May 26, 2014

Turkey Green Pepper Chili with Masa Dumplings

For some reason that's never been explained to me DP is constantly suggesting chili when I ask him what he wants for dinner.  I guess when I think about it it doesn't need much explaining other than chili is a delicious thing to eat.  However, it does leave me in the position of needing to come up with different ways of making chili, which I'm all too happy to be tasked to do.

So on such an occasion of a chili suggestion I decided that I'd made this dish often enough to not need a recipe for the base of it.  That I could wing no problem but what I did need was a clever pièce de résistance.  So having a huge bag of masa in the cupboard from a recent tortilla making spree I went in search of a masa related idea.  I had heard of adding masa to chili before to thicken it up but making a masa dumpling was so much more interesting and happened to thicken the chili at the same time.  It was certainly a win-win.  I also used turkey instead of beef to lighten the caloric intake.  Add in some veggies, beans and tomatoes and you're on your way to a great chili night.  I hope it's one of many for you just as it is for us.

Turkey Green Pepper Chili with Masa Dumplings
chili improvised. masa dumplings from here

  • 1 lb. ground turkey (or any other ground meat you fancy)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tblsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and minced
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans of cooked black beans, rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 (28.5 oz.) can of diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of roasted tomatoes with juices
  • 1 tblsp. cumin
  • 1 tblsp. ground ancho chili powder
  • water
  • salt and pepper
  • cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • 3/4 cup masa
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Heat olive oil in large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add chopped onion and saute until translucent.  Add garlic, bell pepper and jalapeno and saute until bell pepper is soft.  Add turkey and break up into small pieces with spoon until most of the pink is cooked out of the meat.  Add cumin, chili powder and S&P until fragrant.  Add black beans, pinto beans, diced and roasted tomatoes and cover with just enough water that all veggies and beans are submerged.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer until soup thickens just slightly.  Check seasonings and adjust if necessary. 

While that simmers make the masa dumplings.  In large bowl combine masa, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add butter and work into flour mixture with a pastry cutter (or fork) until butter resembles corn meal with a few large chunks.  Stir in buttermilk just to combine.

Add dumplings by the tablespoon to the simmering soup.  Cover with a lid and let simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve soup with a dumpling or two in each bowl and garnished with cilantro.  I also slipped in a few avocado chunks and some cotija cheese I had on hand for good measure.  Enjoy!

2014-05-19 20.54.11

May 14, 2014

Soup of the Bakony Outlaws

First things first, this soup has an outstanding name that comes not from the bacon in it, but from a region of Hungary called Bakony.  I picture a bunch of rough looking dudes eating this feast around a campfire in the mountains after just having stolen the bacon that's used in it. Besides that, the ingredient list is a lot of my favorite things all piled into one very rich, hearty, comforting soup. Not the most "springy" soup, but it sure did hit the spot on a cozy Friday night spent at home.  If you like Hungarian Mushroom soup and if you like bacon, you will most definitely enjoy this soup. 

One important aspect of making this soup (and most soups) is that the vegetables are cooked perfectly. Not too mushy, not too hard, but just perfect. Chopping them up small and consistent in size (before you begin making the soup), as the recipe indicates, helps with this and also keep an eye on your pot to make sure it doesn't boil too heavily but stays at a low simmer.  I felt a little guilty chopping up the gorgeous beef tenderloin to put in this soup forgot all about it once I tasted those tender little chunks in the finished soup.  This soup takes a lot of chopping but believe me, it is worth the effort.  I will definitely be making this again on a cold winter's night in the future.

Soup of the Bakony Outlaws 
Adapted from Fine Cooking and I made very few changes. 

Serves 6 +
  • 3 Tbs. oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut in 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 slices thick cut bacon, about 1/4 lb or slightly les, cut in 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 Tbs. sweet paprika
  • 8 oz. beef tenderloin, cut in 1/4-inch dice (the original recipe calls for veal) 
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 skinny carrots, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch dice 
  • 2 medium turnips, cut in 1/4-inch dice
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, cut in 1/4-inch dice (I used cremini but a fancier variety would be swell)
  • 2 medium red potatoes, cut in 1/4-inch dice (medium=about three inch diameter)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded, and cut in 1/4-inch dice  (a can of diced would also work well)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream or crème fraîche
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 bunch of swiss chard, ribs removed, sliced into ribbons (optional)
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven and cook the onions and bacon over medium heat until the onions start to color, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the paprika and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes to release and develop its flavor. Add the beef and just enough stock to cover it. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the chopped carrots, turnips, mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, and enough stock to cover the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, another 20 minutes. Add a little more stock if the soup looks too dry during cooking, bearing in mind that more liquid will be added later. (I did not need to add more stick, used 3 cups total.)

Put the sour cream and cream in a small bowl and stir in the flour with a fork or whisk.  Pour this into the pot and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the chopped chard and fresh dill and dish it up!

We ate this with a seedy baguette and could not stop oohing and aahing! It is extremely rich and I think the amount of cream/sour cream could be reduced in half and still be just as inspiring. 

Soup of the Bakony Outlaws

P.S. This soup tastes about a zillion times better than it photographs!