Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chorizo-Tortilla Tortillas

By Paul Briand

Eggs for dinner, you bet. Especially when they’re part of a richly flavored, densely packed recipe like this one.

It comes courtesy of Rachael Ray. I saw her making it as I was doing a treadmill workout at the gym recently and couldn’t wait to go home, do the shopping, put it together and feast on it.

I liked the introduction of chorizo into the mix. Chorizo is a Portuguese-style pork sausage. It isn’t your typical Mexican dish meat filler of beef, chicken or pork, which is one reason I was attracted to the recipe.

Note: I toned down the heat on this by forgoing the chile pepper. I opted to garnish it on my plates with jalapenos and hot sauce.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 pound cured chorizo, casings discarded and meat chopped
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped, or 3 drained Spanish Piquillo peppers, chopped
1 red chile pepper, such as a Fresno, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
A handful cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 handfuls unsalted thin yellow or blue tortilla chips, lightly crushed
12 extra-large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups shredded young Manchego or Monterey jack cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a 10-inch, oven-proof non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat;
2. Add the chorizo and lightly brown, 2 to 3 minutes;
3. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, bell pepper, chile pepper, salt and pepper; cook for 5 minutes;
4. Scatter in the cilantro (or parsley) and tortilla chips;
5. Add the eggs and season with salt and pepper;
6. Stir to combine; let the eggs settle, then cook until set at the edges (some of the tortilla chips will pop up);
7. Transfer the tortilla to the oven and bake until cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes;
8. Turn the oven to broil. Top the tortilla with the cheese and melt under the broiler.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Creamy Mushroom Skillet Chicken

By Paul Briand

I appreciate the fact that you can make a mushroom-based sauce for a chicken dish using a good old Campbell’s soup recipe, especially now that the company is introducing low-salt soups into its line.

I had good success with Southwest White Chicken Chili using a Campbell recipe.

But sometimes it’s just good to create your own creamy mushroom sauce for pan-fried chicken, and I found this recipe recently while combing through my news feeds from the Associated Press.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
8-ounces sliced white button mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 pounds chicken (breasts, legs, thighs or mix)
2 cups chicken broth
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cool water
2/3 cup low- or no-fat sour cream

1. In large skillet over medium-high, heat the olive oil, and add the onion, mushrooms and garlic, saute for 4 minutes;
2. Add chicken, turning to brown evenly, four 4 minutes. Be mindful to stir the vegetables as well;
3. Add chicken broth and thyme, bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer. Partially cover and cook for 12 - 15 minutes or until the chicken pieces are cooked through;
4. Remove chicken and set aside. Cover with foil to keep warm;
5. Return skillet heat to medium. Mix cornstarch and water in small glass, and add to the skillet, stirring constantly until mixture thickens;
6. Remove skillet from heat and add sour cream. Season with pepper;
7. Serve chicken over rice or pasta. Spoon creamy mushroom sauce over it.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kelsey’s Irish Stew

By Paul Briand

An Irish stew without potatoes is not the oxymoron you might think.

We associate Irish food with potatoes, indeed, but this Irish stew recipe -- created in honor of stepdaughter Kelsey Murphy’s birthday this week -- has no potato.

Jane -- my wife and Kelsey’s mom -- and I went searching for an Irish stew made with Guinness Stout, and many of the recipes we found don’t have potato. Kelsey’s Irish Stew is an amalgamation of the best of what we found.

We served it at a combination Kelsey’s birthday party/St. Patrick’s Day party and doubled this recipe -- cooking two stews in two big pots -- so that we could feed a dozen revelers. And yes there was potato: Twice baked potatoes filled with garlic smashed potatoes served as a side.

6 tablespoons oil
Black pepper
All-purpose flour for dredging
3 pounds stew beef
6 gloves garlic minced
1 onion chopped
1 cup cut carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 package sliced mushrooms
1 can (14.9 ounces) Guinness Stout
1 can tomato paste
24 ounces of beef broth (no salt or low salt preferred)
Parsley, thyme, rosemary

1. In a large storage Zip-lock type bag, add three cups of flour and season with a generous amount of black pepper. Add the stew beef and work the bag in the meat to fully dredge each piece with flour;
2. In a large Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium high heat and brown the beef, stirring occasionally until all pieces and all sides are browned. Remove and set aside;
3. Add the remaining oil then add the onion, garlic, celery and mushroom. Saute until onion becomes limp, 3 to 5 minutes;
4. Stir in the tomato paste and then add the Guinness, stirring as you pour. Make sure you are stirring to de-glaze the bottom of the pot of all the beef bits;
5. Add a palmful each of the parsley, thyme and rosemary and thoroughly stir;
6. Add the beef back to the pot;
7. Stir in the beef broth to fully cover the mixture;
8. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 90 minutes and serve.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tomato and Thyme Haddock

By Paul Briand

I’ll go anywhere in search of a good recipe for preparing at home. I traveled recently to England -- OK, more like the British Broadcasting Service and its BBC Good Food web site.

This recipe originally called for cod, but I used haddock instead. And I doubled the recipe since something this good deserved to get on our dinner table at least twice this week.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 14-ounce cans of chopped tomatoes (opt for low salt or no salt added)
1 heaped teaspoon of soft brown sugar
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped (1 tablespoon if you have to use prepared thyme from your spice rack)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (again, opt for the low salt)
2 pounds haddock

1. Heat the oil in a medium large skillet over medium high heat;
2. Add and saute until lightly browned;
3. Stir in the tomatoes, brown sugar, thyme and soy, then bring to a boil;
4. Add the fish into the sauce, making sure some of the tomato mixture gets onto the top of the fish;
5. Cover and cook on medium low until the fish flakes easily, about 8 to 10 minutes.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Creamy Chicken Florentine

By Paul Briand

Do you ever pay attention to the coupons the register at the grocery store spits out along with your receipt?

Normally, I don’t. They seem like so much litter to me because the coupons are for items I don’t normally buy.

But lately my litter stream has included recipes.

In one case, there was a recipe for Bacon Broccoli Salad.

In another case, there was this recipe for Creamy Chicken Florentine. In this instance the recipe was included with a dollar off coupon for Philadelphia cooking creme, which is part of the ingredients.

I gave it a try and was glad I did: Quick, easy, good.

3 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
½ cup red pepper, cut into strips
1 six-ounce package baby spinach leaves
1 tub (10 ounces) Philadelphia Savory Garlic Cooking Creme
2 cups hot cooked penne pasta
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

1. In a large skillet over medium high heat the olive oil and cook the chicken and peppers until chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes;
2. Add spinach, cook until wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes;
3. Add cooking creme, stir and heat through;
4. Stir in pasta;
5. Top with nuts and serve.

I used toasted slivered almonds instead of pine nuts because that’s what I had in my cupboard.

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