Young Guns Hatch Chili Pie with Cheddar-Cornbread Topping

We all have our family, home-life traditions and stories.  One of our is the annual September green chili roasting. Each year Wouter returns from his summer working in Santa Fe with a load of New Mexico  Hatch Chillies straight from the source….this year the “source” was pretty funny indeed……see name on box below…..

….those of you who know Wouter well may be aware that he had a very, very, wee, small part in the movie “Young Guns 2” of which much silliness has ensued at his good-natured expense. Or maybe you do not know this nugget of information? This is just one of the many “random Wouter-isms” that continue to keep it all interesting.

What were the chances of a recent Dutch immigrant in 1990 to modern New Mexico to end up playing the role of a late 1800’s immigrant carpenter with an accent, in an American western movie soon after his arrival to America? The scene with Wouter is about 3-5 seconds long and his one line is “They’re bringing someone in” right before a big gunfight in the movie.  Only in America I guess!

The bounty of chillies this year were particularly colorful and plump, just right for roasting.

Wouter really does most of the work as I “assist”.

When the chillies are puffy and charred then it is time to steam and peel and cook up something fitting. We put most in bags and freeze them for later cool weather soups and stews. We give away bags to friends who love them as much as we do.

This recipe for cornbread topped chili pie is very easy and flexible. The chillies could be any of your favorites. You can use fresh or canned as long as they have their own unique flavor. The roasted Hatch chillies have a delicious smokey, rich aroma and flavor.

As the weather cools off, hopefully very soon, this is a good one to add to your “one pan” dinner list. Good with a salad or coleslaw, additional chillies and a cold beer.  Thanks Wouter and the Young Guns Hatch Chili Factory for the flavor and the memories.

Young Guns Hatch Chili Pie topped with Cheddar-Cornbread

Ingredients for filling:

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves smashed
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 3 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1.5 lean ground beef
  • 2 roasted hatch chili peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

Ingredients for topping:

  • 1 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1.5 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. For filling, saute onions, carrots and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent in a heavy 10 inch skillet. I use my cast iron for this. Season with salt & black pepper. Stir in chili powder and tomato paste. Mix well.
  3. Stir in ground beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks, until meat is well browned.
  4. Add roasted chili peppers, can of tomatoes and black beans. Stir gently to blend. Set aside off the heat.
  5. In a mixing bowl whisk together the cornmeal and flour. Add the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter and blend together. Add shredded cheddar.
  6. Spread cornbread mixture gently over the top of the chili-meat mixture in the skillet spreading to cover.
  7. Bake until cornbread topping is a light golden color and filling is bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.
  8. Cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com           www.foodonfifth.com

 

 

Hearty Minestrone Soup with Feta-Parmesan Cornbread to Cure The February Funk

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The are many similarities between Southerners and Italians…we both like to talk excitedly and passionately about things we feel strongly about…we both love to cook and truly believe that food can heal among other things…a broken heart, the flu and any sort of general malaise. A general (February dark wet days) malaise seems to have fallen over many folks I have talked to this week. Nothing specific…just a general funk!

I suggest to cure your February Funk make this Minestrone Soup and Cornbread. Make a big pot to eat on for days. Make a big skillet of cornbread as well. I am sure you will brighten up and feel happier right away!

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My well-seasoned Lodge Cast Iron Skillet gives my recipe a very nice crust. A cast iron skillet like this one is a must for making true Southern cornbread.

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Minestrone Soup, Italian for a myriad of vegetable soups, can have pretty much whatever you want in it. One thing I always add is the leftover rind of Parmesan Cheese. Don’t throw them away as they add lots of flavor to any soup. I combine canned beans, fresh squash, canned or fresh tomatoes and chicken stock as the base for my version. You can add pasta or not. Experiment to come up with your own style.

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When I eat hearty winter soups like Minestrone a skillet of cornbread is part of the picture.  Experimenting with a basic cornbread recipe is my usual approach. This week I had lots of Feta and shredded-herbed Parmesan cheeses left over from a photo shoot.

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A good olive oil is what I put into the skillet while it is heating up. The cornbread will have a very crispy outside crust and stay moist inside if you get the skillet and oil very, very hot in a 400 degree oven before adding the batter. See what I mean below?

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Cook. Eat Well. Talk about stuff. Cook some more. You will feel better in the morning!

Hearty Minestrone Soup and Feta-Parmesan Cornbread

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients for Minestrone Soup:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 zucchini squash, cut into half moons
  • 2 yellow squash, cut into half moons
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 to 2 Parmesan cheese rinds
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken shredded (optional)

Ingredients for Cornbread:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian herb mixture
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + more for skillet
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk

Directions for Soup:

  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy soup pan over medium high heat. Add diced onions and cook until translucent.
  2. To soup pan add broth, zucchini and yellow squash, cannellini beans, kidney beans, black beans, tomatoes and Parmesan rinds. Bring to a boil then turn heat to low and cook for 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper and red pepper flakes  and shredded chicken if using.Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Also you can add a bit more broth or water if soup gets too thick. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Directions for Cornbread:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While oven is heating add a bit of olive oil to a cast iron skillet and place in oven to get very hot.
  2. Blend together, using a whisk, the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add in the feta and Parmesan cheeses and the Italian herb mixture.
  4. To dry ingredients add 1/4 cup olive oil, egg and milk. Stir until blended.
  5. Remove hot skillet from oven and add cornbread batter. Place back in oven and cook for about 25 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Serve hot cut  with Minestrone Soup.

Teresa Blackburn   http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com    www.foodonfifth.com

Snow Day In Nashvlle Black Bean Mole Chili with Coconut Cornbread

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I just love this Southern city that shuts down neatly and absolutely at the first sign of a snowflake! I really do…totally…seriously. This morning I awoke to a hushed quiet…no clamor of jack-hammers, no hubbub of beeping trucks backing up, no babel of traffic…shhhhhh…it’s quiet here…can you hear it? I am right downtown and it is tranquil!

A day such as this calls for staying indoors & hot steaming bowls of chili. Any kind of chili you like. But how about my “Black Bean Mole Chili”? Thick with beans, tomatoes…spiced with chipotle chile powder, cocoa and freshly squeezed orange juice all cooked down to make a snow day anywhere more cozy!

Out my front window early morning.

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Not a true “mole negro”, but with much of the same flavor as one I remember eating in Oaxaca a few years ago. That mole was so thick and dark red-black in color smothering the roasted chicken I was eating  that the incredible flavor is forever part of my best-loved food memories. My version is in no way authentic, but is a tribute to the real thing.

Dark cocoa and chili pepper combined to enrich the other ingredients…all cooked down to a thick dark red-black color.

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“Coconut Cornbread Cakes” made in one of my favorite Lodge Cast Iron pans.

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Black Bean Mole Chili

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients for Chili:

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1  small onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp Chipotle chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large cans diced tomatoes with juices
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan over medium high heat. Add onions to pan and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle in, while stirring, the cocoa powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin powder, cinnamon and allspice. Turn heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes while stirring.
  3. Add orange juice to pan. Stir to blend and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Add black beans and tomatoes to the pan and bring to a low boil. Stirring often. Turn heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Serve with coconut cornbread cakes.

Ingredients for Coconut Cornbread:

  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, divided
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place cast iron pan (skillet or muffin tin) with coconut oil in the oven to heat while you make the batter.
  3. Mix together 1/2 cup of the coconut, cornmeal, flour, coconut milk, buttermilk and egg just until blended. Add more liquid if you need to.
  4. When pan is really hot, remove from oven and quickly pour in batter.
  5. Sprinkle top of batter with remaining 1/2 cup coconut and bake until cornbread is puffy and golden brown and the coconut is browned. Delicious served hot with chili.

Teresa Blackburn     http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com     http://www.foodonfifth.com

Cannellini Bean-Vegetable Soup Au Pistou and Black Pepper-Thyme Corn Sticks

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Comfort food in a world of chaos and uncertainty is what many of us home cooks create to ease the tensions of daily life. Few foods are more comforting than soups. The ease of preparation and ingredients, the simple cooking methods…these are things we can control when there is so much going on around us that we cannot.

My version of the classic French “Soup au Pistou” is one of my comfort foods on these November days when darkness comes early and there is a chill in the air and in a small place in my heart.

Pistou is somewhat like pesto but without pine nuts. Just a blend of fresh basil leaves, garlic and olive oil all smashed together either in a mortar and pestle, or as I did in a food processor. Pistou is a sauce or condiment from the Provence region of France and you will find it simple and easy to make.

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Do you ever add the rinds of Parmesan cheese to your pot when making hearty soups? Try it if you have not. It is a good way to use those flavorful rinds and will make your finished soup even more delicious.

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I love cornbread so these crispy “Black Pepper-Thyme Cornbread Sticks” are good to serve with this soup. Baked in a sheet pan and then cut into sticks make them great “dippers”.

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Eat well. Be kind to yourself and others.

Cannellini Bean-Vegetable Soup with Pistou and Black Pepper Cornbread Sticks

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients for Soup:

  • Splash of olive oil
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 leeks thinly sliced, white and pale green parts
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 zucchini squash, sliced & cut into half moons
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced and cut into half moons
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • one piece of Parmesan rind
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Ingredients for Cornbread Sticks:

  • 1 package of your favorite yellow corn bread mix (I use Bob’s Red Mill) + ingredients called for on package directions)
  • 1 Tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)

Ingredients for Pistou:

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves smashed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. For Soup: Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat & add the anchovies. Use a wooden spoon to stir and cook until the anchovies break up and dissolve.
  2. Toss leeks and celery into the pan. Saute for 10 minutes or until vegetables soften and begin to brown. Add a pinch of sea salt & freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Add zucchini and yellow squash, chicken broth and Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Add beans to pan, stir and turn heat to lowest setting to keep hot while you make cornbread and pistou.
  4. For Cornbread: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix cornbread mix according to package directions adding the cracked black pepper, Parmesan and thyme leaves to the batter. Spread batter into a rimmed baking sheet sprayed with vegetable oil spray. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove pan from oven to cool on a wire rack.
  5. For Pistou: Put basil leaves and garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse a few times. Drizzle in olive oil just until mixture is a pesto-like consistency. I like a less oily pistou. If you prefer more oil then continue adding until it is to your liking.
  6. To: Serve. Cut cornbread into “sticks”. Ladle soup into bowls and add a dollop of the pistou to stir into the soup. Serve remaining pistou on the side. Enjoy.

Teresa Blackburn      www.teresablackburnfoodstying.com    www.foodonfifth.com

“Autumn Supper Salad with Crispy Cornbread Croutons”

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Shhhhhh…did you hear it? Summer made a very quiet exit as Autumn crept in. I hardly noticed. Did you?

Regardless of the seasons we eat salads for Supper. Salads as entrees, not as sides. Salads with ravioli scattered on top, salads with thinly sliced steak nestled amongst the greens, salads with fruit & cheese. Spinach, Mixed Greens, Kale, Arugula. Carrots, Tomatoes, Berries and Plums. Feta, fresh Mozzarella, shreds of Parmesan Reggiano. Croutons made from baguettes, ciabatta bread or cornbread cut up &  tossed with olive oil & herbs, cooked until crispy.

Salad

Here is what you will need to make one of our favorite salads with lots of healthy stuff.

For the Salad: Salad greens such as Arugula, Spinach, Kale or Mixed Green. A handful of berries, grape or cherry tomatoes, figs or grapes, plums & Feta Cheese

1. Place greens in a bowl. Cut figs & plums into quarters and add to the bowl. Top with berries. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and toss into bowl. Crumble Feta over everything keeping it in somewhat big chunks. Set aside or cover and keep chilled until ready to serve.

Figs on cutting board

plums

arugula salad

For the cornbread croutons you will need some precooked cornbread (available at most groceries in their deli), olive oil, shredded Parmesan.

1. Add olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium high heat. Cut cornbread into cubes. Place in hot skillet in a single layer tossing gently with olive oil. Turn once to brown on both sides. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan and let melt somewhat. Remove pan from the heat.

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cornbread croutons

Serve Autumn Salad topped with these slightly warm,  crunchy croutons and add a light drizzle of a light balsamic vinaigrette.

Life is busy. What could be easier than a salad for supper?

Southern Redux – “Greens & Corn Bread”

 “Greens & Cornbread”

My summer garden was not what I had anticipated…too much brutal heat, too little rain. After much garden angst I decided to just stop my incessant watering and let nature run amok. And it did….basically everything except a few tomato plants and my herbs just wilted and died. Nature did its thing and I did mine by letting it do its thing. Such is the life of gardening.

I did not let my summer garden failure stop me from having hope for my late fall-winter garden of greens. I set out plants and sprinkled seeds in late September and this week I harvested my first “greens for dinner”…two kinds of chard & kale, bok choy, collards, spinach, arugula and sorrel..bravo to the winter garden!

If there is one thing we Southerners really love it is our “Greens and Cornbread”. But many of us Southerners (me for one) have childhood memories of having a dinner plate set in front of me with a serving of dark-green-almost-black totally-cooked-beyond-recognition turnip greens or collard greens which I tried to avoid eating by hiding them under some other over-cooked vegetable equally unappetizing looking. I spent lots of my childhood hiding food I did not want to eat under other food I did not want to eat.

Now I rather relish eating a helping of over cooked greens at any of my local “meat & three” restaurants along with a slice of hot cornbread….every now and then. I also relish eating greens cooked my way with hot, buttery cornbread made my way which is what I made for dinner last night.

“Sauteed Mixed Greens with Pine Nuts & Golden Raisins”

 Gather or buy about 6 large handfuls of mixed greens. Rinse in cool water and shake dry. Roughly chop greens.

 Drizzle some good olive oil in a large heavy pan and add chopped greens. Place over medium high heat. Sprinkle 1 finely diced shallot & 1 clove minced garlic over greens. In a few minutes the greens will start to steam and wilt. Gently toss greens as they cook. Add 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, a handful of golden raisins, a dash of hot pepper flakes, salt & freshly ground black pepper.

Serve hot wilted greens drizzled with a fruity vinegar such as black fig vinegar or a good balsamic and hot (Kerrygold) buttered cornbread.

“A Simple Cornbread to Enjoy with Greens”

Drizzle a bit of olive oil in an iron skillet or other oven-proof skillet and put it in the oven as you heat it to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together 10 ozs. of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Cornbread Mix, 2 eggs & 1 cup of warm water. The first time I used this cornbread mix I was skeptical, but to my surprise it was very delicious and everyone who has eaten it has no idea it is gluten-free!  The texture is very dense, the flavor not sweet, but buttery. I ignore the directions on the back of the package and just add eggs & water. One of my favorite cornbreads was a “hot water cornbread” my Mother used to make. This is similar. A great find.

Remove hot skillet from the oven and scrape the cornbread batter into the skillet. Put back into oven and bake for about 30 minutes until cornbread is cooked throughout and light golden brown. Serve cornbread slices with a slathering of softened Kerrygold butter alongside a plate of Greens.

So…for you greens and cornbread skeptics, you non-Southerners who think you do not like this traditional  Southern fare, you Southerners who have never eaten greens still a bit crunchy with just the right wilted-ness combined…I ask that you try this simple little set of recipes and let me change your mind.

Bon Appetit Y’all

“A Little Gallery of Greens”

A little bouquet of greens.
Golden Chard
Red Chard
Kale
Bok Choy
Sorrel