The Dumpling Diary

Dis cooking so you cooking too.

Sopa de Dexter, amongst other things! November 15, 2010

Reasons why I haven’t posted in a coon’s age:
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– I’ve been going in to work at the bakery an hour early every morning (4:45am) this past week, and falling asleep randomly when I get home.
– I’m generally a very lazy person, unless I become enraged and decide to channel my rage into FIERCE housework/cleaning.
Dexter.
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On the bright side, Dexter is going to do a lot for this post, in particular. I have been binging myself on the T.V. series, Dexter, and in the matter of a week’s time, I’m a few episodes away from being up to speed with season 5 (working back from season 1). I am shameless. I am in love with a serial killer. I am in love with Miami, and I am in love with pork sandwiches, and all things Cuban food. I daresay Cubans are more fond of pork than even I. Obviously, they are no less than awesome.
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This post will include a slew of Cuban-inspired/mildly authentic-seeming recipes that I’ve been eating/cooking with brute force. I figure, when it’s cold and crummy outside, I may as well watch/immerse myself in sunny Miami, while eating extremely satisfying food to match. What goes better with black beans and rice than a blood-soaked room and a murder investigation? NOTHING.
Not to mention, if you’re a fan of Dexter, does that show not make you hungry?! Come on, the intro is just food closeups (somehow, Michael C. Hall makes chewing on a piece of ham steak sexy, if that’s not Emmy-worthy, what is…), and they’re CONSTANTLY eating, and talking about pork sandwiches and sopa de whatever.
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Anyhow, to the recipes. As Sgt. Angel Batista would say, I am experiencing too much “passione.” Lawwwwl.
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First things first. An amazing Cuban stew/soup that I cannot stop making/eating. For now, I’m calling it Sopa de Dexter. JUST BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IT. It’s very savoury and well, I hate this word, but “zesty,” (robust, maybe?) and a little hint of spice, but really not much at all. It’s got tons of healthy vegetables in it, but also some “healthy,” porky goodness. The squash I chose to use in this was a Kabocha squash (typically used in a lot of Japanese cooking, but my mom brought me a couple, and I still have one kicking around), and you could really use any kind of squash, but this one seems quite hearty, and holds it’s shape well, despite extreme tenderness and a more savoury flavour than most other squashes I’ve come across. I love this squash to my core. Normally, I do not love any kind of squash at all. Also, this soup calls for beans. I used kidney this past time around, but I also used white beans before (Navy, haricots, whatever). I would also suggest using black beans or chick peas. Even though chick peas and I do not have the best history together, they do have good intentions.
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Sopa de Dexter
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Ingredients
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2 Chorizo sausages (or smoked sausages), sliced on an angle
4 oz bacon or salt pork, diced
2 small onions, small dice
5 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery, small dice
1/2 green pepper, small dice
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup dried beans (or a can of pre-cooked)
1 tsp fresh chopped oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp lime juice or red wine vinegar
salt, to taste
pepper
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
1- 1 1/2 cups cubed, peeled squash (1/2 – 1″ cubes)
1 medium potato, cut in 1-2 inch chunks
1 cup shredded cabbage
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Method

In a pot, cook diced bacon. Add onion, celery and pepper, cook until slightly softened. Add garlic, and cook for a minute or so. Add Chorizo and brown lightly. Stir in tomato paste, then add about 8 – 10 cups of water, as much as you like, really, but that’s a good starting point. Give it a good stir to make sure all the tomato paste is dissolved. Add beans, oregano, cumin and lime juice or vinegar, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until beans are softened, or just about. Then stir in squash, potatoes and cabbage. Cover loosely with lid ajar, and let simmer until they are tender, but not falling apart when you test the potatoes and squash with a knife. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. I particularly like this with a big hunk of crusty bread fo’ dippinz. This is my ultimate Dexter-watching meal.
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Shrimp Remoulade
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If you haven’t had a good Shrimp Remoulade (reh-moo-lad), you haven’t lived. Any of those $5 shrimp cocktails with ketchup-horseradish sauces can go to hell, because Shrimp Remoulade will always blow it out of the water. Literally. Shrimp cocktails flying through the air across the salty ocean. It happens. At any rate, Shrimp Remoulade is essentially a shrimp cocktail, but the swankest of the swank. The zazziest of the zazzy. If you’re eating Shrimp Remoulade regularly, I suggest investing in a high quality smoking jacket as well. I make it a few different ways, but for the Miami version, an ode to my dear Dexter Morgan (and Deb Morgan, why not?), I made it with lime juice and general awesomeness. What sets a recipe like this apart from most other “cocktail,” styles of shrimp, is that this recipe involves a “boil,” and I don’t just mean a pot of water. I’m talking about a heavily spiced and flavoured pot of water (more of a broth or liquor), which is very typical of Southern shrimp boils. Similar to a crab boil or crawfish boil.  Jon is a big fan of this recipe, “the best shrimp you’ve ever made.” So, you know… I’m just sayin’…
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Ingredients
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For the boil:
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10 cups water
6 bay leaves, ground (throw them in a blender/Magic Bullet/spice grinder, or use a mortar and pestle)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp paprika
10 whole peppercorns
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp hot pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 Tbsp salt
1 lime (or lemon), halved (optional)
1 ½ lbs raw shrimp in shell (or more! however many you can fit, really), if using frozen, make sure to thaw first…
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Method
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Get yourself a big ol’ pot with a lid. Whatever you’d make a big pot of soup in, that’ll do fine. Add all ingredients from water down to the lime (or lemon), if you’re using that. Othewise, from 10 cups of water down to the 1 Tbsp salt. Give all of that a stir, bring to a simmer, cover and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Now it’s time to cook dem shrimps. You can leave them in the shell (I think it makes for nicer presentation, and well, they’re more fun to peel them as you go, when you eat), but make sure to devein them if they aren’t already. Otherwise, just pull the shell/legs off, and you’ll still have a nice mess of shrimp to eat. So, the pot is still simmering! Just add your shrimp in, all of them! Stir gently and let them simmer for 3-4 minutes, 5 minutes maximum (you won’t need to cook them 5 minutes though), until the shrimp turn bright orangey-pink and curl into a “C,” shape. If you overcook them, bear in mind that they’ll be rubbery as all hell. You can usually tell this by the “O,” shape they curl into. A perfectly cooked shrimp will still give a little “pop!” when you bite into them, but won’t be soft and squishy at all. So, anyhow, get those shrimps out using a slotted spoon, or strain them using a colander. Either way, save the liquid. It makes for a damn fine shrimp stock if you’re into making gumbo or bisque, or any kind of shrimpy soupstew-type thing. Chill the shrimp in the fridge until nice and cold, and serve with Remoulade Sauce (now would be a good time to make that, by the way).
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For the Remoulade Sauce
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Ingredients
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1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp grainy Dijon
1 tsp prepared yellow mustard
3 Tbsp finely diced celery
½ tsp ground cayenne
1 tsp Louisiana hot sauce (more if you like, same goes for cayenne)
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp lime juice
Green onion, chopped
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Method
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Okay, this is stupid easy. Put everything into a bowl. Mix it. Check for seasoning (salt and pepper). Top with green onions, transfer to serving bowl. Hey, presto, you did it!
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So, you can serve the shrimp with the Remoulade as an appetizer, or whatever you see fit. I served it with a coleslaw and yellow rice on the side. So here are the recipes for those, if you’re keen to make them.
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For the yellow rice, typically, one living in Cuba or Miami would use Annato seeds, but I do not have the option here, so I went with Saffron. That adds some swank too, I suppose.
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In a pot, sautée in 1 tsp cooking oil:
¼ cup diced red pepper
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
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When softened, add 2 cloves minced garlic. Let cook around one minute until fragrant. Remove vegetables/garlic from pot, and add another 1 tsp oil to the pot. Add 1 cup of rice, and gently toast it over medium high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, watching constantly (you don’t want it to burn). Rice will smell nutty and toasty and you’ll hear it popping throughout. When it’s slightly browned, add 2 cups chicken stock, the previously sautéed veggies, 1 bay leaf and 1/2 tsp saffron. It should come to a simmer almost immediately (or just let it come back up to a simmer), give it a stir, cover and turn heat to low. Let it cook 15 minutes (no peeking!), then turn off heat and let it sit for 5 minutes, covered. Rice: DONE.
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For the coleslaw dressing, I didn’t go with a typical mayonnaise-based sauce (I already used quite a bit in the Remoulade, etc.), I did a sweet-sour vinegar based dressing. Typically this calls for sugar and vinegar, but I had some homemade rhubarb jam in the fridge, so I used that, and it was quite good!
To make that, combine in a small saucepan:

¼ cup rhubarb jam
¼ cup water
1 Tbsp lime juice
pinch salt and pepper
Optional: 1/4 tsp celery seeds
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Bring to a simmer, let cook, stirring, until everything is homogeneously mixed, and some of the water has evaporated. It should be thick enough so that it doesn’t slide off a wood spoon when you test it, but not thick enough to coat it. Let it cool thoroughly, and pour it over 1/4 or 1/2 head shredded cabbage (along with matchstick carrots and red bell pepper, and I also like to throw in some kind of nut, and quite often dried cranberries). That’s it!
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Okay, final recipe!
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Salchichas Estofado (or, stewed sausages, tastes better than it sounds, ahha)
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This is a very, very tasty dish that Jon and I came up with. But, you will require some stomach room, so be wary of that. The sausages (we used smoked, but you could also use Chorizo) added a really nice smokey flavour to the entire dish. If you can’t find smoked, try to find smoked paprika, since the dish calls for paprika anyhow. This is a really rich and hearty meal, so, you know, plan accordingly. haha. This was served with more yellow rice, and some roasted sweet potato chips.
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Ingredients
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1 tsp fat (porkporkpork!)
1 medium onion, smal dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
1/2 red or green bell pepper, chopped (I like small dice, as with most sofrito/trinity/mirepoix ingredients)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 smoked sausages, sliced diagonally in 3
1 can tomato paste
1 1/2 – 2 cups water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp fresh chopped oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika (or smoked paprika, if you can)
1/2 – 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste
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Method
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In a large skillet, sautée onion, celery and bell pepper until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant. Add sausage and let brown, making sure to stir fairly often. Add 1 can of tomato paste, mixed with the 1.5 – 2 cups water (however thick you’d like your sauce, initially), to form a sauce. Add to the skillet, with sugar, lime juice, oregano, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and a little salt and pepper to start. Cover and let cook 10-15 minutes, simmering over medium/medium-low heat. remove lid and let simmer 3-5 minutes, till sauce thickens to your liking. Check for seasoning, and serve over rice!
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So, there you have it. A boatload of recipes (“Slice of Life,” anyone? Anyone?) to keep your belly satisfied while your mind witnesses the horrors and eroticisms of Dexter Morgan and his dark passenger. Or, if you’re just hungry as all hell. You know. I recommend listening to Buena Vista Social Club to enhance the cooking experience. Here’s a taste:
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That’s all for now I suppose, I will make an effort to post very soon, I feel like such a crumbum for not posting in ages. Now, to read Seven Centuries of English Cooking, and contemplate tonight’s dinner (if you haven’t guessed, I’m on an English tangent at the moment, now). So, for now, cheerio!
Megohm over and OWT!

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2 Responses to “Sopa de Dexter, amongst other things!”

  1. vivvles215 Says:

    It all sounds so good!! I can’t wait to try the Sopa de Dexter, and pork is always the best way to go 🙂

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lisa Chan-Simms, meg marcella. meg marcella said: New Dumpling Diary Post – Dexter/Miami-inspired foodstuffs. http://tinyurl.com/363w9bd […]


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