Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bison + Black Bean Chili

I'm a grocery store guy.  Seriously, on average, I'll bet that I go to the grocery store at least two times per day.  For those of you that loathe your weekly shopping trips, I probably sound like a lunatic.  Yet, for me, the grocery store is one of the most interesting places in the world.

After all, it's pretty amazing to think about ALL of that food sitting on the shelves.  Where did it come from?  How did it get there?  

However, as amazing as today's global economy has become, there's still something to be said about eating local and knowing about your ingredients.  In fact, we've seen a lot of Starbucks going, black turtleneck wearing, vegan aggressors supporting the "local movement" for quite some time.  Calm down people, it's just food.

With that said, I do love the fact that even the largest grocery store chains are taking risks.  By risks, I mean carrying foods other than the traditional chicken, beef, pork, and frozen seafood that most consumers are looking to purchase.

Bison, as many of you have now seen, can be readily found in most grocers next to the ground beef.  For those unaware, Bison has less fat, calories, and cholesterol than beef - while also promoting a denser concentration of protein, iron, and B vitamins.  Still not convinced?

Bison has a rich beef flavor, similar to that of grass-fed, organic beef.  Quite frankly, I've served this chili to many of folks who never knew the difference.  Of course, a good bold chili is a great way to introduce new meats to those unfamiliar.  Reminds me of the time I served up a heaping bowl of squirrel chili to a group of sorority girls . . . kidding.  But, you get my gist.

Anyways, here's my recipe for an outstanding, healthy (sans the cheese and sour cream) bison and black bean chili.



Bison + Black Bean Chili -  (Prep 20 minutes, Cook 1 hour, Serves 4 - 6).

1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1 Onion, finely diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and diced
1.5 lbs Ground Bison
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Cumin Powder
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 Cup Dark Beer
1 28 oz Can Tomato Puree
1 28 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 14 oz Can Black Beans
1 14 oz Can Kidney Beans
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (topping)
Sour Cream (topping)
Sliced Jalapenos (topping)

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat; add oil. Next add onions and sauté for 8 - 10 minutes, or until tender.  Add garlic and jalapeno peppers and sauté until just tender, about 2 - 3 minutes.  Add ground bison and seasonings and cook until meat is just browned through, about 4 - 5 minutes, stirring on occasion.  Deglaze the pot by adding the beer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan using a spoon.  Finally, add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer partially covered for 30 - 45 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve with desired toppings.

Friday, February 10, 2012

London Broil

My apologies on my somewhat lacking food photography.  The truth is, the old macbook decided to go on the fritz, so while it is in the shop, I'm left to posting photos via my iPhone.  Hopefully I'll be back up and running at full strength here in a few days.

Anyways, what I may lack in beauty, I can certainly tell you I'm making up for in flavor.  For those of you who are regular readers of my blog you may know two things.  1) I'm not afraid to enjoy a cocktail in the kitchen.  2) I'm typically not a fan of frou frou cooking.

Instead, I like to provide delicious recipes that can be prepared without a culinary degree, or a trust fund.  In my many posts regarding steaks, grilling, etc. I've constantly purported that the lesser known, more humble cuts of meat tend to be my favorite.  It's no different with the classic preparation known as the London Broil.

Note I said "preparation" and not "cut".  Most people tend to refer to the flank or top round cut as a London Broil - but that name is truly derived from the preparation and cooking process, not the cut.

Anyways, the London Broil is a great way to entertain guests on the cheap.  You get a great price on a cheaper cut of meat, and through marinade, preparation, and service - your steaks get a deliciously flavorful cut of "steak".  It's a win win in my opinion.

How do you win?  Glad you asked.  First things first - unlike a premium cut such as a filet or ribeye, I strongly suggest marinating this cut overnight, or for at least 4 hours.  A good mixture of acidity will help breakdown and tenderize the meat.  Second, cook over high heat, and to medium rare/medium.  Overcooking this steak will cause it to become tough and chewy.  Lastly - pull out that electric knife you got in your registry.  By slicing this meat very thinly and across the grain, you are able to "tenderize" this humble cut of beef.  That's that, let's get to work.

Before I give away my recipe, I gotta brag on this new gem I received from Lodge Cast Iron cookware.  I'll be out on the road in the coming months shooting some scenes for a new project in the works, and Mark Kelly and the fine folks at Lodge sent this over for filming.  It's truly awesome.  Thank you guys!

Classic London Broil

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
4 Garlic Cloves, crushed
2 lb Flank or Top Round Cut
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Add the first four ingredients into a Ziploc bag and marinate overnight, or at least 4 hours.  Preheat grill or coals over high heat.  Remove steak from bag and shake off excess marinade; season both sides liberally with salt and pepper.  Grill steak over direct heat for 4 - 6 minutes on each side for medium rare.  Remove from grill and allow to rest for 3 - 5 minutes.  Next, use an electric knife to slice the steak thin and across the grain.  Serve.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cajun Fried Eggs

Thus far, winter has been pretty mild here in Nashville.  Maybe that Al Gore character is on to something.  Maybe not.  This is the internet, right Al?

Anywho, I must confess I still have been enjoying my mornings with a hot breakfast and cup of coffee - regardless if it's 60 degrees in the morning.

With that said, the daily routine of eggs (a staple in my diet) sometimes needs a kick.

A few dashes of hot sauce, some Tony's seasoning, and green onions transform the simple fried egg into a walk on Bourbon Street.  Give this a try - and kick it up a notch!

Cajun Fried Eggs
1 Tablespoon EVOO
3 Large Eggs
1/8 Teaspoon Tony's Creole Seasoning
Louisiana Hot Sauce
Green Onion Tops, sliced

Preheat a non-stick stick skillet over medium high heat; add oil.  Crack 3 eggs into a skillet and cook undisturbed for 2 - 3 minutes, or until yolks reach your desired preference.  Season eggs with creole seasoning, and add a few dashes of hot sauce.  To finish, sprinkle the eggs with sliced green onion.  Serve.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to make an Omelet

Head over to the Art of Manliness today to find out how I make a perfect omelet.

Get crackin!