Friday, October 25, 2013

Super Sloppy Joes

Source: Food Network
Time: 25 min (prep: 10 min, cook: 15 min)
Yield: 4 sandwiches

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon steak seasoning blend
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 crusty rolls, split, toasted, and lightly buttered

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and meat to the pan. Spread the meat around the pan and begin to break it up. Once it begins to brown, add onion, garlic, and bell pepper. 

Combine brown sugar and steak seasoning. Add sugar and spice mixture to the skillet and combine. Reduce heat to medium and add red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan. Stir to combine. 

Reduce heat to simmer and cook Sloppy Joe mixture 5 minutes longer. Using a large spoon, pile sloppy meat onto toasted, buttered bun bottoms and cover with bun tops.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

1 head garlic
5 lbs yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the top off of a head of garlic, wrap loosely in foil and roast at 350° for 1 hour. Allow to cool.

Thoroughly wash potatoes, peeling optional. Dice into 1 inch chunks and put into a large pot. Fill pot with cold water to cover by 2-3 inches. Add 1-2 tablespoons of salt, put a lid on the pot. Cook over high heat until boiling. Drop heat slightly to prevent boil-over and continue to heat without lid until potatoes are cooked through. Drain potatoes and return to empty pot.

Sprinkle cheese over potatoes, lightly salt and pepper. Squeeze roasted garlic into pot. Using a potato masher or hand mixer, begin to mash potatoes. Slowly stream in milk and continue to mash/whip to desired consistency. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lasagna Bolognese (or, Lasagna the Hard Way)

Source: Food Network
Yield: 1 11x13 pan, 12 servings
Time: 5 hrs 10 min (prep: 1 hr, cook: 4 hrs 10 min)

The only change that I'm making here is to the amount of salt. I'm significantly decreasing it. Parmesan and Mozzarella can both bring a fair amount of salt to the equation so go light. And it may seem like there's a lot of liquor in play here but don't worry, all of the fun aspects of the alcohol cook off. If you want to skip it feel free to substitute equal amounts of stock (veggie, beef, chicken... pretty much anything but seafood stock). This lasagna takes a lot of time and some of the ingredients are pricy but it's absolutely worth the effort and investment.

The Ragu
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
10 ounces white button mushrooms
2 carrots, cut into 4 pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 4 pieces
2 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh parsley
1 6-ounce piece prosciutto, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground beef chuck
1 pound ground pork
2 cups dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt
5 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup cognac or brandy
1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes*

The Béchamel 
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups whole milk

The Lasagna
Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds fresh lasagna sheets*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 pound parmesan, grated (2 to 3 cups)
1 pound fresh mozzarella or fontina, grated (4 to 5 cups)

Make the ragu: Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2 cups hot water until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain the porcini, reserving the liquid.

Finely chop the porcini and white mushrooms in a food processor; transfer to a bowl. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, parsley and prosciutto to the processor; pulse until finely chopped.

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over high heat. Cook the ground beef and pork in batches, with a couple of pinches and salt and a few grinds of pepper. Crumble the meat as is cooks with a wooden spoon and cook until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a large bowl. Add the wine to the pot, scraping up the browned bits. Add the liquid to the bowl with the meat.

Melt the butter in the pot; add the onion, chopped carrot mixture, the rosemary, bay leaves and a couple of pinches of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mushrooms and cook, stirring, about 8 minutes.

Return the meat mixture to the pot. Add the cognac and scrape up the browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water and the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Crush the tomatoes with your hands over the pot and add with their juices. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 2 hours, 30 minutes. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the béchamel: Melt the butter in a wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, nutmeg, 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook, whisking, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking, 10 more minutes.

Assemble the lasagna: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a few inches of salted water to a boil in a wide saucepan. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Line a baking sheet with a damp kitchen towel. Working in batches, boil the pasta until partially cooked, about 4 minutes, then remove with a skimmer and transfer to the ice water to cool. Remove the pasta sheets, shake off the excess water and arrange in a single layer on the towel. Cover the pasta with another damp towel. (Barilla no-bake lasagna sheets are a lot less hassle and taste just as good to me.)

Brush the bottom and sides of a deep 11-by-13-inch baking dish with the butter. Spread 1/2 cup ragu in the pan. Cover with a layer of pasta, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup parmesan and 2/3 cup mozzarella. Spread 1 1/2 cups ragu over the cheese and top with 1 cup béchamel. Repeat with 3 more layers each of pasta, parmesan, mozzarella, ragu and béchamel  Top with a layer of pasta, then cover with the remaining béchamel  Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and mozzarella. Tuck the edges of the pasta into the baking dish with a knife.

Place the lasagna on a baking sheet to catch any drips; bake until bubbly and golden, about 40 minutes. Let rest 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

*I used one 32 oz jar of my homemade canned tomatoes and 12 sheets of Barilla no-bake lasagna sheets with excellent results. If you use the no-bake sheets, bake the lasagna for 50 minutes and while assembling make sure that each sheet of pasta is completely covered with ragu or béchamel.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Homemade Taco Sauce

Yield: 5 8oz Jars
Source: Canning Homemade/Better Homes and Gardens

1 quart tomato sauce
1 T cumin
2 poblano peppers
2 jalapeño peppers
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
4 T sugar
1 T kosher salt
2 dried ancho chilies, seeded and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 t lime juice
1/4 c white vinegar

Using the recipe in the link above, make tomato sauce. Work through step 4, reducing by a third for a thinner sauce. If you want to break this process up, make the tomato sauce the day before and refrigerate overnight.

Bring tomato sauce to a boil in a large stainless steel, enameled or nonstick pot. After 2 minutes, reduce to a simmer.

Preheat broiler. Place peppers, onions and garlic in a single layer in a 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 8 to 10 minutes rotating peppers until skins are lightly charred on all sides. Move charred peppers to a paper bag or covered dish and allow to steam for 10-15 minutes. Add onions and garlic to simmering tomato sauce.

Once peppers have cooled, remove skins, seed and chop. Add peppers to tomato sauce. Add sugar, salt, and dried chilies to tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Increase heat and return to a boil, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, process until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing liquid through and scraping the inside of the sieve with a rubber spatula, discard solids. Return strained mixture to the large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer sauce, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened  and reduced to about 4 cups. Stir in lime juice and vinegar.

Ladle hot sauce into hot, sterilized half pint jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims, adjust lids. Processed filled jars in water bath canner  for 35 minutes (start timing when water returns to a boil). Remove jars and cool overnight. Makes 5 half pints.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Yield: 9 24oz Jars

1 cup olive oil
4 large onions, diced
3 cups chili powder
8 tsp cumin
8 tsp garlic powder
4 adobo chiles
1/2 cup sugar
10 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
8 quarts tomato sauce, preferably homemade
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice

Using the recipe in the link above, make tomato sauce. Work through step 4, reducing by a third for a thinner sauce. If you want to break this process up, make the tomato sauce the day before and refrigerate overnight. Bring it back to a boil before you begin the enchilada sauce.

Set a very large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When hot, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and it starts to brown on the edges. Add spices, chili powder through garlic powder and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the sugar, tomato sauce and chicken broth to the pot. Stir to combine then bring to a boil. For a smooth sauce, remove pot from heat and use an immersion blender to break up the chilies and onions. (This could also be done in batches with a blender or food processor before adding the tomato sauce to the pot. If you do it this way, you will need to add about 4 cups of the chicken stock to the onion mixture first. Seriously though, just buy the immersion blender, it's so much easier.) Prepare jars and lids for pressure caning.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to hold sauce at a simmer until jars and lids are ready.

Ladle hot sauce into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add 1 1/2 tsp of lemon juice to each jar. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot sauce. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight. Fill pressure canner with 3 quarts of water and load jars.

Process using a pressure canner at 10 lbs psi for 15 minutes (at 860 feet above sea level).