Friday, November 09, 2007

Savory scones and using fresh tomatillos for the first time...

Just like biscotti, we've made several sweet scones before, but what we haven't done much is turn them savory. Removing the sugar and adding just a couple different ingredients turned these Cornmeal, Serrano and Fresh Corn Scones into a nice bread-y side for chili, soup or even a salad.

These are buttermilk based scones, so they are quite tender and have a light texture to them. Instead of using all flour as the dry ingredients, some of the dry ingredients are exchanged for cornmeal to add a pleasant crunch to these scones. The recipe calls for fresh corn, but I used thawed kernels that I froze from the last of the fresh sweet corn this past summer. To add to the savory quality and bring some heat, we tossed in a couple finely chopped serrano peppers - we did seed them first as we didn't want a lot of heat, but just enough to warm you up. I found the dough to be a little sticky, so work on a lightly floured surface and add some to your hands when you turn it out from the bowl. You could cut them out into rounds if you want, but it is much easier to just pat it out into a circle and then score the dough into wedges. You don't want to cut all the way through, but just enough so you can just break them apart when baked. Keeping the dough together like this helps to support them as they rise and is just a little less fussy.

Cornmeal, Serrano and Fresh Corn SconesI was going to serve chili with those savory scones for dinner tonight, but I had a pork tenderloin in the refrigerator that we needed to get used up. I chose this Tequila Pork Chile Verde recipe mainly because it would use the pork, but also because it used a newer-to-us fruit... tomatillos! The one time we've used them before, the recipe called for canned tomatillos - so I was a little excited to try and use fresh for this recipe! While tomatillos are in the same family and look like green tomatoes, don't confuse the two as they taste nothing like them - they have a fresh, bright and quite tart flavor.

Chunky pieces of tenderloin are coated in crunchy yellow cornmeal that was spiced up with ancho chile powder - it is worth looking for the ancho powder as it infuses this chile verde with a dark rich flavor that you wouldn't quite achieve using a chili powder. You will have some leftover cornmeal mixture once you season the pork - do not throw this out, it will be added back to the pork once it has been sautéed - this will help to tighten up the liquids later on. The tomatillos, along with broth, green chiles and a seeded jalapeño are added to the skillet and left to bubble away until the tomatillos have softened and their tart flavor mellows. A shot of tequila is then poured in with a few chopped cilantro leaves and sliced green onions to add a spicy kick at the end. The bountiful nuggets of pork were so tender while swimming around in the tangy broth mixture - the heat level was mild to almost medium, so if you like things extra spicy you may want to use a whole jalapeño instead of seeding it.

Tequila Pork Chile Verde


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