What better way to enjoy Fat Tuesday (and think about what I’ll be giving up Wednesday) than with a big pot of jambalaya? This dish wouldn’t be complete without the addition of shrimp, chicken, Patak andouille and a sinus-cleansing dose of cayenne. Next time I make this, I’ll double the recipe — there was barely enough for the two of us to have leftovers for lunch!

A hearty pot of Jambalaya

Jambalaya

  • 1/2 lb. medium shrimp, chopped (You can buy it already cooked, or raw, and just throw it in)
  • 1 chicken breast, boiled and shredded
  • 2 links Andouille sausage, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Emeril’s Creole seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/2 chopped bell pepper,any color
  • 2 ribs chopped celery
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I use 3 Roma)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup white rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper

In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken, Andouille and Creole seasoning, and mix well. In a large saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning and you’re ready to serve! (Warning: this is a spicy dish, not for anyone that can’t handle heat.)

Beer me.

February 15, 2010

The Ingredients

If I was ever on that show The Best Thing I Ever Ate…Soup this recipe would be the best Beer Cheese Soup I’ve ever eaten.  Quite possibly the best soup, period.  I can’t wait to make this in football season.  (The Spicy Popcorn Garnish will really wow your soup eaters :0)  Thanks Emeril! 

Beer Cheese Soup with Spicy Popcorn Garnish

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 4 c. chicken stock
  • 2 c. pale ale (The #’s Ale I picked up at The Parish Market was delicious)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 c. sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 1 1/2 c. crumbled Stilton
  • salt and white peppar to taste

Heat butter in a pot.  Add parsnips, onion and celery and cook until tender, about 12 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Sprinkle flour over veggies and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly.  Gradually whisk in broth and beer.  Add bay leaves and cayenne.  Simmer, stirring often, for one hour until the soup cooks down.  Add heavy cream and cheeses (slowly) and stirring constantly.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot.  Garnish with Spicy Popcorn Garnish.

Spicy Popcorn Garnish

Heat oil in a pot and season with a pinch of cayenne.  Put one corn kernal in the pot at the oil heats.  Once it pops, add the remaining kernals.  Cover pot with lid as popcorn pops, about 2 minutes.  Toss popped corn in a bowl with remaining ingredients and serve atop soup. 

Beer Cheese Soup with Spicy Popcorn Garnish served in mini Le Crueset pots

I’ve never made shepherd’s pie before, but I keep seeing recipes for it pop up as a yummy winter dish.  So, on this Sunday evening I thought I’d give it a try (tweaking an Emeril recipe) and it was better than I anticipated (Jim ate three servings!)

Shepherd’s Pie:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 rib celery, sliced
  • handful of cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (I almost always double the garlic in recipes, this originally called for 2 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup beef broth (I throw water and beef bullion together, $ saver)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can of corn
  • 4 cups Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, optional

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

 Heat olive oil and butter in a pot.  Add onion through oregano and sauté on low for about 10 minutes.  Add minced garlic after 9 minutes have passed.  Once 10 minutes are up, add tomato paste and cook on low for another 8 minutes.  (Make sure you check every few minutes to keep from burning.)  Toss in ground beef through pepper and cook until meat is no longer pink – about 5 minutes. 

Veggies and meat w/ tomato paste (and a fun gadget)

Layer a baking dish with canned corn, then add meat/veggie mixture.  Top with Mashed Potatoes, sprinkle with parm and bake for 40 minutes.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. 

 Mashed Potatoes:

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled quartered
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 3/4 cup whole milk or whipping cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper

 Put potatoes in a pot and add water, filling to about an inch above potatoes.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt to water, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a small pot, heat milk and butter.  Once butter has melted, turn off heat and cover to keep warm (before adding to potatoes). Drain potatoes, put back in pot, add milk and butter concoction, parsley, pepper and remaining salt.  Beat with a hand mixer until smooth.

Everything layered and ready to go in the oven

That’s Shallotta Flavor!

January 8, 2010

 The acorn squash has recently become one of my favorites veggies.  I love the warm color and almost anything it’s served with (even just solo) is so comforting.  So I couldn’t resist making this Roasted Acorn Squash Soup when I saw Guy Fieri make it the other day on the Food Network.  The shallots really stand out in this soup and the pistachio crostinis are a suprising (and tasty!) touch.  This dish is the epitome of comfort food. 

Mmmmmmmmm...

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup with Pistachio Crostinis

  • 3 acorn squash
  • 6 shallots, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, in all
  • 4 cups chicken stock (I use bullion cubes and water)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sage, dry
  • 1 teaspoon savory
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • French bread
  • Pistachios, crushed

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the squash in half and remove seeds. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the squash, cut side up. To 3 of the squash halves, add a diced shallot and to the other 3 add 2 garlic cloves on each. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with 1 tablespoon each of the salt and freshly cracked pepper. Roast in the hot oven until very tender and starting to caramelize and collapse, approximately 1 hour. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the squash from the skin. Reserve the roasted shallots and garlic with the squash. Can be done ahead. 

In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat and when the butter is starting to foam, add the diced shallots and saute until they are starting to caramelize, about 5 to 6 minutes. Deglaze with 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the reserved squash, roasted shallots and garlic and then the remaining chicken stock. Stir to combine, then puree with a stick blender. The mixture will be very thick. Add in the cayenne, white pepper and the herbs. Stir in the cream and Worcestershire sauce and heat slowly over medium-low heat. When the mixture comes to a slow simmer, mix again with the stick blender and stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and turn heat to low. Serve with a fresh crack of black pepper, a nice drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a light sprinkle of remaining Parmesan. Ladle into soup bowls and serve. 

For an extra touch, toast slices of French bread.  Slather with butter and sprinkle with pistachios – toast for another minute or so until the butter melts.  Place one piece of toasted bread in the middle of each bowl of soup – delicious!

How to make a squash…blossom

December 29, 2009

This delicious side is the perfect accompaniment to any winter meal — and so simple!  

Acorn squash filled with flavor, before going in the oven

 

Roasted Acorn Squash 

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup OR brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice acorn squash in half and remove seeds.  Place each half on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Fill inside of squash with butter, raisins and syrup (split in between 2 halves), sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 1 hour – serve hot!

We enjoyed this comfort food on a cold, rainy night.  Jim claims this was the best meatloaf he’s ever had in his life.  You decide.

The final product: served with roasted veggies and potatoes

Sun-dried Tomato Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained (save the oil)
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Handful of button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup beef stock (made with 1 cup water and 1 bullion cube)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup of water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Put water on the stove to boil, add bullion once the water is boiling and take off heat.  Saute the onion, on low heat, in the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes until onions are clear, about 8 minutes. 

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, tomatoes, sautéed onions, egg, garlic, breadcrumbs and half of the sliced mushrooms (save the other half for the gravy).  Freeform the meat into a loaf in a roasting pan, then pour beef stock into the bottom of the pan.  Cook meatloaf for 1.5 hours, basting regularly.

Once meat is cooked, remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes.  Move meatloaf to a platter and put the roasting pan on the stove over medium, high heat.  Mix two tablespoons of flour with water, then whisk into juices in the roasting pan.  Add mushrooms and stir until the liquid starts to simmer.  Once simmering, add milk and stir until you have a rich gravy for your meatloaf!

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