Habanero Turkey Chili with Honey Buttermilk Cornbread

 

Habanero Turkey Chili

It’s been a long, lonnnng time since I’ve posted to this blog, but I’m happy to be back with new recipes (the result of lots of summer cooking and baking!) this week. Hopefully this post kick starts my lazy blogging bum into gear, and I’ll be back with more recipes in the weeks and months to come!

This spicy homemade chili has been a family favorite for years. Adapted from the recipe for Boilermaker Tailgate Chili on AllRecipes.com, it’s also been my go-to meal for the happy occasions this summer that we’ve welcomed family and friends to our home in southern Germany. Despite the rather intimidating number of ingredients listed, this chili couldn’t be easier to prepare for a large group of weary, jet-lagged world travelers desperately in need of a protein boost. And if the protein doesn’t wake them up, the flavor surely will – this chili is spicy with a capital S. I personally like to take my spice level to the brink of hospitalization, but feel free to tinker with the amount of chili powder added if pepper-induced sobbing just isn’t your jam. (I recommend 2 tablespoons instead of 1/4 cup for those with less heat tolerance.)

And finally, let’s talk about cornbread. I LOVE cornbread. I’ve tried every conceivable type of cornbread known to man or woman, and this recipe is HANDS DOWN the best. It has the rare combination of perfect flavor (not too sweet, not too bland) and perfect consistency (not too cake-like, not too dry). I can’t imagine a better accompaniment to this spicy chili. Enjoy!

 

HABANERO TURKEY CHILI WITH HONEY BUTTERMILK CORNBREAD

Yield | 12 servings

For the chili:

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans chili beans in sauce
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 habanero peppers, seeded + minced
  • 4 cubes beef (or chicken) bouillon
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2-1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, to serve

For the cornbread:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 fresh eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt

 

To make the chili:

  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground turkey and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.
  2.  Pour in the chili beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the onion, habanero peppers, bouillon, and beer. Season with chili powder and remaining ingredients (through sugar). Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Remove from heat and serve, topped with shredded cheddar cheese (or refrigerate and serve the next day).

To make the cornbread:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
  2. Melt butter and honey in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
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Hungarian Gulyás (Goulash)

Hungarian Goulash

Oh baby, it’s cold outside!

2016 is off to a very chilly start in southern Germany – the perfect excuse to snuggle up in front of the fireplace, to wear cozy slippers all weekend long AND to dig deep in my recipe box for new and delicious soups and stews. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for traditional Hungarian gulyás since the beginning of the month, when my husband and I shared fond memories of a brilliant culinary holiday in Budapest for New Year’s Day 2012. The experience had been a first for both of us – his first goulash ever, and my first that wasn’t made with the loving hands of my adorable Polish grandmother. My husband polished off three bowls in one sitting on our first night in Pest, then continued to enjoy it everywhere we went in Hungary’s capital for the rest of our holiday. I hadn’t made it since, but this past weekend – snowy and well below freezing – seemed like the perfect opportunity to walk down a delectable memory lane.

Gulyás (goulash) – a soup or stew made of meat or vegetables, seasoned with paprika and a variety of other spices – is the type of recipe that exists on a very wide taste spectrum. In other words, I’ve never run across a goulash that contains the exact same ingredients in the exact same quantity as another. While sweet, high quality Hungarian paprika is essential, and other additions – onion, garlic, caraway seeds, and bell peppers – are fairly standard, the contents can otherwise be tailored to an individual palate. I tossed in some of my husband’s favorites – tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, beef cheeks and red bell peppers – but encourage you to use the flavors and textures you enjoy. Serve with csipetke (small, pinched egg noodles, also known as spätzle in Germany) or a thick, crusty loaf of bread on your next chilly winter’s day – you won’t regret it!

 

HUNGARIAN GULYAS (GOULASH)

Yields | 4 to 6 servings

Inspiration | The Daring Gourmet

  • 3 tbsp pork lard
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup high quality, sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1½ pounds beef (see note), cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and membranes removed, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and membranes removed, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 2 fresh carrots, diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve (optional)

 

  1. Melt the lard in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and cook until slightly browned, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the paprika. Add the beef and garlic, return to the heat, and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until the beef is no longer pink.
  2. Add the bell peppers and cook for another 7 to 8 minutes. Add the carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, beef broth, bay leaf, caraway seeds, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 40 minutes (see note). Add salt to taste.
  3. Transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle with chopped flat-leaf parsley, if desired. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt, csipetke or thick, crusty bread.

Note: If you’re using a tougher cut of beef, cook the beef first, without the carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers, for 30-45 minutes, then add the vegetables and cook for another 40 minutes, until the beef is tender.

Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana

 

While most people lament the arrival of cooler temps in the waning days of summer and early days of fall, I couldn’t WAIT to unearth and dust off my collection of soup recipes this week. After three wonderful – but very hot – years in southern California, Germany’s crisp mornings, drippy afternoons, and windy evenings are utter perfection in my book. Soup weather, how I’ve missed thee!

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for Zuppa Toscana F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Oh my goodness – it did not disappoint! This is quite simply one of the best soups I’ve ever eaten. The combination of spicy Italian sausage, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes and slightly crisp kale is heavenly. And the broth – oh, the broth! Perfection! My husband and I intended to eat this as leftovers over the course of a few days, but alas, it did not see a second day. Yep, we ate all 12 servings. Two people. In one day. We’re still sad it’s gone, and speak of it fondly. It is that good.

Enjoy, and you’re welcome!

 

ZUPPA TOSCANA

Yields | 12 servings

Inspiration | Olive Garden & Food.com

  • 1 lb ground mild or hot Italian sausage
  • 4-6 Russett potatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 slices raw bacon, snipped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 8 cups water
  • 7 tsp Better than Bouillon chicken base
  • 1 bunch fresh kale, stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional), to serve
  1. In a large pot on medium-high heat add the ground sausage and crushed red pepper flakes. Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage until it is browned and fully cooked through. Pour the cooked sausage into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same pot add the olive oil, chopped onion, and bacon until the onions become translucent and begin to brown (about 10 minutes). Add garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  3. Add wine to the pot and stir well to de-glaze. Combine water and Better than Bouillon chicken base, mix well, and add to the pot.
  4. Add potatoes and cook until fork tender, approximately 20 minutes. (Note: You may wish to add more salt, but be careful – the chicken base is very salty. Taste for saltiness after each addition.)
  5. After the potatoes are done, add the cooked sausage back into the soup. Using a large spoon, skim off most of the fat from the sausage that floats onto the surface.
  6. Add the fresh kale and stir in to allow the leaves to soften slightly. Reduce the heat to low and add the heavy cream. Stir.
  7. Add freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
  8. Garnish each serving with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream1

Individual Blackberry Cobblers

Individual Blackberry Cobblers

Blackberry cobbler is – HANDS DOWN – my favourite summer dessert. As soon as I spotted the world’s largest blackberries for sale at my local farmer’s market this week, I knew cobbler was in my near future.  I used a recipe that – while in my family for decades – differs from others floating around the Internet these days. It’s actually a recipe for ‘cottage pudding’, featured in the 1918 edition of the AMAZING Fannie Farmer cookbook (if you don’t have one, visit your local bookstore ASAP!!). With the addition of fresh berries, the original Fannie Farmer recipe becomes the BEST cobbler you will ever taste! And by ‘taste’, I mean DEVOUR.

While I divided the recipe into individual serving-size portions, it can just as easily be made in a shallow baking dish. Enjoy!

INDIVIDUAL BLACKBERRY COBBLERS

Makes: 4 servings

  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup finely granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup butter + extra for greasing
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Grease four 6-ounce ramekins with butter.
  2. Rinse blackberries and pat dry. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk and melted butter. Stir gently into the flour mixture to combine.
  4. Place a layer of blackberries in the bottom of each ramekin. Spoon a layer of batter over the berries, repeating this process until the ramekin is full (I like to add several berries to the top of the final batter layer). Transfer ramekins to a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes (cobbler topping should begin to brown lightly at the edges). Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

*Re-posted from my old blog, Cucina Fresca*

Triple Chocolate S’mores Bark

Triple Chocolate S'mores Bark

As a child growing up in the beautiful (but climatologically moody) Pacific Northwest, Memorial Day weekend held a special significance for my nature-loving family: the re-opening of campgrounds, parks, and trailheads closed for the winter months by snow, storms, or flood conditions. While prohibitively large crowds often kept my parents, brother, and I from actually camping out over the long holiday weekend, its arrival never failed to produce excited anticipation for what promised to be three unforgettable months of hiking, camping, and outdoor adventure.

Camping – and I mean real camping, which doesn’t involve electricity or lodging on wheels – is one of my all-time favorite summer past-times. I love finding the perfect spot for my tent, building a small campfire, and searching for shooting stars in the clear night’s sky. This experience is, of course, made infinitely better by the addition of marshmallows, graham crackers, and a handful of Hershey’s bars. That’s right – I’m talking about the oohey-gooey awesome deliciousness of the humble s’more.

Naturally, I couldn’t get out of the house last weekend to go camping [sad face]. I blame it on an injured back, rain, and something called “campground reservations”. Never one to be deterred from – well, anything – I decided to bring s’mores inside. I considered S’mores Dip (still on the agenda) and S’mores Pie (definitely on the agenda), but settled on Triple Chocolate S’mores Bark because – SURPRISE! – I love chocolate.

Best. Decision. Ever.

In all honesty, my attempt at this recipe didn’t turn out nearly as pretty as the original (check out A Kitchen Addiction‘s gorgeous photos!). Appearances aside, it was easy to make and super delicious! I highly recommend this sweet treat for anyone that doesn’t care for the campfire version (*GASP*), or is rained (or injured/reserved) out of the great outdoors. Enjoy!

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE S’MORES BARK

  • 24 ounces dark chocolate
  • 8 ounces white chocolate
  • 3/4 cup (3-4 sheets) graham crackers, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow bits
  • 2 (1.55 ounce) Hershey’s milk chocolate bars, broken into pieces
  1. Line a 15×10 inch cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.
  2. Melt dark chocolate according to instructions on package, making sure to stir periodically.
  3. Melt white chocolate according to instructions on package, making sure to stir periodically.
  4. Spread melted dark chocolate onto prepared cookie sheet. Spoon white chocolate over the top. Swirl white chocolate through dark chocolate using a knife or thin rubber spatula.
  5. Sprinkle with graham cracker pieces, marshmallow bits, and broken chocolate bars. Lightly press topping into chocolate.
  6. Place in refrigerator for at least one hour to cool and set.
  7. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Caprese Soup with Sourdough Grilled Cheese

Caprese Soup

Temperatures have FINALLY dipped below 50 degrees in Southern California, which can only mean it’s – da da da daaaah – SOUP WEATHER!

What to say about this recipe? It’s caprese. In a soup. And it’s A-M-A-Z-I-N-G with a buttery grilled cheese sandwich. Definitely a recipe for the ‘make this again!’ folder – enjoy!

CAPRESE SOUP WITH SOURDOUGH GRILLED CHEESE

Yields: 2 servings

  • 2 1/2 lbs fresh mixed tomatoes
  • 1 large garlic bulb, cut in half width-wise
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 50 grams fresh basil leaves + extra to serve
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 (125 gram) ball fresh buffalo mozzarella
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • Butter
  • Cheddar (or other preferred sandwich) cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Place the tomatoes and garlic on a large roasting tray, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until tomatoes have burst and garlic is soft. Remove tray from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin and place in a blender with the roasted tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, sugar, 50 grams of basil, vinegar and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Blitz until smooth, then run through a sieve (if desired, to remove tomato seeds).
  3. Spread butter on both sides of bread slices. Place one slice on a preheated griddle or grill pan, cover with cheese slices and grill until bread is of desired texture and consistency. Top with second bread slice, flip sandwich, and grill as desired. Repeat with remaining bread slices and cheese.
  4. Transfer soup to serving bowls and top with shredded buffalo mozzarella and remaining basil. Serve heated through with grilled sandwiches.

*Previously published to my old blog, Cucina Fresca*

Macaroni and Cheese

Mac n Cheese

As temperatures drop throughout most of the country (although not in southern California – as usual!), I thought it was high time to feature a recipe* for one of my all-time favorite comfort foods:  macaroni and cheese. While there are roughly a zillion recipes for this classic pasta dish on the Internet, the one below takes on a decidedly French flair with the addition of béchamel and Comté cheese. The result? A rich, creamy, and delicious macaroni that will knock your freakin’ socks off. Seriously, make this immediately – I promise you won’t regret it! Enjoy!

MACARONI AND CHEESE

Yield: 6 servings

For the béchamel:

  • 4 cups (1 quart) whole milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt

To assemble:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 10 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 cups shredded)
  • 2 ounces Comté cheese (about 3/4 cup shredded)
  • 1/2 tsp English mustard
  • 1/2 cup panko crumb

For the béchamel:

  1. Heat whole milk in a saucepan over medium heat just until it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown in color (approximately 3 minutes). Remove from heat.
  3. Whisking constantly, slowly add the hot milk to the butter-flour mixture until evenly combined and smooth.
  4. Return the saucepan to medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon (approximately 2 to 3 minutes). Stir in one tablespoon of salt, taste, and add remaining salt if desired. Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble:

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente (approximately 9 minutes). Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).
  3. Place the reserved saucepan of béchamel over medium heat. Stir in cheeses and mustard until melted and smooth. Add the pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to a 5-quart baking dish, sprinkle with panko, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

*Re-posted from my old blog, Cucina Fresca

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s cold and flu season in many parts of the country (including here, despite being 90 flipping degrees outside – in NOVEMBER), so I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes (a Tyler Florence classic!) for Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. Preparing a pot of this soup is a great lazy weekend activity that – depending on the amount of time and energy you’d like to commit – can be made considerably easier with the substitution of store-bought chicken stock. I love the ability to control the level of sodium in the stock – not to mention the incredible flavor of the homemade version – so go for it if you can!

HOMEMADE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

Yields: 2 quarts

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken stock (recipe follows)
  • 8 ounces uncooked egg noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (optional)

Chicken stock:

  • 1 whole chicken (approximately 3 to 3/12 pounds), giblets discarded
  • 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

To make soup:

  1. Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned.
  2. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes, or until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
To make chicken stock:
  1. Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak.
  2. Add the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water, if necessary, to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
  3. Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.
  4. Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.