Tag Archives: Robb Walsh

Pork and Whiskey Chili

Pork and Whiskey Chili

I’ve done quite a bit of cooking since 2016 began, with well, mixed results. I’ve learned valuable lessons though, like if you’re going to put baby back ribs in the slow cooker, the membrane MUST stay attached; otherwise they completely fall apart on you. I’ve also learned that kumquats have a very mild flavor when slow roasted, and probably weren’t worth the trouble as they only lent a slight citrusy background note that likely could have been achieved with some basic orange zest. (I might try that pork dish again with that change, because it was otherwise quite tasty.) Anyways.

Pork and Whiskey Chili

This chili was, thankfully, superb. Despite my pickiness about chili texture, I do enjoy shaking up the flavors from time to time. Sure, I’ll always be loyal to a Texas bowl o’ red, but I don’t feel guilty for occasionally stepping out on it. Pork in chili is delicious. It just is.

Pork and Whiskey Chili

This chili features pork in three ways, with bacon, Italian sausage, and ground pork shoulder. Despite the Italian sausage, this chili’s flavor profile is definitely Tex-Mex. The Italian-ness of the sausage doesn’t distract, it just provides an interesting note to wake up your tastes buds a little. Seeing as we just sat through a blizzard, I’m wishing the leftovers weren’t already gone… Enjoy!

Pork and Whiskey Chili

Source: adapted a little bit from The Chili Cookbook by Robb Walsh

Ingredients:
1 tbs unsalted butter
3 thick-cut strips bacon, chopped
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, removed from its casings
1 lb. ground pork
1 large white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
4 cups water
1 (15 oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
¼ cup whiskey or bourbon
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs paprika
1-2 tbs ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tbs masa harina
Garnishes of your choice (sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, scallions, pickled jalapenos, chopped onion…)

Directions:
In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisped and the fat has rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Add the sausage to the bacon drippings by pinching off little free-form meatballs. This will give your chili some texture later. Stir the sausage chunks until browned all over, then move all the sausage to one side of the pot. Add the pork and cook, breaking it up with a spoon or potato masher, until no traces of pink remain. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now add the water, tomatoes, whiskey, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir well to mix and increase the heat to a simmer. Cook the chili at least 1 hour or more, stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from scorching. Adjust the heat up or down as necessary to keep a simmer going.
Add the masa harina and stir to thicken. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Once the chili is to your desired thickness, serve with the garnishes of your choice.

Chipotle Chicken and Chorizo One Pot

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So let’s talk about one-pot meals today. Since I love cooking – it’s a passion and a therapy for me – I don’t mind elaborate meals that dirty up several pots and pans simultaneously, or even those meals that make it look like a tornado ripped through my kitchen and dining area. No, I don’t even remotely enjoy doing dishes, but it’s always worth it to me, even as I eyeball the stack of dirty dishes piling up in the sink with a hint of dread. Okay, fine, a lot of dread. I really do despise washing dishes…

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But every once in a while, I too want a one-pot meal to avoid the mountains of dirty pots and pans to wash. Let’s face it – no matter what your schedule or your cooking level, one-pots are just nice. They are necessary for everyone’s culinary repertoire.

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But for me, they cannot skimp on flavor. I can’t compromise on using good ingredients and producing a dish that I’ll truly enjoy eating. And today’s recipe completely fits that bill. The flavors are seriously bold, a touch spicy, and very hearty and comforting. Very, very perfect fall food here. I hope y’all will enjoy it too!

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{One Year Ago: Guest Post – Lemon Buttermilk Doughnuts}

Source: adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed
Kosher salt and black pepper
Olive oil
4-5 oz. chorizo, cured or raw; diced if cured, and casings removed if raw
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbs smoked Spanish paprika
1 chipotle in adobo, minced, plus 1 tbs adobo sauce
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted variety
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Guacamole or chopped fresh avocado, for serving

Directions:
Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a Dutch oven or other large, deep skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour off all but about a tablespoon of chicken fat. Add the chorizo to the pan and cook. If using cured, cook until it is crispy and the fat has rendered. If using raw, cook until crumbled and no traces of pink remain. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and add it to the plate with the chicken.
Now add the carrot and onion. Cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and paprika. Cook 1 minute more.
Add the tomatoes and bring to a bubble, then return the chorizo and chicken to the pot. Simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, 7-8 minutes. Double check with a meat thermometer – it should read 165 F.
When the chicken is done, garnish with cilantro, spoon it into shallow bowls and serve immediately with lots of sauce.

Ancho Tomatillo Chicken Enchiladas

Ancho Tomatillo Chicken Enchiladas

Robb Walsh, one of my favorite cookbook authors, released a new book this year that is all about hot sauces. I quickly added it to my Amazon cart. I mean, I would, of course; I’m such a chile-head. And it’s a very cool book for those that like it spicy.

ancho tomatillo sauce

One sauce in particular really intrigued me – an ancho tomatillo sauce. Reason being, I’ve always thought about Mexican hot sauces in a somewhat binary fashion: it’s either a red sauce, the base of which is tomatoes and dried red chiles, or it’s a green sauce, the base of which is tomatillos. But here two prominent ingredients, one from a red sauce and one from a green, are combined to make one sauce. How creative!

Ancho Tomatillo Chicken Enchiladas

Ancho Tomatillo Chicken Enchiladas

I was immediately dying to try it. And chicken enchiladas sounded like the perfect vehicle. Well. Can we say utterly delicious? The flavors of ancho and tomatillo complemented each other and made for a rich, deeply flavored sauce that was soaked up by the chicken and corn tortillas. I decided to go easy on the cheese so that the sauce wouldn’t get drowned out. A little Cotija was perfect. Enjoy!

ancho tomatillo chicken enchiladas

Ideas for Side Dishes: Cotija Rice, Mexican Green Rice, Slow Cooker Refried Beans

{One year ago: Roast Chicken with Honey Mustard Black Pepper Sauce and Hatch Chile Spoonbread}

Source: adapted from The Hot Sauce Cookbook by Robb Walsh

Ingredients:
ANCHO-TOMATILLO SAUCE:
2 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
4 tbs olive oil
½ medium onion, sliced
1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
6 tomatillos, husked and quartered
1 tbs lime juice
¼ cup chicken stock
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt

ENCHILADAS:
Olive oil
¼ cup diced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (can be homemade or just buy a rotisserie chicken; can be light or dark meat, or a combination)
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
10 corn tortillas
¾ cup finely grated Cotija cheese
2 tbs minced fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions:
First, make the sauce. Place the dried chiles (anchos and guajillos) in a small to medium saucepan. Toast them over medium-high heat for about 1 minute, just until fragrant. Cover the chiles with water and place back over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, shut off the heat and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Leave it be for 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbs olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the serrano, garlic, tomatillos, and chicken stock. Lower the heat and simmer until the tomatillos are soft, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the onion mixture to a blender. Add the softened dried chiles, as well as the lime juice and cilantro. If it’s a little dry or your blender is a little stubborn, add up to half a cup of the chile soaking liquid. Puree the mixture until very smooth. Be careful when pureeing it as it is very hot.
Add salt to taste.
Wipe out the cast-iron skillet. Return it to the stove over high heat. Add the remaining 2 tbs olive oil, then pour the sauce into the skillet. Bring to a boil, 1 to 2 minutes. Keep warm.
Now make the enchiladas. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Now add the chicken and cook until the chicken is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl and toss with ½ a cup of the ancho-tomatillo sauce. Set aside.
Now warm the tortillas. You can do this in the oven, the microwave, or by passing them over your gas stove with the flame on medium-low. Place in a tortilla warmer or wrapped in foil or clean kitchen towels.
Working one at a time, dredge each tortilla through the sauce. Lay it on a flat surface and fill with a spoonful or so of chicken mixture and about 1 tbs of the Cotija cheese. Roll the tortilla and place it seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining 9 tortillas.
When all the enchiladas are assembled in the baking dish, pour the remaining sauce evenly over them. Sprinkle the remaining Cotija cheese evenly over the sauce. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until bubbling hot. Remove from the oven, garnish with the cilantro, and serve warm.

Buttermilk Macaroni and Cheese

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Here it is – the post I had planned to write in the Philly airport yesterday. Better late than never, right? 🙂

I think it’s only fair that I come out right now and admit that I first learned to make macaroni and cheese from a blue box. Yep, I did it too. At the time, it was actually the only way I knew how to make mac and cheese. Yikes, right? And then I met Matt, and discovered that he often made that same infamous blue boxed stuff too, so of course we reinforced each other’s behavior.

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Once I got married, my mom gave me her recipe for macaroni and cheese, which had been passed down to her from her grandmother and then her mother. First of all, it’s, oh I don’t know, just a tad better than the salty, chemical-y, powdered cheese version, and secondly, it’s pretty darn easy to make. Thus, the blue box of mac and cheese was one of the first processed foods to exit my kitchen and lifestyle.

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As I have become better and more knowledgeable about cooking, I have learned that Southerners and would-be Southerners make their mac and cheese one way, while everyone else does it differently. Southerners (and my mom’s recipe comes from Louisiana, so it qualifies) make a sort of uncooked custard of milk and eggs, then they stir in cooked macaroni and grated cheese. It’s all stirred together, then poured into a greased baking dish, topped with more grated cheese and baked off. Delicious! The other kind of mac and cheese begins with a simple roux of butter and flour, then milk is simmered and thickened, then cheese is melted in. Cooked noodles are added, and then you can serve it stove-top or pour it into a baking dish, top with cheese and bake off. Also plenty delicious!

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I’ve made both versions many times and I really do love them both. This recipe is of the Southern variety, but what really caught my attention about it is that it contains buttermilk, an ingredient I have never used or even thought about using in either version of macaroni and cheese. How interesting is that, though!

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I first made this dish the way the recipe was written, which included bread crumbs and tomato slices baked on top. I didn’t love it. I’m not really a huge fan of bread crumbs on mac and cheese. What can I say, I simply wasn’t raised that way, so I’m not that kind of girl. 😉 But I was still so intrigued by the buttermilk element that I decided to adapt the recipe to my tastes, leave off the bread crumbs, and give it a second try. I did keep the tomatoes, only I chopped them and incorporated them into the dish.

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And this time, I loved it! What I’m about to write next, some of you may find blasphemous. But hear me out before you write it off. The buttermilk made this particular mac and cheese a little lighter, tangier, and less rich. And I know some of you are thinking that the only reason to eat mac and cheese is for the decadent richness, and I hear you, I really do. But for a twist on things, try it with buttermilk at least once. It’s a really interesting final product – still quite tasty and cheesy, but not so heavy. And the buttermilk does legitimately cut some calories, so consider that silver lining!

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So how do you usually make your macaroni and cheese? Which method? Any secret ingredients? And what do you think of using buttermilk?

Source: adapted from Texas Eats by Robb Walsh

Ingredients:
1 (16-oz.) package elbow macaroni
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup half and half
1 tsp dry mustard
Kosher salt and black pepper
8 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded
12 oz. Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt, then add the macaroni and cook according to package directions, one minute before al dente. It will finish cooking in the oven. Drain well.
While the macaroni is cooking, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs until beaten. Now whisk in the buttermilk, half and half, mustard, plus salt and pepper to taste. Continue whisking until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the drained macaroni, the tomato, and two-thirds of the shredded cheeses. Stir to combine all the ingredients. Pour the macaroni mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the pasta.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to set for 15 minutes before serving.