Chorizo Timbale





Several years ago a friend was working on a chorizo recipe and she let me try it.  Years have past, I misplaced the recipe, but the delicious taste lives on in my memory.  I wanted to recreate the taste, so came up with this recipe.  Chorizo combined with some traditional vegetables and spices, surrounded with a flavorful polenta.  Slice some and top with sour cream and a bit of salsa.
My favorite chorizo, bought regionally, is a dry Basque  sausage with a fantastic flavor.

1 quart chicken broth
1 1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tsp. Cumin
2 Tbs. butter
½ cup chopped cilantro

In a large pan, bring chicken broth to a simmer.  While the broth simmers, slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking constantly so lumps don’t form.  Stir steadily for 5 minutes until it is stiff.  Add the cumin and butter, stirring with until well blended.  Remove 1/3 of the polenta and place in a bowl and place plastic wrap against it.  To the remaining polenta add the Cilantro and mix thoroughly.  Cover with plastic wrap, placing the plastic wrap against the polenta, so it doesn’t form a crust and put both batches of polenta in the refrigerator for half an hour to cool.

Chorizo filling:
1 Lb. Basque chorizo (I prefer chorizos from Gem Pack in Boise, ID –
½ cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped red pepper (slice off 3 thin slices and reserve before chopping.)
1/3 cup chopped green pepper (slice off 3 thin slices and reserve before chopping.)
1 cup corn, drained
2 small cans sliced black olives, drained
1 small jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
2 Tbs. tomato paste
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup chopped cilantro
3 eggs
½ tsp. Cumin
8 oz. pepper jack cheese, grated (separate 2 ounces of the cheese after grating)

Chop and assemble all your ingredients.  Remove casings from the chorizo by slicing down the length of the sausage and pealing off the casing, then grind in a meat grinder or cut in chunks and pulse in a food processor in small batches until it is the texture of ground meat.  Mix in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients, except cheese, until well blended.  Mix in the 6 ounces of cheese.

Heat oven to 350°.

Spray an 8 inch spring form pan with cooking spray, dampen hands with cold water and take a small amount of the polenta that has cilantro and pat out, put it in the pan, starting on the sides of the pan (up to about 1 inch from the top rim) and continue with the process, patting out until the sides and bottom is covered and all the polenta with the cilantro is used.  Make sure you dampen your hands often; it makes the polenta easier to work with.

Gently pat the chorizo mixture into the polenta, filling the pan until it is level to the top of the polenta.  Sprinkle the 2 oz reserved cheese over it and gently press it in.  Press the polenta down around the edges so it is even with the filling.  Wet hands and work with small amounts of the rest of the polenta (the reserved polenta that doesn’t have the cilantro in it), patting it out and placing it on top of the meat filling.  Smooth it out so there are no holes.  Place the reserved slices of peppers in a decorative design, pressing lightly so it is imbedded in the polenta.  Cover the pan with foil and place it on a baking sheet in the oven.

Bake 1 hour 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking 30 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.  Let cool to room temperature and run a knife around the edge and remove the side of the spring form pan.  Remove the side of the pan.  Run a knife under the Timbale and slide onto a serving dish.  If you wish, you may refrigerate it, but bring it up to room temperature and even warm slightly in a microwave if serving the next day.  Slice in pie shape and serve with sour cream and salsa.  Sprinkle with a bit of cilantro.

If you have some filling left over.  You can form it into a small loaf and bake until done, about 30 minutes or so.

This takes an hour or so to prepare before baking, so make sure you have enough time to make it.

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Thursday, June 9th, 2011 Chorizo Timbale, Main Dishes No Comments

Roasted Root Vegetable Chicken Soup

I always make extra roasted root vegetables and I made up this recipe to use them.  Browning the chicken adds great flavor to the soup as does caramelizing the onion.  I have used Orzo instead of of rice and it works well, but if you leave it for left overs the Orzo gets a little too soft for my taste.  If you don’t have any left-over roasted root vegetables, you can roast a small amount for this recipe.

1 whole chicken breast, skinless and boneless, cut into small bite-size pieces
2 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 cup onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, diced fine
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
3 cups chicken broth
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. rosemary
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. thyme
1 Tbs. dried parsley
2 cups roasted root vegetables, cut in small chunks
(roasted vegetables from my Roasted Root Vegetable recipe
potatoes, carrots, and parsnips work well)
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup rice (wild rice is good)
1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)

In a large pan, saute the chicken breasts in the olive oil on medium-high heat until browned, sprinkle with salt and pepper, stirring when needed.  When the chicken pieces are browned and cooked through, remove them from the pan.  In the same pan, on medium low heat, add the onion and cook until they are soft and starting to carmelize, stirring often so they don’t burn. The onion should be  golden brown.  Add the garlic and celery, cooking until the celery is softened, stirring often.  Pour in the wine and boil down so it is reduced by half, scraping any brown pieces off the pan.  Add the lemon juice and chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add the herbs and rice.  Lower the heat and cover.  Simmer until the rice is tender, cooking according to the directions for the rice.  This will take 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the type of rice used.  Uncover and turn up the heat.  Add the mushrooms, simmer until the mushrooms are softened.  Return the chicken and root vegetables to the pan, salt and pepper to taste. More herbs may be added if desired and frozen peas if desired.

4 generous servings

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Friday, December 11th, 2009 Roasted Root Vegetable Chicken Soup No Comments

Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasting root vegetables with olive oil and a few herbs makes a great side dish.  These are the vegetables I like to use but you can add beets, turnips, and rutabagas if you enjoy the taste of them.   These are great with any meat.   The left over potatoes, carrots, and parsnips gives my Chicken Vegetable Soup a great flavor.

5 medium potatoes
3 parsnips
5 carrots
2 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
dried rosemary
dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel all vegetables and cut in large chunks.  The sweet potatoes and potatoes cook fastest so they should be larger than the carrot and parsnip chunks.  Put them in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil.  Sprinkle them with about half a teaspoon of the dried herbs and sprinkle them with a little salt.  With your hands, mix them up so the herbs are equally distributed.  Spread out on a large cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put into the preheated oven and bake.  Bake for 40 minutes and start testing for doneness by poking them with a fork.  When they are done, the fork will slide into the vegetable easily.  Serve with your choice of meat.

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Friday, December 11th, 2009 Roasted Root Vegetables No Comments

Vegie Bars

These bars are fresh tasting, nutritious, and have always been a family hit.  They are great to take to parties, too.

vegie bars

2 tube packages crescent rolls
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 packages dry mix Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
3/4 cup grated cauliflower
3/4 cup grated carrots
3/4 cup grated celery
3/4 cup grated broccoli
3/4 cup grated radishes

Mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and Hidden Valley Ranch mix.  Let the mixture sit overnight.

Grate the vegetables, mix and put in a calendar.  Cover, refrigerate, and let drain for 2 hours or over night.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pop the Crescent Rolls, pat them out on a large, cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake 7 minutes until golden brown, remove from the oven and let cool.

After the dough crust has cooled, spread Mayonnaise mixture on it.  Squeeze the remaining moisture from the vegetables and spread evenly over the mayonnaise layer.  Best if the vegetable layer is applied as close to serving it as possible so the bars don’t get soggy from vegetable juice.

Cut into 3 inch bars and serve.  I have found it easier to cut using a pizza cutter.

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Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 Vegie Bars No Comments

Vegetable Dip

After this dip, you will not go back to using ranch dip to dip your vegetables in.  Use a verity of vegetables, including carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, celery,  radishes, green onion, and cucumber.  Making the dip at least 8 hours in advance is optimal; it lets the flavors blend.

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbs. dry minced onion
1 Tbs. Dry parsley flakes
1 tsp. Dill Weed
1 tsp. Beau Monde Spice

Measure the ingredients and put them all in a bowl, mix thoroughly, cover and refrigerate until served.  Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.  Serve with an assortment of vegetables.

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Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 Vegetable Dip No Comments

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

For Tami.

I have been using this sugar cookie recipe for years.  They are a soft cookie full of butter flavor.

1 cup butter, room temperature (not margarine)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. cream
1 1/2 cups flour (more for rolled cookies)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
butter cream frosting (recipe following)

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the egg, egg yolks, vanilla, and cream and mix till smooth and creamy.  Combine flour, salt, and baking powder and mix into sugar mixture.  Stir well until well combined.  To make rolled cookies, slowly add more flour, one Tablespoon at a time until dough looses it’s stickiness; careful not to add too much or the cookies will be hard and dry.  You can cover and refrigerate at this time if you want to bake them later. (if refrigerated, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before rolling it out).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Lightly flour your work surface and put about 1/3 of the dough on the floured area, keeping the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.  Lightly work the dough until it can be easily rolled out, making sure the surface is floured enough so the dough doesn’t stick to it.  Fold the dough several times, keep the dough floured so the rolling pin doesn’t stick and roll it to about 1/2 inch thick (don’t roll too thin).  Put about 1/4 cup of flour on your work surface.  Tap the cookie cutters in the flour and cut your shapes, making sure to tap the cookie cutters in the flour before cutting the dough each time so they don’t get dough stuck to them.  Transfer each cookies to an ungreased cookie sheet with a pancake turner and bake for about 8 minutes or until the cookie just starts to turn a golden color on the edges.  If baked too long, the cookie will be crispy instead of soft.  After removing the cookies from the oven, let them sit on the pan for a couple minutes then remove them and place on a cooling rack.  Add another bit of fresh dough to the rolled out left over bits and mix them together then roll the dough as before.  After cutting more cookies, continue adding fresh dough until all dough is used.

After the cookies are cooled, make frosting and frost them and decorate them.  put the frosted cookies in a single layer on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer until the frosting is hard.  Put the frozen cookies in a bag and store in the freezer.  When ready to serve, put the cookies out on a plate and allow to thaw.  I find freezing the cookies keeps them soft.

Butter Cream Frosting

2 Tbs. butter, melted
4 Tbs. cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
powder sugar

Mix the butter, cream, and vanilla in a bowl.  Add powder sugar starting with one cup of powder sugar, then add a little more at a time until frosting is slightly firm but not too stiff to spread easily.  After frosting each cookie, sprinkle with colored sugar sprinkles.  If you wait until after all cookies are frosted before decorating, the frosting will be too dry and the sprinkles won’t stick.  Make more frosting if needed.

* Make sure you use pure vanilla extract for best flavor.

Cookie recipe from an old Fanny Farmer Cookbook.

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Saturday, December 5th, 2009 Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies No Comments

Aunt Rose’s Fresh Apple Cake

Fresh apples make this cake moist and full of flavor.  Fresh apple cake is one of my favorite desserts.

Aunt Rose's Apple Cake

Aunt Rose, you would love her.  92 years old with a heart and spirit that is timeless.  Every year for our family reunion, she bakes a couple Fresh Apple Cakes.  They are the center of several family fun-loving disputes, like “where is the other cake?  Who ran off with it?”  All of us love the appley goodness that is topped with cream cheese icing.  Mmmmmmm…  thoughts of it make my mouth water.  Aunt Rose lives hundreds of miles away and I get cravings for the cake more than once a year when she is around to cook it so I asked her for the recipe.  Well…  it looked the same, but the taste?  No, not the same cake!  I made a point of being in the kitchen with her when she made it a couple years ago and watched what she put in.  Like other good cooks, she had her secrets…  I caught her embellishing the recipe that she had given me…  In went a few more spices.  I questioned her about that and the fact she hadn’t put that in the recipe ingredients she had given me and she said “Ohhhh…  I just throw in a few extra spices I feel like, at the time.”  Of course, I forgive her, for I’ve done the same to favorite recipes.  And who couldn’t forgive her?  After all, she is AUNT ROSE!

4 cups grated apples (preferably tart ones)
2 cups sugar
½ cup corn oil
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
¼ to ½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour (or more to make the batter a little thicker than regular cake batter)
1 cup walnuts

Set oven at 350.

Mix first four ingredients, apples through eggs, in a large bowl and let stand for 30 minutes.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Stir in nuts.  Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until center springs back when touched.  Remove from oven and cool.  Frost with basic cream cheese frosting.  (Aunt Rose added some cloves and allspice to taste.)


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Monday, November 16th, 2009 What's Cooking No Comments