chipotle

Adobo Shrimp Primavera

If this is your first time on my site, you may have noticed that I like to take your traditional recipes and give them a twist and a spike in flavor!  Who needs hum-drum?

Though it’s technically still winter and we definitely  have our cold days and nights, we also have some quite warm days (it is bi-polar Texas after all) and I was just totally over the typical stew dinner.  So here I give you my “Adobo Shrimp Primavera”, just in time for our approaching Spring!

This alfredo has a great smoky and slightly spicy flavor from both the chipotles and the adobo seasoning, but it keeps with tradition using cream and parmesan cheese.  You can also use your favorite fresh vegetables of choice for the primavera aspect and if you don’t care for shrimp, then use chicken!  ..or hey, keep it vegetarian and enjoy the best aspect of all…that sauce!!

https://www.goya.com/en/products/adobo-with-pepper

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb large fresh or thawed shrimp
  • 1-1/2 tsp Adobo seasoning (i.e. Goya brand)
  • 16oz pasta noodles of choice
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 yellow squash, thickly sliced
  • 6oz asparagus, cut into thirds
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1-2 Chipotle in Adobo peppers, finely diced + 1 Tbsp sauce (use 1 pepper for mild sauce)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (half & half ok)
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

 

Place the shrimp in a bowl and toss with the Adobo seasoning, set aside.

Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

In a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and butter along with the squash, asparagus and spinach.  Sauté for 3-4 minutes.

Next, stir in the halved cherry tomatoes, heavy cream, diced chipotle pepper + sauce and the shrimp.  Toss and cook until shrimp are opaque, about 6-7 minutes.

Finally add in the cooked and drained pasta noodles and parmesan cheese; toss and cook until the cheese has melted, about 2-3 minutes.  Taste for more Adobo seasoning and/or salt if needed.

Serve in a large bowl along with extra parmesan cheese to garnish and warm crusty bread for soaking up the rich, slightly smoky and spicy cream sauce.  Enjoy!!

ShrimpAlfredo

Texas Bowl o’ Red

True chili, by Texas standards, contains NO beans, which you probably already knew.  It ALSO means no tomatoes and generally no chili powder either…  The famous bowl of red actually gets its vibrant hue and deep smoky, sweet and spicy flavor from a homemade chili paste you can easily prepare.  *Find the dried chiles in your grocers Hispanic section, the spice aisle or the produce sectionThe best dried chiles are not crunchy hard, but still a bit pliable if possible.

Now more often than not, I strictly use just a quite large beef chuck roast…keep with traditions, ya know?  However, I did include the possibility of also adding a thicker ground beef/brisket to the mix.  I say this because it stretches the chili a bit further for large crowds and your beef loving friends.  Plus, using a thicker-grind on your meat, keeps with and plays off of the texture you already have from the cubed chuck roast.

So…with the now cool to quite cold weather, football season still in full swing and wanting that pot of heartiness on your stovetop all afternoon, I suggest you give this a try.  Yes, feel free to tweak to your hearts content, aka tastes, but remember….NOOOO beans!!!..or tomatoes 😉

**Now I am one to add quite a bit more chiles than even my recipe calls for, but I’m a hot-head (not in personality, just tastes ;).  That being said, do your research on what dried chiles you’d prefer if you have a mild palate or just reach for the “smoky or sweeter” flavored peppers.  If you make quite a bit of chili paste, reserve, as you can always stir in more to the pot and/or drizzle over top your served bowl….or just make as instructed below!! 🙂

***Masa Harina: is basically finely ground corn flour used to make tortillas, tamales etc.  Now this ingredient is kind-of-optional, but not only does it help to thicken and tighten up your chili, it also provides an earthy flavor to the mix.  If you do not have any on hand or do not want to purchase a small bag, you can omit it.  You can also easily thicken with a flour or cornstarch paste as well.  It’s just a bit less Tejas that way, ok?

The Starting Lineup

  • 2-3 lbs beef chuck, boneless, cut in 1/2″-1″ chunks
  • 1 lb “chili-grind”, ground beef/brisket (it’s a much thicker texture grind), optional
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bottle Shiner Bock beer 
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp each ground pepper and kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp El Caldo de Pollo (low sodium chicken bouillon) 
  • 5 Tbsp vegetable oil, (or lard if on hand)
  • 2 Tbsp masa harina
  • 8-10+ whole dried chiles  – a mix from either Ancho, de Arbol, New Mexico, Guajillo, Pasilla, etc.  

Garnish

  • Sour Cream
  • Jalapenos
  • Shredded cheese
  • Lime wedges
  • Warmed tortillas
  • Cheese enchiladas….yes, I said that, two cheesy ones right on top baby!

Place the chiles in a large skillet over medium-low heat and gently toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes per side. Do NOT let them burn or they’ll turn bitter. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover them with almost boiling water.  Cover tightly with plastic-wrap and soak until soft, 15 to 30 minutes.

Remove the softened chiles from the water (reserve that “chile-water“), halve them and remove stems and seeds. Place the seeded chiles in a blender and add the chicken bouillon, cumin, mexican oregano, black pepper, salt and 1/4-1/2 cup of the chile water.  Purée, adding more water as needed (and occasionally scraping down the sides of the blender), until a smooth, slightly fluid paste forms.

Pour this now liquid chile mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and set aside, removing any skin from the peppers.  Feel free to taste for seasoning (salt)…careful as it MAY be spicy/wash hands thoroughly.  *Tip:  The soaked chiles and chile water are likely still hot in temperature when you begin to blend.  So place a kitchen towel over the lid on your blender, hand holding down, as the warmth will make it expand and want to pop that lid off…no one wants hot, spicy chiles all over them and their kitchen.

In a large heavy bottomed pot/dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the oil or lard. When it begins to slightly smoke, add in half of the cubed beef.  Brown, about 4 minutes per side, reducing the heat if the meat begins to burn. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with 2 more tablespoons of oil/lard and the remaining beef.  *Same with the large grind ground beef (cooked through), if using.

Now over medium-low heat add in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil/lard in the skillet if necessary; add the onion and garlic and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Pour the Shiner Bock beer in, scraping up all of the brown bits at the bottom of your bot..flavor!!!

Next, add the beef stock plus 1 cup water and gradually whisk in the masa harina to avoid lumps. Stir in the reserved chile paste (again, taste for it’s spicy level prior) and then add the reserved, seared beef (and any and all juices in the bowl) and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to the barest possible simmer (just a few bubbles breaking the surface) and cover, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender but still somewhat firm and sauce has thickened a bit…can easily simmer for 2-3 hours.

Finally, you will thoroughly stir in the brown sugar and add more salt to taste; gently simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.  Now, it may still look like there is excess sauce, so turn off the heat and let the chili stand for at least 30 minutes, during which time the meat will absorb about half of the remaining sauce in the skillet, leaving the meat bathed in a thick, somewhat fluid sauce. Stir in additional broth or water if the mixture seems too dry. If the mixture seems a bit loose and wet, allow it to simmer a bit more.  As always, it’s a must to taste as you go for salt and seasoning.

Serve by large ladle full into a bowl and top with your standard sour cream, cheese, onions, lime wedges, tortillas…or as I mentioned, make tray of super cheesy enchiladas and lay a couple bad boys right on top!  Enjoy with your remaining Shiner Bocks!!

TexasChili

 

 

 

Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich with a Bourbon Bacon Jam

Ok, I made this treat of a dinner tonight just for myself.  Yes, I made an entire 2 lb+ meatloaf and a jar of bacon jam for MY dinner.  Do you want to know why??  Because quite frankly it’s delicious and it only gets better after the next day or two, especially that Bourbon Bacon Jam!!  Which is why it’s a great “leftovers” type of meal!

Let’s say you made the traditional meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner one night and you’re not wanting the same darn thing the next..Well, simply add the Bacon Jam and garnishes to a meatloaf sandwich and you’ve taken repurposing to an entire new level!
*This jam is good off a plain spoon, but spread it on a warm slice of toast or English muffin topped off with a fried egg.  Now THATS a rave worthy breakfast!

The Starting Lineup

Bourbon Bacon Jam

  • 1 pckg (12-16oz) bacon, chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, diced, plus 1 tbsp sauce
  • 1/4 dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 apple cider vinegar
  • 4oz Bourbon (2 shots, optional)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • Pinch of kosher salt & ground pepper

Meatloaf

  • 2lbs ground (I do 1/2 ground beef & 1/2 ground pork)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, diced
  • 1/2-1 whole jalapeño, seeded & finely diced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk….*soak the above Panko^^ in the milk
  • 1 packet low-sodium meatloaf seasoning packet (or seasoning blend of choice)
  • Hefty pinch or two of kosher salt & pepper for the top of the meatloaf

Garnish

  • Hearty/crusty white bread slices
  • Mayonaisse
  • Thick sliced ripe tomatoes, seasoned with kosher salt & pepper
  • Havarti cheese slices (or another great melty cheese)  

As I stated earlier, this can all be made ahead of time or at seperate times if using as a “leftover” meatloaf meal…but let’s pretend that you’re doing what I did…let us start from the beginning!

Bourbon Bacon Jam time my friends!  Start by chopping, dicing and mincing the bacon, sweet onion & garlic.  In a large sauce pan (*if not nonstick, add a tbsp of EVOO), cook your chopped bacon until slightly crisp.  Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined dish and set aside. 

   

In that same pan with the reserved bacon grease, add in the chopped onions and cook down for about 10-15 minutes.  Add the minced garlic to the onions and continue to cook for another few minutes.

Now to the onion-garlic mix, add in all of the remaining ingredients (diced chipotle pepper & sauce, dark brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, bourbon, smoked paprika, cumin, salt & pepper and the cooked bacon) and stir to combine.  Bring to a low boil and then down to a simmer.  Let stand uncovered and do its thing while stirring occasionally.  *I like to leave it on the stove top on low for a good 2-3 hours and carefully drain the liquid from the pot about once an hour.  It’ll really thicken up!  Once done you can either transfer to a food processor to thin or leave as is.  I, myself, prefer it chunky for texture and leave it as is.  Keep in a mason jar or Tupperware container in your refridgerator, it’ll be gone FAST! 


 
 So while that Bourbon Bacon Jam is rendering away, we’ll begin the meatloaf.  Now this is a basic meatloaf recipe, and if you have a personal favorite then please feel free to use it!

*Ok, ok..I can hear you now.  “Carly, why does there have to be chipotles/jalapeño in the meatloaf??”  1.Because  2. Why not?  3. My 2 & 4 year old boys eat it and have no idea, it’s NOT really spicy 4. You need to finish off that can of Chipotles anyway and 5.  Your combining it with a SWEET bacon jam. You NEED the contrasting flavors.  It’s the little things that make food great!

Now back to the task at hand.  Meatloaf.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get whatever pan you use to cook your meatloaf in out and greased if not non-stick.

In a large bowl, combine ALL of the meatloaf ingredients together and gently mix with your hands.  Transfer the mix to your baking pan and again, gently, pack into meatloaf shape.  Crack some more black pepper and salt over top and place into the preheated oven for about 1 hour, uncovered.  

   Remember, while the meatloaf is baking your Bourbon Bacon Jam is still rendering away and smelling devine!  I dare you to tell me your haven’t inhaled a few spoonfuls already….

Now that the meatloaf has finished cooking, it’s assembly time!  Have 1-2 saute pans heating on the stove top.  

In one pan, lay thick slices of meatloaf down and slightly cook each side, as to create a bit of a ‘crust’. 

 Lightly coat each slice of bread (on both sides) with a thin spread of mayonaisse.  Then add a good helping of the warm Bourbon Bacon Jam to one slice. 

Transfer the mayo’ed slice to your second hot pan, top with the Caramelized meatloaf slices, tomatoes seasoned with a pinch of kosher salt & pepper, cheese slices and top it off with the second slice of bacon jam coated bread.  Cook each side for about 2 minutes, till cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown in color. 

   
Cut on the bias and serve warm, enjoy!  

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