Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cowboy Beans



Cowboy beans are slow cooked and slightly sweet, a tad spicy, a little smoky, and 100% delicious! They are perfect alongside burgers, brisket, or ribs!

I haven't found cowboy beans on any menu here in North Carolina yet but you can definitely them in Texas and parts of the Southwest! They aren't baked beans, which are pretty sweet, and not like ranch style beans, which have a chili sauce flavor, but instead are a great blend of savory and sweet.

Traditionally, beef (often ground) is thrown in with the pinto beans but I loved this twist of using beef jerky instead! It softens up and gives loads of flavor and texture. And who doesn't love beef jerky? Coffee is always present, though you coffee haters would never know, and the beans end up in a thick, BBQ type sauce, thanks to the molasses and mustard.

Can't you see a group of cowboys whipping up a pot of these out on the trail?


Cowboy Beans
1 lb dried pinto beans
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
3 ounces beef jerky, diced
1/2 cup brewed coffee
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt and pepper

In a large Dutch oven, cover the beans with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Drain and rinse.

Preheat the oven to 250. Return the beans to the pot and add the onion and garlic. Cover with water by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Remove the pot from the burner, cover, and bake in the oven for 1 hour.

Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the beef jerky, coffee, molasses, mustard, and chili powder. Return to the oven, uncovered, and increase temperature to 350. Let cook until the beans are tender and the liquid is thickened and reduced, 1.5 to 2.5 hours. If the beans are still tough, add water to the pot to keep the beans from drying out and let it bake longer.

Once the beans are done, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. 

Source: slightly adapted from The Homesick Texan's Family Table

Monday, July 11, 2016

Stacked Jalapeno and Cheese Enchiladas



A West Texas twist on the traditional rolled enchilada! Corn tortillas are softened and stacked between layers of grated cheese and jalapeno salsa verde then topped with a fried egg.

Because I was born and bred in North Texas, rolled enchiladas were the norm but I loved the opportunity to enjoy them stacked when possible! They are easier to prepare and less dripping in a heavy sauce like a rolled enchilada. Stacked enchiladas are more readily found in West Texas (or New Mexico).

This version is simply cheese and salsa verde. The salsa verde is made with tomatillos, jalapenos, onion, garlic, and cilantro. Super simple and incredibly bright and fresh - much better than anything jarred you'll find! I know you're tempted to save a step and buy it in a jar but with this few ingredients, make the salsa fresh so it'll really shine.

Along with the salsa verde, you'll load it up with shredded cheese (Texas, y'all), chopped onions, more jalapenos, then smother the entire thing in sour cream before sticking a fresh fried egg right on top.

An over easy egg will result in delicious yolk running all over your plate (yum!) but you can cook yours however you prefer. It's all good.

Never had stacked enchiladas? You gotta try them!


Stacked Jalapeno & Cheese Enchiladas
For the salsa:
1.5 lbs tomatillos, husked and halved
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and cut into wedges 
2 cloves garlic
2 jalapenos, stemmed and halved
3 cups water
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt

For the enchiladas:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
16 corn tortillas
4 cups (1 lb) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 yellow onion, diced
4 jalapenos, roasted, stemmed, seeded, and diced
1/4 cup sour cream
4 eggs
chopped fresh cilantro, for topping

To make the salsa, combine the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapenos in a large pot. Add the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until the tomatillos turn from bright green to a muted light green.

Turn off the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Carefully pour the contents of the pot (liquid and all) into your food processor or blender. Add the cilantro and blend until smooth. Add salt to taste. Return to the pot and keep warm over low heat.

Preheat oven to 350. Spread 1/4 cup salsa on each of four overproof plates. Place the plates on baking sheets and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat. One at a time, heat the tortillas in the oil and wrap in a cloth to keep warm. 

For each enchilada stack, dip a warmed tortilla in the salsa until lightly coated then place on a prepared plate. Top with 1/4 cup shredded cheese, 1 teaspoon diced onion, and 1 tablespoons diced jalapenos. Dip another tortilla in the salsa until lightly coated then place on top of the cheese layer. Top with 1/4 cup shredded cheese, 1 teaspoon diced onion, and 1 tablespoons diced jalapenos. Repeat one more time. For the fourth tortilla, dip it in the salsa, lay it on top the cheese layer, then spread 1 tablespoon sour cream over top followed by 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat the same process with the other 3 stacks.

Drizzle the remaining salsa over top the stacks, place the baking sheet in the oven, and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is beginning to bubble. 

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Fry the eggs to your preference and set aside.

Serve the enchilada stacks warm and topped with a fried egg and chopped cilantro.

Source: slightly adapted from Homesick Texan: Family Table

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Shrimp and Spinach Risotto with Orange Gremolata



Creamy spinach risotto is topped with shrimp and a flavorful orange, parsley, and garlic gremolata. This easy risotto is weeknight simple yet impressive!

When I can't decide what to make for dinner, I often reach for a risotto. While I previously thought risotto was incredibly difficult and time consuming to make, I've since seen the light! A risotto is easy, delicious even in it's simplest form, and can be used with a variety of toppings and additions.

This risotto is made with spinach and mascarpone, which is tasty just on it's own, but the herb topping is a wonderful addition! Because my protein loving husband needs some meat, I added simple broiled shrimp (though you could grill them for even more flavor!).

With or without shrimp, this risotto is one of my favorites.


Shrimp & Spinach Risotto with Orange Gremolata
3 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons orange zest
1.5 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup white wine
3 shallots, minced
1.5 sticks butter
4 cups chicken stock, warmed
8 ounces baby spinach
1 cup mascarpone 
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
salt and pepper

In a small bowl, mix together the parsley, orange zest, and garlic. Set aside.

In a pot over medium heat, combine the rice, wine, shallots, and butter; cook about 5 minutes. Begin adding the stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring often until the cup is absorbed before adding another cup. With the last cup, add the spinach and mascarpone. This process will take 18-20 minutes total.

Just before the risotto is finished, turn the broiler to high and season both sides of the shrimp with salt and pepper. Lay the shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet and broil, flipping halfway, until the shrimp is pink and cooked through, 3-4 minutes total.

Taste the risotto and add salt and pepper, if needed. Ladle into bowls and top with shrimp followed by gremolata.

Source: adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Bacon Burgers with Bacon Onion Balsamic Jam



Caramelized onions are infused with bacon and balsamic vinegar then spooned on top of a fresh-from-the-grill burger. But don't just whip up a plain burger - mix some chopped bacon into the ground beef prior! The result is a delicious explosion of all things bacon.

In hindsight, I should have posted this recipe last week, in time for the 4th of July cookouts that I'm sure many of us enjoyed, but alas... better late than never! Though I do hope you had a fabulous and safe holiday weekend :) We just returned from a week at the beach so our holiday weekend was low key - just the way I like it!

This burger has been on our menu many times, and previously shared on the blog, but it deserved another shot at the top. If you're a bacon fan, this burger is right up your alley. Between the jam and the bacon mixed into the beef, you can't go wrong. And for those of you that are onions haters like myself? Don't knock it until you try it! I really hate most onions but I LOVE caramelized onions - especially when they are mixed with bacon and balsamic vinegar!

This burger certainly doesn't need any cheese but there's no shame if you melt some over your patty before you pull it from the grill. We love using smoked gouda on this!


Bacon Burgers with Bacon Onion Balsamic Jam
For the jam:
4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper

For the burgers:
2 slices thick cut bacon, finely minced
1.5 lb ground beef (85%)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

4 slices smoked gouda (optional)
4 hamburger buns, split
butter, for toasting

First, make the jam. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon until lightly browned but not yet crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. Drain all but 2-3 tablespoons of bacon grease from the skillet. Add the sliced onion to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, cover the pan and cook 2 minutes. Uncover, add a splash of water, and, using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and beginning to brown, abut 10 minutes.

Add the vinegar, mustard, and water and stir to combine. Add the chopped cooked bacon and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer uncovered until the mixture is thickened and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 2-4 minutes. Transfer the jam to a bowl and let cool slightly.

To make the burgers, combine the minced bacon, beef, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix well. Divide into 4 equal portions and form into patties about 1 inch thick.

Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Grill to desired doneness, about 4-5 minutes per side depending on preference and grill temperature. When the burgers are almost finished cooking, top with the cheese. Lightly butter each bun and toast on the grill, about 1 minute. Assemble the burgers on the toasted buns and top with the onion jam.

Source: slightly adapted from Fine Cooking


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