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11

Feb 2019

Borlotti Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli)

Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Recipes /

Here’s what I love about this simple winter soup: it contains almost no meat product and only a few vegetables. You can even leave out the pasta and no one will miss it. You can make it the day before you entertain and the soup will be even better. Pasta e Fagioli is a classic Italian peasant dish, but it is so sumptuous, that after one sip of the soup, your dinner guests will feel like royalty. Simple dishes shine if you use only the best ingredients so if you want to do justice to this soup, start with homemade brown chicken stock. You will need a big batch of  stock since this recipe calls for two quarts. Also, please use dried borlotti beans otherwise known as cranberry beans. The bean is tan, fairly large and streaked with red. I purchase my beans either from Rancho Gordo or Whole Foods. These beans are the star of the soup. You will be the star of the evening if you serve this main dish with warm crusty sourdough bread, a bit of butter, a simple salad and a bottle of good chianti.

Borlotti Bean Soup
Serves 6
A rich bean soup that is most appreciated on a wintry evening.
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Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 small chunk of pancetta (about 1/4 pound), cut into one inch cubes'
  2. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  4. 1-2 teaspoons dried hot pepper
  5. 1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
  6. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  7. 2 quarts chicken stock, preferably brown chicken stock (see notes)
  8. 1 pound dried borlotti beans, soaked overnight in large glass bowl
  9. 1 3 inch square Parmesan rind
  10. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a Dutch oven (I use my Le Creuset 6 quart Dutch oven) heat the pancetta and olive oil over high heat until it is almost smoking and the pancetta is nicely browned. Add the onions and parsley and hot pepper and cook over medium heat until the onions are golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook over medium heat about 8 minutes. Do not let the paste mixture scorch. Add most of the chicken stock (one-and-a-half quarts) and the swollen beans and the parmesan rind and simmer 20 more minutes. Taste soup, adjust seasoning. If soup is too thick, add more stock. Before serving, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
Notes
  1. This soup is starchy and does not really need pasta. But if you truly want to call your soup, "Pasta e Fagioli," add a few pre-cooked pasta rags to your soup, just before serving.
  2. Shortcut for making light brown chicken stock: Buy two already roasted chickens from the supermarket (If you like, remove some breast meat for sandwiches). Toss the two chickens in a tall stockpot with 2 carrots, 1 parsnip, 1 coarsely chopped leek, two coarsely chopped medium Spanish onions, 3 ribs of chopped celery, 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, 1 bunch of parsley stems, 1 bay leaf, 1 heaping tablespoon of Kosher salt. Cover with 6 quarts of water. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce heat and cook at a low simmer, skimming occasionally until stock is reduced by half. This should take about two hours. Remove from heat, strain and cool the stock (In the winter, when temperature is 35 degrees Fahrenheit or below, I put the stockpot on a tray in the snow or by the front door and let the stock quickly cool down). After your stock has cooled down, refrigerate it overnight. In the morning, skim off the congealed fat. Refrigerate stock in 1 quart containers for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.
Adapted from Mario Batali
Adapted from Mario Batali
Jillyanna's Cooking School http://www.jillyannas.com/

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19

Dec 2017

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Streusel

Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

A rich holiday bundt cake laden with semi-sweet chocolate and toasted almonds. With a short prep time this cake is perfect for the busy holiday season. This cake can be made 3 days ahead and can be stored tightly covered at room temperature.

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Streusel
Serves 12
A rich holiday bundt cake laden with semi-sweet chocolate and toasted almonds
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. Chocolate Streusel
  2. 1 cup chopped toasted almonds
  3. 1 cup semisweet chocolate bits (I prefer 64% Valhrona chopped chocolate.)
  4. 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. Pinch kosher salt
  7. Cake and Assembly
  8. Canola spray
  9. 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  10. 4 cups all purpose flour + 2-3 Tablespoons for dusting the pan
  11. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  12. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  13. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  14. 2 cups granulated sugar
  15. 4 large eggs
  16. 2 cups sour cream
  17. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray oil into bundt pan and using a pastry brush, thoroughly coat all crevices of the pan. Add a few tablespoons of flour to the pan, shake and tap out excess flour.
  3. Whisk 4 cups all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat granulated sugar and 2 sticks softened butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time beating to blend and scraping down sides alternating with sour cream. Add vanilla and beat just to combine.
  5. Transfer half of batter to prepared pan, smooth surface. Sprinkle half of streusel evenly over batter, Scrape in 1/4 batter, smooth surface, and sprinkle with remaining streusel. The dough should fill 2/3 of the pan. (The remaining batter is enough to fill a mini bundt pan if you want to bake it and give it as a small gift!)
  6. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
  7. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool in pan 20-30 minutes before inverting onto wire rack. Let cool completely. Then reinvert cake onto cake plate.
Notes
  1. You will need a 12-15 cup nonstick Bundt pan. Mine is made made by Nordic Ware. Be sure not to overfill your bundt pan. And do check it after 45 minutes with a toothpick.
  2. After you remove the cake from the oven, remember to wait no longer than 20-30 minutes before inverting the cake onto a rack to cool. Some of the topping will fall off. Don't worry. Most of the streusel will stick. After the cake is cool, reinvert it onto a cake stand. If not using immediately, wrap the cake thoroughly with plastic wrap. Cake can be made 3 days ahead and can be stored tightly covered at room temperature.
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Jillyanna's Cooking School http://www.jillyannas.com/

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    10

    Dec 2017

    Potato Pancake with Pan Fried Chicken and Lemon Butter Sauce

    Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

    If you want to make people of all ages happy at Hanukkah, this panfried entree, cooked quickly in good olive oil, is the way to go. The grated potato that tops the chicken in this dish is missing a few  ingredients (matzo meal, grated onion, potato starch, schmalz and egg) so it certainly is not a traditional latke. But the potato doesn’t need fillers when the real goal is to create a lacy and crisp pancake that perfectly complements the slender breast upon which it rests. Instead of serving this dish with applesauce, I like to serve it with a lemon butter sauce and a simple green salad strewn with toasted almonds and thinly sliced crisp apples. 

    Butterflying the seasoned chicken breasts and trimming away excess fat is the secret to this dish. Each of your raw trimmed chicken fillets should weigh approximately 2 ounces and measure about 4 inches in length and 3 inches in width. The grated potato should provide a protective nest that is at least as long and slightly wider than the fillet. For best results, preheat your cast iron pans (To serve four people at the same time, you will need two 9 inch cast iron pans).  Add olive oil to the hot pans and wait a moment or two till the oil shimmers. Then add grated potatoes. Russets, by the way are high in starch content and really are the best choice for this dish.

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    Potato Pancake with Pan Fried Chicken and Lemon Butter Sauce
    A perfect pan fried Hanukkah meal
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    Cook Time
    15 min
    Total Time
    1 hr
    Cook Time
    15 min
    Total Time
    1 hr
    Ingredients
    1. 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and trimmed so that each butterflied portion is about 4 inches in length and 3 inches in width
    2. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    3. 1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
    4. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    5. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    6. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    7. 1/2 cup chicken stock
    8. 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    9. 2 Russet Potatoes
    Instructions
    1. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
    2. Dredge one side of chicken in flour and shake off excess.
    3. Heat a 9 inch cast iron skillet over high heat. Add 1/4 cup oil to pan. When oil shimmers, add two nests of coarsely grated potato (about 1/4 cup of potato per nest). Spread nests so that they are about 5 inches in length and four inches in width.
    4. Turn heat down to medium and add seasoned breasts to potato nests, flour side up. Cook undisturbed until potatoes are brown all over (about 2-3 minutes). Carefully slide a fish spatula under the crisp potato nest and flip chicken potato combo over. Allow chicken to cook for two minutes at medium heat. Season crispy potato top while chicken is cooking.
    5. Remove and transfer to platter.
    6. Turn up heat, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and repeat the cooking process and flipping technique and add finished fillets to the platter.
    7. Pour out some of the oil from the pan. Then return to heat and add lemon juice and stock. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan. Reduce liquid until there is about 1/3 cup of liquid left. Add 4 tablespoons butter and whisk vigorously. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of sauce on to plates. Place chicken fillets on top of sauce and garnish with chopped parsley.
    Notes
    1. To butterfly the breast, put the chicken on a chopping board and, with your hand flat on top of it, use a sharp knife to slice into one side of the breast, starting at the thicker end and ending at the thin point. When you open the sliced breast, it should resemble a butterfly.
    2. Grate the potatoes by hand (on the coarse side of a box grater) just before you are ready to cook the dish as they will oxidize quickly and turn grey and then brown.
    3. This dish comes together even more quickly if you use two cast iron pans. Then all four chicken fillets finish cooking at about the same time.
    4. The trimmed fillets are small and this panfried treat is addictive, so you may need to make extras!
    Jillyanna's Cooking School http://www.jillyannas.com/

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