Saturday, February 28, 2009

Poblano Chicken Chowder

1/4 cup olive oil
3 large carrots, diced
2 large onions, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
1/8 cup minced garlic
2 to 3 small poblano peppers, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or more to taste
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
3 quarts chicken broth
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, minced
3 cups diced (large pieces) grilled chicken
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
1 cup heavy cream

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, poblano peppers, salt, white pepper, cumin, and thyme. Saute for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the chicken bouillon. Add the chicken broth and cilantro, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Stir in the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until the chowder is thick and the chicken is heated through. Shortly before the chowder is done, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes to cook the flour. Do not allow the mixture to brown! Ladle 1 cup of the hot liquid from the stockpot into the skillet, whisking constantly.

When the first cup of liquid is incorporated, add another 2 cups of liquid, 1 at a time. Pour the mixture in the skillet into the stockpot, whisking to blend. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes longer, or until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the hot sauce, then the cream, and serve.

NOTES: Recipe from Paula Deen

Monday, February 23, 2009

Szechuan Beef

1 lb. flank steak, sliced very thinly
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp cooking wine
2 tsp cornstarch
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. sliced fresh garlic
1 tsp. sliced jalapeno pepper
6 1-inch sections green onion

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Mix the sliced beef with soy sauce, cooking wine and cornstarch and set aside. Heat the wok and 4 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Stir-fry the garlic and jalapeno pepper until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beef and the sauce ingredients and stir-fry over high heat just until the beef is no longer pink on the outside, about 2-3 minutes. Add the green onions during the last 1 minute of cooking.

NOTES: I got this recipe off the food network website a few years ago so I don't know if it's still there but we really love this stir-fry.

Sliced Steak with Roasted Poblano Gravy, Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle and Green Onion Green Beans

This dish packs some heat! But I like it and it's different. I love the smokey heat from the chipotles in the sweet potatoes and the firey heat from the poblanos in the gravy. The gravy is probably my favorite part of this meal. It is so tasty and goes wonderfully with the steak. This is a Rachel Ray recipe so it comes together relatively quickly, as long as you can run all your burners at the same time! I love to cook the steaks on an outdoor grill because of the flavor, but whatever you have available will work.

3 large or 4 to 5 small poblano peppers
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup chicken stock (eyeball it)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotles packed in adobo, seeded and finely chopped, plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 New York Strip steaks (about 1 1/2” thick and 6 to 8 ounces each)
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut in thirds
4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups beef stock (eyeball it), divided
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
1 teaspoon (about 1/3 of a palmful) ground cumin

Preheat a broiler or turn a gas burner on high heat and roast the poblano peppers until they're soft and the skin of each pepper has charred. Place the roasted peppers in a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let cool.

While the peppers are cooling, place the sweet potatoes in a pot of cold water and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add some salt and cook until tender, about 10 minutes, drain and return the potatoes to the pot they were boiled in. Add 2 tablespoons butter, chicken stock, brown sugar, chipotle pepper and adobo to the potatoes and mash until well-combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and reserve.

While the potatoes are boiling, season the steaks with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook under the broiler to medium, about 5-6 minutes per side. Once cooked, transfer the steaks to a platter and cover with aluminum foil, allowing them to rest for about 5 minutes.

While the steak and potatoes are cooking, fill a straight-sided sauté pan or saucepot with about 1 inch of water and bring it to a boil along with a large pinch of salt. Add the green beans to the boiling salted water and cook until tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain the cooked green beans and return them to their cooking pot. Add 2 tablespoons butter and the scallions to the green beans, toss them to coat, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and reserve.

Once the poblanos are cool enough to handle, unwrap them and peel the skin off from each pepper (it should come off very easily), then remove and discard the stem and seeds. Puree the roasted peppers in a food processor or blender with 1/4 cup of beef stock and reserve.

In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and add the flour. Cook flour and butter for about 1 minute then whisk in the remaining beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, cumin and pureed peppers. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To serve, slice the steak into slices 1/4 inch thick and arrange them on a plate with a helping of the mashed sweet potatoes and green onion green beans. Top everything off with some of the poblano gravy and enjoy.

Orange Chicken

For the marinade and sauce:

1 ½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 ½” pieces
¾ cup low sodium chicken broth
¾ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 ½ tsp. grated orange zest
8 thin strips orange peel (optional)
6 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup dark brown sugar
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water

For the marinade and sauce, place the chicken in a Ziploc bag; set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper; whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved. Measure out ¾ cup of the mixture and pour it into the bag with the chicken; press out as much air as possible and seal the bag, making sure that all pieces are coated with the marinade. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes, but no longer. Bring the remaining mixture in the saucepan to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and cold water; whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the orange peel (if using); set the sauce aside.

After the chicken is done marinating, saute in large sauce pan in some evoo, then add the sauce and toss. Serve warm with rice.

NOTES: This another recipe from Annie's Eats that I altered a little; we love it!

Strawberry Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup unsalted butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
¼ cup vanilla yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups chopped strawberries

For the frosting:

½ c. strawberries
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Sift flour, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Add buttermilk, yogurt and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped strawberries. Fill cupcake wells 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting, puree strawberries in food processor. Strain through a mesh sieve to remove seeds, and set aside. Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add lemon juice, vanilla and strawberry puree. Adjust the amount of puree to achieve your desired consistency. Frost cupcakes when completely cool.

NOTES: I adapted this recipe from Annie's Eats who adapted it from Good Things Catered. I've made them twice and we love them, especially the frosting. The cupcakes are pretty moist so when storing them, you may want to vent them a little.

Lasagna Soup

2 tsp. evoo
1 1/2 lbs. italian sausage
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
8 oz. fusili pasta
1/2 cup finely chopped basil
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 cup parmesan
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella

1. In large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and saute, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Drain any excess fat from the pot. Add the onions and saute until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and saute until the paste turns a rusty brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broth, and the bay leaves and bring the stoup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
2. Add the pasta, then increase the heat to medium-high heat and boil the soup until the pasta is tender to the bite, following the time recommendations on the pasta package. Discard the bay leaves, then stir in the basil. If desired season with salt and black pepper to taste.
3. In small bowl, combine the ricotta, the parmesan, the 1/4 tsp. salt and the pinch of pepper. To serve, place about 1 1/2 Tbsp. of ricotta mixture in each bowl, sprinkle with some of the mozzarella and ladle the soup on top. Makes about 13 cups.

NOTES: I got this recipe from Family Fun magazine and we really loved the soup. Even days later, it was still great!
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