Monday, August 18, 2008

Chicken and White Bean Chili

This weekend in Denver we plummeted to a below 50 degree mark, in August! This is so typical of Colorado weather because less than 1o days ago it was a record breaking 107! So needless to say, this weekend I was inspired to cook something that deemed the cold weather that was set upon us. I thought it was appropriate on another level because we are in pre-season football and there is nothing like, rain, football and chili!

Chicken and White Bean Chili

The preparation of the chicken is vital to making the flavor of the chili really stand out. You can adjust the heat of the chili by adding more or less Jalepenos. I put just one green one however you can add 2 or add a red one if you are really needig that bite! One great thing about cooking this in August is that I had the bonus of adding fresh tomatoes and veggies from the Farmer's Market. Not typical in typical chili-cooking weather.

Serves 4 for dinner with Brown Sugar Cornbread (recipe follows)


3 pounds chicken thighs, skin and bones removed, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Course sea salt
4 teaspoons dried tarragon, 2 teaspoons if using fresh
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 cup masa harina
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional as needed to cook the chicken and for garnish
4 red onions, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 green jalapeno peppers (with seeds), diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
6 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon if you using dried
2 cups dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock
2 tomatoes, diced
2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, rinsed and drained or 4 cups cooked white beans
2 green zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 summer squash, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch scallions, sliced (use green and white parts)
1/2 cup torn basil leaves (optional)
Grated Parmesan, for garnish (optional)

Place the chicken in a large bowl. Season liberally with pepper and sea salt. Toss with tarragon leaf and smoked paprika. Sprinkle the masa harina over the chicken and toss to coat.

Heat a cast iron pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, when it begins to smoke, add the chicken, leaving the masa harina in the bowl. Spreading the chicken evenly so it covers the bottom of the pot in 1 layer. (You may have to cook the chicken in batches to do this, adding more olive oil as necessary.)

Leave the chicken alone, without turning it, so the meat will brown and caramelize, about 5 minutes per side. The chicken has a lot of moisture in it, so a good amount of steam will come from the pan before it is caramelized. As it browns, turn each piece with tongs. Once all sides are caramelized, remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving juices in the pot.

Over medium heat, add another 1/4 cup of olive oil to pan along with the onions and garlic, cook until onions soften and caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the jalapenos, cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chili powder and thyme, stir to combine. Add wine, bring to a simmer, then add the chicken stock, diced tomatoes and cooked chicken. Stir to incorporate everything, season with salt. Simmer until chicken is wonderfully tender, about 45 minutes to one hour.

Add the white beans, zucchini, poblano, red pepper and scallions. Bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in basil. Serve immediately or cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To serve, sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Brown Sugar Corn Bread

9, one-piece servings

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup yellow corn meal
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup 1% milk
1/8 cup olive oil
1 egg beaten

Combine all the ingredients, dry first then add wet. Pour into an 8 x 8 oiled dish and bake at 400 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes until wooden pick comes out clean. Serve warm with unsalted sweet cream butter.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Eggplant (From the Farmer's Market) Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

The sauce and the dish were made from ingredients from the Cherry Creek Farmer's Market that is held on Saturday and Wednesday each week from June - October.
It takes about 2 1/2 hours to make this recipe so make sure that you have the time.

Italian Tomato Sauce

3 tbsp. of olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Saute all the ingredients above in a large pot until the onions are translucent and soft.
Then add the following:

1 - 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 - 6 oz. can of tomato paste
2 tbs. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup water

Bring to a simmer, cover, turn the heat to low and allow to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 45 minutes, add 1/2 cup of Parsley and take off the heat.

Eggplant Parmesan

1 medium Eggplant sliced in 1/2" pieces
3/4 cup of flour
2 eggs, whisked in a bowl
2 slices of whole grain bread crumbs
olive oil
8 oz. mozzarella cheese sliced thinly
8 oz. grated Parmesan

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Put the flour in a shallow dish, then the eggs next to it in a bowl, then another shallow dish of the bread crumbs. One at a time dip the eggplant slices into the flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and 4 at a time fry the eggplant about 2 minutes on each side and then set onto a plate. Once all the eggplant is cooked begin layering the dish.
Take an 8 x 8 baking dish. Layer 4 eggplant then a layer of the sliced mozzarella, then some sauce, then the Parmesan. There should end up being 3 layers.

Cover with foil, cook covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes. Let dish sit for 10 minutes before serving.

4 huge servings.