Tag Archives: Sausage

Andouille and Pumpkin Gumbo

Andouille and Pumpkin Gumbo 5522

I’ve slowly but surely discovered over the years that it’s best to not ignore cravings. Like parking tickets, you can try and pretend it didn’t happen, but they don’t ever really go away until you do something about them. At least for me, it’s better to just eat the one cookie instead of obsessively thinking about cookies for several days and then eating twelve of them.

Andouille and pumpkin gumbo 5538

So a couple weeks ago, when I noticed a mad craving for gumbo, I thought it best to just find a recipe and make some gumbo. And when I came across a recipe for a gumbo with pumpkin (!!!) I was ecstatic, because how completely perfect is this for fall!

andouille and pumpkin gumbo 5549

This is going to be a departure from the dishes I’ve posted this week, all of which would be more than welcome at your Thanksgiving table in a few weeks. This is probably a bit heavy for a first course and quite a bit unconventional for the main dish part. But, it’s a great pumpkin recipe for our season of all things pumpkin. Matt and I found it quite lovely, perfectly Cajun-flavored and hearty, but you know, with pumpkin! And plenty of Andouille sausage, one of the best sausages on planet Earth. In my humble opinion.

Andouille and Pumpkin gumbo 5556

I hope you will enjoy it!

{Two Years Ago: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Onion and Candied Pecans}

Source: slightly adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

1 small pumpkin, about 1 ½ lbs.
Olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil, plus more for drizzling
1 lb. Andouille sausage, chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ lb. fresh or frozen okra, trimmed and sliced (thawed if frozen)
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 large fresh bay leaf
1 (12 oz.) bottle of pumpkin ale
2 cups chicken stock
2 (14 oz.) cans diced or stewed tomatoes
Hot sauce, to taste and for serving
Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
Cooked white or brown rice, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the top off the pumpkin and discard the stem. Using a spoon, scoop the seeds out and discard or save for another use. Cut the pumpkin in half, then cut the halves into quarters and the quarters in half. Place them skin side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Drizzle them with a touch of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45-60 minutes, until they are cooked and tender but not mushy.
Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the skins and chop into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat, add a small drizzle of olive oil and the Andouille. Cook until browned and a nice amount of fat has rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel lined plate.
Lower the heat to medium and add the canola oil, then stir in the flour. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 20 minutes, until the roux is brown and very fragrant. Adjust the heat as necessary as you do not want it to burn.
Once your roux is ready, add the paprika, bell pepper, onion, and celery. Season lightly with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened about 8 minutes. Add the jalapeno and garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. Now add the okra, plus the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and stir a few minutes more. Add the beer, stock and tomatoes. Season with hot sauce to taste and simmer to thicken 20-30 minutes.
Add the Andouille and pumpkin and stir to combine and warm through. Serve in bowls, garnished with scallions, and with a scoop of rice on top.

Mexican Chorizo Strata

Mexican Chorizo Strata 5517

Thanks to my dislike of Thanksgiving stuffing/dressing (soggy bread, y’all – can’t do it!), I automatically assumed I would dislike bread pudding and strata, especially the savory types. Several years ago I tried dessert bread pudding (similar to this one), in a restaurant in New Orleans, and immediately fell in love. Of course the boozy whiskey sauce didn’t discourage me from loving it, but I’d like to think I would have enjoyed it anyway.

Mexican chorizo strata, before baking 5460

Mexican chorizo strata 5472

After solidifying my taste for sweet bread pudding, I decided earlier this year it was time to tackle the savory. I made and tasted this one, and found myself overjoyed and unable to stop eating it. That really cemented things, and now I’m part of the bona fide I-Love-Savory-Bread-Puddings-and-Stratas Club. I couldn’t wait to make more!

mexican chorizo strata w/ guacamole 5478

And now I’ve made my first strata. (Honestly I’m not sure what the difference between the two is, other than stratas seem to sit longer than bread puddings before you bake them? Feel free to enlighten me in the comment section.)

Mexican Chorizo strata 5485

Mexican chorizo Strata 5493

I had some chorizo sitting around, so I opted to go Mexican with this. This also afforded me a lovely opportunity to use up some Hatch chiles sitting in my freezer, and I’ll always take those opportunities, because 1) who doesn’t love Hatch chiles, and 2) I have a few too many and I desperately need to start whittling down the stash.

Mexican Chorizo Strata 5501

This dish is lovely, and will feed a large crowd. It’s one of the easier meals I’ve put together, too. And leftovers reheat beautifully. I’m not a mom, but if I were, I’m thinking stratas would definitely be in the dinner rotation. They are infinitely adaptable, nutritious (you can of course use whole wheat bread), and can be very kid friendly. Enjoy!

Mexican chorizo strata 5516

{One Year Ago: Cranberry Apple Muffins}

Source: slightly adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

Olive oil
1 lb. Mexican chorizo, casings removed
3 fresh chiles, either Hatch, poblano or large jalapeno, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
7-8 thick slices of stale white or egg-based bread, cut into large cubes (I can’t imagine why you couldn’t use whole wheat bread here if you wanted)
2 cups milk
8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 large eggs
1 tbs hot sauce
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Guacamole, for serving

In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, breaking it into crumbles as it browns. Cook until no traces of pink remain. Add the chiles in and stir to combine. Set aside off the heat.
Grease a 9×13” baking dish, then scatter the bread cubes around in an even layer. Add the cooked chorizo mixture and gently move the bread around to get some of the chorizo down into the nooks and crannies.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, eggs, hot sauce, plus season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the bread and chorizo. Top with the cheese. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Place the strata on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake until the eggs are set and the top is golden, about 1 hour.
Let rest a few minutes, then slice into squares and serve warm with guacamole on the side.

Louisiana-Style Shrimp and Andouille One Pot

Louisiana-Style Shrimp and Andouille One Pot 5150

A random grocery store run to Fairway a couple weeks ago turned out to be a major score, when I found a rare-to-this-area item sitting nonchalantly on the shelves: Abita Pecan ale. Now, I can find Abita regular brew, but the company also puts out a pecan harvest ale, and that I could never before locate anywhere in NYC. Happy dance time!

Louisiana-Style shrimp and andouille one pot 5134

Before buying it here, I’d only had it one time in my life. That time was with Matt in New Orleans, where the beer itself is brewed, and their pecan ale is seriously the best beer I’ve tasted, ever. With sincere apologies to the Shiner.

Abita Pecan Ale 5155

I figured it was perfect for this recipe, a simple one pot that can be thrown together for tons of Cajun flavors, and one that really requires a Louisiana beer. Obviously, using regular Abita (or another brand of Louisiana style beer) would be perfectly fine.

Louisiana-Style Shrimp and andouille one pot 5160

This was a very lovely dish. Bold flavors, just saucy enough, just messy enough, and pairs so perfectly with that amazing pecan beer. I’m still excited over it. And yes, I’m rationing my stash, trying to make it last, since who knows if I’ll ever see it in NYC again… Anyways, I hope you enjoy this easy one-pot! Oh! Very important – puh-leeze don’t forget a hunk of bread to mop up the delicious holy trinity sauce.

Louisiana-style shrimp and andouille one pot 5152

{One Year Ago: Hatch Chile Cheese Bread, Apple Pie Bagels, My Mom’s Apple Cake}

Source: adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

Olive oil
½ lb. Andouille sausage, thinly sliced or chopped
3 tbs unsalted butter
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 thyme sprigs
2 fresh bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red chile flakes
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tbs sweet paprika
2 tbs flour
1 (12 oz.) bottle of beer (I used Abita, from Louisiana, which I highly recommend)
1 cup chicken or seafood stock
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
Louisiana-style hot sauce, to taste
1 ½ lbs. medium-to-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Sliced scallions, for garnish
Crusty bread hunks, for mopping sauce

In a Dutch oven or deep, large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and the fat rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
Add the butter to the hot pan and swirl or stir to combine it with the sausage drippings. Add the bell pepper, onion, celery, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Cook, stirring frequently, until completely softened and cooked. Add the garlic and chile flakes, and cook 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Now add the paprika and flour. Stir 1 minute to cook the pasty taste out of the flour. Stir in the beer and cook 2 minutes, stirring to scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the stock and Worcestershire, reduce the heat to low and simmer about 3 minutes to combine the flavors. Stir in hot sauce to taste. Add the reserved sausage back into the pot.
Lightly toss the shrimp with a little bit of kosher salt, then add it to the simmering pot. Cook over medium heat until the shrimp are opaque and firm to the touch, about 3-5 minutes.
Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves, and ladle into either deep bowls, or wide shallow bowls. Garnish with scallions and dig in!

Pork Neck Bone Stew

Pork neck bone stew

Despite the fact that it’s late March, last week it snowed a little, and temperatures dipped below freezing. So I made one last stew for the season.

At least I hope that’s what I did.

I sincerely hope that this is the last stew I’ll make for a while. I sincerely hope that there will be no more need or desire for a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meal for many, many months. You know, because the weather is going to warm up!! Right?? Please???

Pork Neck Bone Stew

But, I must say, this was quite the stew to go out on. When I saw that Donald Link had just published a new cookbook, I couldn’t resist picking it up. I love his first one, which centers around New Orleans and Louisiana cuisine, so it’s a good bet that his follow-up project will be outstanding, too.

Possibly even better, which is quite a strong statement to make, I know. This cookbook is all about the Deep South culinary traditions and dishes. And while I’m perfectly happy to continue living in New York City indefinitely, I do have quite a fondness for the comforting food and bold flavors of America’s Deep South.

Pork Neck Bone Stew

This stew was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Seriously, there are no words. Matt was absolutely effusive in his praise for this one, not only as he ate it but days later too. Before he’d even finished his bowl, he asked when I planned to make it again. (Um, eat the leftovers, then we’ll talk). And, as he accurately pointed out, this would make some very fine game day fare next fall.

Oh, and don’t be wary of the pork neck. It’s just meat; the only reason it’s not widely eaten is because it’s a tough cut (needs to be slow cooked) that doesn’t have a ton of meat on it, which, on the plus side, makes them extremely inexpensive. But their flavor is really bar none once it’s been cooked. The stew is a bit spicy, but it won’t blow your head off. It’s kind of a project, but more than worth the effort. Don’t deprive yourself of this one. Trust me. Just don’t.

pork neck bone stew

{One year ago: Mexican “Hot” Chocolate Ice Cream}

Source: adapted from Down South by Donald Link

1 tbs kosher salt
1 tbs sweet paprika
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp cayenne
1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground white pepper
3 lbs. pork neck bones
1/3 cup plus ¼ cup all-purpose flour
Scant cup of canola oil
1 lb. smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, sliced into ½-inch rounds
1 medium onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken stock
6 fresh bay leaves
Steamed white rice, for serving

Combine the salt, paprika, thyme, cayenne, black pepper, and white pepper in a small bowl to form a spice mix. Add ¼ cup flour and mix well. Season the pork neck bones all over with the spice and flour mixture by tossing in a large bowl. Do not discard the spice mixture in the bottom of the bowl.
Measure out the canola oil in a measuring cup. Pour enough into a Dutch oven to just coat the bottom. Preheat over medium-high, and when hot, add the pork necks. Brown them on all sides, working in batches to avoid overcrowding. Transfer to a platter.
Lower the heat to medium. Add the remaining canola oil and the 1/3 cup flour to the drippings in the Dutch oven. Cook, whisking or stirring with a wooden spoon constantly, for 25 minutes, to make a dark roux. You can add some of the remaining spice mixture if there seems to be too much oil to flour. Watch this carefully, and if you see smoke, lower the heat immediately. I usually make roux on medium-low to low heat. You do NOT want to burn it.
Once the roux is made, return the heat to medium and add the onion, celery, jalapeno, garlic, and remaining spice mixture. Cook, stirring, for about 7 minutes, until softened. Now add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the mixture simmers very gently. The sauce should be a nice gravy consistency. Add the pork necks, smoked sausage, and bay leaves.
Cook, covered, over medium-low to low heat, for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat falls off the bone when coaxed with a fork. Make sure your heat is not so high that the bottom of the stew scorches. You can add a little water if it is getting too thick.
When the meat is completely tender, remove the pork necks with tongs to a plate and use 2 forks to shred the meat from the bones. Add it back into the stew. Remove the bay leaves. If you want, you can use a solid spoon to carefully skim the fat off the top (I did).
Serve in bowls over a spoonful or two of white rice. And you can garnish with scallions or chives if you want, but it’s not at all necessary.

Shrimp and Chorizo Tapas #SundaySupper

Shrimp and Chorizo Tapas

It’s time for another Sunday Supper!! Is it just me, or does it feel like I *just* posted last week’s SS recipe? What a week!

Anyways, our theme this week is Tapas Party, which makes me all kinds of happy, seeing as visiting Spain is quite high on my bucket list. I haven’t gotten myself over there quite yet, but I very much hope to within another year or two.

link of Spanish chorizo

I’m dying to stroll into a Barcelona tapas bar and encounter bartenders and servers who speak not a word of English (and I do not speak any Spanish, mind you) and just let them bring me small plate after small plate of tapas and sangria. I imagine noshing and sipping the night away with my significant other, basking in the romance of being in a foreign land, and then of course returning to a lovely hotel to sleep that deep sleep that magically cures jet lag. I love the flavors of Spain, and have yet to hear of a tapas type dish that doesn’t sound appealing.

Shrimp and Chorizo Tapas

I kept it simple for today. We all know Spaniards love their shrimp, as well as their chorizo, so when I found a recipe that was basically just sautéed shrimp and chorizo, with some onion,  a lot of garlic, and some smoked paprika, I jumped at it. As expected, it’s simple, clean, wonderfully fatty, and delicious.

shrimp and chorizo tapas

Now, usually when I post a recipe calling for chorizo, I will caution you to use Mexican chorizo. I explain that’s the raw kind in the refrigerated meat case or butcher counter, and then I say don’t use the cured Spanish kind. Well, guess what? Today you must use the Spanish chorizo! Today I am telling you, do not get the raw Mexican stuff from the meat case; you must get the cured, firm Spanish kind of chorizo. You’ll probably find it near the deli, and as you saw from the picture, it’s a U-shaped cured sausage usually with a rope attaching its ends together. You can peel the casing away if the casing wants to cooperate and is easy to peel off. But if it’s being all stubborn, I say let it and leave it on there. It’s not going to hurt anything.

Shrimp and Chorizo Tapas

Enjoy this one, guys! Pour some wine or sangria, serve it on a tiny little plate and pretend you’re in Barcelona or Madrid!

{One year ago: Cotija Rice}

Source: slightly adapted from 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast by Emeril Lagasse

1 tbs plus ¼ cup olive oil
1 lb. firm, cured Spanish chorizo, cut into ½-inch slices on the diagonal
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbs minced garlic
½ dry white wine or sherry
1 ½ lbs. medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbs smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
3 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbs minced fresh parsley
Sliced baguette, for serving

Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 1 tbs olive oil, then the chorizo slices. Sauté, turning as necessary, until they start to brown and crisp at the edges, about 4 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. I found you really need to time the onions, because the chorizo fat turns the oil a delicious orange-red color, which does make it hard to tell by sight when the onions are cooked.
Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup of the wine or sherry and cook 1 minute.
Add the shrimp, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Again, the shrimp will turn that lovely orange-red color from the chorizo fat, so you can’t really tell when they’re done by sight. Tap them with your finger or the back of your cooking spoon to determine doneness – they should be firm and springy, not mushy.
Now add the remaining ¼ cup wine or sherry, the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, lemon juice, and parsley. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
Serve immediately on small plates, with the accumulated cooking juices poured over top. Pass the bread at the table, and may I just say that dunking the bread into the pan juices is one of the best things you’ll do all year.

Be sure to check out the rest of the fabulous Sunday Supper team!

Here’s what’s on the Table:
Stuffed Green Queen Olives with Garlic Infused Olive Oil from MarocMama
Cheesy, Tortellini Tapas & Spicy Bacon Ranch Dip from Daily Dish Recipes
Black-Eyed Pea Cowboy Caviar from Shockingly Delicious
Goan Beef Croquettes from Masala Herb
Giardiniera Salad from Peanut Butter and Peppers
Bacon Wrapped Calamari from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Patatas Bravas from Supper for a Steal
Caramelized Onion & Gruyere Bites from The Foodie Army Wife
Agave Truffles from Killer Bunnies, Inc
Pear, Brie, and Honey Crostini from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Tomato Bread from girlichef
Clams in Green Sauce (Almejas en Salsa Verde) from The Little Ferraro Kitchen
Roasted Tomato-Basil Flatbread from Take A Bite Out of Boca
Herb and Citrus Marinated Olives from Magnolia Days
Smoky Paprika Peppers from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
Balsamic Raspberries with Mascarpone Cream from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Gambas al Ajillo from Manu’s Menu
Squid in Garlic Chili Olive Oil from Food Lust People Love
Tortilla Española from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
Croquetas de Pollo from Cookin’ Mimi
Low-Carb Salmon Croquettes from Yours And Mine Are Ours
Bruschetta Topping from What Smells So Good?
Herb Roasted Almonds from Curious Cuisiniere
Artichoke Heart and Manchego Spread on Fried Garlic Bread from The Wimpy Vegetarian
Tortillita de Camarones from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Patatas A La Riojana (Rioja-Style Potato & Chorizo Stew) from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Gambas al Ajillo y Clementina (Shrimp with Garlic and Clementines) from FoodieTots
Tortillas De Papa y Atun (Tuna and Potatoes Tortilla) from Basic N Delicious
Pocky Cake Pops from NinjaBaking.com
Chorizo Filled Dates Wrapped in Bacon from I Run For Wine
Manchego-Stuffed Spanish Meatballs from The Weekend Gourmet
Roast Onions with Blue Cheese and Pine Nuts from Healthy. Delicious.
Shrimp and Chorizo Tapas from The Texan New Yorker
Blueberry and Lemon Yogurt Quesada from In The Kitchen With KP
Chorizo with Spicy Sweet Potato Tapas from Soni’s Food
Chorizo and Manchego Toast Tapas from Family Foodie
Roasted Bone Marrow with Citrus Salad from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Mushroom Chevre Crostini from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Serrano Ham and Manchego Croquetas with Smoked Pimenton Aioli from My Other City By The Bay
Krab Filled Avocado Tapas from from Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos
Polenta Crostini Bites with Caramelized Mushrooms: Cicchetti – A Venetian Tapas Tradition from La Bella Vita Cucina

And you know you can’t have a party without wine ~ at least you certainly can’t in my house. Martin Redmond is here to give you the perfect recommendations: Best Wines To Pair With Tapas from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter every Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Black Eyed Pea and Chorizo Soup

Black eyed pea and chorizo soup

Happy New Year!!! Here’s hoping your celebrations were fun, happy, and safe. We played things low-key this year, just stayed home, did some cooking, and watched my Baylor Bears lose the Fiesta Bowl, a bowl game they were favored to win. Oh boy….

Despite that, I’m feeling incredibly happy and thankful today, because on this exact date last year, I awoke with a very bad case of the flu. Today I awoke feeling perfectly fine. I’ll take it!

I have discovered only in recent years that this is a Texas and some-of-the-Deep-South thing, but growing up we always ate black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Apparently they are supposed to bring good fortune in the coming year. I have no idea the origin of this tradition, but I figure it can’t hurt, so I made this utterly delicious soup on New Year’s Eve. A soup that makes your house smell sooooo amazing and warms your belly and soul on a cold, icy, blustery, winter day (the likes of which we are apparently supposed to have until Sunday).

black eyed pea and chorizo soup

A few recipe notes: the original recipe calls for pureeing much of the soup ingredients, namely the veggies and spices. I knew that, but then I didn’t pay attention to what I was doing and tossed the onion into the crumbled chorizo. Oops. As you can imagine, we had a chunkier soup. Which worked just fine and was delicious. Of course I’m linking to the original recipe to give source credit, so if you’d rather have a smoother soup, definitely check that out. Second recipe note – you are looking for Mexican chorizo for this soup, not Spanish or Portuguese chorizo. Mexican chorizo is raw, usually in casings, and is sold in the refrigerated meat section of the grocery store, or behind the butcher counter. Spanish and Portuguese chorizo is cured, ready-to-eat, and is not refrigerated when sold. Make sure you get the correct kind. And I think that’s it! Enjoy, and Happy New Year!!

Black Eyed Pea and Chorizo Soup

Source: adapted from The Homesick Texan

1 teaspoon lard or vegetable oil
1 lb. Mexican chorizo, removed from casing
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
6 cups chicken stock
15 oz. canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
3 (15-oz.) cans of black-eyed peas, drained
8 oz. pepper Jack, shredded
1/2 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnishing
2 tablespoon lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnishing
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Sour cream, for garnishing

In a large soup pot, heat the lard or oil over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, breaking it up with a potato masher or sturdy spoon, until it is crumbled and no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes more, or until the onion is translucent.
Add the chipotle powder, cumin, oregano, and allspice; stir to combine.
Next add the chicken stock, tomatoes, and black eyed peas. Bring the soup up to a low boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the soup from scorching on the bottom of the pot. You can skim off the fat if you please, too.
Add the cheese and tortilla chips. Let the soup continue to softly simmer about 3-5 minutes more, to melt the cheese and incorporate the tortilla chips. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and black pepper. Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed. Remember the chorizo is plenty salty, so you may not need much.
Serve in soup bowls, garnished with cilantro, lime wedges and sour cream as you please.

Italian Sausage Hoagies with Caprese Relish

Italian Sausage Hoagies with Caprese Relish

I think most of us would agree that sounding the death knell of summer needn’t necessarily mean the end of grilling for the season. It seems like most people will grill as long as the weather will allow. And if that’s year round for you, then I hate you! I kid. 🙂

cherry tomato skewers

grilling sausages and tomato skewers

NYC weather has definitely cooled down, but it’s going to be fine grilling temps for a couple more months (minus the rainy days, of course). So today I thought I would share this recipe with you, as it’s a terrific late summer/early fall dish, perfect for tailgating, or for one last day at the beach. I thought it was awesome! Kind of like a more upscale grilled hot dog, but just as easy to pull together. Enjoy the weekend! May you have great weather and delicious grilled grub!

caprese relish

grilled sausages and caprese relish

A few recipe notes: I enjoyed using a mix of sweet and hot Italian sausages, but of course use all of either if you prefer. Bocconcini are little bite-size balls of fresh mozzarella and most grocery stores have them these days. Look in the cheese section or near the deli. Make sure you get salted, plain and not marinated, as often they are sold marinated in various seasonings. If your store doesn’t have them, or they are jacked up in price, get a 1 lb. ball of fresh mozzarella and simply chop it into small bite-size chunks.

Italian Sausage Hoagies with Caprese Relish

Italian Sausage Hoagies with Caprese Relish

{One year ago: Blueberry Pancakes}

Source: slightly adapted from Barbecue Addiction by Bobby Flay

¾ lb. sweet Italian sausage links
¾ lb. hot Italian sausage links
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Canola oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 pint bocconcini, each ball quartered
1 small red onion, diced
1 tbs brined capers, drained
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
6 soft hoagie rolls
2 garlic cloves, halved

Heat your grill to high for direct grilling. Soak a few wooden skewers in water for half an hour.
Thread the tomatoes onto skewers. Prick the sausages all over with the tines of a fork. Brush the tomatoes with canola oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the sausages until cooked through and lightly charred on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Grill the tomato skewers until slightly charred and softened, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the sausages to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the skewers, cut in half, and put in a bowl.
To the bowl of tomatoes, add the mozzarella, onion, capers, basil, parsley, vinegar, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper toss to combine.
Slice open the rolls and put on the grill, cut side down. Grill until lightly golden brown, about 30 seconds. Remove the rolls and rub the cut surfaces with the garlic cloves.
To assemble, place a sausage link in a roll and top with caprese relish. Enjoy!

Battered and Fried Merguez Sausages


Welcome to Part Five of my Favorite Food Bloggers Series!

Elizabeth is the lovely talent behind the Diplomatic Kitchen food blog. Elizabeth is married to a diplomat, and has thus had quite the exciting life moving around quite a bit. Her blog’s byline is “Creating Moveable Feasts” which is quite pertinent since her kitchen has moved around between the United States, China, Europe, and most recently Kinshasa, Congo. Right now she is where she calls home, which is on a beautiful ranch with her horses in Arizona.


Elizabeth and I “met” on Tasty Kitchen and bonded since she used to be a New Yorker herself (an Upper West Sider to be exact). If I were limited to one word to describe her blog (fortunately I’m not), it would have to be elegant. Everything about her blog is so classy and elegant: her writing, her pictures, her food, everything.


Elizabeth is very well-read and frequently references literature and very old but classic cookbooks that always pique my interest. She also does something I think is pretty unique, in that her blog is centered around creating menus for various occasions. Dreaming up and putting together menus is one of her many talents, so her blog is a fantastic resource for those of us needing some assistance or inspiration in this regard. And her menus are not the generic categories you often find in the back index of some cookbooks. No, they are based on her real life experiences, which means they are tried, tested and approved, and this makes them much more interesting and inspiring.


Her recipes often reflect her past international locations, as well as her Swiss-American heritage. I have definitely learned a lot from her cooking alone. And never fear, in addition to being a fantastic cook, she’s also quite the fearless baker. You’ll find breads and desserts aplenty on her site.


But what I keep coming back to when I think about or visit her site is that it’s just so classy and beautiful. I mean, she even managed to class up corny dogs! And that’s the recipe of hers I’m featuring: basically a merguez sausage dressed up like a corn dog and dipped in whole grain mustard instead of the ballpark yellow stuff. For anyone unfamiliar, a merguez sausage is a North African lamb sausage, and it’s really, really tasty. I’ve been fortunate to find them in my grocery store, but you can order them online if you cannot. The sausage is cooked up, then skewered, battered in a cornmeal batter and deep-fried. Matt and I just loved them. Such an interesting and refined twist on the old, admittedly unrefined, yet delicious standby. Please do check out Elizabeth’s blog, it’s wonderful!


Other amazing-looking recipes of Elizabeth’s I considered making: Union Square Bar Nuts; Sweet Potato Peanut Soup

Read the rest of this series!   Part One    Part Two    Part Three
Part Four    Part Six    Part Seven    Part Eight    Part Nine    Part Ten

Source: Diplomatic Kitchen

8 oz. package merguez sausages, left whole, cut in half, or cut into thirds, depending on the size of your deep fryer; I had to cut each sausage into thirds
3/4 cup milk
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
3/4 cup flour and some more on a small plate for coating the sausages before dipping them in the batter
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
Canola oil for deep frying
Whole-grain mustard, for serving

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Prick the sausage casings all over with a fork. Saute the merguez until just cooked through. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.
In a large bowl, combine the milk, vegetable oil, and egg; whisk to mix thoroughly. In a smaller bowl, combine the 3/4 cup flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and whisk to combine.
Add the extra flour to a shallow plate.
Prepare your deep fryer according to manufacturer’s instructions. You want the oil heated to about 375 F.
Skewer each sausage piece. Thoroughly dredge each skewered sausage in the flour, then top off the excess.
Dip each skewered sausage into the batter. Turn to coat thoroughly.
Carefully drop the battered skewers into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 3-4 minutes each. Work in batches if necessary.
Drain the fried sausages on a paper towel lined plate and let cool a few minutes.
Serve hot with whole-grain mustard for dipping, and pickle spears on the side.

Red Beans and Rice


Earlier this week, Matt and I took a romantic getaway to New Orleans. We were there for four glorious days, enjoying sixty-degree temperatures, beautiful architecture, drunk college students, art galleries, and some of the most scrumptious and amazing food you can find anywhere. I do seriously believe that New Orleans boasts possibly the best food in the United States.


This was an anniversary trip for us. Not our wedding anniversary, but the anniversary of meeting each other. We met on March 12, 2003, at the Tropical Isle, on Bourbon Street, in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s a long story. 😉 So for our ten-year anniversary, of course we had to return to the scene of the crime.


NOLA is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite places to visit. I first went there with my family as a kid. It was a brief stop on a road trip returning from Orlando, and even then I thought it was a neat place. I visited several times during my twenties and twice now in my thirties. And isn’t it funny, I find that in my twenties, the trip held much more emphasis on drinking than eating, whereas in my thirties, I am much more interested in eating than drinking. I guess I’ve just matured. Or something…


Anyways, there was much deliciousness enjoyed on this trip. I had shrimp and grits at Mr. B’s Bistro (part of the Brennan’s family of restaurants); fried green tomatoes (twice!), pralines, praline cheesecake (oh my), alligator sausage at the French Market, turtle soup (the best thing ever – try it if you have never done so), crawfish etouffee, gumbo, the BEST buttermilk pancakes of my life – seriously!, bread pudding, two po’boys, and fried cheesecake. Yes, fried cheesecake. Uh huh.


I also tried hog’s head cheese for the first time (interesting…) and of course I was the typical wife who kept sneaking her fork onto her husband’s plate! So I also had some fried chicken, the best jambalaya I’ve ever tasted, a bite of muffalletta, some biscuits and gravy, and crawfish cake eggs benedict.


And I can’t forget, we also dined at Emeril’s New Orleans, which was truly a fantastic meal. At Emeril’s I had a life-changing appetizer of buffalo duck wings. Oh lerd… there are no words. I then ate a delicious salmon dish and some whiskey pecan cake for dessert. Also, I had a few bites of Matt’s decadent chocolate peanut butter pie.


Oh New Orleans….. such a foodie paradise. Ironically, I did not have the NOLA classic I’m blogging today, probably because I had made and eaten it a couple weeks prior. But I could have. I saw it on many menus down there. And it’s delicious. So make it soon and enjoy!


Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, January & February 2010

Kosher salt
1 lb. dried kidney beans, rinsed and picked over for rocks
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 bell pepper of any color, seeded and chopped fine
1 celery rib, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp sweet paprika
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Fresh cracked black pepper
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
6 cups water
8 oz. andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and chopped into a 1/4-inch dice
1 tsp red wine vinegar
3 scallions, sliced thin
Hot sauce, for serving
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 tbs unsalted butter
3 cups water
1 tsp kosher salt

Dissolve 3 tbs salt in 4 quarts cold water in a large mixing bowl. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
Place the bacon in a large Dutch oven and heat to medium. Stirring often, cook the bacon until crisped and the fat has rendered, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. To the drippings, add the onion, pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, paprika, bay leaves, cayenne, and some black pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in the beans, stock, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and keep at a good simmer until the beans are just soft and liquid begins to thicken, 45 to 60 minutes.
Stir in the sausage and red wine vinegar. Cook until liquid is thick and beans are fully tender and creamy, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and additional red wine vinegar, if needed.
Meanwhile, make the rice.
Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and stir to toast and coat with the butter. Add the water and salt, and raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat down to low. Steam for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork when done.
Serve the beans over the rice, sprinkle with the scallions and put on a few dashes of hot sauce, if desired.

Stuffing Bruschetta

I have a major confession to make to y’all. I hope you’ll still love me afterwards. Okay here goes…. I hate stuffing. Yes, Thanksgiving stuffing. Or dressing. Or whatever you call it. I don’t like any of it. That’s kind of bad, right? But it’s true.

My dislike of stuffing is a texture thing, not a flavor thing. I think what turns me off is the soggy bread aspect. I’ve never liked it, despite giving it more than a fair shot over the years. And I’ve had it many different ways: with sausage, without sausage, with various kinds of bread, including cornbread, different types of veggies, you name it. And it’s always that softened bread thing that I just can’t do.

I think what makes this a confession at all is that stuffing is such a beloved dish and people are very proud of and passionate about their own family recipes. Most are shocked to hear that someone doesn’t like it. So people do get a little miffed when you decline the stuffing at Thanksgiving dinner. But what also gets annoying to a stuffing-hater is that you can’t simply and politely decline the stuffing and have that be that. Someone always makes a fuss. I mean, you could simply say that you dislike, for instance, spinach and people would accept it. But stuffing is different. Someone always pipes up and says “Try my stuffing! My stuffing is different. You’ll like my stuffing.” So then I try a little to keep the peace. And it’s never different. I never like it. It still has that softened bread thing going on.

Maybe that’s why I like hosting Thanksgiving. I don’t have to make stuffing! Lol. But, it has occurred to me over the years that yes, I am weird in my dislike of stuffing, and my guests may well expect it to make an appearance. What to do, what to do. That’s when I came up with this recipe.

Enter Stuffing Bruschetta. It has all the elements of a good stuffing with none of the soggy bread. I simply take the best parts of stuffing, like sausage, and mushrooms, and creaminess, and herbs, and top it on toasted bread slices. So the bread element is still there, but it’s not soggy. Win-win!

You stuffing-lovers may still be skeptical. I understand. But just give it a try. I’ve served it to stuffing-lovers in the past and they have all raved over it. My husband, who I would call a stuffing-liker, not lover, goes absolutely nuts over this dish. It’s one of his favorites, and he claims it’s much tastier than actual stuffing. So be open-minded, and see what you think.

1 tbs olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, bulk or casings removed
3 tbs unsalted butter, divided
1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Leaves from 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
2 tbs flour
1 cup chicken or turkey stock
1/2 cup half and half
1 loaf of Italian bread, sliced into toasts on the diagonal

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the tablespoon of olive oil. Remove the sausage from its casings, if needed, and crumble into the hot pan. Break it up with a wooden spoon and cook until no longer pink. With a slotted spoon, remove to a paper towel lined plate.
Add 1 tbs butter to the sausage drippings. Add the mushrooms and cook until nicely browned. Next, add the celery, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened. Stir in the thyme leaves.
Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter. When it melts, add the flour and stir constantly for one minute. Add the stock and keep stirring to remove any lumps.
Lower the heat to medium, then add the half and half. Return the sausage to the pan, and stir until thickened, 3-5 minutes. You want this to be really thick, with no trace of liquid. When done, season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep it on low heat and stir occasionally if not topping the toasts right away.
On a grill pan or on a baking sheet under the broiler, toast the bread slices. Spoon some of the stuffing mixture atop each toast and garnish with some thyme leaves. Minced parsley would also work if that suits you better. Serve immediately.
Note: I’ve tried this with a French baguette and it does NOT work. The baguette is too skinny, you need something wider to hold the stuffing properly.