Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chili Colorado

I originally found this recipe on chili-heads and adapted it to my own taste and methods.

This is a low and slow recipe simmering covered on the stove-top, in the oven or a crock-pot. 2 Hours is minimum.

3-4 dried pasilla or similar mild chili pods
1-2 dried Chili de Arbol or use a jalapeno
2 cups Beef Broth ( I use Pacific in the quart box)

2lbs Stew Meat in bite size pieces ( I cut my own from boneless chuck roast when it goes on sale)
1/2 Onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped

1tsp Cumin
1/2tsp Mexican Oregano

Start by covering the dried chilis in very hot water and soak for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, dredge the beef in flour then salt, pepper and brown in oil. Work in batches so you don't just steam the meat. Set the browned beef aside and saute first the onion and then the garlic, scraping up the fond. return the meat to the pan and add some of the beef broth.

Drain the chilis throwing out the bitter soaking water and puree in a blender with 1 cup beef broth. Now strain the puree into the pot using a rubber spatula to force it thru the mesh. Stir in the cumin and oregano and the rest of the beef broth.

Stir and simmer for 2-4 hrs, longer and lower is better. After a couple of hours taste the sauce and add salt if necessary.

love and bacon,

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Tale of Two Tortellini (Or Was It Tortelloni..?)

Ever since I've known Brett, he's had a food crush on the dish we've come to know as tortellini (tortellini Alfredo, tortellini soup, tortellini with parmesan etc. - the sky's the limit!). Brett's tortellini fixes can come in any cooking style or flavor and it will always hit the spot. As a child, Brett's answer to the classic "what's your favorite food?" question was always "tortellini!" A response that would leave many stunned, and somewhat confused. 

Well, you can only imagine Brett's excitement when we found out that Bologna, a city about 6 hours north of Naples, is actually the home place of all things tortellini (we even saw tortellini shaped chocolate!). Bologna is specifically known for their Tortellini en Brodo (Tortellini in Broth)- a dish we knew we had to try. 

Without much other motivation, we set off on a road trip to Bologna with the one goal of trying authentic tortellini dishes. (On a side note: on the way to Bologna, we stopped in the spectacular town of Orvieto. We wanted to check out their underground tour and cliff face views. I would recommend this side trip to anyone wanting to explore one of Italy's many mountain top towns.)

Back to the story, Brett had two specific restaurants in mind that he wanted to try while in Bologna. One restaurant is in the actual city of Bologna (La Traviata), and the other is half an hour from Bologna in Castelfranco (La Lumira). Although Bologna is known for being the home place of tortellini, the restaurant in Castelfranco is touted as having "the best tortellini" in the area. Of course, we were intrigued and had to try both. 

This is what we learned: tortellini as we know it, is actually (wait for it...) Tortelloni (GASP!!!!). This revelation was shocking to us too- haha. Tortellini, as is classically made in Bologna, are tiny in comparison to the tortellini we know in the U.S.
Brett eating his first Tortellini en Brodo from La Traviata.
Notice the size!

Spinach ricotta tortelloni, exactly what I thought Tortellini would look like.
Also from La Traviata. SO, so good :)

Our experience with the food in La Traviata was delicious! After trying Tortellini en Brodo in both places, Brett decided that although the tortellini from La Traviata was super tasty- that the broth from La Lumira was the best. The broth was somehow more flavorful and heartier- a perfect warming-up wintertime dish.
Brett excited to dig into his final tortellini dish of the weekend.
(I swear these eating events were on two different days, despite Brett's repeat shirt performance...)

I couldn't wait to eat my dish so much
that I forgot all about taking a picture before I messed it up!
This was pumpkin stuffed tortelloni
in a cream and balsamic sauce from La Lumira.

All in all, I'm pretty sure we gained a total of 10 pounds between us this weekend (all. the. carbs!!!). BUT- besides a few extra pounds, we gained a far better cultural understanding of what tortellini (or tortelloni) means to the people of Italy (and Bologna specifically). Totally worth the tight jeans!

A typical pasta shop window in Bologna.
Tortellini galore!