Showing posts with label cranberries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cranberries. Show all posts

Foodie Fights, Battle 16 - Chestnuts and Kumquats

I've been waiting to redeem myself in a Foodie Fight battle ever since my last attempt where I forgot to photograph the final result, which seemed to annoy at least one of the judges. (Don't forget to visit the Foodie Fight site and vote for me!) This time I submitted chestnuts as a possible ingredient, and was excited to see it combined with kumquats as they are both perfect holiday foods. Problem is, kumquats are not in any stores in CO yet (I looked at several) so I had to improvise there, even though I created the recipe for kumquats.
Does this look like Thanksgiving on a plate? Well, I figured I could create something that was mouthwatering and would please the judges but would also give a boost to my readers out there who are still struggling to come up with recipes for their Thanksgiving dinner. In this shot, I've used the stuffing to actually stuff a pounded out chicken breast (although this could easily be a turkey breast as well)...
...while in this shot I cooked a separate chicken cutlet, sliced it, and served it with the dressing on the side and a generous dollop of the relish on top. There are so many photos to this post that I actually divided it into two posts - just read on and I'll direct you where you need to go!
Let's start with the chestnuts. You can find them peeled, but for some reason my store didn't have that so I bought them whole in their shells, which allows me to educate you on how the heck you get them out of there.
First thing you need to do is to score the shell with a knife. Some chefs are proponents of roasting them at this point, while others recommend boiling them. I did half each way to test, and boiling is WAY easier to peel. That X you cut will open up after simmering for about 20 minutes...
...then you can peel off both the hard outer shell and the inside paper coating to reveal the lovely chestnut inside.
You'll need about a cup of these chopped, so about 2 handfuls of the whole chestnuts should do it. If you can find the peeled ones that are vacuum sealed you'll save yourself all of this work!
Cube up some bread - I like to use a nice crusty Italian loaf like a ciabatta or a rosemary flavored bread.
Then start dicing - 12/ cup celery...
1/2 cup onion...
1/2 cup carrots...
and 1 whole apple (peeled or not - I was lazy today).
Saute the sofrito (celery, onion and carrots)...
...until the vegetables are slightly softened and taking on some color like this.
Next you'll need some herbs - I needed to dig mine out of the foot of snow we got over the weekend (can you see the ice clinging to the rosemary?!). Chop up some fresh rosemary and sage.
Then mix everything together - the bread with the vegetables, apples, herbs, and chopped chestnuts...
...and get your wet ingredients together. Mix eggs with water or stock and some milk or cream, season with salt and pepper, then stir into the bread and vegetables until it's all absorbed.
Then just to make sure it's not dry, melt 1/2 a stick of butter and pour that in too. Stir it well...
...and pour it into a casserole dish to bake - or if you prefer, stuff your turkey, chicken or goose with the dressing before roasting.
I like to cook my dressing separate from the bird primarily because then you don't have to overcook the bird to ensure that the internal temperature of the stuffing reaches a safe level. But I also like the taste of the turkey juices that soak into the stuffing when you put it inside the bird. So when I pull my dressing out of the oven, I usually pour about 1/2 to 1 cup of turkey drippings over the top of the casserole dish before serving. Decadent? Yes. Delicious? You bet!
The second part of the challenge for the Foodie Fight was kumquats, and I created this fabulous relish intending to use them. Since they were unavailable I substituted the 1 cup of chopped kumquats in this dish with the zest of one orange, the chopped up orange segments from one orange, a good squeeze of orange juice, and the zest of half of a lemon. Visit this post to read the step by step details on how I made the relish.

Chestnut Stuffing
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced onions
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chicken stock (or water)
1/2 cup milk (or heavy cream)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups cubed Italian bread
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 apple, diced
1 cup chopped chestnuts (peel first)
1 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add celery, carrots and onions; cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes. While vegetables are cooking, combine eggs, stock, salt and pepper together and whisk until well combined. In a large bowl, toss together the bread with the vegetable mixture, liquid ingredients, melted butter, apples, chestnuts, sage and rosemary. Put stuffing into an oven safe dish and press down into an even layer. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or stuff into chicken breasts or whole turkey and cook accordingly. (Note: I like to spoon turkey drippings over the top of the dressing before serving to flavor and moisten it.)

Kumquat and Cranberry Relish
Serves 6

Printable Recipe

1 cup kumquats, quartered
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon port wine, optional

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer until the cranberries and kumquats have broken down and relish has thickened, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat, discard cinnamon and star anise, add wine and let cool before serving.

Keep checking back in the next few days for a couple more Thanksgiving side dishes you'll want to make for your dinner!


Kumquat and Cranberry Relish

Ten days from now those of across the US will be sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner. I'm always the cook - because I love it. But for some of you, I know this day brings with it a huge amount of stress. One way to destress while you impress is to make this fabulous cranberry relish. I promise you it couldn't be simpler, and I guarantee your family and friends will swoon!
I created this recipe for a Foodie Fights competition online, and it's intended to be made with kumquats, which unfortunately are just not quite in season here. A good substitute for that tart citrus taste is to use a bunch of orange rind along with a little of the orange itself.
Peel off the rind in segments with one of these zesters that makes long strips. You could use a Microplane as well, but I like the texture and appearance of the strips in the relish. Afterwards, segment the orange and roughly chop the segments, then squeeze any extra juice form the pulpy part that is left into a small saucepan. (If you're using kumquats as the recipe calls for, all you need to do is quarter them or give them a rough chop and add them to the pan.)
These are the secret ingredients - well I guess not so secret anymore assuming anyone is reading this! One stick of cinnamon and one star anise.
Add the cranberries to the orange segments/juice/zest (or kumquats) along with the secret ingredients, sugar and a minced up chili pepper. I used half of a banana pepper today, but a single jalapeno is perfect.
Let it simmer down and pretty soon it will look like this - keep it simmering about 30-40 minutes in all to achieve a nice thick relish. If you want to enhance it, add a tablespoon of port at the end before serving. One taste and you'll be wondering how you ever ate the stuff out of the can!

Kumquat and Cranberry Relish
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

1 cup kumquats, quartered
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon port wine, optional

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer until the cranberries and kumquats have broken down and relish has thickened, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat, discard cinnamon and star anise, add wine and let cool before serving.



Couscous with Chicken, Feta, and Dried Cranberries

I created this recipe some time ago for a Buzz in the 'burbs column, but since I've been overrun with arugula from my garden, I was looking for old recipes to use it. The little bit of spice from the arugula is a perfect addition, but you can also substitute baby spinach if you have it or prefer it.
(Sorry Teresa that I don't have the step by step photos of this one, but it's really just a throw together dish!)

Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.

Couscous with Chicken, Feta, and Dried Cranberries
Serves 4-6

Dried cherries are a great substitute for the cranberries in this dish and ricotta salata cheese stands in well for the feta.

1 cup couscous
1 small bag of baby arugula or spinach
2 cups cooked chicken (warmed through)
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup minced red onion
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, more or less to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine couscous with one cup boiling water, cover and let stand until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. While couscous is still warm, stir in the arugula, cover, and allow arugula to wilt slightly. Add chicken, cranberries, red onion, feta, and mint and toss to combine. Add extra virgin olive oil to taste and finish by seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve either warm or at room temperature.