More Super Bowl Specials: Goat Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos Wrapped in Bacon

Peppers are one of the most versatile veggies out there.  There are so many varieties and cooking with them is fun.  Here is a nice twist to the jalapeno.  Stuff them with goat cheese and wrap them in bacon.

A sure-fire crowd pleaser, this Super Bowl party fare couldn’t be easier to prepare. The spicy jalapenos , tart goat cheese and smoky bacon offer an irresistible contrast of flavors. Your guests will beg for more.

Ingredients:

12 slices of thick-cut applewood smoked bacon (about 1 lb.)

12 jalapeno peppers

2/3 lb .creamy goat cheese

1/3 cup chopped chives

Procedure:

Slowly cook bacon on a cool part of the grill turning over once until cooked through but still pliable. (Thinly sliced bacon and quick cooking will crisp the bacon.)

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and membranes. Fill each half with goat cheese mounding it slightly. Cut each piece of bacon in half. Wrap one piece of cooked and cooled bacon around each pepper half and sprinkle with chives. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil on a medium hot grill until the jalapeno is slightly charred. Serve. Makes 24 stuffed peppers.

Note: Bacon can also be cooked on a grill pan on the stove top and the stuffed and wrapped peppers placed on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven until peppers soften slightly.

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm

Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary  material without prior approval is prohibited.  If  you have any questions or would like permission I can be contacted via email at sweetpaprika@optonline.net  Feel  free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my blog:  http://www.sweetpaprika.wordpress.com

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Play It Up . . . Like a Real Hamburger

Is a hamburger by any other name still a hamburger?  Not if it’s bifteck haché.  Move over for a moment, All-American hamburger, and make way for this knockout straight from the Cordon Bleu.  Fresh thyme, bacon and minced onions are mixed in to provide a subtle complexity, both herbaceous and smoky but never overpowering the flavor of beef.  At least this is the way I make it.

It’s an adaptation of Julia Child’s ground beef with onions and herbs and her hamburgers with cream sauce carefully explained on my dog-eared and food stained pages 301 and 302 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I.  The patties can be served with a sauce or not.  This is my “or not” version so you’ll need hamburger buns.

The quality of the beef is very important.    Some of the least expensive cuts, chuck and neck are the most flavorful.  85 per cent lean is about right.

French Hamburgers

Ingredients for 6 burgers

2 T butter

¾ cup finely minced onion

3 oz. finely chopped bacon (smoked applewood or black forest)

1 ½ lbs. ground beef

1/8 t freshly ground black pepper

1/8 t ground thyme or ½ t minced fresh thyme

1 egg

1 T butter for sautéing patties

6 slices Gruyere cheese (optional)

Preparation

1. In a large frying pan, cook the onions slowly in the butter until slightly wilted.  Add bacon and cook until onions are very tender and bacon cooked through.  Remove, leaving bacon fat in pan, and let cool.

2. In a mixing bowl, add beef, seasonings, onions, bacon and egg.  Mix lightly but thoroughly with your hands.  Taste for seasoning.  Form into six patties.

3. Add butter to the bacon fat in same frying pan over moderately high heat.  When the butter foam begins to subside, sear the patties.  Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness.

4. Now, to Frenchify these babies a bit more, melt a slice of Gruyere on top of each.    Place on lightly toasted hamburger buns and add condiments of your choice.  Personally I like soft buns that you can bite into and not have the toppings squish out the sides.

Enjoy your meal! (You know how Julia would have put it.)

Play It Up . . . Like a Real Hamburger

by Victor Ribaudo

I like all-American food.  Even if it originated in another country, as is often the case.  I guess the hamburger is one of those national favorites.  They say that the Germans invented it.  Hence the name “hamburger” (from Hamburg Steak).  I don’t know.  Seems that the concept of chopping meat and then forming it into patties has probably been seen in many countries throughout history.  Don’t forget, I am Italian and meatballs belong to us (and the Swedes, I guess.)  Perhaps German immigrants were the first to introduce a chopped meat patty to America.  Doesn’t really matter where it originated, though; the hamburger is a true American classic in this guy’s culinary book.

Now, I know that hamburgers abound in fast food chains.  They taste great and I never knock them.  My nephew loves them too much.  But that’s not what I’m after.  To me, a hamburger must be prepared freshly at home to be of any real interest to my taste buds.  It all starts with the meat, of course.  Good quality beef is a must, but we can’t have it too lean or you’ll be eating cardboard instead of juicy goodness.  About 85% lean – as Phyllis Kirigin suggests in her fantastic recipe above – is great.  I like them hand formed, but you can use one of those hamburger gadgets.  All good.  Then there’s the cooking technique.  I prefer good old fashioned grilling on the backyard BBQ.  The charcoal smokiness really does it for me.  I will, however, take my hamburgers to a frying pan every once in a while.  I kind of like the steaming effect you get – not unlike White Castle. Really moist.  Broiling is also a decent option. But be careful.  Overcooking might occur.  That’s never a good thing.

Now those are the basics.  Next to consider are the toppings.  The perfunctory ketchup is a must for me, but I also like to add mayonnaise to that mix.  (Mustard, not so much.)  Sometimes I adorn my burger with relish or pickles, when I’m feeling fancy free.  Cheese is always nice.  I adore brie on mine, but any variety will do.  Sautéed or raw onions are welcome enhancements…as well as bacon or smoky ham.

But that’s really the beginning.  I get bored fast.  So I’ll often make it a Californian with the addition of fresh avocado slices, tomato and onion.  My Mexican gets guacamole, along with Monterey Jack, sautéed jalapenos and salsa.  The Italian dons mozzarella and tomato sauce.  The Indian gets chutney.  And the Greek gets chopped cucumber, tomato, dill and feta.  The possibilities are endless.

When I was a teenager, I discovered a recipe for hamburgers stuffed with sautéed mushrooms and onions.  After pan frying, I was supposed to add wine to deglaze and create a sauce.  Well, I poured in the wine right in the middle of the frying process.  Needless to say, my Mom had a mess on her hands.  Point is, I’ve always been a hamburger connoisseur – even if I did mess up every once in a while.  Wanting to broaden my burger horizons, so to speak.  So aside from substituting turkey or chicken for beef, I’ll often change up the meat mixture to include ground veal, pork – even loose sausage meat.  Or I’ll serve lamb burgers and throw everyone for a loop.  I suggest creativity with your spices and herbs as well.  Try cumin and coriander in the lamb burger and make it Middle Eastern.  Minced garlic, parsley and grated cheese give the burger an Italian flair.  Chopped scallions, ginger and soy sauce – especially with ground pork – offer everyone a taste of Asia in a bun.

Speaking of buns, they are important.  So much from which to choose.  Pick your favorites.  But please, do toast them on the grill or in the oven.  No one likes a hot burger on a cold bun.  A lot to say about a simple hamburger?  Not really.  I could go on and on about sliders as well.  Just some thoughts for now about Americana fare and the leader of that pack.

Recipe by Phyllis Kirigin

Photographer Bill Brady

Written by Victor Ribaudo

Blog syndicated at the datingsymbol.com

Chili Con Carne

OK. You and your friends are gathered around the TV riveted on the Super Bowl. Chips and salsa have been passed about, but now it’s half time and the call is for something more stick-to-your ribs satisfying. Chili!

Ingredients

1 T cumin seeds

2 medium (roughly 3 by 5 inches) chiles ancho

2 T pure chile powder

2 t ground Mexican oregano

4 strips applewood smoked bacon

2 ½ lbs. well marbled beef chuck cut into ½ inch cubes

Salt

1 medium white onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 14-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes (preferable D.O.P.)**

1 T freshly squeezed lime juice

1 t sugar

1 t masa harina

1 14-oz. can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Directions

1. Toast cumin seeds in a small cast iron skillet until lightly browned and fragrant. Cool. Pulverize in a small grinder (such as a coffee grinder used only for spices).*

2. In the same skillet, toast chiles ancho until crisp. Turn over but be careful not to burn. Tear into pieces. discarding stem and seeds, and place in a bowl. Cover with 2 ½ cups hot water. Set aside.

3. Mix chile powder and oregano together. Add enough water to form a light paste. Set aside.

4. Cook bacon in a large skillet on medium high until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel. Pour bacon fat in a separate container and set aside. When bacon cools, crumble it into small pieces and set aside.

5. Increase heat to medium high and add one tablespoon bacon fat back into pan. Work in batches to brown the beef. Don’t crowd or you will steam the beef. Brown on all sides and lightly salt as you cook. Remove from pan and set aside.

6. Add another tablespoon of bacon fat to pan. Add chopped onions and sauté until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add chile and oregano paste and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes.

7. Put onions and garlic, beef, bacon and tomatoes (breaking them up with your fingers) into a 6-quart Dutch oven.

8. Pulse ancho chile water in a food processor a few times. (There will still be pieces of chile in the liquid.) Strain into pot and add lime juice and sugar. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 ½ hours. Then uncover and maintain a bare simmer for another half hour.

9. Mix the masa harina in a small amount of water to make a slurry. Stir into the chili to thicken it. Mix in the kidney beans. Add salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve with any or all of the following garnishes on the side:

grated sharp cheddar

chopped red onion

sour cream

sliced scallions

diced fresh tomatoes

chopped fresh cilantro

*Ground cumin comes in a spice bottle, of course, but if you toast and grind your own, you will be transported to spice heaven by the aroma and fresh taste.

**D.O.P. refers to tomatoes that have been processed in the same place they were grown.

Chili Melts the Chill

by Victor Ribaudo

How many different chili recipes have you encountered in your food journeys? If you’re anything like me, then the number is staggering. I mean, almost everyone I know has his or her own proprietary version of this comfort food classic. Restaurants, too. Not surprising, either. As with so many American standards, this favorite is flexible. So many flavoring options and tons of opportunities for placing a personalized stamp on the dish. I think that’s what I like so much about it.

So where does chili come from? I’ve read lots of stories, none of which can be substantiated. I’ve heard say that it is a Mexican dish. I really do doubt that, since you don’t find it in Mexico, except in establishments near the border catering to American tourists. However, I can’t help but believe that the creation of chili was highly influenced by Mexican cuisine. Many of the same spices. Most do agree though that the first chili was concocted in the Southwest. That makes a lot of sense to me.

I love chili. I’ve found that there are nights when nothing else will do. Warm and filling and really intense in flavor. One of my fondest memories includes chili. It was at a winter resort. The day was a single digit one, and we were frolicking in the snow doing all sorts of fun things. At about 4:00 pm, I found myself famished. We had a late breakfast and skipped lunch. So we headed for a cozy eatery and found chili on the menu. I tell you, it just hit the spot so beautifully that it was the highlight of my day. Can’t get enough of it ever since.

So, in the mood for simmering a big old pot of chili? There’s nothing quite like it on a cold and wintry day. One of the first things you need to decide when embarking on chili cuisine is whether or not to bean it. Texans will fall on a sword before they’d add beans to their recipes. All meat for them. Others will omit the meat altogether, vegetarians or not. You should also think about the level of heat you want to infuse into your chili. I’ve found that most go easy on the spice. Some, however, are so heavy handed that you don’t taste a thing because your mouth is afire. You know, the Five Alarm Chili crew. Really, it’s a matter of taste. I prefer a blend of beans and meat, whether it’s beef, turkey or chicken. More hearty and interesting to me, with contrasting textures and all. As for heat, I’m all for a moderately intense kick.

The next thing to do is to get your hands on a fantastic recipe. And they do abound via cookbooks and online. But why leave it up to chance? If you haven’t guessed by now, Phyllis Kirigan wins my affection through my taste buds all the time. So I highly recommend her recipe. I promise, you’ll love it.

It’s funny how some foods just have to be included in certain occasions and events. Chili is one of those. I mention this because Game Day is soon approaching. In my home, we refuse to enjoy football unless there is chili in the offing. I like to serve it with the usual suspects – chopped onion, cheese and sour cream accompaniments. I always have cooked rice available as well. One thing I’ll never do is ladle it over pasta. I know, lots of people like it. But I’m Italian, and my mother would kill me if I did!

I also adore chili leftovers. The flavors really meld and marry in the fridge overnight. And I find that you can do lots with it. Chili hot dogs are spectacular. Chili sitting next to my scrambled eggs is divine. Chili on a grilled chicken sandwich – amazing. Chili makes it better. Sounds like a tag line. I might use that sometime. In any event, I’m cooking up some of Phyllis’ chili tonight. If you care to join us, dinner is at seven.

Recipe by Phyllis Kirigin

Photographer Bill Brady
Written by Victor Ribaudo

Food Stylist Brian Preston Campbell
Food Stylist Laurie Knoop laurieknoop.com

Courtesy of Heat Magazine Heat-magazine.com
Blog syndicated at the datingsymbol.com
.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos Wrapped in Bacon

Peppers are one of the most versatile veggies out there.  There are so many varieties and cooking with them is fun. You can roast peppers on the grill or on a stove top directly on the flame. Once blackened put them in a paper bag to cool. The black char slides right off and you have roasted peppers. Cut them opened and remove the seeds. You can put them in olive oil with chopped garlic and you have a great appetizer.

Another quick preparation for peppers is to stuff them with chopped meat, cheese and rice and baked in the oven covered with tomato sauce. Use the big red peppers, the green ones often are bitter when cooked in this fashion.

Here is a nice twist to the jalapeno.  Stuff them with goat cheese and wrap them in bacon.

A sure-fire crowd pleaser, this backyard barbecue and party fare couldn’t be easier to prepare. The spicy jalapenos , tart goat cheese and smoky bacon offer an irresistible contrast of flavors. Your guests will be back for more.

Ingredients:

12 slices of thick-cut applewood smoked bacon (about 1 lb.)

12 jalapeno peppers

2/3 lb .creamy goat cheese

1/3 cup chopped chives

Procedure:

Slowly cook bacon on a cool part of the grill turning over once until cooked through but still pliable. (Thinly sliced bacon and quick cooking will crisp the bacon.)

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and membranes. Fill each half with goat cheese mounding it slightly. Cut each piece of bacon in half. Wrap one piece of cooked and cooled bacon around each pepper half and sprinkle with chives. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil on a medium hot grill until the jalapeno is slightly charred. Serve. Makes 24 stuffed peppers.

Note: Bacon can also be cooked on a grill pan on the stove top and the stuffed and wrapped peppers placed on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven until peppers soften slightly.

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm
Food Stylist Brian Preston Campbell

  • Tes // June 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Reply

    Those chilis photo looks beautiful. I love the recipe. I think jelapeno and becon is a good combination. I can’t wait to try it on my party.

Jessica // June 7, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Reply

Wow, I really love the way these look and the flavor combination is spot-on. What a beautiful and simple dish to serve during the summer!

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