The Last Supper: Chili on Sour Cream and Cheese Biscuits

Chili on Sour Cream and Cheese Biscuits

Two days into 2011, because we had about two ounces of energy left after the wedding and our South American sojourn and the holidays (I made this, twice — the first time for our office pot luck where it complimented our CFO’s goose-meat tourtiere so well it was like we did it on purpose, and then again on Christmas Day, my first contribution to a Laird Family Dinner) we decided it was time to start house-hunting.

I prepared myself for the worst. We had heard stories. Stories from friends and friends of friends who had purchased homes in downtown Toronto, but not until they had traipsed through 20 houses, 60 houses, 80 houses! And the bidding wars. Oh, the bidding wars. Imagine my delight when we found a house that we loved on our first trip out. So we made an offer, and three excruciating days later we found out that we… didn’t get the house.

I’ll spare you the gory details of what came after we got the call that we had been outbid. Just two days later another unit on the same block of townhouses was listed for sale. We made an offer right away and six hours later, while we were enjoying Jeff’s birthday dinner at Jacobs and Co., we got the call that our offer had been accepted. We bought a house!

The next morning, over my complimentary coffee cake, I got to work on our to-do list. At the top of my list was consider the last supper. I wanted to make a big deal out of a meal to be enjoyed in the condo one last time. The kitchen had been such an important part of my life, it’s where food and I really got to know each other. I’d always known there was something between us, but it wasn’t until I set foot in this kitchen that I realized it was true love. In that kitchen I baked bread, stirred risottos, discovered the joy of the farmer’s market. This blog was born in my very orange kitchen.

I tucked this recipe away long ago, when we were in the thick of wedding planning. I stumbled upon it again just days before our move, when I found myself with a rare, free afternoon and enough time and energy to devote to one last date with my kitchen. I knew it was the perfect last supper — warm and hearty, the kind of meal that leaves you lingering in the kitchen while it simmers on the stove.

I was right, it was perfect. The first night, and three more times before I said good-bye to my very orange kitchen, forever.

Chili on Sour Cream and Cheese Biscuits
Serves 6
Adapted from smitten kitchen

On her post Deb noted that she had lots of left overs. Here I’ve halved the recipe for the chili (the biscuit recipe remains the same), and we got six servings out of it. We had our sandwiches with a simple salad to round out the meal.

Ingredients:

1 large white onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
1 carrot, diced
1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck (or ground beef)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Dried red pepper flakes, to taste (I used about a tablespoon)
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons beef broth
1 1/5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 14 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 green pepper, diced
Sour cream, to garnish

Method:

1. In a large pot, head oil over moderately low heat and cook onions until soft and just beginning to colour, 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and carrots and cook for one minute.

2. Turn your heat up to medium and add the beef. Stir and break up the meat until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and pepper flakes, stir well and cook for another minute.

3. Add tomato sauce, broth and apple cider vinegar. Still well and cover. Simmer for 35 minutes.

4. Add beans, green pepper and salt (to taste). Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until peppers are tender.

5. Ladle chili onto split biscuits and top with sour cream if desired (I highly recommend you desire this).

Sour Cream and Cheese Biscuits
Adapted from smitten kitchen

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1/4 pound grated sharp Cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 jalapeno pepper
1 cup sour cream

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Using your fingers (or you could use a pastry blender) incorporate butter into the flower mixture until you have a crumbly dough.

4. Stir in cheese, jalapenos and sour cream until the dough is wet and sticky.

5. Form dough into 1/2-inch thick round (be sure to flour your counter). Use a biscuit cutter or a wide mouth glass (my choice) to cut 5-6 biscuits.

6. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes, until golden.

Three-bean Chili with Pesto

Three-bean Chili with Pesto

Okay, so I’m not on a diet.  First, I hate diets and second, the red velvet cupcakes that I’ve been downing every night after dinner definitely disqualifies me from any diet.  But I’ve been working out a lot, and ever since this happened I’ve found myself wanting lighter, fresher meals.

This was one of the first meals that I made when Jeff and I moved in together, and I wish I had made it more through the summer.  It is super quick — I made this, photographed it, sat down and ate it, cleaned up, uploaded my photos, and wrote half this blog post all within an hour of coming in from the gym — easy, and made up of ingredients you probably have in your pantry.  It keeps very well and is great for lunches, reheated or eaten cold.  Serve the chili with crusty bread or toasted pitas.

The original recipe calls for 14.5 ounce cans of beans and tomatoes, but they don’t seem to stock them north of the border.  I used 19 ounce cans, which bumps the serving size up from four to about six or seven.  I have included the directions for making your own pesto, but I keep a jar in my fridge and just throw a dollop of that on top. Lastly, feel free to use any combination of beans you have.

Now… where are those cupcakes?

Three-bean Chili with Pesto
From Real Simple

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 19-fl oz. can diced tomatoes, including liquid
Salt and pepper
1 19-fl oz. can each chickpeas, cannellini beans and kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Method:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce-pan, over medium heat (3.5). Add the onion and carrots and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the tomatoes and their liquid, 2 cups water, 1.5 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Add the beans and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.

3. Divide the chili up into bowls and top with pesto.

Quick pesto

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsps. pine nuts, chopped
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Method:

Combine the garlic, pine nuts, parsley, olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon in the food processor and pulse until mixed.

Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Chili Rubbed Pork Loin

I only cooked chicken and ground beef for years before I branched out and discovered the joys of pork tenderloin.  Easy and cheap, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed preparing and eating it.

After my unintentional, week-long kitchen hiatus, I wanted something easy but delicious to get me back in the groove.  The pork tenderloin I had in the freezer was just what I needed to get my culinary blood flowing again.  I wanted a recipe that was going to be easy to prepare after work and would keep well for Jeff to have for lunch the next day.  I also didn’t want to have to bring in any extra ingredients.

This recipe for chili rubbed pork tenderloin was everything I wanted it to be and more.  The next day I had the left overs between two slices of sour dough, with mustard on one side and cream cheese in another — a take off on my favorite steak sandwich.

Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
adapted slightly from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

About 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pan
About 3 garlic cloves, minced
About 1 tablespoon chili powder
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 400degrees. Mix chili powder, garlic and olive oil in a large, shallow dish. Add pork and turn over to coat evenly with chili rub. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat an oven safe skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat and add oil (brush if using grill pan; I used a skillet and it turned out just fine). Add pork and cook until brown, 2-3 minutes per side.

3. Transfer pan to oven and roast pork to desired doneness. For medium, roast 17 to 18 minutes.

4. Let stand for five minutes and then slice.

Enjoy!

PS: Note that there are no photos of the method. No matter what you do, it is impossible to take a good picture of a raw loin.