Tag Archives: Comfort Food

American Black Bean Chili with IPA Beer

Black_Bean_Chili (1 of 1)Chili is a popular go-to comfort food in this household, especially when the snow is as deep as f#$^%$! and the temperature is constantly below f*^%k!. I have many recipes for chili, and this is a combination of the things I like the best about each. Additionally, I’ve added IPA (India Pale Ale Beer) and allspice, which I think help to create a fantastic depth of flavor for this version. I hope you’ll try it next time you are wanting comfort food!
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, very finely grated or minced
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 large green bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 – 5 dried Thai (or similar hot) chilies, cut with scissors into 1/8 pieces, seeds and all
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 28-oz whole peeled tomatoes, squeezed to a pulp in a bowl by hand
3 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 12-oz bottle beer (preferably IPA)
Sour cream for garnish
Grated white cheddar for garnish
Diced fresh tomato for garnish
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Tabasco sauce (optional) for garnish

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, beef and bell pepper. Cook for 8 minutes.

Stir in the next 8 ingredients (chili powder through ground black pepper) and cook 1 minute.

Stir in the beans, squeezed tomatoes and beer. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 1 hour. Remove lid and simmer an additional 30 minutes, or until chili has thickened. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning (I added an additional 2 1/2 tsp salt, which seemed good). Ladle into serving bowls, garnishing each with a dollop of sour cream, cheddar cheese, diced tomato, parsley and a few drops of Tabasco sauce. I like to serve with fresh, crusty bread.

Serves 6.

Pan-Cooked Chicken in a Fragrant Cumin-Carrot Sauce

Chicken_with_Carrots_and_Cumin2 (1 of 1)Last night, we felt like making something that you might see on a menu in a Parisian bistro, so I made this delicious (and apparently classic bistro) chicken dish. To me, it is a cross between Indian and Moroccan flavors, but I’m guessing the influence is mainly Moroccan for historical reasons. Anyway, all of that is good (love the ginger and lemon in it!). Paired this with a nice pinot gris, simple green beans and nice crusty fresh bread — it’s a wonderful little meal, and I hope you’ll try it tonight!

6 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 Tbsp peeled and finely grated ginger
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups chicken stock
2 tsp salt, divided
3/4 tsp ground black pepper, divided
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Fill a medium sauce pan 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 2/3 of the carrots, and bring back to a boil. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp of the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, and reduce heat to low. Sauté gently for 4 minutes. Add ginger and sauté another 1 minute. Add the remaining carrots and stir for 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice, chicken stock, cumin seeds, 1 tsp of the salt and 1/4 of the pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 6 minutes. Pour contents into a food processor and process until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Pour the carrot sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl (discarding any solids) and return to sauté pan. Stir in the reserved boiled carrots and the parsley, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to very low, cover and keep warm while you prepare the chicken.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Rub remaining 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper all over chicken breasts. Add chicken to pan and cook on one side for 8 minutes. Turn breasts over and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle. Transfer chicken to the carrot sauce and turn over a few times to coat. Place each chicken breast in a bowl and ladle the sauce over each. Garnish with additional chopped parsley, if desired. Serve with fresh bread.

Serves 4.

Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder with Thyme

Sweet_Potato_and_Corn_Chowder1 (1 of 1)This extremely tasty chowder warms the soul on a chilly autumn night. I enjoy any type of chowder (fish, clam, corn, you name it!), but I find this version particularly interesting because of its use of sweet potatoes, sherry and thyme, and the crème fraîche adds a delicious finishing touch. Long list of ingredients in this recipe, but it’s really easy to prepare — I hope you’ll try this chowder one night!

4 oz bacon, diced
2 Tbsp butter
2 leeks, trimmed, rinsed and finely chopped (white part only)
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, very finely grated or minced
2 – 3 medium red potatoes (tot. 1 lb), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large sweet potato (1 lb), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb frozen corn kernels
6 Tbsp dry white wine
3 Tbsp dry sherry
3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley, plus some additional for garnish
2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh, finely chopped)
3 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5 cups beef or vegetable stock
4 oz crème fraîche

Heat bacon in a small pan over medium-high heat. Cook until bacon is crisp and fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels. Reserve 1 tsp of the bacon fat.

Heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in the leeks, shallots, celery and reserved tsp of bacon fat. Sauté about 8 minutes, until leeks and shallots are translucent (and not burnt). Add the bay leaf, garlic, red potatoes, sweet potatoes and corn. Cook 8 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in the wine and sherry. Reduce heat and cook 5 minutes.

Stir in the parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover partially and simmer for about an hour, until the potatoes are soft, but not falling apart. Remove from heat. Stir in the crème fraîche and season with additional salt, if desired (I added another 1 tsp salt, which seemed about right). Pour into serving bowls, and garnish with chopped parsley and black pepper. I like to serve this dish with cornbread sticks.

Serves 6.

Chickpea and Pasta Soup with Sage and Rosemary

Chickpea_and_Pasta_Soup1 (1 of 1)Here’s another hearty and deliciously satisfying soup for fall. We’ve had a few nights of frost, but I still have some healthy sage and rosemary in the garden, as well as the other ingredients on hand in the pantry. I decided to make this comforting soup, and I have to say, it was wonderful. The fresh herbs and dash of nutmeg make it — I hope you’ll give this one a try!
4 oz very small pasta (I used ditalini)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large leeks, trimmed, sliced once lengthwise (white part only), then thinly sliced crosswise
1 large clove garlic, very finely grated or minced
6 cups beef or vegetable stock
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 ground black pepper
Dash of ground nutmeg (little less that 1/8 tsp)
1 16-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Cook pasta according to package instructions, minus two minutes of cooking time. Drain and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over low heat. Add leeks and garlic, and cook 10 minutes. Stir constantly so nothing burns. Add 1 cup of the stock and deglaze pan for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the stock, sage, rosemary, salt, pepper, nutmeg, pasta and chickpeas. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired (I added another 1/2 tsp salt). Serve with healthy amounts of parmesan cheese and crusty country bread. Garnish with parsley.

Serves 6.

Leek and Potato Soup with Pearl Barley and a Hint of Nutmeg

Potato_and_Leek_Soup1 (1 of 1)Here’s a hearty fall soup with German roots. It has two of my favorite ingredients:  leeks and nutmeg, which are key to this dish (well, so is the butter). The barley adds a very nice texture and flavor, as well. I’ve had this soup before where it is practically all white because of the broth that was used, but for this recipe, I prefer to use a dark, rich vegetable stock (I used Kitchen Basics). This soup is very easy to make, yet it is very flavorful — I tend to cook recipes with long ingredient lists, but I have to remind myself now and again that simple is elegant and often better! I hope you’ll give this dish a try!

8 cups vegetable stock
1 large leek, finely chopped (white part only)
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 lb red potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and cut into a 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or more)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add vegetable stock and stir in leek, salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in potatoes, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in barley. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 45 minutes. Stir often, so that the barley doesn’t stick to bottom of pot. Stir in butter, and season with additional salt, if desired (I added another 1 tsp salt, which seemed about right). Serve hot, garnishing with parsley and plenty of Parmesan. Fresh, crusty bread is a must with this soup.

Serves 4.

Korean-Style Braise of Chicken with Vegetables (Dakjjim 닭찜)

Dakjjim1 (1 of 1)I really enjoy dining at Korean restaurants — the whole experience (including the food, of course), is usually quite great. I also like to try my hand at cooking Korean in my own kitchen. Some of my favorites to make at home are bulgogi, bibim bap, dwaejigogi kimchijjigae, and the list goes on. Last night, I was in the mood for Korean comfort food, so I made dakjjim (braised chicken).  This version is spicy and delicious, and really satisfied my craving for Korean — I hope you’ll try it this weekend!

1 3-lb chicken, skin and fat removed, but bone intact, cut into 8 pieces
3 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 1/2 Tbsp rice wine (or mirin)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (I use Yukon Gold)
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium onions, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 Tbsp sesame seeds, ground to a paste in a mortar and pestle
2 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp gochujang chili paste (available in Asian markets)
3 Tbsp Korean chili powder (available in Asian markets)
2 Tbsp canola oil
4 cups water
3 green chilies, seeded and chopped
1 red chili, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tsp sesame seeds for garnish

Place potatoes and carrot in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for about 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, place chicken pieces, 1 tsp salt, ground black pepper and rice wine. Combine well, cover and place in refrigerator while potatoes and carrot soak.

In a small bowl, combine sesame see paste, soy sauce, gochujang paste and Korean chili powder. Set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large wok or similar pan over high heat. Add crushed garlic and stir for 10 seconds. Add chicken with its marinade. Cook until nicely browned, about 8 minutes. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon to paper towels and let stand.

Heat remaining oil in the wok over high heat. Add drained potatoes, carrot and onions. Stir-fry vegetables until slightly tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in water, remaining 2 tsp salt, gochujang mixture and chopped chilies. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high. Simmer until sauce has reduced by a third, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil. Pour into 4 serving bowls. Garnish with spring onions and sesame seeds. Serve with bowls of steamed white or brown rice.

Serves 4.

Savory Alsatian Tarte (Tarte Flambée)

Alxastian Tarte1 (1 of 1)While on a business trip this past summer to Frankfurt, I dined on some fantastic Alsatian tartes (Flammkuchen in German, tarte flambée in French). As the name suggests, this tarte has its origins in the Alsace region of France that borders Germany (and was part of Germany in past history), but they are very popular in Frankfurt, as well (and Montréal, where I tasted them for the first time several years ago). I have to say, the Frankfurter version is absolutely delicious, so I did my best to recreate it at home! Rustic and wonderful — here it is…I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think!

1 1/4-oz packet yeast
1 c warm water
4 oz bacon, finely diced
14 oz flour (weight)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 tsp salt, divided
7 oz crème fraîche
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
3 leeks, thinly sliced cross-wise (white part only)
2 oz grated Gruyère cheese
4 green onions, chopped

Preaheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pizza stone on the lowest level.

Stir yeast into warm water and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat bacon in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes (do not overdo it on the stove top, as bacon will cook further in the oven). Remove bacon to paper towels with a slotted spoon.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, water/yeast mixture, olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, tuning once to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, stir together crème fraîche, 1 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper and nutmeg.

Turn dough back onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a thin round piece, about 10 or so inches in diameter. Spread 1/4 of the crème fraîche mixture evenly onto each tarte. Repeat with the leeks and Gruyère.

Using a pizza peel, slide tartes onto hot pizza stone (I only had room to cook one at a time). Bake 10 – 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve.

Serves 4.

Indiana “Ham and Beans”

Ham_and_Beans1 (1 of 1) Fall begins tomorrow in this hemisphere, so it’s time to switch to hearty, comforting dishes. This dish is from the state of Indiana. It is so common there that everybody and their grandmother knows about it, loves it and makes it without following a recipe. My readers know that I’m always up for “comfort food,” and this  ranks as one of my favorites. So simple and delicious — I hope you’ll try this in the coming months or so! Also, if you’re not intending to cook it for a crowd, a half recipe turns out just as tasty.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
8 cups chicken stock
6 15.5-oz cans great northern beans
1 lb diced, smoked ham
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (optional RB)

Rinse and drain beans. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Sauté 8 minutes. Increase heat to high. Add chicken stock, beans, ham, salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until creamy and thick. Serve with cornbread and coleslaw.

Serves 8.

Beef and Leek Sauce with New Red Potatoes

Beef_leek_Sauce1 (1 of 1)Leeks are fantastic, but I typically cook with them only in winter. Not sure why. I think this sauce however, can be made year round — the large amount of leeks (and nutmeg, and gouda) are what make it! These are some of my favorite ingredients, all combined and cooked together to create this mouth-watering sauce. I served it here with boiled new red potatoes and some rye bread, but you can also serve it over pasta or mashed potatoes. Yum — try something new tonight (like this!)

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 leeks, halved length-wise, then thinly sliced cross-wise, white part only
1 large onion, diced
1 lb lean ground beef
5 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 c beef stock
1 c grated gouda cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once foam from butter subsides, add leeks and onion. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add beef to leek mixture. Stir to brown and break up meat, about 5 minutes. Add the next 6 ingredients (tomato paste through paprika). Stir 1 minute. Add beef stock. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in gouda cheese. Serve with dollop of sour cream and garnish with parsley.

Serves 4.

 

Veal Croquettes with Mushrooms (Verrückte Omas Merkwürdige Kalbfleisch-Frikadellen)

Veal_Croquettes1 (1 of 1)I had a bunch of ground veal left over from my last post, so I decided to make veal croquettes (my spin on Viennese Butterschnitzel). Croquettes are typically deep-fried in oil, but here I try to reduce the fat a bit by pan-frying the croquettes in a little oil and butter until crispy. I really like the depth of flavor provided by the lemon and nutmeg (I could add nutmeg to just about anything!). I served the croquettes with steamed asparagus and a fresh caprese salad, which I think went together well. This crazy dish is truly delicious — please try it next weekend and let me know what you think!

1/8 cup skim milk
1/8 cup crème fraîche
2 slices sandwich bread, coarsely torn into pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
1/2 ground black pepper, divided
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp finely grated, chopped lemon rind
2 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped chives
1 1/4 lbs ground veal
1/2 cup fine, unseasoned breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp butter
8 oz cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Whisk together milk and crème fraîche in a small bowl. Stir in bread pieces and let stand 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the bread-milk-crème fraîche mixture together with the egg, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, nutmeg, lemon rind, 1 Tbsp chives and veal. Mix with hand until ingredients are well-incorporated. Form into 4 4-inch patties. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Coat patties all over with the breadcrumbs and set aside.

Heat oil and butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Once foam from butter has subsided, gently place the patties in the skillet. cook patties until golden brown, turning once half way through, about 10 minutes in total. Remove patties (time to call them “croquettes”) from skillet to a warm plate and cover loosely with foil.

Add mushrooms, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 black pepper and 1 1/2 Tbsp chives to the skillet. Stir over high heat until mushrooms begin to release water, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer until browned, about 3 more minutes. Serve croquettes, topped with the mushrooms and parsley.

Serves 4.