Monday, November 26, 2012

Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

Sean found this recipe from Food & Wine, and while last year's Thanksgiving stuffing was delicious, we decided to change it up this year with a cornbread recipe.  With the unique addition of roasted poblano peppers, this seemed like a perfect one to try.  We made the cornbread a couple days ahead of time to cut down on the Thanksgiving day preparations.  The flavor of the stuffing was so delicious- a little sweet from the cornbread, and extra savory from the country sausage and vegetable combination.  It was a big hit! 
  • corn bread (made in one 13x9 sized baking dish) We used the recommended country corn bread recipe, but you could also do a box mix. 
  • 4 medium poblano chiles
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound coarsely ground country sausage meat or breakfast sausage without casings
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup turkey or chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
Break the corn bread into 1-inch pieces and spread on a baking sheet.  Let it dry out for 4 hours (or longer).  We put ours in a barely warm oven for 30 minutes or so to help it dry out faster.  
Heat the broiler and place the poblanos on a foil covered baking sheet.  Roast them until the skin is charred and bubbly on both sides, flipping as needed.  Remove from the oven and fold up the sides of the foil creating a pouch around the peppers.  This will help sweat the skins off so they'll be easier to remove.  After 15-20 minutes, peel the skins off and remove the seeds.  Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt the butter until foaming. Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. 

Add the sausage, breaking it up, and cook until no pink remains.

Stir in the oregano, salt, pepper and poblanos, and finally mix in the corn bread.  Stir in the turkey/chicken stock.

Spread the stuffing in a large buttered casserole dish.  Bake covered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer until the top is a golden-brown.  You can also make this ahead of time and refrigerate for 1-2 days before baking.  This was so flavorful and delicous with our Thanksgiving dinner.  The leftovers also made a great savory breakfast!

Monday, November 12, 2012


There is no better use for leftover chili than to turn it into a delicious cheesy casserole.  I was intrigued by this recipe as it uses an ingredient I've never touched before- condensed milk.  But, somehow the substance is does the trick for making a creamy macaroni and cheese that pairs perfectly with spicy chili.  I found the recipe on Serious Eats, and we've made it several times now.  You can either make the chili for the purpose of this dish, or use leftovers if you made a huge pot and still have a decent amount left.  Any type of chili will do- and if you need ideas for that you could follow the Serious Eats suggestion, or check out our chili recipe.  The only change I made from their chili-mac is that I used slightly less cheese (which was still plenty).  This is so easy to make, and will definitely be  crowd pleaser.  

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni, or other short pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 3/4 lb)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 (12-oz) can condensed milk
  • 5-6 cups chili

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil, and cook the macaroni for 2 minutes less than directed on the box.  You want the noodles to be a little under-done when they go into the casserole because they will continue to cook in the oven. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Drain the pasta and return to the large pot over low heat.  Add the butter, and when melted, pour in the milk and stir in half of the shredded cheese.  Stir occassionally until the cheese has fully melted.

Pour in the chili, and stir to combine.  Empty the pot into a large casserole dish (or two smaller ones) and sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly on top.  

Bake for 20 minutes, and the broil for 2 minutes or until the top is starting to turn golden brown and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving. 


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Soft Pretzels

We always trust Alton Brown's recipes, so we relied on one of his to make soft pretzels for the first time last weekend.  It takes a bit of time and effort, but the result is a ton of light and buttery pretzels with a crispy outer crust.  You can make them as large or as small as you like.  These would be great to make for a party or football game.  They are delicious hot out of the oven, but not quite as good reheated.  We had them with mustard, but next time we'll try making a cheese sauce too.  We sprinkled a couple with cinnamon and sugar and that was also pretty tasty.  
  •  1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 22 ounces all purpose flour (about 4 1/2 cups, but we measured ours with a scale)
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • vegetable oil
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cups baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Kosher salt for topping

Combine the water, sugar, and kosher salt in a bowl or measuring cup and sprinkle the yeast on top.  Mix and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.  
In a large bowl, combine this with the flour and butter and mix until all the dry ingredients are combined.  You can use a stand mixer or do this by hand.  We did it all by hand and they turned out fine.  

Once combined, knead the dough in the bowl until it is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl- about 4 to 5 minutes.  If using your stand mixer, do this on medium speed.  Remove the dough from the bowl, oil it well with vegetable oil, and then return the dough to the bowl making sure it is fully coated in oil.  
Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rise for about an hour or until dough has doubled.  It will rise faster in a warmer temperature. You can't really tell from the picture, but our dough did rise and it was very smooth and stretchy.  
Cut your dough into 8 even pieces for large pretzels, or cut each of those in half to make smaller pretzels or pretzel knots.  You can really do them as big or as small as you would like, as long as you keep the thickness of the rope the same size.  
Oil your hands before rolling so they don't stick to the dough.  Press your piece of dough into a rectangle, and literally roll the dough up.  Then continue rolling with your hands until it has stretched out - 24 inches for the large pretzel, or 12 inches for the knots.   Meanwhile, heat your water with the baking soda until it comes to a rolling boil.  Use a wide pot if you want to do more than one at a time.  Also, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

We did a combination of large pretzels and smaller knots, because we couldn't really get our big pretzels to stick together.  Plus they are pretty big for a serving size.  To make the pretzel shape, take one end of the rope and circle it around, connecting a little past half way down.  Do the same with the other side and be sure to press the ends down so they stay together.  Not sure if that description make sense, but here is what they look like. 

When you've rolled out all your pretzels, you can begin boiling them.  (Or do both at the same time if you have a helper)  Drop one or two pretzels into the water.  Cook for about 30 seconds each, remove with a slotted spoon, and place on the parchment paper.  

Continue this process until all of the pretzels have boiled.  Brush the egg yolk mixture on top of each pretzel generously.  
Sprinkle with salt or other desired toppings.  Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops have turned dark golden brown.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.  

Enjoy warm, plain or with a dipping sauce.  So good!!