Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Golden Chili with Caramelized Onion and Sausage

By Paul Briand

A chili recipe won the comfort food recipe contest that I entered a couple of weeks back.

The winner -- Golden Chili with Caramelized Onion and Sausage -- came from Jessica in Columbus, Ohio, who has her own recipe blog called Sweet Peas and Pumpkins.

The contest featured more than 150 recipes, including my Mac & Cheese with Bacon and Scallops. It didn't make the cut of the 27 finalists.

What's interesting was the interpretation of just what is comfort food. According to Marx Foods, the most popular submission was macaroni and cheese recipes followed by soups, desserts, vegetable side dishes, stew, chicken pot pie and chicken recipes.

Jessica's chili recipe was followed in second by a recipe for Dungeness Crab-a-Roni and Cheese; third was a Creamy Tomato Basil Soup recipe.

Here's the winner:

2 onions, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 jalapeños, deseeded and minced
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder (regular is fine too)
2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1 1/4 pounds (one package) of Turkey Italian Sausage
2 cups of chicken broth
2 - 15 ounce cans chickpeas
1 -15 ounce can pinto beans
1 - 15 ounce can creamed corn

1. In a large stock pot, heat the oil to medium heat and add the onion,
2. Cook until caramelized, about 10 minutes,
3. Add the garlic, jalapeño, cumin, chili powder and oregano, cook for another 2-3 minutes,
4. Add the sausage, breaking it up with the spoon into small pieces (make sure you remove the casing first to make this easier),
5. Once the sausage is browned and no longer pink inside, deglaze the pan (basically, just pour the broth into the hot pan) and scrape the pan to get all those yummy bits off the bottom,
6. Add 1 can of the chickpeas and the pinto beans,
7. In a blender, puree the second can of chickpeas and creamed corn (this gives the chili a better consistency and adds two 'hidden' vegetables to the chili),
8. Add the mixture to the chili,
9. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the chili is the desired consistency,
10. If it gets too thick, just add some chicken broth or even a beer to thin it out,
11. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream and green onion.
Jessica says on her blog that she set out one day to cook a white chili and after some experimenting ended up with the one she described as golden ... appropriate.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cashew Orange Spice Chicken

By Paul Briand

In addition to my blogging duties here at Eats@Home and at Boomer Angst, I post regularly for as its national Baby Boomer Examiner.

Basically, I write each day about any and all issues relating to Baby Boomers, that vast generation of 79 million people born between 1946 and 1964.

Today, I wrote about how Baby Boomers, because they are losing their sense of smell and taste, are fueling the need for spicier, hotter food. They need the spice and heat to compensate for what their senses are telling them is bland food.

In my research I came across a recipe web site that is aptly named:

And I found a recipe, courtesy of Fiery-Foods, for Cashew Orange Spice Chicken that I wanted to pass along:

Half cup orange juice, fresh preferred
2 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 teaspoon crushed Sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tablespoons chili oil, either Asian or habanero
6 small dried red chilies, such as japonese or pequin
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup cashews, either pieces or halves
3 green onions, chopped including the tops

1. Combine the orange juice, rice wine, soy sauce, orange zest, Sichuan peppercorns, and peanut oil in a nonreactive bowl,
2. Toss the chicken in the mixture and marinate for one hour,
3. Remove, drain, and reserve the marinade,
4. Heat the chili oil in a wok or heavy pan to about 350 degrees,
5. Add the chilis and saute for a minute,
6. Add the ginger and stir-fry for an additional minute,
7. Add the chicken and stir-fry until done. Remove and keep warm,
8. Add the marinade to the wok or pan and heat until boiling,
9. Slowly stir in enough of the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce,
10. Return the chicken to the wok and heat thoroughly,
11. Pour the chicken over the rice, garnish with the cashews and onion.

A few words of caution: Note that this recipe calls for peanut oil. Also, this gets a heat level of 5 out of 5 from, making it very hot and spicy. That's because the pequin peppers are very hot, up to eight times hotter than jalapeños on the Scoville scale. You've been forewarned.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Orzo Salad

Speaking of feeding an army ...

My very large family of brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews (especially on my mother's side), gather every two years at West Point, N.Y., for the Air Force at Army football game. My late Dad retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel, so my side of the family cheers for the Falcons. But my mom's family is largely Army affiliated, so they cheer for the Black Knights.

But we combine forces every two years for a reunion weekend that includes some and Air Force - Army traditions and, of course, a tailgate party. My sister Margaret this year brought an Orzo Salad that was a big hit.

Quarter cup red vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
Half cup olive oil
6 cups chicken broth
1 pound orzo
2 cups red and/or yellow grape or teardrop tomatoes, halved
7 oz. feta cheese cut into small cubes
1 cup chopped basil
1 cup chopped green onions

1) Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and honey
2) Gradually whisk in the olive oil
3) Season with salt and pepper
4) Cover and refrigerate (can be made up to 2 days ahead)
5)Bring broth to a boil and stir in orzo
6) Reduce heat to medium, cover partially and boil until tender but firm to the bite
7) Drain orzo, transfer to a bowl and toss to cool.
8)Mix in tomatoes, feta, basil and green onions
9) Mix in dressing
10) Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Margaret advises you can also add a half cup toasted pine nuts at the last minute if you’d like, but not for a crowd of people if she doesn't know who might or might not have allergies.
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Recipe contest

A national food distributor is having a comfort food recipe contest.

The deadline for entries is Nov. 17.

The prize is $250 worth of food from out of Seattle, Wash., the contest sponsor.

So far as of this writing there are 33 entrants, including comfort food recipes for smoked salmon chowder, chicken paprikash, lasagne, and tortilla soup. I tossed in my recipe for Mac and Cheese with Scallops and Bacon.

Recipes are due by midnight on Nov. 17. MarxFoods will select finalists, then the recipes will be voted on by its readers and customers in a poll running from Wednesday, Nov. 19 through Friday, Nov. 23.

In addition to the $250 gift certificate, the winner will receive a set of biodegradable plates.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Church Supper Pot Pies

The term "enough to feed a small army" doesn't normally apply to families eating at home, unless, of course, you were part of my family that had my mom and dad putting food on the table for eight children. But there are times when you do indeed need enough food to feed a small army.

My focus in this regard is at church, which is located in a university town and which each Sunday during the academic year hosts a community supper for students. It is a challenge for the volunteer organizers to create something that is filling, nutritious and meets the needs of vegetarians in the crowd.

The lasagna recipe, for example, which is designed to serve 50, comes with meat and meatless. There is a chicken pot pie for 50 and a vegetable-bean pot pie for 15.

Let's focus on the pot pies.

Chicken Pot Pie

5 packages frozen mixed vegetables
4 large cans cream of chicken soup
3 soup cans of milk
15 pounds chicken, cut in small pieces
2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
Salt, celery salt and pepper to taste
2 boxes Bisquick (10 cups)
3 1/2 cups milk

1) Cut chicken into small pieces
2) Put chicken in pot of water with salt, pepper and celery salt and boil for about 15 minutes
3) Saute mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter until tender
4) Divide all ingredients in half
5) Pour into two 12-by-18-by-2 inch pans
6) Put half of the vegetables on top of mushrooms in each pan
7) Cover each half with the chicken
8) Mix soup and milk together in a bowl and pour over chicken mixture
9) Prepare Bisquick topping by following directions on box, drop by spoonfuls on top of chicken mixture
10) Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Vegetable Bean Pot Pie

1 1/2 packages frozen mixed vegetables
1 large can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 pounds mushrooms, sliced
2 one-pound cans kidney beans, rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 soup can of milk

Follow directions as above, substituting the beans for the chicken. Top with Bisquick topping. Cook in 9-by-13 inch pan.
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