SHRIMP SCAMPI AND LEMONY PARMESAN RISOTTO

Is there a better pairing of two foods in this universe? Scampi and risotto were just meant for each other!

This recipe combines a couple elements borrowed from Marion’s Kitchen, ie, some Asian influence. Simply, I infused the risotto stock with a little star anise, green onion, fish sauce, and Shaoxing wine. Then, I finish the scampi cook with a splash of soy sauce. This just adds a level of flavor that can’t be beat without overwhelming the basics of this classIc dish.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 green onion, cut into 4-5 pieces
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter + more
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Chopped parsley
  • Zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 8-10 (u15, extra large) shrimp, peeled, cleaned, tails left on
  • 1/4 tsp red Chile flakes
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

Directions:

  • Place the chicken stock, star anise, green onion, Shaoxing wine, and fish sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the star anise, turn off the heat, and keep warm until ready to use. Leaving the star anise too long will infuse too much of it’s essence for my taste.
  • Place a large saucepan over medium low heat and add the butter and olive oil. When the oil and butter is hot, add the onions and saute, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Do not let them brown. Add the risotto and saute another 5 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the wine and let it cook until almost gone. Then begin ladling in about 4 ounces of stock at a time, stirring and letting it cook until mostly gone before adding more. Do this until almost all of the stock is gone. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit about 5-10 minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp butter and the parmesan cheese. Taste and make sure the risotto is cooked al dente or to your liking, It shouldn’t need salt as the parmesan is salty. Stir in some chopped parsley and the lemon zest.
  • Heat a medium non stick skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil.
  • Make sure your shrimp is completely dry using paper towels.
  • When the oil is hot add the shrimp and let it cook about 1 minute. Turn the shrimp over and add the chopped garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring it all together. After another 1 minute, add the soy sauce and toss together. Do not overcook the shrimp or it will become rubbery and tough. Turn off the heat.
  • To serve, ladle some risotto in your bowl or plate and add a few shrimp. Spoon some of the garlic chile oil from the skillet over the shrimp. Serve immediately.

HOW TO COOK A CRISPY CHICKEN PARMESAN

Everyone loves chicken parmesan. It’s such a great, Italian comfort food that is relatively easy to make. However, one of the caveats with most Chicken Parmesan recipes is that after you have worked so hard to bread and cook a crispy chicken breasts, it gets overly-slathered with marinara sauce then baked in the oven with mozzarella cheese and…it gets soggy! Well, here’s a way to avoid some of that sogginess and still get the true Chicken Parmesan experience. Also, to keep with the “parmesan” part of Chicken Parm, there will be grated parmesan in the Marinara sauce, the bread crumbs, and the cheese topping! This recipe serves 2-3 people.

YouTube recipe video: https://youtu.be/4um79iDm-Gc

Ingredients:

For the marinara sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small shallot, about 3 tbsp, minced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

For the chicken:

  • One 10-ounce skinless boneless chicken breast, butterflied then pounded to 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten with a little milk
  • 1 cup flour

Assembly:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil;
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 ounces cooked spaghetti

Directions:

  • Heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat then add 1 tbsp of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the shallots and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes and cook another 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Let reduce for about 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with juice and the chopped parsley and bring back to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Turn heat to low, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese. Keep warm.
  • Set up 3 bowls for breading. Flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. One egg, beaten with a little milk. One cup of breadcrumbs with 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese. Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour, tapping off the excess. Dip in the egg mixture and coat thoroughly. Then coat with the bread crumbs on both sides, pressing down and turning several times. Place on a platter lined with parchment paper or wax paper.
  • Cook the spaghetti in salted water according to package directions, about 10 minutes. Drain and keep warm.
  • In a medium to large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil then 2 tbsp unsalted butter. When the oil and butter is hot, add the chicken breasts and cook until golden brown, turn and repeat on the other side. Place on a wire rack over and sheet pan. They will finish cooking in the oven.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • On each chicken breast, place 1/4 cup of grated mozzarella and 1 tsp grated parmesan in the middle of the breast. Place in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and golden brown and the chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven.
  • To serve, place some cooked spaghetti on the plate. Then spoon on some marinara sauce on the the spaghetti. Place the chicken breast next to the spaghetti.. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with extra marinara sauce on the side in a ramekin.

BEEF CHILI WITH RED KIDNEY BEANS

Of course, I’ve made chili countless times. Most of us have. I’ve tried what seems like hundreds of recipes, some simple, some exhausting. Most have been disappointing, ie, just not good, not flavorful, not satisfying. Until I settled on this recipe, I don’t think I ever made chili the same way twice! This simple chili made with ground beef and simple ingredients hits the spot and comes together in about an hour. And, as always, this tastes best when made the day before serving.

INGREDIENTS:

* 1-lb lean ground beef (I used 85/15)

* 1-tbsp Canola oil

* 1-cup white onions, 1/4-inch dice

* 1/2-cup green bell pepper, 1/4-inch dice

* 1 small can diced green chiles

* 2-tsp granulated garlic

* 1-tsp onion powder

* 1-tsp paprika

* 2-tsp ground cumin

* 1 1/2-tbsp chile powder (I used Ancho chile powder)

* 1/2-tsp ground chile flakes (I used Calabrian chile flakes)

* 1-tsp Kosher salt

* 1-tsp black pepper

* 2-tbsp tomato paste

* One 14 1/2 oz can low-sodium diced tomatoes

* 1-cup low-sodium beef stock

* 1/2 cup Bloody Mary mix (I used Mr. & Mrs. T’s)

* One 14 1/2 oz can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed.

* Diced white onions, grated cheddar cheese, and sour cream for garnish.

DIRECTIONS:

* Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the ground beef and brown thoroughly.

* Add the onions and green pepper, chile powder, cumin, ground chiles, granulated garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring for 5 minutes.

* Add the tomato paste and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring. Add the diced tomatoes, green chiles, beef stock, Bloody Mary mix, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

* Taste and reseason if necessary. Add the kidney beans. Uncover and simmer another 30 minutes until it thickens slightly.

* Serve with fresh diced white onions, grated cheddar cheese, and sour cream if desired. The skillet cornbread works well with it.

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala in its most basic, traditional form is a simple variation on Italian scaloppina dishes. That being said, my preferred method does not include bacon, or cream, or mascarpone, or breading, or any other vegetables other than shallots and mushrooms…oh, and fresh parsley! I’ve tried to describe a basic, classic version. You can thicken the sauce a little with a cornstarch slurry, or just reduce the sauce to a thicker consistency, leading to a more intense Marsala flavor, making essentially a pan reduction sauce. After all, it is called Chicken MARSALA. I also prefer to season this a bit pepper forward, your choice though.

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 12 ounce boneless chicken breast, cut in 4 equal (3 ounce) cutlets
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • About 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 cup cremini or white mushrooms, 1/4 inch slice
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock, cooled if using cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch, (optional)
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Directions:

  • Cover the chicken cutlets with plastic wrap (or put them one at a time in a large freezer bag). Carefully pound them to about 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour shaking off the excess.
  • Heat the olive oil and unsalted butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil and butter is hot, sauté the cutlets until they are golden brown on each side. Do not overcook as they are thin and will become tough. Remove to a plate, cover loosely with foil and keep warm. Lower the heat.
  • To the same pan, add the mushrooms and minced shallots and sauté over low heat for about 7 minutes, season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Add the Marsala and turn up the heat, bring the Marsala to a simmer for about 3 minutes to cook off the alcohol and begin to thicken.
  • At this point, you can whisk the cornstarch into the cooled stock, add to the pan bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 1 minute. If not using the cornstarch slurry, reduce the sauce over medium heat for about 5 minutes until it coats the back of a spoon. Taste the sauce and reseason with salt and pepper if neccessary.
  • Return the chicken breasts to the pan, coat both sides of each completely with the sauce, and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Add the chopped parsley and serve 1 or 2 cutlets over buttered egg noodles or steamed white rice, spooning the sauce and mushrooms evenly over the chicken.

Beef Tenderloin Stroganoff

(2-3 small servings)

We love Beef Stroganoff. This is a scratch recipe I’ve made for years trying to stay true to some classic methods I’ve read about over the years. Typically, thin sliced top round or sirloin is used…and typically it is not braised, ie, cooked for a long time. Even with top round, if you slice it really thin, brown it quickly then drop it back in the sauce and serve right away, it is pretty tender. Using beef tenderloin as I do in this recipe…well, tenderness is not an issue. This is very flavorful and almost as good as my childhood when my Mom made it with Campbell’s Golden Cream of Mushroom Soup!

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces of beef tenderloin, sliced into 1/4 inch strips about 2 inches long
  • 1 tbsp of canola oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup white onion, quartered, 1/4 inch slice
  • 3 ounces of white button mushrooms (about 3-4 medium) halved, then sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef stock
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

Directions:

  • Preheat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the canola oil and raise the heat. Season the beev with salt and pepper. Quickly brown the beef strips on both sides, about 1 minute on each side. Do not allow to cook all the way. Remove beef to a bowl and set aside.
  • Lower the heat, and add the unsalted butter. Add the onions and mushrooms. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat and continue to cook for another 20 minutes until most of the liquid cooks out.
  • Whisk in the tomato paste and stir in, cook for 1 minute. Add the flour, stir in and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Pour in the beef stock, whisking constantly, bringing it to a boil. Turn heat to low.
  • Add the Worcestershire, the lemon juice, the mustard, and the sour cream. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Add the chopped parsley.
  • Cover and hold warm or serve immediately over cooked white rice or buttered egg noodles.

Skip’s Bacon and Deviled Eggs

As with almost any recipe, deviled eggs offers the opportunity for innovation. Of course, there are a few basics: mayonnaise? mustard? celery? So, this one starts out that way, with a few embellishments. Someone say bacon? I’ve included some directions for the way I cook hard boiled eggs, but cook them using your own method if you wish.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tsp Cholula (optional)
  • 2 tbsp real mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp prepared Ranch dressing
  • 2 tbsp celery, minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives plus more for garnish
  • 2 thick slices of bacon, cooked, minced
  • Kosher and fresh cracked white or black pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • Paprika

Directions:

  • Place the eggs in a medium sauce pan, fill with cold water to cover the eggs. Over high heat, bring to a rolling boil. Turn off heat, cover pan, let sit for 12 minutes.
  • Cook the bacon crisp. Cool then mince.
  • Drain water. Cover the eggs with cold water, drain, repeat two more times. This cools down the pan and stops the eggs from cooking any further.
  • Let eggs cool, about 10 minutes. Or, if making later, place in a bowl in the refrigerator.
  • Peel the eggs. Cut each one in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks to a bowl and mash well.
  • In a separate small bowl, add the mayonnaise, Cholula if using, sour cream, Dijon, and prepared ranch dressing. Mix well.
  • Add the minced celery to the mashed yolks and stir in. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the minced bacon, mix in.
  • Add the mayonnaise mixture to the egg yolks. Mix well, mashing it all together well. Sometimes I pulse it in a small food processor. Mix in the chopped chives. Taste. Reason if neccessary.
  • At this point you can use a small piping bag or just a spoon to place the egg mixture in the egg whites, divided evenly.
  • Sprinkle on the paprika. Garnish with a few chopped chives on each.

Cheese Enchiladas with Red Sauce

For my money, the overwhelming key to a good enchilada…is the sauce. Red sauce, green sauce, purple sauce…it’s the sauce that makes it or breaks it. This one is a red enchilada sauce with Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese inside…some cotija on top. The “gravy” is easy to make, mild tasting, and would also go well on a wet burrito. Add fresh, sliced jalapeños or serranos as a garnish to spike up the heat factor. I’ve included some toppings suggestions, but add your favorites. Maybe just put the toppings in bowls on the table. When I was a kid all I wanted on top was the cheese! Have fun.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tbsp Ancho chile powder
  • 2 tbsp New Mexico chile powder
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 6 ounces (1 small can) tomato paste
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Kosher salt yo taste
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 6-inch, 1-ounce rectangular blocks
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 6-inch, 1/2 ounce rectangular blocks
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup cotija, grated
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, cored, seeded, diced
  • Avocado slices
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, thin for drizzling
  • 8 – 6 inch white corn tortillas
  • 1 cup white onions, 1/4 inch dice
  • Canola oil for softening the tortillas

Directions:

  • In a medium sauce pan heat 2 tbsp of canola oil. When hot, add the chile powders and cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the stock, tomato paste, granulated garlic, oregano, and cumin. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes. Whisk in the butter. Taste. Adjust the seasonings if needed. Hold warm.
  • Heat 1/2 inch of canola oil in a small fry pan. One at a time, add the tortillas for about 10 seconds on each side. Stack together on a paper towel lined plate.
  • Take two 9×9 baking dishes. Spoon some hot enchilada sauce over the bottom of each.
  • Use a plate or cutting board to assemble the enchiladas.
  • Place a block of Monterey Jack and a block of cheddar in the middle of the tortilla. Add 1 tbsp of diced onions and roll up the tortilla around the cheese and onions. Place seam side down in the baking dish on the sauce. Repeat with all 8 tortillas leaving a little soace between each one.
  • Ladle about 2 ounces of sauce on each enchilada.
  • Cover dish with foil. Bake in 375F oven for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven. Remove foil and add 1 tbsp of grated cheddar cheese on top of each enchilada. Return to the oven, uncovered, for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  • Remove from the oven and plate them.
  • Sprinkle on some cotija then add whatever toppings you like.
  • Topping suggestions: diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, avocado slices, thin sliced radishes, salsa, sliced jalapeños, and shredded lettuce.

B.L.T. Chopped Salad

We love chopped salads, of all kinds. This is a relatively simple chopped salad with a BLT influence, minus the bread…and the carbs! It kind of reads and looks like a Cobb, but different…less meat, for example.

Feel free to vary the amounts of each salad item according to your likes. Also adjust the size of the chop to suit your taste. Your favorite dressing, especially any vinaigrette, works well. The mayonnaise element in this dressing helps echo the BLT theme. As with any salad, before to spin or dry the lettuce before adding the dressing, helps the dressing stick.

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of thick-cut bacon, cooked, 1/2 inch chop
  • 1 cup ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, 1/2 inch chop
  • 1 1/2 cups Romaine lettuce hearts, 1/2 inch chop
  • 1 1/2 cups Iceberg lettuce, 1/2 inch chop
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sweet white corn, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • 1//2 cup crumbled Feta or Blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup red onion, 1/4 inch chop
  • 1/2 cup avocado, 1/2 inch chop
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Directions:

  • Cook bacon in an air fryer or oven until slightly crisp. Let cool, the chop.
  • Mix together the chopped Romaine and Iceberg. Place in a large bowl, cover lettuce with cold water, place in a refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and drain. Place in a salad spinner and drain well. Or, spread out lettuce mix on a clean kitchen towel, cover, press dry.
  • Toss together the lettuce mix, chopped tomatoes, thawed corn, crumbled feta, and red onion in a medium bowl. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes if time allows.
  • in a small food processor, add the lime juice, paprika, mayonnaise, sugar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Process until emulsified and all the ingredients are incorporated. Or, use a small bowl and a whisk by hand. Taste. Reason with salt and pepper if neccessary. Let cook in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove salad and dressing from the refrigerator.
  • Toss the salad with about 1/4 cup of the dressing leaving enough dressing to pass around at the table. Add the chopped avocado and gently toss again. Serve.

Chunky Tenderloin Chili con Carne

Chili recipes abound on the internet and in hundreds of books. There is no universally accepted way to make this popular comfort food dish. Beans or no beans? What kind of meat to use? And the seasoning! Wow, they run the gamut. This version might be considered pretty “traditional” as true Chili Heads will agree on one thing: “real” chili does not use beans! It is simply, in its most basic form SPICED MEAT. I do from time to time serve it over cooked beans or rice, but not always. That being said, let’s go. I use chunks of beef tenderloin here but a good lean ground beef (chili grind) works well. This recipe does not require hours of cooking since the meat is already very tender. If you are going to use any other cut like chuck or even brisket, plan for a much longer cook time to make the meat tender. I’ve made this recipe before using sirloin or ribeye and it turned out good. Be sure to add the seasonings to the meat and not the liquids.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of beef tenderloin, 1/2 inch chop
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 3 thick slices of bacon, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 cup white onion, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tbsp New Mexico chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tbsp Cholula
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp herbes de provence
  • 1 small can (4 ounce) chopped green roasted chiles
  • 1- 14 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup Mr & Mrs Ts Bloody Mary Mix (optional)
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar or brown sugar

After the chili is cooked:

  • 2 cups of cooked pinquito beans, or pinto beans, red beans, or black beans
  • Fresh jalapeños, sliced thin into rings
  • Fresh chopped white onions
  • chopped avocado
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Grated Monterey Jack or sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Flour tortillas
  • Corn tortilla chips

Directions:

  • Cook 1 cup of dry pinquito beans in salted water for at least 2 hours or until very tender. Hold the beans covered on the stove if the chili is not done when the beans are cooked. Pinquito beans, like black beans, take much longer to cook than pinto beans.
  • In a large, heavy sauce pan or small Dutch oven, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until brown, not crisp. Remove and set aside, leave the rendered fat in the pan.
  • Turn the heat to medium high. Season the tenderloin chunks with Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. When the bacon fat is hot, add the meat to the pan and brown quickly and thoroughly on all sides., do not allow to cook all the way through. When browned, remove meat and set aside.
  • Lower the heat to medium, add more oil if needed (canola), Add the onions and sauté for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the cooked bacon and tenderloin back to the pan. Add the browned tenderloin back to the pan. Add the granulated garlic, the chile powders, the cumin, the cayenne, and the herbes de provence. Stir everything together thoroughly.
  • Add the tomato paste, mix in thoroughly. Add the diced tomatoes, chopped green chiles, stocks, and the Mr & Mrs Ts if using. Bring all to a simmer and cook on low, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Add the agave nectar or brown sugar. Cook for 10 minutes further. Taste and reseason with salt and pepper.
  • Place some cooked beans in a bowl. Ladle the hot chili over the beans. Garnish with sour cream, fresh chopped white onions, fresh chopped cilantro, and chopped avocado. Add fresh thin cut jalapeno rings if desired. Serve with a cheesy cornbread, flour tortillas or fresh corn tortilla chips or all of them.
  • Cook’s note: So called traditional chili is not cooked with beans, though I can be served ladled over cooked beans (pinquito, black, pinto, or red) or rice. Also, if not using beef tenderloin, try ribeye or sirloin. Just be aware that the cooked time will need to be increased accordingly, similar to a braise. Good, lean ground beef (chili grind) will work as well. Also, make sure you season the meat with salt and pepper before browning, the add the chile powder, granulated garlic, and cumin directly to the meat after adding it back to the pan. After all chile is, by traditional definition, seasoned meat. If you want it thicker, add in a couple of tablespoons of masa harina before the 20 minute cook time.

Cream of Asparagus Bisque

Full disclosure…this is the first time I have made Cream of Asparagus. I was never a big fan of this vegetable until my later adult years, now I love it. This recipe has a very mild asparagus flavor, not too heavy. It does beg to be served with some sort of garlic bread though as the taste is not strong. Adjust the amount of lemon juice and maybe add a small squirt at service. I used very young, thin asparagus spears here. It is a very simple and basic soup, not hard to make and doesn’t take too long.

Ingredients:

  • About 1 pound of young, green asparagus
  • 1 cup of white onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 3 cups of chicken stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup of creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked white pepper
  • 1 tsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice or to taste
  • A splash of sherry or dry white wine
  • Reserved asparagus tips and sour cream to garnish

Directions:

  • Trim the first inch or so off the large end of the asparagus. Cut the spears into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Cook the chopped onion in 2 tbsp of butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, about 5 minutes, stirring until softened.
  • Add the asparagus pieces, stir and continue to cook for 5 more minutes on low, covered. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, lower heat, cover, and cook for 25 minutes until the asparagus is tender. When it’s cookef, reserve a few tips for garnish, cool the tips in ice water.
  • Transfer the soup to a good blender (I use a Vitamix). Process until completely smooth and no chunks remain. You could use an immersion blender if you wish but it will take much longer. Pour the soup back into the pan. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a Separate small pan, make a roux with 2 tbsp of unsalted butter and 2 tbsp of flour. Cook for about 2 minutes, don’t brown the roux.
  • Bring the soup to a simmer and whisk in the roux. Continue cooking until the soup thickens. Add more stock if it gets too thick.
  • Add the splash of sherry or wine, the sour cream, and the lemon juice.
  • Taste and reseason if necessary.
  • Garnish with the reserved tips and a little sour cream.