By Kristin Boza
In late 2019, Ellie’s Café reached the end of its era when chef and owner Cathy Stacey decided to close her popular restaurant. For those craving the delectable comfort food offered by Ellie’s, Stacey is partnering with Pat and Katie Murphy, owners of Sweet Freaks, 9927 S. Wood St., to offer lasagna and soups made-to-order or available for walk-in purchase from the Sweet Freaks freezer.
“After closing the Café, I barely had time to catch my breath before Covid shut most of the world down,” Stacey said. “During these uncertain times, a combined effort makes the most sense and working with this already established and talented duo give me hope for the future.”
Lasagna in one (serves 1-2) or two (serves 3-4) pound sizes in beef, Italian sausage, vegetable, or cheese can be purchased either a la carte or as a meal paired with soup online at SweetFreakChicago.Square.Site. Order can be also called in at 773-610-6320 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and picked up Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the store. With advanced notice Stacey can make half-pan lasagnas (serving 10-12) and full-pan lasagnas (serving 20-24), or a customized soup orders in a larger amounts.
“Ellie’s is about comfort food; it’s the food I grew up eating and it seems to make people happy. Especially in this crazy time, comfort food is what the world needs,” Stacey said. “The holidays are a really important time of year and I’m going to concentrate on making soups and lasagnas for the Thanksgiving table.”
Cathy’s Classic Posole
Pozole is a hearty dish from Mexico. A cross between soup and stew, it is popular at family gatherings such as Mexican Independence Day and Christmas. Hominy is the foundation of posole, which can be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock and red beans in place of the pork. It’s best garnished with lots of cilantro, cheese, and lime and served with warm flour tortillas.
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 2-pound boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 plum tomatoes, diced
6 C. low-salt chicken broth
1 28-oz. can undrained pinto beans
1 28-oz. can white hominy, drained
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes with juices, puréed
1 Tbsp. oregano (preferably Mexican)
2 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 275°. Mix cumin, garlic powder, and smoked paprika in a small bowl; rub spice mix all over pork. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place pork in roasting pan and cover with sliced onion. Pour 1/2 C. water in bottom of pan. Cover pan tightly with foil and roast until meat is very tender, 5–6 hours. Let pork rest until cool enough to handle. Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-size pieces. Skim fat from juices in pan; reserve meat. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill pork and juices separately.)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 min. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 min. Add diced fresh tomatoes and stir until softened, about 2 min. Stir in broth and next 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 min.
Add reserved pork. Simmer uncovered 30 min. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add reserved meat juices, if desired.
Divide among serving bowls, garnish with shredded cheese, cilantro, and lime wedges, and serve with flour tortillas.