[POM] POM Wonderful Rocks!

Some days are full of little surprises, aren’t they?  For example:

(1) Someone finally became fed-up with the gigantic piece of synthetic marble that has been abandoned against a tree on 79th Street and ignored by the Sanitation Department for at least four months.

(2) A new rack of Cosby sweaters arrived at Century 21’s Brooklyn location.

(3) Camels in Midtown Manhattan.

Yet, even after a morning of curious sightings, I was still unprepared for an e-mail I received from Jeff at POM Wonderful:

“…can you give me a buzz at your earliest convenience?”

And, lo and behold, I am the 2010 POM Recipe Blogger!  Hell, yeah!  Here’s a step-by-step for my inaugural recipe, Pomegranate-Spinach Sope with Braised Pumpkin, Garlicky Black Beans and Pomegranate-Avocado Salsa Fresca.

Pomegranate-Spinach Sope with Braised Pumpkin, Garlicky Black Beans and Pomegranate-Avocado Salsa Fresca

Ingredients

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
3/4 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate juice, divided
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 pound peeled and seeded pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups fine masa harina
2 cups packed baby spinach, finely chopped
1 POM Wonderful Pomegranate, seeds removed
2 ripe Hass avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and finely diced
2 jalapeno chilies, stemmed, seeded, veins removed and diced
2 limes, juiced
3/4 cup packed cilantro
4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
1 16-ounce can vegetarian refried black beans
1 medium white onion, peeled, cored, halved and very thinly sliced
1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
1 cup Cotija cheese
Hot sauce, to pass (optional)

Preparation

To begin, choose a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and place it upon your stove-top over medium-high heat. Add your vegetable broth, 1/2 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate juice and cumin to the saucepan and bring to a low boil. Add the cubed pumpkin (or butternut squash), lower the heat to a simmer, cover and braise until the pumpkin (or butternut squash) is very tender and some pieces are just starting to fall apart, about 15 to 20 minutes.

While the pumpkin (or butternut squash) is braising, choose a large mixing bowl and add the remaining 1/4 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, water, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, black pepper, cinnamon, masa harina and spinach. Using your hands, mix together the masa mixture until well-blended and equally moist. Give your hands a much-needed rinse and measure off a large piece of plastic wrap. Transfer the masa mixture to the plastic wrap and form it into a log about 10-inches long. Wrap the masa log and refrigerate until ready to make your sopes.

In a clean large mixing bowl, stir together the POM Wonderful Pomegranate seeds, avocado, jalapeno chilies, lime juice, cilantro and a pinch of salt to taste and stir until well-mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt if you wish, cover the bowl and chill until ready to serve.
By now, the pumpkin (or butternut squash) should be at a perfect temperature. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pumpkin to a medium bowl and set aside. Return the heavy-bottomed saucepan containing the pomegranate juice-broth-pumpkin bits to your stovetop and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the pressed garlic and the refried beans and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Remove the beans from the heat and set aside on your stovetop until ready to assemble the sopes.
Retrieve your masa mixture from the refrigerator and divide the role into 8 pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and press them in the palm of your hand to form discs. Place a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron is great for this…if you have a stovetop griddle, this works perfectly, as well) onto your stovetop over medium heat. Once the pan is and working in batches, cook the sopes upon your dry pan for 5 minutes on each side. Parts of the sopes will be slightly charred. As you dry-cook your gorditas, transfer them to a plate. Once all the sopes have been dry-griddled*, add the reserved 3 tablespoons olive oil to your pan. Again working in batches, fry your sopes for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until they have developed a crust and are highly-fragrant. Transfer the fried sopes to an extra-large serving platter.

To serve, retrieve your pumpkin mixture and your pomegranate-avocado salsa fresca mixtures. Reheat your beans until heated through, about 45 seconds. To assemble the sopes, spread them with the black bean mixture, evenly dividing amongst the gorditas. Top the bean layer with a mound of the pumpkin mixture. Top the pumpkin mixture with some thinly-sliced onion rings, followed by a mound of the pomegranate-avocado salsa fresca. Finally, top the sopes with a dollop of Mexican crema and a generous dusting of Cotija cheese. Serve immediately, with hot sauce to pass if you would like, and enjoy!

Serves 4 generously as a main course, or 8 as an appetizer. Thanks!
*Note: The sopes can be dry-cooked up to 3 days in advance, covered and refrigerated.
p.s.
This is a dish that is fun to make at gatherings with friends and family, who practically always congregate in our tiny Brooklyn kitchen.  A job exists for everyone in this recipe, ranging from sit-down prep to “give-me-a-spatula-and-make-me-feel-like-I’m-useful” tasks. I have noticed that meals always taste better when everyone adds their own little bit of personality and spice to it. Enjoy!
To learn more about the miraculous pomegranate and its magical powers, as well as the awesome line of POM Wonderful products (iced coffee, anyone?) and to follow the POM Wonderful blog, please visit PomWonderful.com.
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1 Comment»

  Josie wrote @

Congrats on POM! I love the way you write. You’re super funny, I totally dig your humor. Looking forward to reading.


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