Goat Beans (Yes, use what you’ve got, but honestly – Try these!)
8 Cups Water
3 cloves Garlic, trimmed and peeled
2 Bay Leaves
2 tsps Sea Salt
Gloria cooked her unsoaked beans in an Instant Pot, with all ingredients shown, for about thirty minutes, and used three cups of the cooked beans for this recipe.
If you don’t have an instant pot, the oven method works great and is pretty speedy to boot.
Set a rack in a middle position and preheat oven to 325° F.
Rinse beans in a single mesh strainer or colander, checking for debris.
Add beans, garlic, bay, and salt to a 4 quart (or larger) dutch oven, braiser, or baking dish with a tight fitting lid.
Add enough fresh water to cover the beans by 1”.
Cover and bake for 60 – 75 minutes. When beans are slightly firmer than you want them, they’re ready to go to the next step.
For the Chile Verde.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Pound ground Turkey
3 Cups cooked Beans
1 3/4 Cups Salsa Verde
1 Cup Chicken Broth
1 medium Onion
1 bunch fresh Cilantro
2 Poblano or Anaheim chiles
2 Serrano chiles
3 cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
½ to ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Chile flake
Peel, trim, and dice onion, garlic, and chiles. Rinse and chop 1/4 Cup cilantro.
For an Instant Pot-
Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat the oil.
Add the turkey and sauté, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula as it cooks, for about 5 minutes, until cooked through and no traces of pink remain.
Add the onion, chiles, garlic, salt, oregano, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes, until the onion has softened and is translucent.
Stir in the beans, salsa verde, and broth.
Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing.
Press the Cancel button to reset the cooking program, then select the Bean/Chili setting and set the cooking time for 20 minutes at high pressure.
Let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam.
Open the pot and stir in the chopped cilantro.
For stove top cooking –
Add oil to a stock pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.
Add turkey and sauté until lightly browned and no pink remains, about 4-6 minutes.
Transfer meat to a mixing bowl. Add onion and chiles and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until onion begins to turn translucent. Season lightly with sea salt.
Add garlic and sauté until the raw garlic smell dissipates.
Add chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen all the good stuff.
Add beans, salsa verde, meat, salt, oregano, cumin, and cayenne and stir well to incorporate.
Reduce heat to medium low and cook, covered, for at least 1 hour, and more is fine.
Add cilantro, stir to incorporate, and serve.
And of course, Big Thanks to Gloria for this delightful dish!