March 21, 2011

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter

What can I say....these brownies are a show stopper. It's the browned butter that stopped me in my tracks while reading my bon appetit magazine last month, and I had a batch ready to back that day. I am a huge fan of browned butter on anything sweet or savory, and come one....who can say no to anything with cocoa in it? These brownies are spectacular and very rich, but my oh my, if you love chocolate, you will seriously fall in love with these babies. The browned butter adds a wonderful nutty flavor that is killer. The original recipe calls for walnuts, which would be a great addition, however, it's the one ingredient that I didn't have.
Seriously....make these today! You can and will thank me later!

Pairing Suggestion: A tall glass of cold milk...Oh My

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter
Courtesy of Bon Appetit
Makes 16

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
10 tbsp (1 1/4) sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces (optional)

Position rack in bottom third of oven, preheat to 325 degrees F. Line 8x8x2 inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving a 2 inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot). Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts if using. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes (I started checking at 20 minutes and took out of oven at about 23 minutes). Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies.
This can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Now it's time to savor to your hearts content.

March 16, 2011

Pork and Green Chile Stew

Pork rules!! At least in my family it does. Whether it be ribs, chops, tenderloin, bacon, sausage, you name it, it will always be welcome here. I myself am a soup/stew lover. So I thought, why not combine the two throwing in some of our favorite veggies, and Voila. A quick yummy and very hearty stew to warm your heart. I couldn't decide on calling it a stew or a chili, but whatever you want to call it, it's quick and very satisfying. I think that it will stay a family favorite for a long time.
You could use whatever pork cut you have on hand, however I recommend using tenderloin as it will not toughen up in the pot and will stay very tender, giving you a scrumptious bite.

Pairing Suggestion: A White Alsatian, or an American Riesling would be a sweet compliment.

Pork and Green Chile Stew
Makes 4 Servings

1 lb. Pork Tenderloin (cut into 3/4 inch pieces)
salt and ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
3 carrots (peeled and chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (diced)
2 cans of white beans (drained and rinsed)
1 4.5 oz. can diced green chiles
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2-3 cups low sodium chick stock/broth
1 bag of baby spinach
1 bunch fresh cilantro (chop half the bunch and leave some whole leaves for garnish)
lime wedges

Sprinkle pork lightly with salt and pepper. In dutch oven heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add pork and cook for 4-5 minutes or until browned. Take pork out of pot and keep warm in separate bowl. Add onion and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes until soft. Add in garlic, white beans, green chiles, and cumin. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add in chicken broth and the chopped cilantro. Cook another 5 minutes to bring up to a simmer. Using a hand blender, blend stew till slightly thickened, leaving some chunks of veggies. (If you are using a blender, blend about half the mixture.) Return the pork back into the pot and add the rest of the cilantro leaving some for garnish. Bring up to a simmer. Add baby spinach and cook, covered, over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the stew is too thick for you, add as much broth or water as you need to get it to the consistency you would like.
Ladle into soup bowls and top with cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

I know you'll like this one!!!