Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cornbread-Chili Casserole

By Paul Briand

I thought this was a brilliant idea -- combining the staples of a chili dinner (chili and cornbread) into one dish.

I saw the recipe in the March 21 issue of Parade magazine in my Sunday newspaper and wanted to give it a try.

It was easy to create, though I think I used a slightly larger casserole dish than what was called for, which meant that my cornbread layer over the top was a little thin. But that actually turned out for the better since the cornbread complemented the chili as opposed to overpowering it.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds of ground chuck (I substituted turkey)
1 1/2 cups bottled salsa (I combined a mild with a medium hot)
One can of corn, drained (I substituted frozen corn)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional
1/4 cup of water
Cumin, chili powder and black pepper
One box of cornbread mix
1/3 cup milk for the cornbread
1 large egg for the cornbread

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and saute the union until soft;
2. Add meat and cook until no longer pink;
3. Discard fat then stir in the salsa, corn, water and cheese;
4. Season to taste with cumin, chili powder and pepper;
5. Pour the mix mixture into a large skillet (recipe recommends 7-by-11 inch) and smooth the top;
6. Prepare the cornbread according to the package instructions, and spread a layer over the chili;
7. Bake in an oven set at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, then let cool 10 minutes before serving.
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Guinness Corned Beef

By Paul Briand

I prepared this corned beef dish for St. Patrick's Day. At least that was the hope. The cooking time, given as two and a half hours in the recipe, was closer to three and a half hours. It was late, we were starved, and we pulled a frozen pizza from the refrigerator and had that as our Paddy Day traditional fare.

The recipe came from the Meat House, a regional butcher with a regular email newsletter that contains seasonal recipes. Guinness appeals to my wife Jane's inner Irish and what better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than with a traditional corned beef dinner.

Note: I skipped the turnips the recipe called for, simply because I hate turnips. I quartered the potatoes. And it needed a longer baking time than the two and a half hours.

It was a very tasty Day After St. Patrick's Day meal.

4 pounds corned beef
1 cup brown sugar
1 bottle Guinness Irish Stout
8 ounces of carrots cut into chunks
1 medium head of cabbage cut into wedges
8 small white onions
8 ounces of turnip cut into chunks
8-12 Yukon Gold potatoes

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees;
2. Rinse corned beef and pat dry;
3. Place corned beef on rack in large roasting pan or Dutch oven, and completely coat with Guinness then rub completely with brown sugar;
4. Cover and place in oven for two and a half hours (I found it was closer to three and a half);
5. During the last hour, add the vegetables to roasting pan or Dutch oven and cook until desired tenderness.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Pineapple

By Paul Briand

I know, I know. I've been doing a lot of chicken lately. I promise to move onto something else next week.

This particular chicken recipe comes from the Associated Press and I found the combination of the pineapple/orange juice with the jalapenos/cilantro pretty interesting ... kind of a fusion thing going on here.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
12-ounce package fresh pineapple chunks (1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer on a work surface and cover with plastic wrap. Using a heavy skillet or a rolling pin, pound them until flattened to about 1/2 inch thick;
2. In a shallow dish, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Dredge both sides of each breast in the seasoned flour;
3. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the oil and butter. Add the chicken breasts and cook until they are well browned on both sides and no longer pink at the center, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer them to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Do not clean the skillet;
4. While the chicken breasts are cooking, drain the juice from the pineapple into a measuring cup. Add enough orange juice to total 3/4 cup. Stir in the cornstarch, then set aside;
5. Return the skillet to the stove over medium-low. Add the drained pineapple and brown sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, until the pineapple begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chilies and garlic and stir until the garlic is beginning to color, 1 to 2 minutes;
6. Stir in the reserved juice. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until thickened and reduced slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, then serve, spooned over the chicken breasts.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chicken and Peppers in Vinegar Sauce

By Paul Briand

It's back to the reality of home cooking after a week in Florida eating some exquisite seafood. Grouper. Red snapper. Mahi-mahi. Swordfish. It was a delightful smorgasbord of fresh fish.

But coming home means coming back to eating at home and I found this week's recipe from Bobby Flay -- one of my favorites -- in a recent issue of Parade Magazine.

Some notes on this dish: I substituted the skinless chicken thighs in the original recipe with skinless chicken breasts. I halve the breasts before cooking them. Also, as with almost all the recipes I use, I didn't use the salt that was called for.

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, thinly sliced
1 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups low sodium chicken stock or broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parlsey

1. Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven over high heat until it simmers;
2. Pat the chicken dry, season with pepper, and cook in the heated oil, turning, until golden brown on both sides. Set chicken aside;
3. Add peppers and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about five minutes;
4. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute;
5. Add the vinegar and cook until reduced by half;
6. Add honey and broth, season with pepper and cook for five minutes;
7. Return the chicken and accumulated juices to the pot, reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot and cook until the chicken is tender, about 15 minutes;
8. Remove the chicken to a platter and cook sauce until slightly reduced, about five minutes;
9. Stir in parsley, pour sauce over chicken and serve.
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