I’m a subscriber to The New York Times Cooking e-newsletter. In a recent email, the Times shared a recipe from “The Joy of Cooking” for Cornbread Tamale Pie. Lucky for me, Whole Foods was running a ground beef sale. Other ingredients you’ll need are an onion, black beans, corn kernels, tomato sauce, beef or chicken stock, green bell pepper, chili powder, ground cumin, salt, pepper, cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, an egg, milk and vegetable oil.
I’ve taken to reading the comments from other cooks before preparing a recipe for the first time. One suggested using a Dutch oven for browning and cooking the pie, brilliant! Another suggested using the whole bell pepper and a whole can of black bean. I rounded up on certain ingredients and the end result was fine. Another suggestion was doubling the cornbread as it was insufficient to cover the entire casserole. Also, like another cook, we found the cornbread a bit dry. Next time, I’ll make one from my recipe files
This was a delicious meal! My husband and I enjoyed it, but he would prefer the chili on top of the cornbread. He agreed that the cornbread was a bit dry. He suggested a recipe my daughter-in-law made one Thanksgiving for sweet cornbread that is very moist, but it may be too sweet for this type of meal. Overall, this a great family meal. The recipe also suggests substituting ground turkey or chicken for the beef.
Later in the week I was at a loss as to what to prepare for dinner. I was at my local ShopRite when I saw in the butcher case rather large Bell & Evans bone-in chicken breasts for under $4 per pound. I purchased one and remember seeing somewhere a Lidia Bastianich recipe for My Mother’s Chicken and Potatoes. For the recipe you’ll need chicken legs or assorted pieces (bone-in), salt, canola oil, red skinned potatoes, extra virgin olive oil, small onions, fresh rosemary, bacon and pickled cherry peppers (hot or sweet and optional).
This is another meal that can be prepared in one pan. The chicken is season with salt and pepper and fried in canola oil until nicely browned on both sides. Bacon is tightly rolled and secured with a toothpick and fried along with the chicken infusing the chicken with more flavor. After the chicken is browned, both it and the bacon are removed so the potatoes can be cooked. The potatoes are fried until they are crisp and golden brown. Onion pieces are added, some branches of rosemary and the chicken. At this point you can add the optional cherry peppers for another layer of flavor or some spice, if you chose hot cherry peppers.
This a delicious meal. The chicken was moist and succulent, potatoes were tender. A great one pan meal. It takes approximately and hour from start to finish, but worth it.
The final recipe from last week is also based on a sale item at Whole Foods, bone-in pork chops for $4.99/lb. We’ve had their pork chop before and they are excellent. For Braised Pork Chops with Savoy Cabbage you’ll also need butter, extra virgin olive oil, salt, fresh rosemary, white wine and pepper.
What prompted me to try this recipe was a recent podcast featuring Arthur Schwartz, former newspaper food editor, cookbook writer and former radio host of “Food Talk” and now a guest every Monday on Robin Hood radio. On a recent broadcast Arthur was talking about crauti, a sour cabbage sauerkraut, from the region of Trention-Alto Adige in Italy. The crauti accompanied a dinner of pork.
Lidia’s recipe is along the same lines. Savoy cabbage is sliced into 1-1/2” strips and boiled until tender. Pork chops are seasoned with salt and pepper and sautéed in oil, along with fresh rosemary. After frying for approximately 3 minutes per side, they are removed. The pan is deglazed with white wine. Butter and olive oil are added to the pan and the ingredients are brought to a gentle simmer. The cabbage is added to the pan, it’s seasoned with salt and tossed until the cabbage is browning and the pan is almost dry. Slide the cabbage to one side and add the pork chops and accumulated juices. You’ll want to reheat the meat and continue to have the cabbage absorb flavor. Make sure to season the dish well. I under seasoned the cabbage and found it needed more. Also, I cooked two pork chops and used two branches of rosemary; I could have used 3-4.
This was a lovely, light meal. The pork was tender and a little pink inside. Once we added more salt and pepper, the cabbage was tasty. There was a subtle hint of rosemary, but it could have been a little stronger. Overall a nice pork dish with a twist on a vegetable side.
Cornbread Tamale Pie
Recipe from Joy of Cooking
Adapted by Jennifer Steinhauer
Featured in: The Way We Eat: Ode to Joy
From New York Times Cooking
Yield: 6 servings
Time: 1 hour
COOKING-OIL SPRAY FOR GREASING PAN*
1-pound ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup rinsed and drained canned black beans
1 cup corn, drained, canned or frozen (thawed if frozen)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup beef or chicken broth
½ cup diced green bell pepper, optional
1 tablespoon chile powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
¾ cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
⅓ cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Donna’s Note: Follow the suggestion of another cook and use a Dutch oven for browning meat and cookie. I used my Le Crueset braiser. I used a whole can of black beans and whole pepper. I rounded up certain ingredients so I didn’t have leftovers. You may find the cornbread is not sufficient to cover the casserole, I doubled the recipe. You may have your own recipe you prefer, this one was a bit dry.
My Mother’s Chicken and Potatoes
Pollo e Patate della Mamma
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
From the website www.lidiasitaly.com
FOR THE BASIC CHICKEN AND POTATOES:
2-1/2 pounds chicken legs or assorted pieces (bone-in)
½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
½ cup canola oil
1-pound red bliss potatoes, preferably no bigger than 2-inches across
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or more
2 medium-small onions, peeled and quartered lengthwise
2 short branches of fresh rosemary with plenty of needles
For my special touches- try either or both:
4 to 6 ounces of sliced bacon (5 or 6 slices)
1 or 2 pickled cherry peppers, sweet or hot, or none, or more!-Cut in half and seeded
Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off excess skin and all visible fat. Cut the drumsticks from the thighs. If using breast halves, cut into 2 small pieces.
Make the bacon roll-ups: cut the bacon slices in half crosswise and roll each strip into a neat, tight cylinder. Stick a toothpick through the roll to secure it; cut or break the toothpick so only a tiny bit sticks out (allowing the bacon to roll around and cook evenly).
Pour the canola oil into a deep skillet and set over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with half the salt on all sides. When the oil is very hot, lay the pieces skin side down, an inch or so apart—watch out for oil spatters. Don’t crowd the chicken: if necessary, you can fry it in batches, cooking similar pieces together.
Drop the bacon rolls into the oil around the chicken, turning and shifting them often. Let the chicken fry in place for several minutes to brown on the underside, then turn and continue frying until they’re golden brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes or more. Fry the breast pieces, only for 5 minutes or so, taking them out of the oil as soon as they are golden. Let the bacon rolls cook and get lightly crisp, but not dark. Adjust the heat to maintain steady sizzling and coloring; remove the crisped chicken pieces with tongs to a bowl.
Meanwhile, rinse and dry the potatoes; slice each one through the middle on the axis that gives the largest cut surface, then toss them with the olive oil and the remaining salt in a bowl.
When all the chicken and bacon is cooked and out of the skillet, pour off the frying oil. Return the skillet to medium heat and put in all the potatoes cut side down in a single layer into the hot pan, pouring the olive oil into the skillet with it. Fry and crisp the potatoes for about 4 minutes to form a crust, then move them around the pan, still cut side down, until they’re all brown and crisp, 7 minutes or more. Turn them over and fry another 2 minutes to cook and crisp on their rounded skin sides.
Keeping the skillet over medium heat, toss the onion wedges and rosemary branches around the pan, in with the potatoes. Return the chicken pieces—except the breast pieces—to the pan, along with the bacon rolls; pour in any chicken juices that have accumulated. Raise the heat slightly, and carefully turn and tumble the chicken, potatoes, onion (and bacon and/or pepper pieces), so they are coated with pan juices, taking care not to break the potato pieces. Spread everything out in the pan—potatoes on the bottom as much as possible, to keep crisping up—and put on the cover.
Lower the heat to medium and cook for about 7 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, then uncover and tumble the pieces and potatoes (and bacon rolls) again. Cover and cook another 7 minutes or so, adding the breast pieces at this point. And give everything another tumble. Now cook covered for 10 minutes more.
Remove the cover, turn the pieces again and cook in the open skillet for about 10 minutes to evaporate the moisture and caramelize everything. Taste a bit of potato (or chicken) for salt and sprinkle on more as needed. Turn the pieces now and then—when they are all glistening and golden, and the potatoes are cooked through, remove the skillet from the stove and—as I do at home—bring it right to the table.
Braised Pork Chops with Savoy Cabbage
Costicine di Maiale con Verze
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
New York: Knopf, 2007 Copyright ©2007 Tutti a Tavola, LLC
4 pounds Savoy cabbage (1 large or 2 medium heads)
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 pork loin chops, on the bone, 2-1/2 to 3 pounds
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 or 3 small branches fresh rosemary
1 cup white wine
Freshly round black pepper to taste
A large pot for boiling the cabbage
A heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan , 13-inch diameter or wide enough to cook the all the chops in one layer
Bring 6 quarts of water to the boil in the large pot. Slice the cabbage head (or heads) in half, and cut out the core completely so the leaves will separate. Discard all tough and torn outer leaves, lay the cabbage halves cut side down, and slice crosswise into strips about 1-1/2 inches wide. Drop all the strips into the water, cover the pot, and return to the boil. Cook the cabbage until tender, about 15 minutes, and drain in colander.
When the cabbage is cooked, put 3 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil in the big skillet and set over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops on both sides with salt (about 1 teaspoon in all), and lay them in the hot skillet. Drop the rosemary branches onto the pan bottom.
Sear the chops on the underside, about 3 minutes, turn, and brown the second side for a few minutes more. The chops should still be rare-if you like them better done, cook a minute or two longer on both sides. Remove to a platter, and keep in a warm spot.
Pour the wine into the skillet and bring to a boil, stirring to deglaze any caramelization. Cook for just a minute or so, to dissipate the alcohol, the drop in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir well until the butter melts and the liquid is bubbling.
Pile the cooked, drained cabbage in the skillet, turning the strips over as they heat and wilt in the pan juices. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt all over, and cook, tossing and stirring, until the pan is nearly dry and the cabbage shreds are just starting to caramelize.
Push aside the cabbage, lay the chops on the pan bottom, and pour in any meat juices from the platter. Still over medium-high heat, cook the chops for 2 or 3 minutes, turning them over once or twice, just until they’re heating through. Stir the cabbage so it continues to caramelize and pick up the flavor. Season with more salt and some freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serve right from the skillet, or arrange chops and cabbage on platter and bring to table.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.