Romesco Sauce

1 1-inch thick slice of crusty bread, crust removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large tomato
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup almonds
2 medium red bell peppers
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Place almond, garlic, bread and tomato on baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast almonds until fragrant and bread is crusty and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove almonds and bread and continue roasting garlic until soft and tomato until tender, about 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and remove skin from tomato and peel garlic.

While other ingredients are roasting in the oven, roast peppers over an open flame on a gas stove or grill until the skins are blackened. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Remove charred skin, seeds, and cores.

Place bread, tomato, almonds, peppers, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Purée until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and cayenne pepper as needed.

Place in and airtight container and place in the refrigerator until cool. Store refrigerated up to 5 days.

Pantry Brownies

Cooking spray
2/3 cup canola or any flavorless oil
2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 325°F. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray, dust with flour, tapping out the excess, and set aside.

Place the oil into a microwave-safe medium bowl and heat on low power in 4 to 6 (5-second) bursts until it is warm but not hot. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until completely smooth and combined. Let sit for 4 or 5 minutes so the cocoa can bloom. Meanwhile, prepare the dry and wet ingredients.

Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.

Place the eggs, powdered sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl. (Alternatively, place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.) Beat on medium speed until fluffy and lighter in color, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla until just combined.

Add 1/2 of the cocoa mixture to the egg mixture and mix at medium-high speed until it is shiny and fully combined, about 5 minutes.

Add the flour mixture to the egg and cocoa mixture and mix at low speed until fully combined. Add the remaining cocoa mixture and and mix at medium-high speed until the batter is shiny and fully combined, about 1 minute. Transfer to the baking pan.

Bake for 20 to 24 minutes (you can allow it to bake for up to 30 minutes if you like a firmer brownie with some crisp edges). The brownies will pull away from the edges of the pan, but a cake tester or knife inserted in the middle will not come out clean. Let cool before cutting into 16 small squares.

Recipe Notes
Storage: These will keep in a closed container or wrapped in plastic at room temperature for up to 2 days.

White Chili with Chicken

1 pound dried small white (Navy) beans, Great Northern beans, or cannellini beans (see note above)
Kosher salt
2 fresh poblano chilies
4 fresh Anaheim or Hatch chilies
2 jalapeño chilies
1 medium onion, peeled, trimmed, and split in halt from top to bottom
8 medium cloves garlic
1 whole pickled jalapeño pepper, plus 2 tablespoons pickling liquid from the can
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 quart homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)
1 pound shredded pepper Jack cheese, divided
2 tablespoons fresh juice from 2 limes, plus 1 lime cut into wedges for serving
1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided
4 to 6 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

Cover beans with 1 gallon (4 quarts) water. Add 1/4 cup salt and stir until dissolved. Cover and let rest at room temperature at least 8 hours and up to 24. Drain and rinse beans.

Adjust broiler rack to 8 inches below broiler element and preheat broiler to high. Place poblanos, Anaheims, jalapeños, onion, and garlic on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Toss with one tablespoon oil using your hands to coat. Season with salt. Place under broiler and broil, turning peppers and rearranging vegetables occasionally, until peppers are blackened on all sides and skins are wrinkled all over, 15 to 20 minutes total. Gather up foil and form a sealed pouch. Let chilies rest for 5 minutes.

Place chilies and chicken stock in a large bowl. Peel chilies under the chicken stock, leaving skins and seeds behind. Transfer chili flesh to the cup of a hand blender or a standing blender. Add broiled onion, broiled garlic, and the canned jalapeño (do not add jalapeño pickling liquid). Blend until a smooth purée is formed. Set aside.

Heat remaining oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chili purée and cook, stirring, until incorporated. Strain chicken stock into pot, pressing on skins and seeds to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard skins and seeds.

Add soaked beans and chicken breasts to pot, adding water as necessary until beans and chicken are fully submerged. Bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken breasts register 150°F on an instant read thermometer, about 15 minutes.

Transfer chicken breasts to a bowl and let rest. Continue simmering broth and beans until beans are fully tender, about 1 hour total. Remove 1 1/2 cups of beans and their liquid and transfer to a standing blender or the work cup of an immersion blender. Blend until completely smooth. Stir back into pot.

Shred chicken into bite-sized pieces and stir back into stew. Stir in half of cheese until melted. Stir in jalapeño pickling liquid, lime juice, and half of cilantro. Season to taste with salt.

Serve immediately with extra shredded cheese, lime wedges, cilantro, and scallions.

Pressure Cooker Chili Verde with Chicken

3 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks
3/4 pound tomatillos, quartered, husks discarded (about 4 tomatillos)
1 pound poblano peppers, roughly chopped, seeds and stems discarded (about 3 peppers)
6 ounces Anaheim or Cubanelle peppers, roughly chopped, seeds and stems discarded (about 2 peppers)
2 Serrano or jalapeño chilies, roughly chopped, stems discarded
10 ounces white onion, roughly chopped (about 1 medium)
6 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon whole cumin seed, toasted and ground
Kosher salt
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves and fine stems, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
Fresh corn tortillas and lime wedges, for serving

Combine chicken, tomatillos, poblano peppers, Anaheim peppers, Serrano peppers, onion, garlic, cumin, and a big pinch of salt in a pressure cooker. Heat over high heat until gently sizzling, then seal pressure cooker, bring to high pressure, and cook for 15 minutes. Release pressure.

Using tongs, transfer chicken pieces to a bowl and set aside. Add cilantro and fish sauce to remaining contents of pressure cooker. Blend with a hand blender or in a standing blender and season to taste with salt. Return chicken to sauce, discarding skin and bones and shredding if desired. Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve immediately with tortillas and lime wedges.

Chili Verde with Pork

3 pounds trimmed pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
5 poblano peppers
5 cubanelle peppers
2 pounds tomatillos (about 15 medium), husks removed
6 whole garlic cloves
2 jalapeño peppers, stems removed, split in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 large onion, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 quart chicken stock

In large bowl, toss pork with 2 tablespoons salt until thoroughly coated. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, roast poblano and cubanelle peppers by placing them directly over the flame of a gas stove until deeply charred on all surfaces, about 10 minutes total. If you don’t have a gas burner, you can achieve similar results under the broiler, or on an outdoor grill. Place peppers in a bowl and cover with a large plate. Let steam for 5 minutes, then peel under cool running water. Dry chilies, discard seeds and stems, and roughly chop. Transfer to bowl of food processor.

Preheat broiler to high. Toss tomatillos, garlic, and jalapeños with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Broil until charred, blistered, and just softened, turning once halfway through cooking, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to the food processor along with any exuded liquid.

Add 1/2 of cilantro to the food processor and pulse mixture until it is roughly pureed but not smooth, about 8 to 10 one-second pulses. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 225°F. Heat remaining oil in large Dutch oven over high heat until smoking. Add half of pork and cook without moving until well browned, about 3 minutes. Stir pot and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until well browned on all sides. Add remaining pork and onions and cook, stirring frequently and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan, until onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Add cumin and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add chicken stock and pureed chilies to pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven, leaving lid slightly ajar. Cook until pork shreds easily with a fork, about 3 hours. Remove from oven and return to stovetop.

Skim off and discard any excess fat. Adjust to desired consistency by adding water or boiling and reducing. Stir remaining cilantro into pot and season to taste with more salt. Serve immediately with warm tortillas, diced onions, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and lime wedges. Chili can be chilled and stored in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Flavor will improve with time.

Texas Chili Con Carne

3 whole sweet fresh dried chilies like Costeño, New Mexico, or Choricero, stems and seeds removed
2 small hot dried chilies like Arbol or Cascabel, stems and seeds removed
3 whole rich fruity dried chilies like Ancho, Mulatto, Negro, or Pasilla, stems and seeds removed
2 whole Chipotle chilies canned in adobo sauce, plus 2 tablespoons sauce, stems and seeds removed
2 quarts low sodium canned or homemade chicken broth
4 pounds beef chuck, trimmed of excess gristle and fat, cut into thick steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely diced
4 medium cloves garlic, grated on a microplane grater
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons masa
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Hot sauce, to taste
Cilantro, chopped onions, scallions, grated cheese, avocado, and warm tortillas for serving as desired

Add dried chiles to large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or stock pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until slightly darkened with intense, roasted aroma, 2 to 5 minutes. Do not allow to smoke. Remove chiles to small bowl and set aside. Alternatively, place dried chilies on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high power in 15-second increments until pliable and toasted-smelling, about 30 seconds total. Transfer to a 2-quart microwave-safe liquid measuring cup or bowl. Add half of chicken broth and chipotle chilies, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high power until gently simmering, about 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and set aside for 5 minutes. Transfer chilies and liquid to blender and blend, starting on the lowest possible setting and gradually increasing speed to high (make sure to hold the lid down with a clean kitchen towel or a potholder to prevent it from blowing out). Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.

Season chuck steaks generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in the base of a Dutch oven over high heat until just starting to smoke. Add half of beef chuck in a single layer and cook without moving until deeply browned, about 6 minutes. Flip steaks and brown second side, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer steaks to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut seared steaks and raw steaks into 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks.

Return Dutch oven to heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently until translucent and softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, and oregano, and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add all meat back to pan along with chili puree and remaining quart chicken broth. Stir to combine.

Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, cover, leaving lid just barely ajar and cook, stirring occasionally until meat is completely tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Alternatively, stew can be cooked in a 200° to 250°F oven with the lid of the Dutch oven slightly ajar.

Stir in fish sauce, masa harina (if using), and vinegar. Add hot sauce to taste. Season to taste with salt. For best results, allow chili to cool and store in the refrigerator at least overnight and up to five days. Reheat the next day to serve.

Serve, garnished with cilantro, chopped onions, scallions, grated cheese, avocado, and warm tortillas as desired.