Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Crockpot Chili with Spicy Sausage
(My Sister’s Favorite Chili Recipe)

The favorite chili recipe from our family cookbook, made with simple but beautifully balanced ingredients. The technique is simple too, just brown the ground beef and spicy pork sausage, dump everything else in, then cook slowly. A cousin calls my sister's sausage chili recipe “magnificent"! I agree – it's now my own go-to recipe for hearty, man-friendly chili.

Crockpot Chili, just cook the ground beef and spicy pork sausage, then dump the rest into the slow cooker. Man-friendly!

“...what a great chili recipe. It's got just the right amount of spice, the right amount of meat." ~ Anonymous

In 2003, my family on my mother’s side published a family cookbook, collecting 350 recipes from more than a dozen families and three countries. What a collection of tried-and-true family recipes!

At family gatherings, we stand in the kitchen – fussing over the food, of course – and compare notes from the cookbook. "Did you try Laura’s Carrot Soup?" "What about That Pink Salad?"

Still, some times a great recipe is overlooked until someone saves the day, as happened when Cousin Ingrid wrote, “Before the Super Bowl, you must tell your readers about the wonders of your sister's Crockpot Chili. It's absolutely magnificent and would make a great Game Day meal.”

So for anyone with a pot of chili in Super Bowl plans, this is my sister’s magnificent chili. It takes just a few minutes to cook the meat and sausage, then throw the rest into the slow cooker – yes, those onions and peppers go straight in, raw, and the results are great.

Another tip from my sister: chili served with – preferably over – homemade cornbread is one of her teenage boys’ favorite things to eat. I’m willing to bet they’re not alone.

ALANNA's TIPS Small pieces of onion and pepper 'melt' into the chili but large pieces remain intact. It's good to see what you're eating! The chili seems to lack liquid when starting out but turns out just fine.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send a favorite recipe via Never miss a Kitchen Parade recipe: Sign up for a free e-mail subscription. How to print a recipe on Kitchen Parade. Become a Kitchen Parade fan on Facebook!


Brown the meat, dump and go
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 7 – 24 hours
Makes 6 cups
  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 1 pound spicy pork sausage (a key ingredient, don't skip!)
  • 1 large onion, chopped in big pieces (see TIPS)
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, red or green, chopped big
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped big, optional
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped big
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 15 ounces canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 6 ounces tomato paste (don't skip, it really adds)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Pepper or cayenne pepper to taste

Brown meats in a skillet, don't be afraid to let a little 'burn' form on the meat pieces, it adds flavor and texture. While the meat cooks, add the remaining ingredients to a crockpot or Dutch oven. When it's cooked, drain the excess fat off the meat, add to the pot and stir well to combine.

CROCKPOT Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 – 10 hours. Best served the second day.

OVEN Bring to a boil on the stove, then cover and cook at 250F for 5 hours, stirring occasionally. Great on the first day, especially if cooked early in the day.

STOVETOP My sister says her chili can be cooked on the stovetop, just make sure your stovetop can hold a slow simmer.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 392 Calories; 16g Tot Fat; 7g Sat Fat; 81mg Cholesterol; 945mg Sodium; 28g Carb; 8g Fiber; 11g Sugar; 31g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 8, WW PointsPlus 10

A Super Bowl Menu

More Hot Soups for Chilly Winter Days

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Chocolate Chili Scandinavian Pea Soup White Chicken Chili
~ more soup recipes ~

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beef Bourguignon

The classic French beef stew, beef marinated and then slowly braised in wine. Worthy of a special occasion. Just making it may create an occasion!

Beef Bourguignon is a luxurious beef stew. (Stew?!) So says me, paraphrasing Julia Child who stripped pâté of all pretension by deconstructing it to ‘luxurious cold meatloaf’. (Meatloaf?!)

Made with meat, wine and vegetables, Beef Bourguignon is nothing more than beef stew -- and at the same time, much more.

My two favorite beef stew recipes – Beef and Mushroom Stew and Winter Stew – find their way to the table in a couple of hours.

At the other end of the time spectrum is Beef Bourguignon, made over three days. It uses all the same ingredients but feels like quite a production, in fact IS quite a production, the stuff of which lore is made. So yes, Beef Bourguignon is beef stew but making it, well, it’s deserving of an occasion.

An occasion is just what happened this month when life converged: friends mentioned wanting to try elk meat, an easy substitute for beef, the same day I began to collect Beef Bourguignon recipes for a Valentine’s post about romantic meals for BlogHer. Thus was an occasion born, a feast.

LANGUAGE NOTES The hardest thing about Beef Bourguignon may be the spelling. The anglicized spelling is Bourguignon and I also see the French spelling, Beouf Bourguignonne. It means in the ‘style of Burgundy’, one of France’s most famous wine regions and appellations. It is pronounced [boor-gee-NYON].

WINE NOTES Naturally, many cooks suggest marinating the beef in a wine from Burgundy, whose red wines are mostly made from pinot noir grapes. Is a French wine necessary? Must we spend a pile of money on a really good wine? For me, I would invest in good meat and a good wine to drink with the meal, spending less on the wine used to marinate (no plonk, however). During cooking, the wine and the meat become one, there’s no ‘taste’ of wine, there’s no liquid gravy.

This recipe is completely inspired, through Day Two, by the cookbook Chocolate and Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen, authored by Clotilde Dusoulier of the Paris food blog Chocolate & Zucchini. Her personal whimsical touch is the chocolate, used to balance the wine’s acidity.

DAY THREE’s TECHNIQUE Most recipes for Beef Bourguignon include pearl onions and mushrooms right from the beginning. My favorite cooking partner is teaching me new techniques that create layers of flavor and texture. So we chose to separately cook the onions and mushrooms at the end, then stir them into the long-cooked stew just before serving. This was a brilliant touch, if I may say, one worth repeating.

TIMING One of my favorite things about Beef Bourguignon is that it is made entirely in advance. Even the potatoes can be made in advance, think about Party Potatoes or the make-ahead version of Lighter Mashed 'Potatoes'. For this reason, I think it's a perfect dish, say, to serve after another event, an afternoon at the theater or football game. I can also imagine taking along the whole pot if spending the weekend with friends. Even the pearl onion, shallot and mushroom mixture could be prepared in advance, though not added to the stew until it's being warmed.

For anyone who appreciates being able to plan their days, for Day One, allow 30-45 minutes hands-on time. For Day Two, allow 1 hour of active hands-on time, then regular checking for about 3 – 4 hours, then 30 minutes of active hands-on time. For Day Three, allow 45 minutes of hands-on time.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Share an occasion-worthy recipe via
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Three days of preparation,
one magnificent feast
Hands-on time: about 3 hours over 3 days, mostly on Day Two
Time to table: 3 days
Serves about 8
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck roast or 4 pounds bone-in beef roast, trimmed well and cut into two-inch pieces (this seems big but the pieces will shrink)
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • If needed, beef stock, preferably homemade, to cover
  • 6 ounces bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallot
  • 6 ounces pearl onions, red or white
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 ounces small white button mushrooms, trimmed and halved
  • About 2 cups red wine or beef stock (just enough to half cover)

DAY ONE: MARINATE Combine all the Day One ingredients in a large glass or ceramic container. Cover and refrigerate for 12 – 24 hours.

DAY TWO: BRAISE In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon. Separately, transfer the cooked bacon and the bacon fat to small bowls.

While the bacon cooks, remove the chunks of meat from the marinade and set aside. Strain the vegetables through a colander, saving the wine-broth liquid. Fish out the bay leaves but reserve.

Add a tablespoon or two of the bacon fat to the Dutch oven and heat on medium high until shimmery. Add the vegetables and stir to coat with fat. Cook until just beginning to soften, set aside.

Add a tablespoon or two of the bacon fat to the Dutch oven. Add meat pieces, just enough to cover the bottom in a single layer; let cook without moving for about 2 minutes a side. Set the cooked meat pieces aside, then repeat the process with remaining meat.

Combine the cooked vegetables, meat, wine-broth liquid and the bay leaves in the Dutch oven and bring to a boil on medium heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer and cook for 3 – 4 hours. IMPORTANT: For the first hour or so, check the stew ever 5-10 minutes. Cloudy gunk (that’s a technical term) will accumulate on the top of the liquid, skim it off with a slotted spoon and discard. After awhile, the clear wine-broth liquid will become visible below but keep skimming off the gunk as long as it appears. Once the gunk has disappeared, stir in the chocolate and cooked bacon pieces.

After cooking for 3-4 hours, remove the cover, fish out the bay leaves and increase the heat to a achieve a fast simmer. Once it’s simmering, sprinkle the meat with the arrowroot and stir in. Cook off the liquid, stirring often, until most of the liquid has thickened and the meat is coated with the resulting sauce. Turn off the heat, uncover to let cool, recover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

DAY THREE: FINISH & SERVE About 2 hours before serving, place the Dutch oven in a 400F oven for about 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 200F to gently rewarm.

In a large skillet, melt the 1 tablespoon butter on medium heat until just beginning to sizzle. Add the shallots and gently cook until just soft. Reserve.

HOW TO PEEL PEARL ONIONS Rinse the onions (skins still on) in a colander under running water. Drop into a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and place in cold water for 3 minutes. One by one, trim off the root end, then start to trim off the stem end, the tiny bit of onion will pop right out.

In the same skillet, melt the 3 tablespoons butter on medium heat until just beginning to sizzle. Add the onions and mushroom halves, then the wine or beef stock, just enough to half cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half. Stir in the shallots. Gently stir this mixture into the meat and return to the oven for another 15 – 30 minutes.

Serve the meat over mashed potatoes or another vegetable puree.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 416Cal; 21g Tot Fat; 7g Sat Fat; 94mg Cholesterol; 449mg Sodium; 15g Carb; 3g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 30g Protein; Weight Watchers 9 points

Beef Bourguignon on Day One

Collect the Vegetables Cut Meat into Large Cubes Marinate Both in Red Wine

A Menu Starring Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon is rich and quite heavy, so keep the rest of the meal simple. Since it is such a classic French recipe, try to draw the other dishes from French cuisine as well. (For more ideas, see international recipes, then scroll down.)
Marinated Olives & Cheese Puffs
Red Wine
Beef Bourguignon
Low-Carb Mashed 'Potatoes' or Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Fried Bread *
Lettuce greens tossed with orange pieces, Parmesan slivers and My Favorite Salad Dressing, a simple vinaigrette
Lemon Pots with Lemon Cookies
Coffee and Tea

* FRIED BREAD Slice hearty bread into smaller pieces, fry in a skillet with olive oil and a clove of chopped garlic.

More Recipes for Special Occasions

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Lavender Steak & Lavender Potatoes Cashew Chicken Curry Tiapinno (Ciopinno) - Italian Fish Stew
~ more beef recipes ~

Quick Links to This Page

(for easy bookmarking and searching)
~ How Peel Pearl Onions ~

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lighter Mashed 'Potatoes'
My Recipe for Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

What does it take to create nearly the same mouthfeel and flavor of traditional mashed potatoes, except low-calorie and low-carb? Ditching the potatoes! For anyone looking for a low-cal and low-carb substitute for potatoes, try mashing cooked cauliflower and turnips with the usual butter and milk plus a splash of Tabasco which – do not ask me how or why, it stumps me – makes all the difference in the taste.

Lighter Mashed 'Potatoes' (Cauliflower Mashed Poatoes)

Turns out, there are two ways to concoct a steaming bowl of light ‘n’ fluffy mashed potatoes. The first calls for a dairy’s worth of butter and cream. The second calls for – get this! – ditching the spuds entirely!

These ‘potatoes’ are really cauliflower and turnips, cooked and mashed. Texture-wise, the mouthfeel is like traditional mashed potatoes except lighter. Taste-wise, once the ‘feel’ of mashed potatoes is present, the two vegetables are subtle enough that you just might not notice!

Now before Mr. Potato Head accuses me of potato-ism, please know that I love potatoes! In fact, you just might say that only a potato fiend fan would collect this many potato recipes.

But not everyone eats potatoes, either by choice or by prescription. There are the dieters, the whole low carb craze and all. And there are the diabetics, whose blood glucose skyrockets when confronted with too many carbs.

The great news is that this recipe for 'low-carb potatoes' is delicious for everyone. I recommend serving it with something, say under a bowl of stew, rather than on its own.

Now to be honest, when my dad first tried my new low-carb 'potatoes', he sniffed, "There's no substitute for the Irish potato." But another taste-tester with certified culinary credentials thought otherwise, "This could pass for potatoes, no question."

Which camp is yours? Decide for yourself!

CELERIAC MASHED "POTATOES" If you like, substitute celery root (also called celeriac) for the cauliflower. It adds a subtle touch of celery flavor that’s quite lovely. Celeriac is expensive, however, so use a small head with one to two pounds of turnips. The celeriac takes longer to cook so cook them alone for about 15 minutes before adding the turnips.

CAULIFLOWER IS THE LOW-CARB SUBSTITUTE FOR POTATOES & OTHER STARCHES I'm especially fond of Cauliflower Spanish 'Rice' and many people love this no-potato Cauliflower "Potato" Salad.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. What's your favorite trick to avoid carbs? Just send me a recipe via e-mail, How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Mashed cauliflower and turnips, really,
but so close, your mouth will do a double-take.
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes about 4 cups
  • Salted water to cover
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed, core removed, cut into large florets
  • 1/2 pound (or more) turnips, trimmed and cubed
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or half & half (fat-free half & half works great, so does buttermilk)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or sage
  • Tabasco to taste (don’t skip)
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Bring the salted water and bay leaf to a boil; add the cauliflower and turnips as they’re prepped. Reduce heat to maintain a fast simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through. Drain well and transfer to a food processor (see TIPS) and process until smooth.

TO SERVE IMMEDIATELY Return to the hot pan on medium high heat. Stirring often, cook off the excess liquid, about 5 – 10 minutes. (Do take the time to cook off the liquid, otherwise, the wateriness will mar the final product.) Stir in remaining ingredients. Transfer to serving bowl. Serve and enjoy!

TO MAKE AHEAD After mashing, stir in about 4 ounces of low-fat cream cheese along with the milk, butter, herbs and Tabasco. Transfer into a well-greased baking dish. Sprinkle with additional chopped fresh herbs. Cover with foil and refrigerate. Return to room temperature. Bake for about 30 minutes at 300F or until hot clear through.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Half Cup: 66 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 8mg Cholesterol; 76mg Sodium; 8g Carb; 3g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 3g Protein.
WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1, PointsPlus 2
Adapted from Greene on Greens by Bert Greene.
ALANNA’s TIPS I’ve tried hand mashing, an immersion blender and a hand mixer. Sorry, none really work. It takes more power to get closest to the texture of mashed potatoes. There's some irony there, in that putting potatoes themselves into a food processor creates a mucky mess of glue-like potatoes, not recommended. If you like, ‘doctor’ the mashed cauliflower and turnips however you do mashed potatoes. The familiarity may help your family adjust!

A Menu To Experiment with Lighter Mashed 'Potatoes'

Fresh Vegetables with Easy Radish Spread
Beef & Mushroom Stew
Lighter Mashed 'Potatoes' (recipe above)
Lettuce Greens with Buttermilk Balsamic Dressing
Lemon Pots

More Ways To Serve Lighter Mashed 'Potatoes'

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Cranberry Sauce Chicken with Creamy Cider Gravy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

from A Veggie Venture, my food blog
~ more cauliflower recipes ~
~ more turnip recipes ~