Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto

Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto

 

 

I really enjoy risotto. But I do not make it because I just do not have the time and patience needed to stand and stir for 45 minutes while the arborio rice absorbs the stock. Nope, not this gal.

But luckily, you can make a baked risotto that tastes really, really good. I admit, a baked risotto will never be as creamy as a properly made stove top risotto, but I can let go of some of that creaminess for not having to stir and stir and stir. And then stir some more.

Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto

 

 

I do admit you do have to stir a bit while making this recipe, but I promise it will not be 45 minutes. Unless something goes terribly wrong. Seriously.

Be sure to use arborio rice, or a rice that is labeled specifically for risotto.

I used a bag of Tuscan Kale from Cut ‘N’ Clean Greens, but you can substitute with a large bunch of kale. Just remove the stems and cut it into strips.

Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto

 

Kale and Bacon Risotto

Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bag (10 ounce) Tuscan Kale
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350° F.

  2. In a large oven proof pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered. 

  3. Add the onion, stirring occasionally,  cook 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

  4. Add the salt, thyme, red pepper and kale. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted.

  5. Add the rice, stirring to mix it into the vegetable mixture.

  6. Add the hot stock, stir to mix well, cover and place in the hot oven.

  7. Bake the risotto for 30, then remove from the oven.

  8. Carefully, stir in the cold butter, a few pieces at a time, until all the butter is incorporated.

  9. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

I used a bag of Tuscan Kale from Cut 'N' Clean Greens, which was already prepped for me. You can substitute with a large bunch of kale, stems removed and cut into strips.

Spiced Chestnut Soup

Spiced Chestnut Soup

 

 

Fall is here and certain flavors are starting to be used in everything from coffee to dish soap. Yes, I am speaking about the omnipresent Pumpkin Spice. It is everywhere.

But it is not here. Nope. Not happening on this blog.

But I know Fall is about so many other flavors.

Like chestnuts.

I love chestnuts. When I lived in NYC and the chestnut roasters would set up on the street corner, the smell would entice me like no other. Except the smell of those sugared cashews and almonds, which would bring me to my knees. But, I digress.

Chestnuts are available now already steamed and peeled, packed in jars and vacuum sealed bags. It could not be easier to use chestnuts in your everyday life, not just for that Thanksgiving stuffing. I buy them all the time, but you haven’t seen a lot of recipes using chestnuts because I tend to eat them straight out of the container. By the time I come up with a recipe to try, I have already eaten them all! sigh. . .

Chestnuts are generally a seasonal item. but if you buy the jarred or vacuum sealed bags they will last for many months. Stock up when you see them. That way, when you want to make this soup in the Spring, you are ready!

 

Spiced Chestnut Soup

 

Spiced Chestnut Soup

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 13 ounces steamed and peeled chestnuts roughly chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock preferably homemade or low sodium
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  1. In a soup pot over low heat, melt the butter.

  2. Add the onion, salt, thyme, paprika, ginger, cinnamon and allspice. Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened.

  3. Add the chestnuts, stirring to coat them with the spice mixture.

  4. Add the stock and water, raise the heat to high.

  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

  6. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes.

  7. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. 

  8. Adjust the seasoning as needed and serve immediately.

Hatch Chile Meatball Soup

Hatch Chile Meatball Soup

 

When it comes to soups, I love mine chunky. Sure, a velvety Potato Leek Soup, or a Spicy Carrot-Sweet Potato Soup have their place, and are welcome on my dinner table. But I do love a soup with pieces of meat and vegetable floating around in the bowl, like this Hatch Chile Meatball Soup.

My last post was a recipe for a Hatch chile infused chicken stock, which was made specifically for this soup. Fresh Hatch chiles were used to flavor the stock with a slightly spicy and herbal note, and the meatballs use Hatch chile powder for another layer of flavor.

This meatball recipe makes more than you will need for this soup, but they are really tasty on their own. I cooked up some of the batch in BBQ sauce, and baking or sautéing them in bacon fat is also a great way to cook them.  I mean, really, anything sautéed in bacon fat is wonderful.

Hatch Chile Meatballs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 36 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons mild Hatch chile powder

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, using clean hands, mix together all the ingredients until combined well.

  2. Using your hands, roll the seasoned meat into golf ball sized meatballs.

  3. Cover and refrigerate the meatballs until ready to use.

 

Hatch Chile Meatball Soup

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Hatch chile chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 Hatch chile meatballs
  • 1/2 pound pee wee Dutch yellow potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 pound baby zucchini stem end trimmed
  • juice of one lime

Instructions

  1. In a large soup pot, bring the stock and water to a boil.

  2. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then add the meatballs.

  3. Cook the meatballs for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and paprika. Simmer for 10 minutes 

  5. Add the zucchini, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

  6. When ready to serve, stir in the fresh lime juice.

Spicy Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Spicy Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers #tryturkey

 

Turkeys and I are good friends. Well, friends in the sense that I love to eat them up. So maybe frenemies is the better term, but either way I love turkey.

From Succulent Spiced Turkey Carnitas,

Turkey Carnitas

 

to Mini Brie Stuffed Turkey Burgers,

 

Mini Brie Stuffed Turkey Burgers | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

to Turkey Chili Pasta,

Turkey Chili Pasta

and Cherry Chipotle Glazed Turkey Meatballs,

 

Cherry Chipotle Glazed Turkey Meatballs | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

it is obvious I am a fan of the All American bird. Did you know Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the symbol of America? The bald eagle won that battle, but its always nice to be nominated.

My latest recipe featuring turkey is an amazingly flavorful and easy Spicy Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Think of those stuffed bell peppers your grandma used to make, but so, so much better!

 

Poblano Chile Peppers

 

Turkey is a very mild meat that lends itself to so many different flavor profiles. Poblano peppers are a mildly spicy chile, that is most often recognized as the pepper used in the Mexican dish Chile Relleno. For this recipe, I chose to season ground turkey with a myriad of spices before stuffing and baking it in the halved chiles. While the recipe is simple, the results are not!

I am working with the National Turkey Federation to promote awareness about how versatile and delicious turkey is. Don’t just think about turkey at Thanksgiving, consider it a meat to buy year round. Not only is is easy to cook, it is considerably lower in fat than many other meats and tastes fantastic.

The National Turkey Federation supports its farmers to raise well-treated turkeys in comfortable settings that are environmentally safe and that by doing so raise the tastiest turkey. By providing all the information retail and restaurant professionals need to raise awareness educate and inspire people to try an unexpected, healthy and flavorful lean protein – turkey.

Spicy Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8 peppers
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Pepitas, or roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle chile
  • 4 poblano peppers, halved, seeds removed
  • Sliced jack cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the turkey, shallots, pepitas, salt, thyme, cumin, coriander and chipotle.
  3. Using clean hands, throughly mix all the ingredients together.
  4. Place the poblano pepper halves into an 11 X 9 baking dish,
  5. Divide the turkey mixture between the peppers.
  6. Gently press the turkey into each pepper, evenly distributing the meat.
  7. An optional garnish is sliced mild cheese. If using place the cheese on top of the turkey.
  8. Cover the dish with foil and bake 40 minutes.
  9. Remove the foil from the dish and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until the turkey is nicely browned.
  10. Serve immediately.

 

I’ve given you five excellent turkey recipes but for additional recipes, tips, videos and resources on turkey,  visit the Serve Turkey website.

 

You  can also find great information and recipes on the Serve Turkey Facebook page as well as the Serve Turkey Twitter account.

 

 

Corned Beef Step-by-Step Tutorial

IMG_3278

Corned beef is one of those foods that has gotten marginalized due to its association with Saint Patrick’s Day. For many people, the only time they eat corned beef is in March. And that is a shame, as corned beef is a truly great meat, in my opinion. Of course, if you live in a city with a really good Jewish Deli, such as Katz’s in New York or Langer’s in Los Angeles, then you can get an excellent corned beef sandwich year round.

But I am referring to making corned beef at home, which is near impossible because supermarkets only bring out the packaged corned beef right before Saint Patrick’s Day in March. What to do? Follow this Step-by-Step Corned Beef Tutorial and you can make it anytime you want.

I first made my own corned beef five years ago, and have been doing it ever since. It is such a simple process, although it takes time. Most of that time is just waiting for the meat to cure, so it is painless. Unless you are an impatient person.

Corned Beef

The photo above is of my first corned beef I ever made. It was so delicious and so unlike the packaged corned beef I had always made. For one thing, I didn’t trim the fat, which gave the corned beef and cooking broth much more flavor. Once your broth is cooled overnight you just remove any solidified fat from the surface and throw it away. The flavor remains, and you can cut the fat from the slices before you eat them.

The main component of a good corned beef is a good piece of brisket, usually the first cut. The first cut brisket is the flatter piece. If you are unsure, ask your butcher to get one for you.

The next component is your pickling spice.  This pickling spice recipe is an all purpose pickling spice. Store it in a jar as you would any spice blend, and when you want corned beef or quick pickles, you have a fresh pickling spice on hand.

Pickling Spice
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole allspice
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1 cinnamon stick
Instructions
  1. Mix the spices together and seal in an airtight container to store.

 

The next component is a brine to cure your corned beef. The brisket needs to stay submerged in the brine for a minimum of one week to let the meat cure.

Corned Beef Brine
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 corned beef
Ingredients
  • 7-8 cups water (depending on size of brisket)
  • 1 bottle dark ale
  • 1½ cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • ¼ cup pickling spice
  • 1½ tablespoons pink curing salt
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp Tellicherry peppercorns
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
  2. Place your brisket into a large pot.
  3. Pour the brine over the meat.
  4. Be sure the brisket is submerged. If needed place a plate directly onto the brisket to weight it down.
  5. Cover the pot and place into the refrigerator for one week.

 

Once the brisket has been brined and become a corned beef, all that is left is cooking. Remove the brisket from the brine, rinse it well to remove the spices and extra salt. Place your brisket into a large pot, pour in a bottle of ale or stout, the fill the pot with water so it covers the brisket by at least an inch.  Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook the brisket for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender.

If you want to make a traditional boiled dinner, add potatoes, cabbage wedges and carrots to the cooking liquid once the corned beef is done. Slice the corned beef and return it to the pot with the cooked vegetables.

Or you can slice the corned beef for sandwiches, salads, hash or whatever comes to mind.