Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tater Tot Hotdish

This was another successful recipe that America's Test Kitchen sent to us to try and provide feedback. It totally brought back the hot lunch/potluck meals of day's gone by, but it was tasty so figured we could have it occasionally during the fall/winter.

1-1/2 lbs 85% lean ground beef
1 lb white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
3 oz grated Parmesan cheese (1-1/2 cups)
1 cup frozen peas*
1 cup frozen corn*
2 lb bag frozen tater tots*

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Cook beef, mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme, 1½ teaspoons salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until nearly all liquid has evaporated, 25 to 28 minutes, breaking up beef with spoon.
  2. Stir in flour until no dry spots remain and cook for 1 minute. Stir in milk and broth, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in Parmesan. Transfer to 13 by 9-inch baking dish.**
  3. Sprinkle peas and corn evenly over beef mixture. Lightly place tater tots in even layer over top, but do not press into mixture (you may have extra). Bake until tater tots are deep golden brown and filling is bubbling, 35 to 38 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with ketchup, if desired.

6-8 servings

America's Test Kitchen for publication in Cook's Country.

*Be sure to buy the cylinder-shaped frozen tater tots (not crispy crowns or coins). Do not thaw the tots or the vegetables; they go into the hotdish frozen. Depending on the dish, you may have about 1 cup of tater tots leftover.

**For the best browned and crunchy tater tots, bake in a 13 by 9-inch Pyrex dish (deeper dishes inhibit browning). Don’t be tempted to turn on your broiler; Pyrex cannot withstand the broiler’s direct heat.

To Make Ahead: Hotdish can be prepared through step 2: Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to cook, cover with aluminum foil and bake until hot in center, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove foil, stir, sprinkle evenly with peas and corn, place tater tots on top, and bake as directed in step 3.

Guinness Pulled Chicken

2-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, sliced
1 bottle (12 oz) Guinness beer
1-1/2 cup bbq sauce
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

  1. Slice onions. Toss onions into slow cooker.
  2. Place chicken in slow cooker on top of onions. Mix Guinness, bbq sauce, and spices together in a small mixing bowl and pour over chicken.
  3. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
  4. Shred chicken with forks. Remove onions from sauce if you prefer to not include them with the shredded meat. (Note: the onions hold all the spices ... YUM!) Toss chicken back into crock pot to soak up the juices. Serve on a bun, on top of salad, or by itself with some sides.

?? servings

Alley's Recipe Book

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chocolate Bouchons

These small, brownie-like cakes from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery are named for their shape, which resembles a cork, or bouchon in French; they are very rich and chocolaty, baked with the chocolate chips in the batter and dusted with confectioners' sugar.

Butter and flour for the timbale molds
3-1/2 oz (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups plus 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
24 Tbsp (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly warm
6 oz semisweet chocolate (55%), chopped into pieces or use chocolate chips
Confectioners' sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  2. Butter and flour 12 timbale molds* (Bouchon Bakery uses 2-ounce Fleximolds and serves smaller bouchons. You can also use 3-ounce [2- to 2 1/2-inch diameter] timbale molds for larger cakes.) Set aside.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until very pale in color. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then one-third of the butter, and continue alternating with the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to a day.)
  4. Put the timbale molds on a baking sheet. Place the batter in a pastry bag without a tip, and fill each mold about two-thirds full. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When the tops look shiny and set (like a brownie), test one cake with a toothpick: It should come out clean but not dry (there may be some melted chocolate from the chopped chocolate). Transfer the bouchons to a cooling rack. After a couple of minutes, invert the timbale molds and let the bouchons cool upside down in the molds; then lift off the molds.
  5. To serve, invert the bouchons and dust them with confectioners' sugar. Serve with ice cream if desired. (The bouchons are best eaten the day they are baked.)

36 servings (with my bouchon mold)

Bouchon Bakery via Delish

chef notes
*I purchased my bouchon mold from Williams Sonoma.