Posts tagged “Onion

Chili con carne… possibly the best you’ll ever have!

Clearly this is not for the vegetarians among you.  If you are one, perhaps now is the time to go look at something else

Are you still with me?  Good, now, lets talk about meaty chili goodness!

I know most of you probably make chili using ground beef or turkey, but we won’t be doing that. What I used might make this the most expensive pot of chili you have ever made.   What I used is a piece of beef called the chain.  The chain is a strip of meat that is located next to the tenderloin.  It is pretty similar as far as tenderness and flavor, but because it is wrapped in fat and connective tissue it is rarely eaten except as ground beef. You can’t buy chains* in the store so I would suggest a chuck roast, and cut it into cubes.  Since you will be simmering this for a while you will end up with nice tender meat by the time the chili is ready.

This wasn’t originally going to be chili.  I’m not sure what I was making, exactly, but I had a few ideas in mind.  As I gathered ingredients it sort of became obvious that it was, in fact, chili.

2# beef chuck cut into cubes

1 TBSP achiote paste

1 TBSP canola oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 large onion diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 large poblano, diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

25 oz can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 quarts chicken stock

2 cups cooked black beans

salt and pepper to taste

ground cumin, corriander, dry oregano to taste

3 bay leaves

ancho chili powder to taste

The first step is to get the meat marinating.  Combine the achiote, oil, salt and pepper, and mix them into a smooth paste.   Add your cubed meat.  I used the cryovac machine at work to seal this up, and left it in the fridge overnight.  Obviously a ziplock bag would do almost as well. At this point you should also cook your beans. Drain them and cool them in the fridge.

When you are ready to cook, gather all of your ingredients.  We are going to start with the meat.  Heat some vegetable oil in a large pot, and add the meat.  Lightly brown the meat, and add the onions, peppers and garlic, and a little salt.  Cook until the vegetables have softened, and then add the tomatoes and stock. Bring up to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and season to taste with salt, pepper, ancho powder, bay leaves, coriander, cumin,  and oregano.  Allow your chili to simmer, and add the beans after an hour or so.  Taste it after a while and adjust the seasonings if you need to.  If it is to acidic you can add a little bit of honey.  That will help balance things out. Give it a couple of hours to simmer, and enjoy. This is not going to be a spicy chili, but it is tasty!  If you like it spicy there are lots of possibilities, for instance chipotle peppers would be nice in place of the ancho chilies while still giving you a nice smoky flavor.

This chili was a huge hit at work, and I think it will be for you as well. There are plenty of things you can tweak, but this should get you started.  Enjoy it!  I know I did!

*In the course of day to day prep at work we do some butchering, and end up with scraps that are perfectly edible. The chain falls into that category. The only way to get chains is to buy beef tenderloin PSMO (peeled, silver skin, side meet on or pismo).  To make this chili you would probably need three chains.  Of course if you like filet mignon or chateaubriand this will save you quite a bit of money.  The less processed the meat the less expensive it tends to be.  The last time I went to the store pismos were $19.99/pound, and filet mignon were $23.99. Breaking down PSMO’s takes a bit of practice, and time.  It is certainly something you can do, but you do need a sharp knife, and the time to do it.


Cod Basquaise

If you haven’t noticed yet, I am a fan of Eric Ripert. Amy and I picked up a Roku for streaming movies and whatever else not too long ago, and on one of the channels I found his show Avec Eric.  I had seen an episode or two of the show before, but now I can watch to my heart’s content.  I started with an episode kind of at random, and saw a dish that sounded fantastic. It ended up being somewhat similar to the Poulet Basquaise that I made a while back, and still make from time to time.  There were, of course, some significant differences as well.  Some of the things went against the ideas I had about wine and food. I figured that Eric Ripert knows what he is doing, and I would go along with what he said. In this case red wine and fish together? Yes, yes indeed!

I frequently don’t follow recipes exactly. I do if it is something I am not familiar with, but if I have a fair idea of where things are headed I tend to fudge amounts, but follow the method and actual ingredients. Doing this also makes it very easy for me at least to adjust quantities to fit the number of people eating, so that I don’t have half a bell pepper laying around when I’m done cooking.

The recipe I had goes like this:

3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup finely diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup small diced Serrano ham
½ cup small diced red bell
½ cups small diced yellow bell
1 cup tomato, peeled, seeded
and diced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh
thyme leaves
½ cup red wine
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
– fine sea salt and freshly
ground pepper
– Espelette pepper or cayenne

That is not exactly what I did of course. Mine ended up more like:

olive oil

1 medium onion diced medium fine

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 red bell pepper medium fine dice

1 orange bell pepper medium fine dice

4 roma tomatoes seeded, medium fine dice

1 TBSP thyme

red wine (I didn’t measure, it might have ended up a cup)

Parsley, fresh chopped

salt and pepper

cayenne pepper

canola oil

cod fillets

salt and white pepper

fresh thyme sprigs

2 cloves of garlic, halved

Got everything ready to go?  Ok, in a medium skillet heat the olive oil.  Then add the onions and garlic to the pan, and cook over medium heat until clear.  Add the bell peppers, and cook until nearly tender and add the tomato and thyme.  Cook until the tomatoes are almost tender and add the wine.  Bring it to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Simmer to reduce (don’t forget to stir from time to time) to almost a jam consistency, and stir in the parsley.

Now we can tackle the cod… Season it on both sides with salt, white pepper and cayenne.  Heat a skillet, and add the canola oil.  Start with the skin side up and sear the cod. Put in the garlic and thyme sprigs in the pan with the fish.  Now, here is a place where this can go wrong.  Once you put the fish in the pan DO NOT touch it! The fish will be stuck, and if you try to force it you’ll just make a mess.  Leave it alone for a couple of minutes, with the heat on medium. Gently poke the fish, and if it scoots a little you can flip it. Be gentle with it.  Flipping things too quickly can get you burned pretty easily. I know it is a bit counter-intuitive, but go slowly.  Move the garlic and thyme, and get your spatula under a piece of fish, then hold it on the spatula as you flip it over, and place the garlic and thyme on top of the fish.  Continue cooking over medium heat until the fish is cooked through. To test this take a metal skewer and insert it into the thickest part of the fish, and leave it there for about 5 seconds.  When you pull it out it should feel warm when you touch it to your lip.

To plate this up I put some of the sauce on the plate, and place the fish on top.  We decided to have some roasted potatoes with dinner that evening.  This was an amazing dinner, and I can’t wait to make it again!

Chicken Tamale Pie!

Ok, so this dinner has its genesis in a couple of places.  The first was a truly disappointing tamale pie I had from a well known manufacturer of organic foods.  I don’t have a big problem with the fact that it was vegan, but it didn’t taste like anything at all.  I really liked the idea, but the execution didn’t do anything for me.  Then, I had some leftover chicken.  I had cut up a chicken to make dinner a couple of nights ago, and we only ate the breasts.  This left wings, thighs, and legs to use.  Amy doesn’t care for them much, so they needed to be handled in a way that would make it less obvious what we were eating.  The truth is this would be a great way to use up leftover beans, and rice as well as chicken.  On the other hand since I was cooking the chicken, beans and rice I could season everything exactly the way I wanted it for this dish.  I guess what you do will depend on what you have laying around, and what state it is in.

1/2 cup dry black beans soaked over night

2 cloves garlic minced

1/2 large onion finely diced

2 chicken leg quarters, cut into leg and thigh

salt and pepper



1/2 cup rice (uncooked)

1/2 large onion finely diced (yes, the other half!)

2 cloves garlic

1 poblano pepper finely diced

1 red bell pepper finely diced

1 can enchilada sauce (I used Old El Paso. They have a very strict policy on labeling for gluten containing ingredients)

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free corn bread mix

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup canola oil or melted butter

Obviously you should soak your beans ahead of time to cut down on the cooking time.  Combine the first half of the onion and garlic with the black beans and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, and simmer for 30-45 minutes, until tender.  Just fish one out and try it.  If it is not tender give it a little longer.

While the beans are cooking, preheat the oven to 350F.  Season the chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, ground cumin, and paprika, and bake until cooked through. Allow the chicken to cool a bit, and pull the meat off the bone, and chop into small pieces.

Cook your rice. This is a fairly easy step, I just made some plain white rice for this.

In a large skillet sweat the second half of the onions and garlic until tender, add a little salt to draw out moisture, and help move this along.  Then add the poblano and bell peppers, and sweat until they are tender.  Add the chicken, beans, rice and enchilada sauce, and bring the mix up to a boil, and then simmer for a few minutes. Stir frequently.  Pour this mixture into a 13×9 inch pan. Turn the oven up to 375F.



Prepare the cornbread mix according to the directions on the package, and then spread on top of the chicken and bean mixture.  Try to spread it as thinly and evenly as possible.  Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until the cornbread is golden brown on top and the filling of the pie is bubbling, and hot.


I ate mine topped with a bit of shredded cheddar cheese, and a nice gluten-free beer!  It was a great dinner, and the kind of thing that is even better the next day!

Now of course if you wanted to make this vegetarian you could just leave out the chicken, there is protein already with the beans, and you could even add some squash and zucchini or whatever other veggies you wanted to. This kind of dish gives you lots of options to make things your own. Hope you enjoy it!

Udi’s Sandwich Contest Entry

Udi’s Gluten-Free Foods is having a contest.  The contest is to come up with a really great sandwich.  I entered it, and this post is about what I made.  I like my entry quite a bit, and I hope you guys will enjoy it, and head over to their website and cast a vote for me! Please?

I made a roasted pork sandwich with a pear onion relish, and swiss cheese.

First thing, I roasted a pork tenderloin.  I seasoned it with salt, pepper and herbes de provence.  It took about 30 minutes at 425F.  Then let it rest.To make the relish finely dice a small onion, and a medium sized pear.  Then sweat in a skillet until the onion softens, add a tablespoon of brown sugar. Allow the brown sugar to dissolve, and then season with 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  Deglaze the pan with a 1/4 cup of cider vinegar, and reduce to a syrup.Put that aside.  Once the pork has had a little time to rest slice thinly.  Next spread grainy mustard on the pieces of bread.  Lay the sliced pork on one side, put a spoonful of the relish, top with swiss cheese, and the next piece of bread.  From there its a pretty simple operation.  Treat it kind of like a grilled cheese sandwich.  Butter on the outsides, and into a hot skillet.  Brown the first side, and flip.  Brown on the second side.  If the cheese isn’t melted pop it in the oven for a minute when you flip it.  When you’re done with it, it should look like this.


I hope you guys like this. I’d appreciate it if you guys voted for my entry.  I’m not really sure if votes help, but I figure it can’t hurt to get votes.  Thanks in advance!

Soup IS good food!

I spend a lot of time thinking about soup.  Its not so much that I eat soup all the time, or have some unnatural fascination with the stuff.  It is more that soup is one of my biggest tasks at work, and that I try to have a wide variety of soups through the week.  Things get repeated because they work well. (In this case “work well” can have a few meanings, durable, taste good, easy and quick to put together would be chief among the meanings.)  At work I pretty much have free rein to do what I want, and generally nobody has a problem with that.  There have been a few missteps along the way though.   I have really grown to enjoy soup, both eating and making it.  Up to the point where I had to actually make soup I never really got it, but that is probably because most of my experience was with canned soups.

Now that it is colder I am starting to think about heartier soups.  I love potato soups!  There is so much room to vary them, and although potatoes taste great they kind of work as a blank canvas in soups.  Generally these are pureed soups, but I have made soups that are not.  The trick to a lot of my soup making is leftovers. When there are little scraps of food that don’t really have a purpose they tend to end up on one of my shelves in the walk-in.  That is where I keep soups, scraps, and items that I need for my station.  Today I’ll talk about one of my favorites.  I like to call it baked potato soup!  There is no actual recipe as such, it is just a general idea.  This is NOT the delicate pure white potato soup that you generally see, it is certainly not vichyssoise (although I really do enjoy vichyssoise.), and it is better than anything Campbell’s has ever put in a can!

Give this a try sometime.  I’m not going to give you quantities because I just don’t have them, and if I told you what I do at work you’d end up with more soup than you could possible eat!

oil or butter

leftover roasted potatoes (I end up with red skinned potatoes, but I am pretty sure you could use whatever you have.)

onion, diced

cooked bacon, diced (less than the onion, it’s just there to give you a nice flavor)

liquid (chicken stock, veggie stock, water – clear-ish is what you want, tasty would be nice too)

a bay leaf or two

heavy cream

shredded cheddar cheese

salt and pepper

That’s all that goes in the soup.  You’re going to need a way to puree this one.  A blender or food processor will be your best bet here.  First heat your pot and add the oil or butter, and get that hot.  The add the bacon and onions, add a little salt too, sweat this until the onions start turning clear.  Dump in your roasted potatoes.  I like to kind of mix things around, although I don’t really have any idea if it does anything in this case!  Add your liquid and bay leaves.  My only advice here is to just cover everything.  Make sure all the potatoes are in the water (or whatever), but you don’t have tons of extra liquid.  I’ll try to level them out and then add the liquid.  Bring this up to a boil, and then turn the heat down and simmer until the potatoes are nice and tender.  They don’t have to be mush, just tender.

Once you’ve got your potatoes tender, your going to need to strain this.  Obviously, keep the liquid.  Spoon the potatoes, onions and bacon into your food processor.  Skip the bay leaves though, and either toss them in the trash or add them back to the pot.  Puree the potato mixture until smooth working batches. (Make sure you have the lid on whatever you are using tightly, you do NOT want to wear potato puree!)  Return the potatoes to the pot, and add the liquid back, and stir.  Return the soup to a boil, and back to a simmer.  Add your cream, again, no real guide here, I just stir it in until I like how it looks, and I can taste it.  Cheese I just put some in, and taste for it.  You’re not going to need a huge amount.  Adjust everything with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

The great thing about soups like this is that they have nice body, and don’t need any kind of thickening, because the potatoes do that for you.  So, gluten-free, thick, tasty, hearty, warming soup for a cold day!