Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Did you dry peppers earlier in the season? Or are you still finding fresh ones at farmers tailgate markets? Many farms will continue have them, probably until the first frost. Try making red or green pozole. This simple-but-satisfying Mexican soup showcases local peppers, as well as peak fall produce and local meats. 

First, decide on red or green. Red pozole uses dried peppers, such as guajillo and ancho, which are toasted, rehydrated, and blended to a paste. The flavor is deeper and a bit fruitier than fresh peppers. Green pozole uses a combination of fresh green peppers, such as poblano, cubanelle, and jalapeño. It’s sharper and more herbaceous than red pozole. Roast the green peppers until softened and then puree them. Add roasted tomatillos if you want (we spotted some recently from Rainbow Ridge Gardens at Enka-Candler Tailgate Market).
Meanwhile, prepare your broth. Pork is the traditional choice, made with bone-in pork shoulder or country-style pork ribs. Chicken or turkey works well too. Simmer your selected cut until meat is cooked and tender. Shred and reserve the meat. Return bones to the broth and keep cooking to deepen the flavor (especially if using poultry, which will cook more quickly). Prefer vegetarian? Try making your broth with winter squash. In any case, add aromatics like onion, garlic, clove, peppercorns, bay leaf, oregano, and whole bunches of cilantro and mint. This combination of local herbs and spices mimics the flavor of Mexican herbs like hoja santa and epazote. For extra punch, puree these cooked herbs with your peppers.
Hominy is the third essential ingredient in pozole. If you have dried corn from a local farm, you can actually make local hominy through a nixtamalization process, but this is a time-consuming process. Using dried hominy, soaked and cooked like dried beans, or canned hominy, available at most grocery stores, is a reasonable shortcut. For canned, rinse well. Try toasting it for 10 to 15 minutes in a 425-degree oven to revive its corn flavor. Add hominy and shredded meat back to your strained broth and simmer another 10 minutes or so.
Now for the toppings! Your finished pozole can be customized to your liking with plenty of local produce, including thinly sliced cabbage, radish, white onion, scallion, and cilantro.  You might also add avocado, lime juice, tortilla chips, queso fresco, or sour cream. 
Find whole chicken from Hickory Nut Gap Farm at North Asheville Tailgate Market and occasionally from Fiddler’s Green Farm at ASAP Farmers Market. Get pork products from Warren Wilson College Farm at ASAP Farmers Market; Dry Ridge Farm at ASAP Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market, and River Arts District Farmers Market; and Dillingham Family Farm at Weaverville Tailgate Market
In other market news, brassicas are back for fall. In addition to cabbage, look for broccoli, cauliflower, and kohlrabi. Dark, leafy greens are abundant, as are carrots, beets, potatoes, and winter squash. Several types of sweet potatoes, including white-fleshed varieties, are available. For fruits, look for apples, pears, and grapes. You’ll also find eggs, bread, cheese, fermented products, baked goods, and beverages. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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