Archive for the 'Meat' Category

Too-Turkey Chili

During the warmer months, I often hear people say things like, “It’s too hot for chili” or “It’s too hot for soup.” Personally, I think that kind of talk is just garbage. I’ve never really understood why it might be “too hot” for something. Do people not like to eat hot things when it’s hot outside? It’s not like you’re sitting outside eating all the time. Maybe the “too hot” idea comes from the fact that the oven makes your kitchen too hot. I can sympathize with this a little more, but regardless of what the temperature is outside, I feel like my kitchen is always on.

Although the temperature is definitely picking up ’round these parts, the nights are still a bit cool. Therefore, I didn’t feel out of place for cooking chili, even if it might be “too hot” outside.

Another reason for me wanting to cook this chili–cook anything really–is that I had had a pretty crappy day. Jay was out of town, I had a cavity filled, and despite it being my spring break my boss was wanting me to come in (how can I call a client if I can’t talk?). I wanted to cook something hearty, yet healthy. I’m still reeling from lots of celebration weekends, and I would like to be able to wear shorts when it really does get too hot to cook with the oven on all day. Thanks to epicurious.com, this turkey chili was a hearty, yet healthy choice.

The reason I’ve titled this “Too-Turkey Chili” is because, well, I bought too much ground turkey. The original recipe called for 1.5 pounds, and I could only buy the ground turkey in 1.2 pound packages. So what did I do? Buy 2 1.2 pound packages! I realized this towards the end of my shopping and I didn’t feel like going back and doubling everything, so I tried to improvise with what I had at home. Luckily, the beef broth I had was too much for the original recipe, so none of that had to go to waste. We also had a few small onions lying around the house and another can of white beans, so I threw in an extra onion and the extra beans. Finally, even though we didn’t have any extra canned tomatoes or tomato juice, we did have some tomato paste hanging out in the cupboard, so that joined the party as well. Other than those additions, I increased the amount of spices, etc. that the original recipe called for.

The result? It was pretty tasty and I could barely stop eating it, but given the fact that it had cinnamon and cocoa powder in the ingredients, it didn’t really have the depth of flavor that I thought it was. A day after I made the chili, after it had been sitting in the fridge for a while, the cinnamon flavor (and fragrance) really came through after we reheated the chili for dinner. It also made A LOT of chili, so we ate on it for a while …. truth be told, we still have some!

I’ve included the original recipe because my additions were kind whatever I felt like. One thing that I would have included more of in my version would be more tomatoes; the chili was just a little thick.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it’s a one-pot meal and pretty easy, once you cut up all those onions.

Turkey Chili with White Beans
(original recipe Bon Appetit February 1997)

Ingredients
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
1/4 cup chili powder
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
3 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
3 15-ounce cans small white beans, rinsed, drained

Method
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until light brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Add oregano and cumin; stir 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high. Add turkey; stir until no longer pink, breaking up with back of spoon. Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Add tomatoes with their juices, breaking up with back of spoon. Mix in stock and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes longer. Discard bay leaves. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat before continuing.)

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Steak and potatoes, upgrade

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I’ve never really been one to sit down and watch the Oscars. Yeah I love criticizing everyone’s outfits, jewelry, and hair, but sometimes the whole show is just a bit much. On that particular Sunday, however, I felt like cooking a good meal, so instead of bothering with the gym or anything else pressing, I decided to take a night off and spend it watching the Oscars with my husband.

We bought the flank steak early in the day and marinated it in some also recently-bought marinade sauce. We cooked it by starting it off on a really hot grill pan, then finished it off in the oven. (We’ve used this technique before and it always works well.) Recently we’ve been strapped for cash, which is why we bought flank steak rather than, say, filets or prime rib, but the marinade was really, really good, even if the meat wasn’t the most tender thing ever.

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The gnocchi were very fun to make, and it’s something I’ve been wanting to try for a very long time. I didn’t have a gnocchi board, so I had to attempt to shape them on the back of a fork. It didn’t work as well as I would have like–partially I think the potatoes were a little too chunky because I also did not have a potato ricer and had to just mash them–but in the end the shape wasn’t that important. The lemon in the gnocchi was delicate yet noticeable and was a fun difference.

Personally, I really liked the eggplant, but I think we timed the cooking wrong, so the eggplant sat around for a little too long and wasn’t really hot enough by the time we sat down to eat. Nevertheless, they were flavored with a good combination of spices and I would be willing to make the recipe again.

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Meyer Lemon Gnocchi
(original recipe March 2008 Food & Wine)
Note: I only used regular lemons and the gnocchi still tasted great. I also did not have a ricer, nor a gnocchi board, so the texture in mine might have been a little off, but again, the taste was great.

Ingredients
1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
3 large egg yolks
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons, preferably Meyer lemons
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt
Snipped chives, for garnish

Method
1. In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat until the potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the potatoes, then return them to the pan; shake over moderately high heat until dry.

2. Working over a large rimmed baking sheet, rice the hot potatoes in an even layer. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the salt and pour over the potatoes. Sprinkle the flour over the potatoes and stir gently just until a dough forms.

3. Gently roll the dough into four 1/2-inch-thick ropes. Using a sharp knife, cut each rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece against the tines of a fork to make ridges. Transfer the gnocchi to the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

4. In a small saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Remove from the heat and whisk in the 1 stick of butter, a few pieces at a time, until the sauce is creamy. Warm the sauce on low heat if necessary. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt.

5. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the gnocchi until they rise to the surface, then cook them for 1 minute longer. Gently drain the gnocchi, toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and transfer to a baking sheet until cool.

6. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add half of the gnocchi and cook in a single layer over high heat until browned on the bottom, 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and gnocchi.

7. Reheat the sauce; pour it over the gnocchi and fold gently with a rubber spatula until they are evenly coated. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the chives. Serve.

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Sauteed Eggplant with Cumin and Garlic
(original recipe The New Best Recipe)

Ingredients
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), ends trimmed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Method
Place the eggplant cubes on a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle the cubes with the salt, tossing to coat them evenly. Let the eggplant stand for at least 30 minutes. Using additional paper towels, gently press any excess moisture from the eggplant. [Note: we didn’t have time for this step so we skipped it. I think the eggplant might have been less watery if we did this step.]

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium high-heat until shimmering. Add the cumin and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the eggplant cubes and cook until they begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is fully tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sugar. Cook to blend the flavors, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the parsely. Serve immediately. [Note: it’s important to serve this hot, or else the texture gets a little off]

Bison Burgers with Goat Cheese and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Jay here. I haven’t done much writing on this blog, but I think I will be getting more into it in the near future, after having participated in the pizza challenge last weekend. Jenny was at class and the gym until late tonight, so that gave me quite a bit of time to come up with something tasty. No pictures tonight though, since everything was scarfed down no sooner than the meat hit the plate.

Jenny had mentioned a couple nights ago that she was craving a bison burger, so off to the store I went. After getting the usual provisions, I grabbed a pound of ground bison from the meat section. It was on sale for $4.49, so I saved 50 cents! I picked up some light whole wheat buns as well – they are a little smaller than usual, so that gave me an idea.

There was a bar back in Charlottesville, VA, called Coupe de Ville’s that we would sometimes go to on Thursday nights after a night out, where they would serve 2 dollar fresh grilled cheeseburgers to hungry drunks (and us). These thin, chargrilled burgers were my inspiration for this meal. I added a gourmet twist rather than your typical ketchup and mustard with American cheese.

Recipe:

  • 1 lb ground bison, split into 8 equal portions, flattened into circles
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • Cavender’s Seasoning
  • hamburger buns
  • herb chevre (goat cheese)
  • sun dried tomatoes, cut into strips

Heat a large pan over high heat for a few minutes. Season each mini burger on one side liberally with salt, pepper, and Cavender’s. Spray the pan and each burger with Pam cooking spray. Put 1/2 of the burgers seasoned-side down into the pan, and let them site for a minute, then turn the heat down to medium. Continue cooking for another minute or so; while they are cooking, season the top of the burger the same way as the bottom. Flip the burgers and cook for 2 minutes or until desired doneness. (This will give you a nice medium to medium rare burger. Be careful, bison can overcook quickly due to less fat in the meat.) Do the same thing for the second batch of burgers.

Toast several hamburger buns, and spread some chevre on the bottom bun. Julienne some sun dried tomatoes (I put them on a paper towel to dry off some of the oil) and put them on the bottom bun as well. Put two mini burgers on each bun.

Eat to combine.


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All posts and images copyright 2008 & 2009 Jenny Robertson, unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved. Any use of images without prior written consent is prohibited.
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