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3 recipes for a pandemic

These are three of my favorite large scale recipes. They all feature complete and concentrated nutrition. They all involve a significant commitment of labor and time, so I learned to make them in large batches. Also, they can all be made in a concentrated form, and reconstituted at serving time by adding water. The marinara and green chile are particularly amenable to freezing and refreezing over and over. Enjoy...

5-6 pounds fresh red tomatoes (or more), diced
1 head garlic, skinned and crushed
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 oz fresh basil, diced
4+ oz grated fresh parmesan cheese (optional, see vegan note below)
1 or 2 small cans tomato paste

olive oil
dried oregano to taste
black pepper to taste
salt to taste

Dice the onion and crush or dice the garlic into a large pot. Cover with olive oil and cook until onion is transparent. Dice the tomatoes and fresh basil and add to cooked onion/garlic. Stir. Add tomato paste, grated parmesan, oregano and black pepper.  Simmer at least one hour. Add salt to taste. Add water if necessary, or to stretch the recipe. Add salt to taste.

Serve with pasta and protein, as pizza sauce, in lasagna, etc.

Vegan note: if you leave out the parmesan, add a bit more olive oil for texture.

(I published a version of this recipe on the writing-about-testing mail list in 2009. Today's version is better and a lot less context-driven)

Reverse-Engineered Pork green chile stew: (If you are in or around New Mexico in autumn, this recipe is based on one bushel of fresh green chile, roasted cleaned and diced. )

3-4 pounds (minimum) frozen, bottled, or canned (or fresh!) roasted green New Mexico chile
1 pound ground pork
1 pound potatoes (at least) cut into bite-sized pieces.
1 head garlic, skinned and crushed
1 small onion, diced

oregano (Mexican oregano preferred)
cumin to taste
black pepper to taste
salt to taste

Brown the pork thoroughly in a large pot. Add the diced onion and crushed garlic, stir until onion is transparent. Add the green chile. Add the potatoes and cover with water.  Add oregano and cumin and black pepper.

Simmer until potatoes are done. Add salt to taste.

Serve with blue corn tortilla chips, fresh avocado, and cotilla cheese, or use as a side dish for breakfast, or for other New Mexican themed food.

Note: for a tasty but less bulky alternative, omit the potatoes and instead add a thickener: in a separate container stir together white flour and cold water into a thin paste. Stirring constantly, add the flour paste to the hot stew until you get the desired thickness.  This is much closer to the original recipe I reverse-engineered from Olde Tymer's in Durango CO.

Reverse-Engineered Chicken Soup (pasta or rice)

1 large (1 pound+) chicken breast or about 2 pounds chicken thighs (or more)
1 small onion, diced
1 head garlic, skinned and crushed
3-4 large carrots or more smaller carrots, diced
4-5 celery stalks, equivalent to the amount of carrot, diced
fresh parsley, diced

black pepper to taste
salt to taste

100% Durum wheat pasta, or wild rice mix

Cover chicken with extra water, boil at least 30 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Pierce chicken skin while cooking, to release fat into the cook water. Remove chicken from water and let cool. Keep the chicken water for stock.

Add diced carrot, celery, onion, parsley, garlic to stock. Bring back to boil.

Clean and dice chicken meat, discarding bones and skin. Add diced chicken back to boiling stock.

Add several handfuls of pasta or a big shot of wild rice mix. The more of either you add, the more water you will need, so this recipe can make a whole lot of soup. If using pasta, cook only until pasta is done before making the first serving. Pasta will disintegrate over time with heat. Rice can cook much longer.

Serve with a side salad or a grilled-cheese sandwich.

Note: everything in this soup was on the label of Campbell's Chicken Soup as of 30 years ago.