© Quentin Bacon
It has been so long since I started writing up this recipe from my brother’s engagement party that he is now married. Inexcusable, no?
Well I’m not sorry! With the warm weather and the actual paying writing jobs, something had to give, and this was it. (I actually am sorry, though. This recipe nonsense is considerably easier and more fun to write about than FAA grants, and this audience is loyal as hell, so please forgive me.)
Anyway, we – and by “we” I mean “The Chef” – made a huge batch of this recipe for a St. Patrick’s Day engagement party and served it up in shot glasses. In my world, Soup + Shots + Bacon = Phenom. Seriously – peas are usually beyond lame, but the toppings on this make it delectable.
This is actually Daniel Boulud‘s super schmancy pea soup recipe, but it has been classed-down by Food & Wine for an easier preparation. It’s served cold so it’s a cinch for a party. Make a bunch and sip all summer.
8 slices of bacon
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 leek, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
5 cups chicken stock
2 rosemary sprigs
salt & freshly ground white pepper
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
2 10-oz boxes frozen baby peas
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1 garlic clove, minced
- In a medium soup pot, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned and crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate; reserve the fat in a bowl in case you need to add it at the end for more bacon flavor.
- In the same pot, heat the olive oil. Add the celery, onion and leek and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock, 4 slices of the cooked bacon, 1 rosemary sprig and a pinch each of salt and white pepper. Simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes.
- Discard the bacon and rosemary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a blender.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the sugar snaps and cook for 3 minutes. Add the frozen baby peas and the parsley and cook just until heated through, about 1 minute; drain.
- Add the sugar snaps, baby peas and parsley to the blender and puree until smooth, adding a few tablespoons of the broth to loosen the mixture.
- Transfer the soup and the remaining broth to a large bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water to cool.
- In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream, garlic and remaining rosemary sprig to a boil. Simmer over low heat until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Strain the garlic cream into a bowl and let cool.
- Ladle the chilled pea soup into bowls and drizzle with the garlic cream. (Use a squirt bottle to make pretty designs out of the cream. It’s absurdly cheffy, but so freaking fun.) Crumble the remaining 4 slices of bacon into each bowl and serve.
So I probably should have posted these recipes last week before Thanksgiving, but I forgot and I wanted to test them out twice to get all kinks out of the way. I was lucky to have two Thanksgivings this year, a “friendsgiving” down in NOLA (which was way better then my family Thanksgiving) and family Thanksgiving. I still never want to eat again. Below is an amazing crawfish stuffing that Chef John’s family has requested a double batch of for next year. Perhaps you can save in your Thanksgiving recipe file for next year or break it out for the December holidays! Chef’s note: make sure to use dry corn bread so it soaks up all the sauce. – ts
Chef John Says: Everyone knows that the best part of Thanksgiving is the stuffing. I usually dedicate about 3/4 of my plate to it. My family always has a traditional stuffing/dressing but this past Sunday we had a pre-Thanksgiving feast at our friend’s house in New Orleans and it was decided that we should make a more NOLA-style dressing. Tanya came across this beauty: Besh’s Crawfish Corn Bread Dressing. Like ALL of Besh’s recipes, this is very easy and delicious.
You can make the corn bread ahead or use leftover corn bread. In fact, the dressing may be prepared a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator until an hour before serving. I used more andouille, hot sausage, and garlic than it calls for… obviously. This recipe makes 8–10 cups, more than enough to stuff a turkey, but at our Thanksgiving we stuff our bird separately and serve dressings like this alongside. Serves 10
4 tablespoons rendered bacon fat (I used a couple tablespoons of butter instead)
¼ pound andouille sausage, diced
¼ pound hot pork sausage meat, removed from casing
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups peeled crawfish tails, chopped (you can usually find a package of frozen tails)
2 green onions, chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
2 tablespoons Basic Creole Spices
6 cups crumbled Basic Corn Bread
2 cups Basic Chicken Stock
½ cup heavy cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
- Put the bacon fat, andouille, and pork sausage into a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the pork with the back of a wooden spoon.
- When the pork sausage meat has browned, add the onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the crawfish and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the sausage and crawfish and stir together until well combined. Spoon the dressing into a large heatproof dish.
- At this point, the dressing may be covered and refrigerated (for up to 1 day) until you are ready to bake it. Bake the dressing in a preheated 350° oven until it is piping hot and golden brown, 15–30 minutes.
Well in case you haven’t heard, Carol is famous. That’s right, young Carol was featured in the Times Free Press a few week’s ago for offering her soup expertise, and clearly we could not be more proud.
This is a recipe Carol adapted from Epicurious.com, and I can personally attest it is delish.
The really fun part here is the jalapeno parsley puree. It’s bright (in taste and in the bowl) and it gives the creamy corn chowder a wonderful kick.
This would be a perfect dish for a day like today in which everyone is feeling gray, wet and pretty darn depressed that the long Thanksgiving weekend is over.
Except me. Because I’m about to go see Twilight. By myself. And no, I could not be happier, so don’t you cry for me, Nummy! Now get your soup on.
5 fresh jalapeño chilies
1⁄4 cup olive oil
11⁄2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp water
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (depending on how much you like garlic)
1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
Salt, to taste
1 onion, chopped fine
2 ribs of celery, chopped fine
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups chicken broth
21⁄2 cups water
11⁄2 lbs boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 3⁄8-inch cubes
4 cups fresh corn kernels including the pulp scraped from the cobs (organic frozen mixture of white and yellow corn works just as well)
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced (very important; adds a great finishing touch to the soup)
- For the puree:
- Broil the jalapeños on the rack of a broiler pan under a preheated broiler about 2 inches from the heat, turning them about every 7 minutes, for 20-30 minutes or until the skins are blistered and charred.
- Transfer the jalapeños to a zipper-lock bag and let them stand, covered tightly, until they are cool enough to handle.
- Peel the jalapeños, cut off the tops and discard all but 1 teaspoon of the seeds.
- In a blender, puree the jalapeños and reserved seeds with olive oil, lime juice, water, garlic, parsley and salt. The puree may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled.
- For the chowder:
- Cook onion and celery in vegetable oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the celery is softened.
- Add broth, water and potatoes; simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in corn and thyme; simmer for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- To thicken, purée in blender 2 or more cups of the chowder, depending on the consistency you prefer your soups, and return to pot.
- Serve the chowder with a small dollop of the jalapeño and parsley puree swirled into it. Add salt and pepper to taste as well. For added crunch, sprinkle with tortilla chips.
Filed under Soups, Veggies
If there is one thing on a menu that will lock down The Chef’s order, it’s crusting something. With nuts or herbs specifically, but honestly, I think you could crust something with Captain Crunch and that would get him to bite… OK, that’s probably something that would pull at my redneck heartstrings more than his, but I think we can all agree that crusting is pretty yummy.
Another that makes this a Chef Favorite is the use of fresh herbs. I think he is second only to Jamie Oliver in his love of all things herby, so using three in one recipe is a definite win.
Incidentally, if you’ve never watched Jamie’s show on the Cooking Channel, you should check it out. He’s always Macgyver-cooking somewhere insane – like he’s annihilating a head of garlic with a rock on a beach while cooking fish he caught with his bare hands – and it still comes out looking delicious. He’s also rustically adorable, so look into it.
The Chef likes to top this with Lemon Buerre Blanc. To make that, follow this Buerre Blanc recipe and add some lemon juice and zest. Or top with Tanya’s Preserved Lemons and serve up with a side like Red Potatoes with Arugula.
4 salmon fillets*
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup dry mustard
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp finely chopped thyme
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
- Coat fillets with salt, pepper, and herbs.
- Add remaining ingredients to a dish and turn fillets in the mixture to coat both sides.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick saute pan and saute fillets on both sides, cooking until they are golden brown.
Jamie would pronounce this “fill-its.” You see what I mean? Adorable.
I know it is not artichoke season, but I love them. If I can still find them at my market, I will make them. In Rome I had the best artichoke I have ever eaten at Il Matriciano restaurant near the Vatican. It was addicting, and I could have eaten about 10 of them. Below is a traditional Roman artichoke recipe from Mario Batali. -ts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
1 tablespoon plus 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 artichokes, halved and trimmed outer leaves, choke removed, held in acidulated water (fancy talk for lemon water)
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup boiling water
- In a small bowl, combine the parsley, mint, garlic, salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- In the cavity of the artichoke from which the choke was removed, place 1 teaspoon of the herb mixture. Repeat this procedure with the remaining chokes.
- Arrange all chokes in a deep pan that keeps them close together, in other words, one that doesn’t give them room to fall over.
- Add the wine, boiling water, remaining oil and a pinch of salt.
- Cover and simmer on the stovetop 1 hour. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Good news nummies – not only is it Friday, but my delusions of fall have finally become reality! It’s cool and crisp and it reminds me of my Uncle Stewart’s tailgate: Hot Damn and brown-sugar-hand-stirred-some-other-long-string-of-words-I-can’t remember BBQ sauce (recipe still pending release) will make you forget that you’re about to watch the Tigers get trounced. Again.
Anyway, another thing fall reminds me of is short ribs. Luckily, Morg passed this recipe along to me last week. And she didn’t even wait until she finished eating it to send it over, so it must be cray-mazing. (I watched a lot of Project Runway last night, so I’m talking like a cranky, mid-30s drama queen. Please forgive.)
“This recipe calls for a tagine (which we randomly have) but I hadn’t ‘seasoned’ the tagine (a three hour process) so I just used my dutch oven, which every chef needs. I’m obsessed with mine. I digress. This is a great meal for a Sunday or a holiday because it requires some hours on the stove, but it’s so worth it. And it leaves a nice smell floating through the house all day long. I served this over homemade mashed potatoes (recipe linked to from the Williams-Sonoma recipe for the ribs). Very simple. And I used the KitchenAid mixer instead of mashing by hand.”
One look through the ingredient list, and I was sold. I might suggest using one of The Chef’s variations of mashed potatoes, but I could be biased, so whatever blows your skirt up. Either way, an all-day simmering situation makes my mouth water. And it makes me want to say – like an Akin at a tailgate – HOT DAMN HELL YES.
3 tbsp olive oil
3 3/4 lb. bone-in beef short ribs (6 to 8 pieces)
salt & pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 celery stalk, 1/4-inch dice
2 carrots, 1/4-inch dice
3/4 cup shallot, fine dice
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp tomato paste
3/4 tsp Aleppo chili, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup beef broth
3/4 cup red wine
1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- Soak a tagine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place the tagine on a diffuser over medium-high heat and warm 1 tbsp of the olive oil.
- Season the short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Dredge the ribs in the flour until evenly coated, shaking off the excess. Add half of the ribs to the tagine and sear until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total; transfer to a plate. Repeat with 1 tbsp of the olive oil and the remaining ribs.
- Reduce the heat to medium and warm the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the celery, carrots and shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the Aleppo chili, bay leaf, thyme, broth, wine, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Return the ribs to the tagine.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook, turning the ribs occasionally, until the meat is tender, 4.5 to 5 hours.
- Garnish the ribs with the parsley and serve immediately with mashed potatoes. Serves 4.
The Chef will be happy to know this shellfish recipe is not for mussels, but it is close; it’s for clams! Sorry I felt like that needed an exclamation point for some reason. Recently Chef John and I had a lovely trip to Newport, RI. While there I must have stuffed my face for every meal with clam chowda and lobster rolls. It was amazing. However, you can really go to just about any small town in New England and get amazing clam chowder or lobster rolls. Two dishes we had (both clams of course) stood out as very Newport, very amazing and will always remind me of this trip, Portuguese Littlenecks and Clams Casino. I had never had either before going to Newport and now I can’t get enough! Below is a great recipe for Portuguese Littlenecks. –ts
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces dry-cured chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch coins
One 1/4-inch-thick slice prosciutto cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 medium yellow onions, cut lengthwise in half and sliced into thin half-moons
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, minced
One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, drained and chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
4 pounds littlenecks or any small clams, such as cockles, manila, or butter scrubbed and rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Bread for serving
- Heat the oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add chorizo and prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until touched with brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium; drop in the onions and bay leaf, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the tomatoes and any accumulated juice, the wine, and paprika. Discard any clams that feel heavy (which means they’re full of sand), have broken shells, or don’t close when tapped. Add clams into the pot and turn the heat to high. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally until the clams pop open, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Discard the bay leaf and toss out any clams that refuse to pop open. Season with a few grinds of pepper, shower with parsley, and ladle the stew into wide shallow bowls. Oh, and have a big bowl on hand for the shells. Serve immediately with a large piece of bread to soak up juices.
This recipe is Ina Garten‘s, that sweet wonderful lady who spends her time having cocktail hour in The Hamptons with the gays and putting cream in everything.
Anyway, The Chef suggested I post this earlier today when the world was dark and gray and dreary, but lately Memphis weather has decided to be a rancid, sobbing manic depressive mess, so now it’s freaking beautiful outside. Whatever. We are not to be deterred. Soup was suggested, and soup you shall have.
And if you’re gonna have one, this should be it. This is perfection even if you don’t have a borderline shameful obsession with mushroom. (I literally just googled “disorder: people who marry vegetables” because I thought there might be a hilariously awesome word for crazyfolk who try to do stuff like this somewhere, but alas, I must be the first.) My problems aside, this is creamy, comforting goodness, so go get your Ina on, girl.
5 oz shiitake mushrooms
5 oz portobello mushrooms
5 oz cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 pound + 1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme + 1 tsp minced thyme, divided
salt & pepper
2 cups leeks, white and light green parts chopped (2 leeks)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
- Clean the mushrooms. Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and or cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- Make the stock:
- Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, onion, carrot, sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
- Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Strain, reserving the liquid. (You should have about 4.5 cups of stock. If not, add some water.)
- Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 pound of butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown.
- Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes or until they are browned and tender.
- Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot.
- Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1.5 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste and heat through (do not boil).
I have been neglecting m’boy Wikipedia for a while now, and that stops here. The ‘pedia tells me that “picatta” just means “to be pounded flat” in Italian. And I like that.
Not only because these little suckers will fry up right nice because they are flat and even all over but also because you get to use that tiny little mallet to work out some of your aggression. That little hammer is somehow adorable and violent all at once, and I always imagine a furious little Leprechaun-lumberjack using it. And that clearly makes me happy.
4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
2 oz of olive oil
2 teaspoons shallots, minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
4 oz white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tsp of chopped parsley
2 tbsp capers
1 oz of lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
- Lightly pound chicken breast and then dredge in seasoned flour.
- Heat the oil in a saute pan. Cook the chicken until golden brown.
- Remove from pan, add shallots and garlic and cook until translucent.
- De-glaze pan with wine. Add chicken stock, parsley, capers, and lemon juice.
- Let it reduce for 2 minutes and then finish the sauce with butter. Salt and pepper it to taste and serve with your favorite pasta.