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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Homemade Chili

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There are times when I crave a bowl of my Homemade Chili. Chili that’s smokey, spicy, and with real depth of flavor. In this recipe, I bring out all the stops. To add texture and sweetness, I like adding shoe peg corn. Shoepeg corn is small sweet white corn kernels, and I believe, is an ingredient that’s underutilized. I’m also a believer in adding a moderate amount of black beans to chili.

Everyone who loves chili knows, the longer it simmers the thicker and better it gets. The making of chili takes a lot of love. If you can dedicate 30 minutes of prep time and a little over an hour of cooking time, I promise you will really love this chili.

Ancho chilies are dried smoked Poblano peppers. They’re a mild pepper with a smokey flavor that’s perfect for chili.

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Piquillo Peppers (2)

Piquillo Peppers (1)

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The next day I like to do something a little different. You know how chili’s always better the second day well, that’s when I grab a warm corn tortilla and make a taco. A little Homemade Chili, Pico de Gallo, Chunky-Style Guacamole, and Queso Fresco. YUMMY!

Taco.jpg

 

 

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven with a lid, 10-cup food processor, 3-quart saucepan, 2 small mixing bowls

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds of lean ground sirloin
6 ancho chiles, reconstituted and puréed (yields 1/2 cup of ancho purée)
3 tablespoons of Mexican chocolate (optional)
1 7-ounce jar of Piquillo peppers, puréed
3 tablespoons of chili powder
3 packed tablespoons of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of ground cumin
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
2 tablespoons of smokey paprika
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 chipotle peppers, packed in adobo, seeded and minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 diced red bell peppers
1 diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup of sliced green onions ( reserving the green tops for garnish)
1 large diced onion
2 28-ounce cans of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 10-1/2 ounce can of beef consommé
2 cups of beef broth, low sodium
1 15-ounce can of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce package of frozen shoepeg corn, thawed

Toppings:
cilantro
shredded cheddar cheese
lime wedges
guacamole
diced red onion
sliced tops of green onions
tortilla chips

Directions:
Start by reconstituting the dried ancho chilies. Fill a 3-quart saucepan with 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the peppers to the hot water and allow them to soften/reconstitute for 30 minutes.
As shown above, while the dried ancho chilies are reconstituted on the stove, you want to move on to the prep work for the chili.

In the meantime dice the green onions (reserving the green tops for garnish), a Spanish onion, red and green bell peppers, mince the garlic, and seed and mince a jalapeno pepper. Alongside those ingredients, I’ve seeded and chopped a couple of Chipotle peppers. Another ingredient is, I’ve puréed Piquillo peppers and puréed using a food processor then transfer the Piquillo puré to a bowl. I’ve drained and rinsed the black and kidney beans. Thawed the shoepeg white corn.

Next, remove the stems and seeds before adding them to the food processor. Add 1/2 cup (if needed add a 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency) of the cooking liquid to the processor. Pulse until peppers are puréed. After the ancho chilies have been processed, transfer to a bowl and set aside. then you want to get all your liquids together for the chili, beef broth, beef consomme, and the San Marzano whole tomatoes.

Next, is to get together all the spices for the chili. First, and this is totally optional, is the chocolate. I’m using what’s known as Mexican chocolate. It’s used as a spice and gives a real depth of flavor to the chili. Then there are the standard chili spices, chili powder, ground cumin, sweet and smokey paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, light brown sugar, Kosher salt,  and black pepper. I like to arrange all the spices on a large plate as seen above.

Using a heavy Dutch oven pot over medium heat, start with vegetable oil in the bottom of the pot. To bloom all the spices, add them right in with the vegetable oil. Stirring and mixing all the spices, including the brown sugar. Once the spices release their aroma, add the lean ground sirloin to the pot. Once the meat is combined with the spices, add the Chipotle pepper purée, again, stir to combine. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, the meat for another 10 minutes or until the meat is brown and cooked through.

Next, add all the diced veggies along with the minced garlic and jalapeno. To that, the tomato paste. Continue stirring all of these ingredients together, making sure the meat and veggies are well combined.

Now for the liquids. Start with the canned whole tomatoes. Once they’re in the pot, using a wooden spoon, start breaking them up. Add the beef consommé and beef broth, again, giving everything a big stir to combine. Still, on medium heat, allow everything to come up to a bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally, simmer for 50 minutes. Once the chili has been simmering for 50 minutes, add the black beans, kidney beans, and shoepeg corn, simmer for another 10 minutes.

Finally, the usual suspects, shredded cheddar, diced red onions, cilantro, lime wedges, and of course some Chunky-Style Guacamole! There you have it my Homemade Chili.

Mexican-Style Corn On The Cob

Chunky-Style Guacamole

Pico De Gallo

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Burrata And Peaches

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This dish is what I call “small bites” or Tapas. Burrata And Peaches compliment each other so well it blows my mind.

The one special ingredient I’m using in this dish is Goji berries. Now, these berries can be found at Whole Food Markets, where they offer unique and organic nuts and berries. I store Goji berries in my refrigerator for longer shelf life. The Goji berry is packed with antioxidants and a great addition to any salad. You could, of course, substitute fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, even a few pistachios, whatever you like.

The stars of this “small bite” dish are the Burrata And Peaches. I’m using frozen peaches today because fresh peaches aren’t in season. Frozen fruit and berries are packed at the peak of freshness and are delicious.

Burrata And Peaches

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: Overnight
Yields: 1 serving (for more, multiply the ingredients by the number of servings)
Equipment: large mixing bowl, Microplane, small serving plates

Ingredients For One Serving:
1 package frozen peaches, thawed

7 peach wedges per plate
1/4 cup of baby arugula leaves, per plate
1 tablespoon of Goji berries (fresh blueberries or dried cranberries), per plate
1 tablespoon chopped Pistachios (optional) per plate
1 teaspoon of minced Fresno chili  (optional) per plate
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest, per plate
a spritz of fresh lemon juice (1 wedge of lemon juice) per plate
1 tablespoon of honey, per plate
1 8-ounce (2 4-ounce balls) container of Burrata cheese, 6 tablespoons per plate
Kosher salt to taste, per plate
Black pepper to taste, per plate

Directions:
The night before, fill a bowl with your frozen peaches. Let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Drain the peaches into a bowl the next day.

Place 5 to 7 peach wedges, on a small serving plate, in a star-like formation. Next, add tablespoons of Burrata cheese over the top of the peaches. Add grated lemon zest, letting the zest flakes fall where they may. Gently drop the berries all over the dish so they fall nestling themselves throughout the peaches and Burrata. Then add the delicate baby arugula leaves. Finally, sprinkle with Kosher salt,  fresh ground black pepper, and a drizzle of honey. When you’re ready to serve, squeeze a wedge of lemon juice over the top.

Light and delicious, my Burrata And Peaches “small bite” is another example of how using really good ingredients makes all the difference in the world.

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Burrata And Prosciutto Bruschetta

 

The dish I’m making today is Burrata And Prosciutto Bruschetta. Let me give you a little background on Burrata cheese first. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside is filled with both mozzarella and cream. This gives this cheese a unique and soft texture. The mozzarella is formed into a pouch and filled with soft, stringy curd and cream. Inside each container, there are 2 mozzarella balls. This dish I’m showing you today only uses half of the mozzarella ball.

Until recently, I haven’t been to a restaurant that’s offered a dish using Burrata. I definitely wanted to recreate this dish but the biggest hurdle is being able to find this cheese. I was totally surprised to find Burrata was available at my local grocery store. Tucked away right next to the fresh mozzarella. How I missed these gems I’ll never know.

This recipe is easy to make, using a few really good ingredients. Keeping it simple is what Italian recipes do best.

Yields: 2 servings, 5 crostini per plate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 12-15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Equipment: one baking sheet with a rack.

Ingredients:
1 loaf of good baguette bread, 10 toasted baguette slices, 5 per plate
1/4 cup of good olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (for bread)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper ( for bread)
1/4 cup of baby arugula leaves
2 slices of Prosciutto cut into thirds
5 mini San Marzano or grape tomatoes halved
5 tablespoons of Burrata cheese
Kosher salt- to taste
Black pepper freshly cracked- to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Slice the baguette bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top surface of each slice of baguette lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

Slice in half eight mini San Marzano tomatoes. In a sauté pan, on medium-low heat, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and the halved grape San Marzano tomatoes. Add a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper too. Toss the tomatoes around in the pan for about 2-3 minutes, just giving them enough time to softened and start to burst, then remove from the heat. Take 2 slices of Prosciutto and cut into thirds, to fit onto the toasted baguette slices.

At this point, the bread should be coming out of the oven. It’s really all about the timing. Setting the bread into the preheated oven, then sautéing the tomatoes, and slicing the prosciutto.  This allows you to complete a few easy tasks at the same time.

Once the bread and tomatoes are ready, it’s just a matter of plating the bruschetta. Take a round plate and lay 5 of the crostini in the shape of a star. Place a few baby arugula leaves on each piece of toast along with one prosciutto piece on top. Next, for the Burrata. Cut open the cheese very carefully and place a tablespoon of Burrata on top of the prosciutto. Top the cheese with two tomato halves, and finish with another light sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper.

There you have it! A beautiful small bite loaded with flavor, and the plates look appealing too.

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