Chocolate and Vanilla Spiral Cookies

In a few hours, I’ll be flying to Madrid to study Spanish cuisine for five weeks at the Cordon Bleu School. I’m not looking forward to the 22 hour flight but I am excited to learn more about Spanish cooking. At this stage in my life, there will probably not be many more chances to attend culinary school, so NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT! Do you ever feel that way- that now is the time to grasp that opportunity before it disappears?

So please stay tuned: I hope to post some authentic Spanish recipes on my blog soon! At least I’m sure I will be able to come up with a delicious, authentic paella.

Before launching into the darkness with that long flight to Madrid, I wanted to post one more recipe: Vanilla and Chocolate Spiral Cookies. I’ve adapted the recipe from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion which has hundreds of cookie recipes ranging from simple Oatmeal Cookies to Key Lime Bars in Coconut Crust. It would probably take me a whole year to bake all of the recipes in this great cookbook.

My recipe for the Vanilla and Chocolate Spiral Cookies is basically a shortbread recipe, which means it has lots of butter in it. And it’s doubly good because you combine a vanilla flavored dough with a chocolate flavored one- ending in a spiral (pinwheel) shape.

So let’s get started:

First, you make separate vanilla and chocolate dough:

Then roll-out each dough into a rectangle measuring about 9 x 12 inches:

Brush the vanilla dough with egg white. Then place the chocolate layer on top of the vanilla layer and roll into a tight log. Place in freezer until firm and then cut the dough into 1/4 inch slices:

Bake for about 12-14 minutes:

 

Chocolate and Vanilla Spiral Cookies
Yields 24
Chocolate and Vanilla Cookies blended together into perfection
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Vanilla Cookie Dough
  1. 1/2 cup confectioner's (icing) sugar
  2. 2 Tbsp. caster sugar
  3. 2 Tbsp almond meal
  4. 3/4 cup (6 ounces) salted butter (softened)
  5. 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Chocolate Cookie Dough
  1. 1/2 cup confectioner's (icing) sugar
  2. 2 Tbsp. caster sugar
  3. 3/4 cup (6 ounces) salted butter (softened)
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
For the egg wash
  1. 1 egg white + splash of water
To make the Vanilla Dough
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the softened butter, icing sugar, caster sugar and vanilla flavoring until smooth. Gradually add the almond meal and flour until a cohesive ball is formed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured sur face and form into a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to use.
To make the Chocolate Dough
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the softened butter, icing sugar, caster sugar and vanilla flavoring until smooth. Gradually add cocoa and flour until a cohesive ball is formed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and form into a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to use.
To make the Pinwheel Cookie shapes
  1. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on your work surface and roll out the vanilla dough into a rectangle shape about 9 x 12 inches. Set aside. Repeat with the chocolate dough, rolling it into a slightly smaller rectangle shape.
  2. Brush some egg wash onto the vanilla rectangle and then place the chocolate rectangle on top.
  3. Starting with the long edge, gently roll the stacked dough into a tight log with no gaps. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and place in the freezer until firm (about 1 hour).
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Remove the log from the freezer, remove the plastic wrap and slice the log into ¼ inch slices (let the dough thaw a bit first if it is too hard to slice). Transfer the cookies onto parchment-covered baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes or until they feel firm. Let cool a few minutes before serving.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/
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Julia Child’s Chocolate Soufflé

Since my blog is called G’day Soufflé, I thought it was about time that I actually posted a soufflé recipe. And what better chef to consult for my recipe than the master Julia Child?

In her show The French Chef, Julia explains that a soufflé traditionally uses a thick white sauce combined with flavorings such as cheese, fish or chocolate. For my recipe, I’ve selected a chocolate soufflé, since I love the combination of chocolate with the airy quality of the soufflé. Julia was so excited about cooking a soufflé that she threw her arms up into the air, anticipating the “hundreds of air bubbles” that puff up the soufflé into a wondrous mass.

Julia also cautions us about the basics of making a soufflé: make sure the egg whites are at room temperature before you whip them so they ‘mount’ into nice high peaks. Also, although she starts out by whipping the egg whites by hand in a traditional French copper bowl, she quickly becomes exhausted and switches to the more ergonomic method of using electric beaters. I’m with you on that one, Julia!

Julia becomes so exhausted hand-beating the egg whites in the copper bowl that she slumps over and decides to switch to the electric beaters

The Method

For her Chocolate Soufflé (Soufflé au Chocolat), Julia starts by creating an aluminum ‘collar’ around the straight-sided mold to help contain the soufflé as it rises over the rim. (Be sure and tape or pin the foil securely since my ‘collar’ fell off during the cooking). If you are using smaller ramekins, then this step is not necessary.

Souffle (2 of 2) (1 of 1)

You then make a creamy Béchamel sauce, whip in the egg yolks and then the melted chocolate mixture.

Next comes the egg whites which should be whipped into a velvety sheen and according to Julia, should increase seven-fold in volume.

The egg whites are then gently folded into the chocolate mixture and then baked in the oven. Watch in amazement as your soufflé puffs up over the top! If you don’t want to use a larger soufflé dish, you could also use smaller ramekins.

Chocolate Soufflé
Serves 6
A decadent chocolate dessert with a light touch: Julia Child's 'Soufflé au Chocolat'
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 2-quart straight-sided souffle’ dish or 5-6 smaller ramekins
  2. ½ Tbsp softened butter
  3. 7 ounces of semi-sweet or sweet chocolate
  4. 1/3 cup strong liquid coffee
  5. 3 Tbsp butter
  6. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  7. 1 cup milk
  8. 4 egg yolks
  9. 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  10. 6 egg whites (3/4 cup)
  11. Pinch salt
  12. ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  13. ½ cup sugar
  14. Powdered sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 F ( 220 C). Butter the inside of the soufflé dish or 5-6 smaller ramekins. If using the larger soufflé dish, surround the outside of the dish with a double layer of aluminium foil or parchment paper so that a 3-inch collar stands above the rim of the dish. (If using smaller ramekins, this step is not necessary).
  2. Melt the coffee and chocolate together in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water; set aside. In a separate saucepan, combine the flour and butter; whisk over medium heat until the mixture becomes a paste. Gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture thickens. Let cool for several minutes.
  3. One by one, whisk the egg yolks into the hot sauce, then add the melted chocolate sauce, and finally the vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar together until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar until stiff peaks form and the whites become shiny.
  4. Gradually fold the chocolate mixture into the egg white mixture, folding from the outside of the bowl into the center. Pour the mixture into the prepared molds, filling to just below the rim. Place the mold on the bottom part of the oven and lower the temperature to 375 F (190 C). Bake for about 35-40 minutes until the soufflé has risen and a skewer placed into the center comes out clean. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. If using a fan-forced oven, reduce the recommended temperature by 20 degrees (i.e. 425 F should be lowered to 405 F, etc).
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/
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Duck Breast with Plum and Tamarind Sauce

Hi there! I haven’t posted for awhile since I’ve been finishing up a course in American Politics at my local university. (You could definitely call me a ‘perpetual student’ since I have been attending university courses off and on since 1967)!

To celebrate the end of my classes, I decided to make ‘Duck Breast with Plum and Tamarind Sauce.’ A tamarind tree bears tropical fruit grown in bean-like pods and is frequently used in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. It also has certain reported medicinal benefits, like lowering blood sugar and preventing heart disease. I like cooking with tamarind because it has a nice sweet and sour taste and you can build further flavors around it using cinnamon and star anise, etc.

To make this dish, I used tamarind paste, which you can buy in Asian supermarkets. It only takes about 15 minutes to make the sauce and a further 12-15 minutes to cook the duck breast.

This dish is similar to my recipe for Duck à l’orange, except with an Asian rather than a French twist!

 

Duck Breasts with Plum and Tamarind Sauce
Serves 2
Tender duck breasts served with a 'sweet and sour' plum and tamarind sauce
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
27 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
27 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tbsp sugar
  2. ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  3. ½ cup + 2 tbsps. water
  4. 2 plums, peeled and de-seeded (fresh or canned plums are OK to use)
  5. 1 tsp tamarind sauce
  6. 1 star anise
  7. 1 cinnamon stick
  8. 2 cloves
  9. 1 tbsp fish sauce
  10. 2 Duck Breasts, uncooked
Instructions
  1. Over medium heat, whisk the sugar and red wine vinegar together for several minutes until the sugar dissolves and the liquid turns a dark brown color; add the water to the mixture. Peel and de-seed the plums and slice into 3-4 pieces. Add these to the cooking liquid along with the star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves and fish sauce. Simmer for at least 10 minutes until the plums soften and the flavors blend together. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until well-blended. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve; taste and adjust seasoning accordingly (if the sauce is too tart, add a little more sugar).
To cook the duck breasts
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Using a sharp knife, score the skin side of the duck breasts, using a criss-cross pattern. Season both sides of the duck with salt and pepper. Place a fry pan on stove top over medium-high heat and add a small amount of oil. Beginning with the skin side, cook each side of the duck breast for 3-4 minutes; the flesh side should be a golden brown color. Wrap each duck breast in foil and cook in the oven for a further 4-5 minutes. The duck will be ready when the meat is a light pink color. If the meat is still red inside, then cook for another few minutes. Remove from oven and let the duck rest for at least 10 minutes in the foil (the meat will continue to cook a little when it rests).
  2. Slice the duck breast in long horizontal pieces. To serve, re-heat the sauce, spoon the sauce onto a plate or shallow bowl, then arrange the duck pieces on top of the sauce. To decorate, try adding a star anise piece to the plate or a piece of basil or parsley.
Notes
  1. Tip: Before wrapping the duck breasts in foil and placing them in the oven, I make a small incision with a paring knife into the flesh side of the duck breast. This makes it easier to check if the duck is pink inside and therefore ready to be removed from the oven.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/
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Cream of Cauliflower Soup (Crème Dubarry)

 

Hello, everyone! Someone recently gave me a HUGE head of cauliflower and I couldn’t think of anything to make with it- until a hint of scandal entered my brain from a recipe we learned at the Le Cordon Bleu school in Paris:Crème Dubarry (or Cream of Cauliflower Soup). You might ask, “How could a scandal be attached to a simple Cauliflower soup?”

It turns out that Madame du Barry of France had many lovers and eventually became the mistress of King Louis XV. Decked out in jewels and fancy clothes, she led a pampered life until she was finally forced to leave Versailles upon the King’s death. Eventually she became a victim of the Reign of Terror and was beheaded in 1793.

Madame du Barry

But not to worry. Madame du Barry’s spirit lives on through this soup named after her: Crème Dubarry, or Cream of Cauliflower Soup. It’s a pretty easy recipe and I’ve added a little Gruyere cheese to give the soup more body: I’m sure Madame du Barry wouldn’t mind!

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Cream of Cauliflower Soup (Crème Dubarry)
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
A creamy Cauliflower Soup named in honor of Louis XV mistress!
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 300 g (11 oz) cauliflower
  • 120 g (4 oz) leeks, white part
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 5 cups chicken stock or water
  • Salt/white pepper to taste
  • ½ cup thickened cream
  • ¼ cup gruyère or parmesan cheese, grated
  • Garnish:
  • ¼ cup small cauliflower florets
  • ¼ cup small broccoli florets
  • Chives, diced
Instructions
  1. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, chopped shallot, leeks and cauliflower; sauté for several minutes until the vegetables soften a little. Add the flour and stir. Add the chicken stock and cook for about 15 minutes until the cauliflower softens and is fully cooked through. Add salt and white pepper to taste.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for several minutes until smooth. Transfer mixture back to the saucepan, add the cream and cheese and stir until thickened. Add more salt and pepper if required.
  3. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil and add the cauliflower and broccoli florets. Cook for several minutes, then remove. To serve, add soup to bowl, place several cauliflower and broccoli florets in the center of the bowl and sprinkle with some chopped chives.

 

 

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Caramel Pecan Pull-apart Rolls

For once, I’m almost at a loss for words. I have no lengthy description for this post, no stories to tell about how Grandma made these rolls way back when. The recipe speaks for itself: yeast rolls filled with a butter and brown sugar mixture, then covered with a warm caramel/pecan topping. What makes these rolls a bit different is you layer them into a Bundt cake pan, then pull them apart directly from the pan to eat. Don’t worry about manners, just dig right in!

To make these rolls, the yeast dough is first rolled out then spread with the filling. You then roll the dough into a tight cylinder and then slice into circles.

Each spiral cylinder is then brushed with the warm caramel/pecan topping, then layered into the Bundt cake pan; let rise for about one hour.

Let bake until golden brown:

Then dig right in and Pull-apart the rolls!

Caramel Pecan Pull-apart rolls
Serves 6
Yeast rolls topped with a warm caramel pecan sauce- pull them apart and eat directly from the Bundt pan.
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Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
2 hr
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
2 hr
Dough
  1. ¾ cup warm milk
  2. 2 packets dry yeast
  3. 1/3 cup sugar
  4. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  5. 2 eggs
  6. ½ tsp vanilla flavoring
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. 4 cups all-purpose flour
Filling
  1. ½ cup pecans, chopped
  2. ¼ cup brown sugar
  3. 1 tsp cinnamon
  4. 2-3 tbsp soft butter
Caramel Topping
  1. 1 cup brown sugar
  2. ½ cup butter, softened
  3. ¼ cup light corn syrup or liquid glucose
  4. ½ cup pecans, chopped
Instructions
  1. Combine the packets of dry yeast with the warm milk, let set a few minutes until the yeast dissolves.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and softened butter using electric beaters. Add the eggs, vanilla, salt and yeast mixture. With the electric beaters still running, add 2 cups of the flour to the mixture and beat until smooth. Gradually stir in the remaining flour using a wooden spoon or working in the flour with your hands. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for several minutes until the dough forms a firm ball. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, make the filling. Combine the chopped pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon (but do not use the butter yet); set aside. To make the camel topping, heat the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup (or liquid glucose) for several minutes until the mixture thickens. Stir in the chopped pecans.
  4. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out into a rectangle measuring 15 x 10 inches, with the long side facing you. Spread the 2-3 tbsps. softened butter onto the dough, then spread the remaining filling mixture. Roll up the dough into a tight cylinder, ending with the seam facing downwards. Cut off the very ends of the dough, then slice the dough into 1 inch pieces using a serrated bread knife. Brush each side of the dough pieces with the caramel pecan sauce then place them inside a buttered Bundt pan, forming at least two layers. Brush the top of the dough mixture with any leftover caramel topping. Bake at 350 F (160 C) for 30 minutes or until the dough turns golden brown and is cooked through. To serve, pull-apart the pieces of dough directly from the Bundt pan.
Notes
  1. You can also bake these rolls in a flat baking pan, if desired,
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/
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Brookies- where Brownies meet Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you ever heard of a Brookie? I’m sure it’s the newest craze- a moist brownie topped with a chocolate chip cookie- two of the most delicious things on earth stacked together.

I first heard of a Brookie on last year’s Master Chef TV show. After looking through several recipes, I became embroiled in a philosophical quandry: should I put the cookie on top of the brownie or the brownie on top of the cookie? This became an important question because after all, you don’t want to display any favoritism towards our two most favorite desserts!

After experimenting, it turns out that this dessert looks best with the chocolate cookie on top. Some people cut their Brookies into squares, but I wound up baking mine in a cupcake pan since I didn’t have a square baking pan.

Whatever shape you decide to use, you’ll love these Brookies!

Brookies
Serves 8
A moist brownie topped with a chocolate chip cookie
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
35 min
For the Brownie Layer
  1. 1 cup white sugar
  2. 1/ cup butter, melted
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  6. 1/3 cup dark chocolate, melted
  7. ½ cup all-purpose flour
  8. ¼ tsp baking powder
  9. Pinch salt
For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer
  1. ½ cup butter, softened
  2. ½ cup light brown sugar
  3. ¼ cup white sugar
  4. ½ tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  7. ½ tsp salt
  8. ½ tsp baking soda
  9. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F (175 C). Grease 8 wells in a cupcake tin with melted butter.
  2. Prepare the brownie mixture. Combine the white sugar, melted butter, vanilla and 2 eggs and melted chocolate. Mix well with electric beaters. In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Fold the dry flour mixture into the melted chocolate mixture until well-combined. Pour the brownie mixture into the cupcake pan, filling each well ½ full.
  3. Prepare the Chocolate Chip cookie dough. Beat the softened butter, light brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla extract and egg together until creamy.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Gradually combine the butter mixture into the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Take about one heaping tablespoon of the chocolate chip cookie mixture and smooth it onto the top of each brownie, making sure the mixture comes to slightly below the rim of the cupcake pan to allow for some rising of the dough during the baking. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the ‘Brookie’ comes out clean. Let cool for several minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each Brookie and remove from the pan.
Adapted from All Recipes
Adapted from All Recipes
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/
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Chile Relleno Soup

Have you ever tried Chile Relleno? This Mexican dish is one of my faves- a poblano chile pepper stuffed with a white cheese, dipped in a fluffy egg batter then lightly fried.

While recently surfing the net, I came across a variation of this dish- Chile Relleno Soup. Gotta try this!, I said to myself. This is a creamy soup with roasted chopped poblano peppers and topped with a layer of melted cheese. And don’t think I’ve forgotten the batter-fried chile pepper in the recipe- you’ll find it resting under the layer of cheese, ready to be eaten. Yum, this looks like a luscious French Onion Soup with a Mexican twist. I wonder what Julia Child would think?

P.S. I’d really love it if you’d like my Facebook page! Any likes and shares are always appreciated!

The Method

First, the poblano peppers are roasted in the oven until the skins blister and turn black (careful not to burn them).

The blistered skin is then peeled and the chiles are chopped up and placed in the creamy soup mixture. One chile is coated in the fluffy egg mixture and then lightly fried in oil.

This fried chile is then placed on top of the creamy soup, ready for the melted cheese to be placed on top.

And here it is- Chile Relleno Soup.

Chile Relleno Soup
Serves 4
A creamy, cheesy soup topped with a golden-fried poblano chile.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 poblano chiles
  2. 2 tbsps olive oil
  3. 1 onion, chopped
  4. 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  5. ¼ cup coriander (cilantro) chopped
  6. ¼ cup flour
  7. 2 cups chicken stock
  8. 1 cup heavy cream
  9. 1 cup milk
  10. Salt to taste
  11. ½ cup shredded Jack cheese
Chile Relleno Topping
  1. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  2. 2 eggs, separated
  3. 1 tbsp flour
  4. 1 tbsp baking soda
  5. 1/2 cup shredded jack cheese
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven broiler to 400 F. Brush the poblano chile peppers with a little olive oil, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place under the broiler for 3-4 minutes. Turn the chiles and broil the other side for the same amount of time. The skin should blister and turn black, however be careful to not burn. Remove from the oven and place the chiles in a sealable plastic bag for about 15 minutes to soften the skin.
  2. Over medium heat, fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft; add the chopped coriander and flour and continue to heat for several more minutes. Add the chicken stock, heavy cream, milk and salt to taste.
  3. Remove the chiles from the bag and carefully peel off the blistered skin, cut off the top and remove the seeds. Chop up four of the chiles and set the fifth one aside for the chile relleno topping. Add the chopped chiles to the sauce and let simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the ½ cup shredded jack cheese and stir until fully melted.
  4. While the sauce simmers, prepare the chile relleno topping. Cut the remaining chile in half; this will give you two larger pieces of chile that will later be placed on top of the soup.
  5. Separate the egg whites and yolks from the two eggs. Whip the egg whites with electric beaters until stiff peaks form. Add the flour and continue to beat for another minute. In a separate bowl, add the egg yolks to the baking powder and whip together slightly using a fork. Now fold the beaten egg whites into the egg yolks; the mixture should be light and airy.
  6. Heat the ½ cup oil in a fry pan over high heat. Dust each of the remaining chile halves with flour, then dip them into the egg mixture, fully coating them. Add to the cooking oil and fry about 1-2 minutes on each side until golden.
  7. Serve the soup into individual bowls, top with a piece of the fried chile relleno and extra shredded cheese. Place the bowls under the broiler for several minutes until the cheese turns golden, then serve.
Notes
  1. You could also substitute an Anaheim chile for the poblano chile.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/
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Chicken Mole Poblano

 

Mole 10

Living in San Diego part of the year, I have been spoiled with the variety of fresh and dried chili peppers that are sold in supermarkets, including the sweet and smoky ancho chile and the red fruity guajillo, both used in making the tasty Mexican dish, Chicken Mole Poblano.

This dish produces a rich reddish-brown sauce filled with spices, chilies, nuts and a hint of chocolate. Legend has it that the dish was invented at the convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla, Mexico. When the nuns heard that the archbishop was going to visit the convent, they panicked and ‘threw together’ bits and pieces of whatever they could find: chili peppers, bread, spices, nuts and even chocolate. This sounds like it could be called an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ sort of dish.

This is not an everyday sort of dish, but is usually reserved for special occasions such as birthdays. Some cooks use up to 30 ingredients for their Mole Poblano and spend all day making it. Some have added plantains, tomatillos and even toasted pumpkin seeds to their Poblano dish.  But that sounds a bit over the top for me: I use about 15 ingredients and it takes me about 45 minutes to make the sauce and another 1 hour for the cooking.

To be honest, some people are turned off by the thick brown color of the sauce, but I can’t help licking the spoon as I make this dish. And sshhh, (don’t tell anyone) I use a little peanut butter in my recipe instead of ground peanuts. I learned this recipe tip from a Mexican restaurant in Borrego Springs, California.

To make the mole sauce, the tomatoes are first roasted in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes, then the white cores are removed. Next, the ancho and guajillo dried chilies are toasted for a few minutes on the stove top, then soaked in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes to re-hydrate. You could also used chili powders for this dish but the taste would not be the same.

These ingredients are then added to a blender along with onions, garlic, jalapeno pepper, raisins and piece of stale bread. The seasonings, Mexican chocolate and peanut butter are then added and the sauce and chicken pieces are finally baked together in the oven.

Be sure and adjust the seasoning as you go; if you like your food spicy, add a few more chilies to the dish. If you find the Mexican chocolate a bit bitter, then add a dash of sugar. And you don’t need to wait for a visit from the archbishop to serve this dish- your family and friends should love it too!

Chicken pieces covered with mole sauce, ready for baking in the oven.

 

5.0 from 4 reviews
Chicken Mole Polblano
Author: 
Recipe type: Lunch or dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A classic Mexican dish- chicken pieces covered in a rich brown sauce made with chilies, spices, Mexican chocolate and peanut butter.
Ingredients
  • Main Ingredients:
  • 4 -5 pieces of chicken thighs, bone in
  • 2 Tbsps. olive oil
  • Sauce:
  • 2 Ancho Chiles, dried
  • 2 Guajillo Chiles, dried
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3 large tomatoes, roasted
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • ¼ cup raisins, heated and ‘plumped up’
  • 1 piece of stale bread or baguette
  • 1 tbsp dried coriander
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 40 grams Mexican chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Chicken stock (enough to cover the chicken pieces)
  • Garnish:
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Parsley sprigs
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat broiler oven to 400 F. Slice tomatoes in half, place on baking tray lined with parchment paper, sprinkle pieces with olive oil and salt. Place on top oven rack and roast for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes soften and some juices start to appear in the tray. Be careful not to burn the tomatoes. Remove from oven and set aside. (Note: you could also add a few tomatillos to the roasting pan if you wish).
  2. To prepare the Ancho and Guajillo dried chilies: place them on a dry fry pan over medium-high heat and press down with a spatula for one minute until they soften and start to change color, turn the chilies over and press down for one more minute. Remove from heat, cut the chilies open and remove the seeds. Chop roughly into pieces.
  3. Place the chilies in 1 cup of very hot water to soften, let soak for 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Chop the onion, garlic pieces, and jalapeno pepper. Heat some olive oil in a fry pan over medium high heat, place the ingredients in the fry pan and heat for several minutes until soft. Remove from pan; heat the raisins in the pan for several minutes until they ‘plump up.’
  5. In a blender, add the roasted tomatoes, the chilies along with the soaking liquid, onions, garlic, jalapeno pepper , raisins and bread. Blend for several minutes until the sauce is smooth.
  6. Transfer the sauce to a sauce pan. Add the dried coriander, cinnamon, cloves, peanut butter and Mexican chocolate. Stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. Add salt to taste. Add a pinch of sugar if you prefer the sauce a little sweeter. Set aside.
  7. Brown the chicken pieces: first remove any excess skin from the chicken thighs and sprinkle salt on both sides of the chicken. Place several tablespoons of oil in a fry pan; over medium high heat, brown the chicken pieces on both sides for several minutes. Let drain on some kitchen paper.
  8. Place the chicken pieces in a casserole dish or Dutch oven, cover the pieces with the Mole sauce. Add a splash of chicken stock to ‘moisten’ the mixture.
  9. Bake for about one hour until the chicken becomes tender.
  10. Place on individual serving plates. Top with some toasted sesame seeds and a few parsley sprigs.

 

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Lobster Ravioli with Creamy Sauce, Cherry Tomatoes

I haven’t posted for awhile since I have been traveling with my husband and son, who is visiting with us from Australia. One of the places we visited was Death Valley, a huge national park that is the size of Connecticut and touches on the borders of both California and Nevada.

We were amazed at the starkness of the landscape, which seemed to be void of any plant life and loved the strange geologic formations that loomed from the desert floor. One of my favorite walks was through Golden Canyon, a 4-mile trek that led us around Manly Beacon; the trail was fairly steep at some points and I tried not to look down!

Manly Beacon, Death Valley

Manly Beacon

On the trail, we had the option of branching off to Zabriskie Point, one mile further, but decided to drive there later instead. This place had amazing views and reminded me of the 1970 counter-culture movie Zabriskie Point (by director Antonioni).

Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point

While passing through the Palm Springs area, we ate at an Italian restaurant where I ordered a delicious Lobster Ravioli dish with a parmesan sauce. It was so good that I decided to replicate the recipe myself.

My dish features fresh ravioli that is filled with lobster tail meat and ricotta cheese and is topped with a creamy parmesan sauce and cherry tomatoes. With Valentine’s Day coming up, you just might want to  impress your ‘significant other’ with this dish!

To make the stuffed ravioli, I bought some fresh lasagna sheets from a local Italian pasta shop, although you could make you own. I then cut out at least 12 circles (3 inches each) using a pastry cutter- you could also make square or triangle shapes:

I then placed a small amount of filling in the middle, wet the outer edges of the ravioli with water and crimped the edges together. Be sure to press the filling into the center of the dough so that you make a nice dome shape.

I then cooked the ravioli in boiling salted water for about 3 minutes, then baked the pasta with the parmesan sauce, onions and cherry tomatoes in the oven for several minutes. I wonder what wonderful things I’ll find next time in the desert!

Note: this recipe makes enough to serve three people, with each person receiving at least 4 ravioli each on their plate = total of 12 ravioli. To make the 12 ravioli, I used three lasagna sheets (14 inches by 5 inches each).

Lobster Ravioli with creamy sauce and cherry tomatoes
Serves 3
Lobster-filled ravioli, served with a creamy parmesan sauce and cherry tomatoes
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Filling
  1. 3 lobster tails
  2. 2 Tbsp. diced shallots
  3. 2 Tbsp. ricotta cheese
  4. 1 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
  5. Salt/pepper to taste
Creamy Parmesan Sauce
  1. ¼ cup butter
  2. 1 clove garlic, minced
  3. 1 cup thickened cream
  4. ¼ cup dry white wine
  5. 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  6. Salt/white pepper to taste
For the garnish
  1. ½ onion, sliced
  2. 2-3 tbsps oil
  3. Parsley, chopped
  4. 8-10 cherry tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C).
  2. Prepare the filling: remove the meat from the lobster tails and chop finely. Add the ricotta cheese, diced shallots, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. Roll-out the lasagna pasta sheets, cut out 3-inch circles using a pastry cutter or knife (or you could make other shapes, such as triangles or rectangles). Place a small amount of lobster filling in the middle of each ravioli shape, wet the outer edges of the dough with water and place the other shape on top. Crimp the edges together and push the filling into the center of the ravioli to make a nice dome shape. Place the ravioli in boiling salted water and cook for about three minutes; remove the pasta using a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. For the sauce, melt the butter over low heat on the stove top, add the diced garlic and cream and stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the wine and parmesan cheese and stir until sauce continues to thicken. Add salt and white pepper and adjust seasoning accordingly.
  5. Slice the onion into lengths of 2-3 inches and saute’ in a little oil on the stove top for several minutes until softened.
  6. To assemble the dish, place the onions and cooked ravioli in the bottom of a casserole dish, add the sauce and cherry tomatoes on top and bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/
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Chili and Cheese Nachos Platter

After the marathon effort of my last Famous Chocolate Nutella Babka post, I thought I would do something simpler this time- hence my recipe for Chili and Cheese Nacho Platter. I was able to use some leftover chili con carne for this recipe, plus some other ingredients that I already had on hand. The only thing I had to buy was the tortilla chips!

This makes a great appetizer for guests that drop by or could even be turned into a main meal. My husband asked me to add a fried egg on top of his serving and he considered that to be his dinner!

The amount of ingredients you use for this recipe depends on the size of your serving dish, hence I have left some of the measurements ‘open.’ This dish requires layering the tortilla chips with the chili and cheese, then finishing off with the salsa, avocado, cilantro and sour cream on top. Feel free to add your other favorite ingredients to this dish as well.

Note: To cook and serve my Nachos dish, I used a Comal, a flat griddle used in Mexico to cook tortillas and prepare food.

Chili and Cheese Nacho Platter
Serves 4
Tortilla chips layered with chili and cheese and topped with salsa and other goodies!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 min
Total Time
17 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 min
Total Time
17 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 13-oz bag of tortilla chips
  2. 1 ½ - 2 cups chili
  3. 4 cups coarsely shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  4. Fresh salsa mixture (diced tomatoes, red onion, coriander, lime juice)
  5. Spring onion
  6. 1 avocado, sliced
  7. 1 fire-roasted red pepper, sliced
  8. Pickled sweet peppers (optional)
  9. Hot sauce and sour cream
  10. Chopped cilantro (coriander) for garnish
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Lightly oil a round baking sheet (I used a Comal). Spread ½ of the tortilla chips on the baking sheet, then top with ½ each of the chili and shredded cheese. Repeat the layering with the remaining tortilla chips, chili and cheese. Bake for several minutes until the cheese melts.
  2. Remove from oven and top with some of the fresh salsa, diced spring onion, pickled peppers and fire-roasted red pepper and sliced avocado. Sprinkle some hot sauce and chopped cilantro around the platter, and then place a dab of sour cream in the middle.
  3. To make a main meal of it, fry several eggs in a fry pan, then place on top of the Nacho Platter.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

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