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Find out Tundra’s staff picks for some of the best recipes they love to cook up!

Recipe: Cream of Asparagus Soup

Recipe: Cream of Asparagus Soup

The start of spring doesn’t have to mean the end of soup season. With warmer temperatures come fresh asparagus, peas and artichokes—the farmer’s market in spring is a soup-lover’s paradise. So, don’t put away that warmer yet!

Personally, I’m a pretty huge fan of cream asparagus soup. Here’s a recipe that is simple to prepare (which means it’s open to improvisation/additions) and delicious. (If you’re looking for a more exotic take on asparagus soup, this well-reviewed recipe from Food52 is definitely worth a try.)

Cream of Asparagus Soup
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds green asparagus (or, if you can find it, white asparagus)
  • 1 cup green onions (or shallots), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt

Directions

  1. Cut tips from 12 asparagus 1 1/2 inches from top. (Save for garnish.)
  2. Cut stalks and all remaining asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces.
  3. Cook green onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add asparagus pieces, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, then cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add 5 cups broth and simmer, covered, until asparagus is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. While soup simmers, cook remaining asparagus tips in boiling salted water until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain.
  5. Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth (see cautionary note below). Transfer to a bowl, and return to pan. Stir in cream, then add more broth to thin soup to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil and stir in remaining tablespoon butter.
  6. Add lemon juice and garnish with asparagus tips.

Optional “varsity team” augmentation: During step four, as an alternative to boiling, fry up a few strips of bacon, set aside, then saute the asparagus tips in the bacon fat. Use bacon as a final garnish with tips.

*Be very, very careful when blending hot liquids! Use much less liquid per blend. If you have a Vitamix, start at your lowest setting. Vent the lid so that steam can escape, covering the opening with a kitchen towel.

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Recipe: Cinco de Mayo Guacamole

Recipe: Cinco de Mayo Guacamole

Here’s the unvarnished truth about store-bought guacamole: it’s the Worst. (So bad it merits a capital W.)

Like margarine or Velveeta, pre-fab guac is an inferior imitation of the real thing. It’s not worth your money. It’s not even worth sacrificing a single tortilla chip. If there were commandments associated with Cinco de Mayo, next week’s celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, the first would undoubtedly be:

Thou shalt not purchase store-bought guacamole. Because it’s the Worst.

OK. Now that we’ve established that fact, let’s talk about how to prepare the genuine article.

Guacamole is one of those recipes where simplicity beats complexity every time. (My favorite kind of recipe.) Reason being that avocados have a delicious yet extremely subtle flavor (yes, subtlety can be extreme) that can be easily overwhelmed by other ingredients. So it’s best show some restraint when preparing this crowd-pleasing dip. If you want to get fancy, serve it in a cool molcajete bowl and garnish it with sliced radish and queso fresco. (h/t Rick Bayless)

Ingredients
3 ripe Hass avocados
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions
Combine salt, lime juice, cilantro, and diced garlic, onion and pepper in a bowl. Halve and pit the avocados and scoop out the insides into bowl. Mash with a fork until the ingredients are blended, leaving the avocado slightly chunky.

Parting Tips
Do: Buy your avocados with enough time to let them ripen.
Don’t: Include tomatoes. This time of year they’re mealy and tasteless.
See also: Kitchen Tricks: How to Cut and Save an Avocado [Video]

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Blender Recipes

Blender Recipes

Image complements of Vitamix

When going through and asking our Tundrites what their favorite piece of kitchen equipment is, they have answers that range from knives to cast iron skillets to bottle openers (yes, someone actually said that a bottle opener was their favorite), but it rarely fails when asking them what the first item they bought was when they started here: a blender.

Some favor the Vitamix, while others are loyal to Blendtec or Waring, but they will all vouch for the incredible-ness that is the commercial blender.  When a blender this powerful can promise to crush, blend, and obliterate almost anything you put in it, you’ve got more than just a household blender – you’ve got a machine capable of doing a lot of the heavy lifting in the cooking process.

Forget smoothies, we’re talking about full-fledged recipes that can be whipped up in a blender in no time.  Want proof?  Here are some of our favorite blender recipes.

Blender-tastic Salsa

Because salsa is so easy to make and the ingredients are easily found in almost every kitchen, there’s no reason not to blend up a quick batch when you’re craving salsa.

Ingredients

1 14 ½ ounce can of tomatoes with green chilies

1 14 ½ ounce can of whole canned tomatoes (with juice)

1 medium jalapeno (quartered)

¼ cup yellow onion (quartered)

2 cloves garlic

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon sugar

Blend It!

  1. Place all of the ingredients into the blender.
  2. Depending on how smooth or chunky you want your salsa, either hit the puree buttons a couple of times to give the ingredients a nice chop or turn the blender on for about a minute to make the ingredients come out smoother.
  3. Pour the salsa in a covered container and refrigerate for 2 hours.  This allows the flavors to blend and gives the salsa its full flavor potential.  If you think you need to add more salt or a dash of spice, this is when you’d start adjusting ingredients.

Blended Gazpacho

A blender is perfect for pureeing hot soups– and immersion blenders make this task much easier – but to stick with the theme of making a meal in a blender, let’s stick with cold soups.  Gazpacho is famously known as a chunky soup, but this recipe purees the soup to creamy perfection – perfect for those of you that aren’t fans of chunks of tomatoes in your soup.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (peeled, deseeded, quartered)

1 cucumber (deseeded, chopped into chunks)

1 red bell pepper (seeded, quartered)

1 jalapeno (seeded, quartered)

3 garlic cloves (peeled)

½ red onion (quartered)

2 slices of wheat bread (broken up into smaller chunks)

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

3 teaspoons of sherry

Salt and white pepper to taste

Blend It!

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender.
  2. Start blender on low as the larger chunks are slowly broken up, then continue to chop on a higher speed for roughly 3 minutes.
  3. When done, taste to see if more salt or pepper need to be added.
  4. Chill soup in fridge for a couple of hours.  Taste again before serving.  Top with croutons for an added crunch.

Blender-Style Basil & Walnut Pesto

Yes, you’ll have to make the noodles on the stove, but everything else gets thrown right in the blender!  For 2 cups of pesto, use the directions below.

Ingredients

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic (peeled)

½ cup walnuts

4 cups fresh basil leaves

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

Blend It!

  1. Place all of the ingredients into the blender.
  2. Start the blender on low so that the big chunks get chopped up, then slowly increase the speed.  Blend for about 1 minute or until the pesto is at the consistency you like.
  3. Serve on top of noodles.

Do you have any adventurous blender recipes?

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Recipe: Boiled Milk Steak

Recipe: Boiled Milk Steak

One of our favorite comfort foods here at Tundra Restaurant Supply is a classic Irish-American dish: milk steak. This crowd favorite originates from the mid-Atlantic region and is most popular in Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs. Most prefer their milk steak boiled “over hard” and garnished with a generous handful of raw jelly beans. A perfect date-night dish.

Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 (1 ½ pound) beef flank steak
  • 2 cups whole (4%) milk
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ⅓ cup raw jelly beans
  • Salt to taste

Directions

In a saucepan, bring milk to a boil and gently add steak. Reduce heat to a low boil, stir in honey and cook until meat is firm, 5–7 minutes per side. Sprinkle jelly beans over steak and serve immediately.

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Food Service Recipes

Food Service Recipes

In the interest of researching how to scale a recipe that feeds 6 people up to a recipe that feeds the masses, I found that it’s actually very hard to scale a recipe more than 4x up or down from the original recipe.  Well, that puts a restraint on new restaurant owners looking to make a big batch of soup to feed the lunch rush or a slew of cinnamon rolls to feed hungry breakfast goers. 

Where do you get those recipes?

There’s a couple of ways to increase the size of your recipes, but a lot of it is from either trial and error or learning from others.  After spending 10 years in a commercial kitchen, you have likely learned a few secrets to whip up larger batches, but for those that are starting fresh, it’s a bit harder to get your hands on large scale recipes.  However, we found a few online resources to help give you the push you need to start getting creative in the kitchen.  The list is below, but we thought it’d be best to also share a few examples of those recipes, so you can get an idea of what LARGE recipes actually look like.

Spaghetti with Fresh Vegetables for 100 People

  • 265 ounces Spaghetti Noodles (which is equivalent to 20 13.25 ounce boxes or 16.56 pounds of spaghetti noodles)
  • 2 cups Olive Oil
  • 10 cloves Garlic, diced
  • 10 small White Onions, chopped
  • 10 small Zucchini, diced
  • 10 small Yellow Squash, diced
  • 10 bunch Asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 medium Yellow Bell Peppers, julienned
  • 10 pints Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • 20 leaves Fresh Basil, torn

  1.  Cook pasta according to directions.
  2. As the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the garlic and onions, and sauté for 5 minutes (or until onions become translucent).
  3. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, and yellow bell peppers.  Sauté until heated through, but still crisp.
  4. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and sauté for 2 minutes.
  5. Drain pasta, and mix together with veggie skillet mix.  Toss in the basil, and serve.

(Recipe Credit)

Batch of 500 Cinnamon Rolls

Dough

  • 7 ounces Active Yeast
  • 16 pounds All-Purpose Bleached Wheat Flour
  • 16 pounds Whole-Grain Wheat Flour
  • 2 pounds 3 ounces Non-Fat Milk Powder
  • 2 pounds 12 ounces Granulated Sugar
  • 14 ounces Salt
  • 2 quarts 3/4 cup Soybean Oil
  • 2 1/4 gallons 1 cup Water
  • 6 pounds 1 ounce Non Hydrogenated Margarine


Cinnamon Spread

  • 5 pounds 6 ounces Light Brown Sugar
  • 9 pounds Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 13 ounce cans plus 2 ounces Condensed Evaporated Milk

  1. Bring all ingredients and utensils to room temperature.
  2. Mix yeast, flours, milk powder, sugar, and salt on setting for 4 minutes.
  3. Slowly add in oil and water, then mix on setting for 14 minutes.
  4. Turn the mixer off, and let dough rise in warm area (about 90ºF) for 45-60 minutes.
  5. Place dough on lightly floured surface and weigh out balls at 3 pounds 6 ounces each.
  6. Mix light brown sugar, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, and evaporated milk until it becomes a spreadable paste.
  7. Roll each ball of dough into a rectangle 25”x10”x1/4”.
  8. Spread cinnamon mixture over rectangle (about ½ cup per rectangle).
  9. Roll each rectangle into long, slender roll (with cinnamon spread on the inside).  Cut each roll into uniform one-inch pieces.
  10. Place rolls on lightly floured sheet pans, and cover with a bag.
  11. Place in a warm area (about 90º) until double in size – about 25-30 minutes.
  12. Bake the cinnamon rolls until lightly browned: 400º in a conventional oven for 18-20 minutes and 325º in a convection oven for 12-14 minutes.

Optional: Frost with white glaze frosting

Serving Size: 2 ounces
(Recipe Credit)

Macaroni Salad for 100 People

  • 24 pounds Elbow Macaroni, cooked and cooled
  • 6 pounds Creamy Salad Dressing
  • 2 quarts Carrots, shredded
  • 7 cups Celery, diced
  • 2 cups Onions, chopped
  • 16 ounces Sweet Pickle Relish
  • 4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 4 tablespoon Dry Mustard
  • 4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoon Paprika, for garnish

  1. Mix cooled elbow macaroni with salad dressing.
  2. Add carrots, celery, onions, relish, black pepper, dry mustard, and salt, and toss gently so the macaroni doesn’t tear.
  3. Garnish with paprika, cover, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serving Size: 1 cup
(Recipe Credit)

Where to Find More Recipes

Other areas that you can find recipes scaled large enough for the food service industry, include:

Have other large recipes you’d like to share?  Or tips for serving the masses?  Let us know below.

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Let’s Talk Turkey Seasonings

 Lets Talk Turkey Seasonings

When it comes to seasoning your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey, or any turkey for that matter, sooner is better. Two days ahead of time is ideal, but one day is fine too. Let it sit overnight uncovered in the fridge to let the seasoning permeate the bird.

If you don’t have that much time to spare, don’t worry: your turkey will still taste great. In any case, you’ll want to season a thawed, totally dry turkey that has been out of the fridge long enough to get up to room-temperature.

Another question that sparks heated debates this time of year …

Should you brine?

There are well-documented pros and cons to brining, but I’m going to avoid that sticky wicket entirely! I will say this, though: if you’re working with a Kosher turkey, it’s already pre-brined. So instead of giving it a second salt-water bath, you could go with a “dry brine” and rub 1/2 tsp. salt per pound of turkey. Chef and food writer Melissa Clark recommends a dry rub of kosher salt, pepper, citrus zest and rosemary. Sounds good to me!

Seasonings?

What other seasonings can you use? Remember that old Simon & Garfunkel song? The usual suspects of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are popular for good reason: they taste great. But there are excellent roast turkey recipes that include cloves, nutmeg, allspice, basil, ginger, lemon, crushed celery seed, cayenne, and paprika. There are many ways to season a turkey.

When thinking about potential seasonings, it’s worth considering your audience before you stray too far from the beaten path. Many otherwise adventurous eaters can have remarkably conservative palates when it comes to their holiday turkey. (In their defense, simple can be sublime, and sometimes salt and pepper are all you need.)

And don’t forget butter!

Not only is butter delicious, it’s a great medium for herbs like sage, rosemary or thyme, and lemon adds a nice flavor too. AND unsalted butter will give your turkey a nice golden hue and delightfully crispy skin.

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Halloween Drink Recipes

I love the fall, especially here in Colorado.  The aspens slowly changing from green to brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges.  The air starts to turn cool, and throughout the day you’re likely to change from jacket, to coat, to rain jacket, to sweating.  It’s totally unpredictable, but it’s exciting to me.  And I think a lot of us up here in Rockies get at least a little excited this time of year, because we know that another ski season is just around the corner.  Of course, you can ask how they feel about all the snow when January rolls around, and it’ll be a much different story.

But let’s stick with October for now, and one of the first holidays that comes up before the end of the year – Halloween.  The flavors of pumpkin, the smell of spice, and just the right amount of tricks to send a chill up your spine. 

After sitting with a bartender friend a couple of weeks ago as he went through his ghostly cocktail creations that he’d be serving the bar on Halloween night, I simply couldn’t resist writing the recipes down so I could share them on The Back Burner.  Besides, Halloween is the perfect time of year to bring in extra revenue because of some attractive spirits (the liquor, not the patrons my friend). 

Halloween Drink RecipesAlien Brain Hemorrhage

I know, the name sounds awful, but it’s actually a good drink; however, it’s very sweet, so one shot will probably do you.  The taste is very similar to a chocolate covered cherry, so keep that in mind before you dive in.  I’m not a maraschino cherry fan, so this wasn’t my favorite on the list.  For 1 serving, you’ll need the following:

  • 1 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 1 tsp Irish Cream
  • 2-4 drops Grenadine

Pour the peach schnapps in a shot glass, and then slowly add in the Irish cream.  Top with the drops of grenadine.  I’ve also seen other recipes where they add a small amount of blue curacao to the shot glass before they drop in the grenadine, which adds a blue tint under where the Irish cream settles.

Halloween Drink RecipesJellyfish Shot

Another very interesting looking drink, and still just as sweet, is the jellyfish. For 1 serving, here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ shot White Crème de Cacao
  • ½ shot Amaretto Almond Liquer
  • Irish Cream
  • 2-4 drops Grenadine

Fill the shot glass ½ and ½ with the crème de cacao and amaretto (leaving just enough room on top to add a hint of the remaining ingredients). Slowly pour in the Irish cream, just to the rim of the shot glass and then add your drops of grenadine.

By this time, I had already had 2 shots, and I never take shots, so I stopped as he continued to mix up and test different concoctions.  Here’s Bloody Brain Shooter, but I’ll give compliments to Geekologie on this one, since that’s where he pulled the recipe.

Brain Shot

Halloween Drink Recipes

Photo Credit Geekologie

I love me a good Irish car bomb, but I’m not sure if I could have made it through this one before my own stomach curdled.  Again, this is for 1 serving:

  • 1 ¼ oz Strawberry Vodka
  • 1/8 oz Rose’s Lime Juice
  • ¾ oz Irish Cream
  • 2-4 drops Grenadine

Since this drink curdles, it’s best to make sure the vodka is cold to help the shot go down easier (I know, right?).  Shake the vodka and lime juice in a shaker, then strain into a shot glass.  Now, the fun part, dip a straw in the Irish cream, and put your finger over the end of the straw to suck the Irish cream up into the straw.  Now dip the end of the straw into the vodka mix, and slowly release the Irish cream into the shot.  As it releases, you’ll see it start to curdle, and you can slowly form the brain.  Go ahead and get more Irish cream if you need it.  At the end, the grenadine is added to make it look like the brain is bleeding.

The night continued with a few other interesting shots, which included the squashed frog, hellraiser layered shot, a ghost shot, and a vampire blood shot.  All of which looked very intriguing, but I thought it would be fun to share the rest of the recipes on our Pinterest board, Halloween Shots, Drinks and Cocktails.  Let us know what you think, and what other ghostly recipes you have for this time of year.

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40 Yummy Toast Toppers

40 Yummy Toast Toppers

With a toaster in almost every American home, and nearly 75-million Americans eating toast on a daily basis, there’s no wonder that our research has shown that there are plenty of toast-topping recipes to help give plain ‘ole toast the zip that it needs (no offense to butter and toast, we like that too).  Here are a few toast topping ideas that may have you planning on toast for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Spreading with butter before adding a topping, is completely optional.

Hearty

1. Top with avocado slices and a fried egg, then drizzle with honey.

2. Top bread with goat cheese spread, sun-dried tomatoes, and a slice of flank steak.  Garnish with chives.

40 Yummy Toast Toppers

3. Spread your favorite tuna salad across the top, then a nice layer of tomatoes and red onion.

4. Spread mayo across the top of the toast, then top with a lettuce leaf, tomato slice, and grated cheddar cheese.

5. After toasting, rub bread slices with garlic and tomato slices, then top with a poached egg, Parmesan cheese, and basil.

6. Spread smashed avocado across toast, add a hint of lime juice and paprika, then top with sprouts.

7. Cook up a nice, creamy and wild garlic mushroom sauce and top it on a thick slice of toast.

40 Yummy Toast Toppers

8. Spread your favorite pesto across the toast, then layer with sliced radishes and chives.

9. Spread a layer of mayo (mixed with lemon, roasted garlic, and zest) across the toast, then top with a slice of a hard-boiled egg.  Add a mix of crumbled bacon, diced avocado, and cilantro.

10. Place a poached egg on top of the toast – a great spin on the classic “Toad in a Hole.”

11. Scrambled eggs, topped with tomato slices (mayo spread before is optional, but yummy).

12. Raspberry jam spread across the toast, with a nice layer of brie and bacon.

13. Spread cream cheese across toast, then top with prosciutto, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and chives.

14. Rub toast with garlic, place mozzarella slices on top with sliced tomatoes and basil, then drizzle with balsamic reduction.

15.Top toast with ricotta, then put on a layer of arugula and one fried egg.

Light(er)

16. Spread cream cheese across the toast, and top with cucumbers.

17. Top toast with avocado slices and a smear of pesto; finally, top with micro greens.

40 Yummy Toast Toppers

18. Top with Swiss cheese and turkey slices.

19. Spread cream cheese across toast, and layer with slices of smoked salmon and a sprinkle of dill.

20. Top toast with shredded Colby jack and sliced bell peppers and green chilies.

21. Rub toast with garlic clove, then top with spinach leaves and sliced mushrooms that have been sautéed.

40 Yummy Toast Toppers

22. Spread warm goat cheese across the toast, then top with walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil.

23. Spread ricotta across toast, and top with your favorite bruschetta recipe.

24. Rub a clove of garlic across the toast, smear it with goat cheese, then top with arugula and roasted beet slice.  Finish with a nice drizzle of honey.

25. Rub the toast with garlic, then top with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and a sprinkle of chives.

26. Top with cooked kale, then sprinkle on fresh parmesan.

27. Smear a favorite blend of hummus across the toast, then top with microgreens.

40 Yummy Toast Toppers

28. Spread ricotta across the toast, then layer with cubed butternut squash, a sage leave, and a drizzle of brown sugar and olive oil.

29. Top toast with your favorite tapenade – olive, sun dried tomato, creole, almond, Mexican

30. Spread Boursin cheese on the bread, then top with sprouts and radishes.

31. Place roasted tomatoes on a layer of smoothed out ricotta cheese.

32. Top warm toast with sliced artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley.

Sweet

33. Spread a sweet flavored cream cheese on the toast, and top with strawberries or blueberries.

34. Spread Nutella across toast, and top with sliced bananas.  Try sprinkling brown sugar and cinnamon on top to kick it up a little.

35. Apricot jam spread, and then granny smith apple slices added to the top.

36. Smear a healthy layer of Nutella across the toast, then sprinkle with coconut.

37. Top toast with almond butter, then spread on your favorite fruit, like strawberries or bananas.  Finish with a drizzle of honey.

38. Top toast with your favorite jam, then sprinkle on some almonds.

39. Spread cottage cheese atop bread, and then drizzle with honey.

40. Top bread with ricotta cheese, pear slices, walnuts, and a drizzle of honey.

We have pinned a lot of these great ideas over on our Pinterest Board Get Toasty, check them out!

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Green Chili Recipe

Green Chili Recipe

There’s a large audience out there that has never tasted green chili, but once they do, they’re in love.  This tasty recipe is a Colorado and New Mexico favorite, and there are plenty of variations that are made, but for the most part, the same two rules apply: keep the ingredients simple so the chilies aren’t overpowered and Hatch green chilies can’t be substituted for other chili types.  The timing is always different with each recipe variation, but as most soups and chilies are… the longer they cook, the better they are.

Ingredients

8 Whole Hatch Green Chilies
1 Jalapeno (optional)
Spray Oil
2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
2 Pounds of Pork, Cubed
1 Onion, Chopped
3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
3 Tablespoons of Flour
5 Cups Chicken Broth
½ Teaspoon Cumin
¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
¼ Teaspoon Mexican Oregano
1 Large Tomato, Diced

Roasting Peppers

  1. Rinse the green chilies and jalapeno off and allow them to dry.
  2. Place them on a baking pan and spray each of them down with oil, preferably vegetable oil.
  3. Turn them over and make sure to spray the other side too.
  4. Start your grill on medium, and place all of the peppers on the grate and roast for about 15 minutes.  You’ll need tongs so you can turn them as they begin to brown.  You can also roast them in the oven or on-top of a gas range.  For more ideas on roasting, I like this post.
  5. When the peppers are done, bring them in and stick them all in a big plastic bag.  Seal up the bag and set it aside.  You need the peppers to steam so that they are easier to work with.  Steam for about 15 minutes.
  6. Once done, scrape off the brown bits (the burned skin) the best you can.  Cut out the seeds and de-vein the peppers.
  7. Lastly, dice the peppers up into small, bite-sized pieces and set aside, until you’re ready to mix into the chili.

Note: You can roast a big batch of chilies and prepare the same way as mentioned above.  To store, just place in a freezer bag and take de-thaw whenever you want to use them in a recipe.

Cooking the Chili

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot (large enough to hold at least 3 quarts of soup) and toss in the onion and garlic.  Stir around to coat with the oil, and add the pork.  Cook the pork until it turns brown on all sides.  It’s okay if there is still pink in the center, because it’ll cook through in the chili.  Cooking it for too long can make it chewy, and we want it to be very tender.
  2. Push the pork mix to the side, and let the oil drain away from it.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour, and mix it constantly, while trying to scrape up any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Cook the flour until it turns a light brown color.  It should have a very smooth consistency.
  4. Slowly start to add in the chicken broth, while continuing to stir the flour roux.  If you pour the broth in too fast, you’ll risk ruining the roux, or not having it meld well in the chili.
  5. Once all of the broth has been mixed in with the roux and pork mix, it’s time to start adding in the rest of the ingredients.  Throw in the cumin, black pepper, oregano, tomato, chilies, and jalapeno.  Like salt?  Okay, throw in a pinch of that too.
  6. Bring the chili up to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer and cover.  Let the chili simmer for at least an hour, but if you can go 2-4 hours, it’ll be even better!

Suggested Garnishes: Monterey Jack Cheese, Green Onions, Cilantro, Sour Cream, Hot Sauce, Warm Tortillas

Makes about 3 Quarts.  Serves 8-10.

This makes a big pot of chili, but you’ll want extra to pour over burritos, burgers, eggs, etc.  It also freezes well, so if you can’t use it up before it goes bad in the fridge, go ahead and pack it in freezer safe containers and save for later.

Fun fact about Hatch green chilies, Don Juan de Onate came to New Mexico in 1598 with the green chili peppers that we know as Hatch green chilies today.  Because of Don, New Mexico has been growing those chilies for more than 400 hundred years now!

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Elk Meatloaf Recipe

Elk Meatloaf RecipeWith cold winter months around the corner, I’m starting to crave comforts foods like Colorado green chili, tortilla soup, and meatloaf.  However, it’s still in the 90’s outside, so a warm bowl of soup still doesn’t suit the palate just yet, but that doesn’t exclude meatloaf!  I know, meatloaf got a bad rap when someone decided to dirty it up with huge chunks of veggies and super market meat that was as far away from fresh as it gets.  Kids across the country have grown up never knowing that meatloaf can actually be good.

You have to start with fresh ingredients, and then look for the taste you want in your meatloaf.  My mom made hers taste like pizza, throwing in tomato sauce, cheese, fennel, Italian seasoning, and other yummy herbs that typically go into Italian dishes.  I like her recipe, but I once came across a simple recipe that called for eggs, stuffing and barbeque sauce.  That was it, and the recipe was really good, but I knew it could be better.  By taking that same concept, but adding in additional flavors we liked – always add onion and garlic, always – I finally found a recipe that was (as my family says) heaven in your mouth!  Like little drops of meatloaf heaven dancing on your taste buds, you’ll re-think your childhood hatred for that meat in a loaf.

I swear that the secret is the barbecue sauce and fresh/organic ground meat.  We are a family of hunters, so we always have a lot of ground elk and venison on-hand, but you could just as easily get the ground meat from your local organic market.  The recipe below makes a rather large loaf (2 pounds of meat), but when I’m feeding my family of 4, I want to make sure I plenty of leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches the next day.  Even then, sometimes they just keep eating until it’s gone!

Elk Meatloaf

Ingredients

         Mix for Meatloaf

  • 2 pounds of ground elk (could use venison and beef too)
  • 8 ounces of multi-grain crackers, finely crushed
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (if your steak seasoning has plenty of salt in it, then cut this out)
  • 1 teaspoon steak or burger seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs

        Toppings

  • 6 slices of thinly sliced bacon
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place all of the ingredients for the meatloaf (except for the egg) in a large bowl.
  3. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then pour on top of the meatloaf mix.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil, or line it with parchment paper so you don’t have to clean the mess up afterwards.  This step is important, because with the next step you’re getting dirty and you need to prep before that stage.
  5. Take your rings off and get to mixing all of the meatloaf mix together. Squish, squish.
  6. Pour all of the ingredients out on the baking sheet, and form into a loaf.  I like to form it so the slices are the size of sandwich bread – always thinking ahead.
  7. Place the bacon over the top of the meatloaf.  With this, I either cut the bacon in half so it fits right, or I’ll tuck long ends under the loaf.  If you’re on an anti-bacon diet, then cut this out, but I’m telling you, you’ll be missing out on some great flavoring.
  8. Bake in oven for about 40 minutes.  Or if you have a meat thermometer, cook until it reads an internal temperature of 160⁰F.
  9. 10 minutes before the meatloaf is done, mix together the remaining ingredients – barbecue sauce, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce – and heat on oven until it starts bubbling.  Turn it down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  10. When the meatloaf is done, pour the sauce over the top, and let it rest for 5 minutes before digging in.

Enjoy!

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