Friday, February 22, 2008

Sweet Corn and Queso Blanco Bisque

My friend, Dale and I were in Phoenix at a seminar and had a chance to go to the Boulder's Resort for lunch. If you haven't been to the Boulders, it is worth the trip. The resort is literally "wedged" into an area surrounded by incredible, large rock formations. They have a golf course and a conference area.
The waiter recommended the soup of the day. We split a bowl and both agreed it was fabulous. We asked for the recipe and the waiter graciously brought us a copy. The recipe is for "restaurant" proportions, so its going to need a little "tweaking" to make it at home.

2 ea. Grilled Jalapenos
2 ea Leeks, cleaned and rinsed
1 Yellow pepper, charred with seeds removed
2 Garlic cloves
3lbs. Frozen corn
2 Grilled white onions
2 oz. Butter
2 cups Chardonay
0.5 oz Fresh thyme
1/2 gal chicken stock
1 qt Heavy cream
3 cups Queso Blanco cheese, grated

Cook corn, peppers, onions and garli in butter until onions are transparent. Deglaze with the chardonay. Add in fresh thyme, stems and all. Simmer until reduced by half. Add hot chicken stock. Simmer for 15 min. Remove thyme stems. Add in queso blanco and puree in blender. Season to taste. Add in Heavy Cream before serving.

Garnish with small amount of Chile Oil
For the chile oil: Take 6 seeded, dried New Mexico Chiles, 6 sun dried tomatoes, 1 tsp paprika, 1 clove garlic, 1 sliced shallot, 3 cups of salad oil, and heat until oil starts to simmer. Puree in blender for 3 minutes and strain through a coffee filter. Salt to taste.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Italian Beef Short Ribs

This is an easy take-off of the Beef Braciole recipe. You could use a chuck roast also. If you use short ribs, be sure to do this a day ahead. The short ribs are delicious, but so fatty that you really need to refrigerate and then skim off the fat that solidifies on top. I had unexpected guests for dinner and not enough short ribs, so I browned some hot Italian sausages and added them to the pot. Delicious! Serve this with pasta, mashed potatoes, or polenta.

If you would like to do this in the crock pot, instructions are at the end.

Preheat oven to 325

Serves 4

4 short ribs, about 2 pounds
4 tbl olive oil
1 3 ounce pkg pancetta or good ham chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tbl chopped fresh oregano
1 tbl chopped fresh thyme (I used 1 tsp dried)
1 tbl chopped fresh sage ( I had a little fresh and added 1 tsp dried)
1 Cup beef broth
1/2 750-ml bottle dry red wine
1 26 ounce bottle marinara sauce

Salt and pepper the short ribs. In a large dutch oven, heat 2 tbl of the olive oil and, in batches, brown the short ribs on all sides (about 3-4 minutes a side). Remove the ribs and discard the fat.
Add 1 tbl olive oil to the pan, along with the prosciutto, onion, celery, and carrot. Add a pinch of salt and saute, scraping the bottom of the pan. When vegetables are translucent, add the garlic and the herbs and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Add the broth, wine, and marinara sauce. Cover and bake for 2-3 hours or until very tender. Check about halfway through. Add liquid if necessary. Refrigerate at this point; remove the fat, reheat and proceed.  If you aren't doing this the day before, skim off the fat. Taste and correct seasoning when done. If you would like a brighter flavor, you can add a handful of chopped, fresh herbs at the end. A little grated lemon zest also brightens the flavor.


For the Crockpot: 
Salt and pepper the short ribs. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbl of the olive oil and, in batches, brown the short ribs on all sides (about 3-4 minutes a side). Remove the ribs and discard the fat.
Add 1 tbl olive oil to the pan, along with the prosciutto, onion, celery, and carrot. Add a pinch of salt and saute, scraping the bottom of the pan. When vegetables are translucent, add the garlic and the herbs and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Remove all to the crock pot. Add the broth and  wine to the skillet to deglaze and pour into crock pot. Add marinara sauce, stir. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours or until very tender.  Refrigerate at this point; remove the fat, reheat and proceed.  If you aren't doing this the day before, skim off the fat. Taste and correct seasoning when done. If you would like a brighter flavor, you can add a handful of chopped, fresh herbs at the end. A little grated lemon zest also brightens the flavor.