Posts Tagged 'tomatoes'

Lucky Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Soup

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Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Soup

On New Year’s Day, I leave nothing to fate. I always serve big helpings of the traditional Southern dishes that are said to bring good fortune. Two of my family’s favorites are black-eyed peas and greens. The black-eyed peas bring good luck and, since they look like money, the greens are said to bring prosperity.

Since I can use good luck and good fortune any time, I decided to combine these two ingredients into one dish that can be enjoyed year round. This soup pairs these lucky foods with vegetables and smoky bacon for a dish that is hearty and satisfying.

You can start this soup with dried peas, but I prefer the ease and convenience of canned peas. Canned peas require no advance soaking and cook quickly. For New Year’s, I traditionally put collard greens in the soup (don’t want to mess with my luck!) but during the rest of the year, I sometimes substitute kale. To spice it up a bit, add a dash of hot sauce just before serving.

While this simple yet satisfying soup should improve your odds for the new year, it’s 100% guaranteed to make your belly happy.

Happy New Year!

Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Soup

4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
3 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 can (14.5-oz) diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
2 cans (15-oz) black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch collard greens, tough stems and ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the bacon in a large stockpot and cook over medium heat until crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, peas, and collard greens and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and simmer until the collard greens are tender and the flavors have melded, about 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: For a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and sauté the vegetables in olive oil instead.

Freezes well.

Excerpted from The Southern Pantry Cookbook by Jennifer Chandler.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks. Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken tortilla soup is the Southwestern cousin of mom’s chicken noodle soup, just with a little more kick and a crunchy topping. And, like it’s relative, it warms the soul and makes you feel good all over.

This quick, no-fuss soup has loads of flavor and uses ingredients that are typically on hand. The soup doesn’t take long to make. In fact, it can be on your table in less than 30 minutes. It’s also an ideal way to transform leftover chicken into a tasty and satisfying dish.  It has become a favorite in my house since my good friend Melissa Petersen of Edible Memphis shared this recipe with me.

Much healthier than it tastes, this broth based soup is loaded with tomatoes, lean chicken, and heart healthy avocado. The cumin and oregano add a richness and depth to the dish without any fat. If you want a little extra kick, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.

I like to top mine with a few homemade corn tortilla strips, which are surprisingly easy to make. Just cut corn tortillas into thin strips and fry for about 1 minute in a skillet with vegetable oil. If short on time, use crushed tortilla chips instead. Baked tortilla chips would be a heart-healthy alternative.

Serve with a side salad or a slice of cornbread and you have a satisfying meal.

Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Vegetable oil, for frying the tortillas
4 small (4-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch strips
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 can (28-oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

To prepare the tortilla strips, pour enough oil into a large stockpot so that you have a quarter-inch layer of oil. Warm the oil on medium-high heat until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. In batches, fry the tortilla strips until golden brown on both sides, about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Use metal tongs or a slotted spoon to lift the tortilla strips out of the pan, draining the excess oil as you do so. (The tortilla strips should be fairly stiff and crisp. If not, the oil is not hot enough.) Transfer the tortilla strips to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper while they are still warm.

In another large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, and shredded chicken. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the flavors have melded, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the fried tortilla strips, cheese, avocado, and fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The soup can be made the night before or frozen in advance. Just be sure to add the garnishes (tortilla strips, cheese, and avocado) just before serving.

Freezes well.

 

Recipe from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

Story excerpted from Jennifer Chandler’s bi-weeky Commercial Appeal newspaper column Dinner Tonight.

Photo and Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

 

Blackened Snapper Po-Boy

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Blackened Snapper Po-Boy

This particular sandwich combines two of my favorite Louisiana treats – blackened fish and the po-boy sandwich.

Legend has it that this sandwich’s name was coined in the Great Depression during a streetcar strike when a New Orleans restaurant owner served the strikers (a.ka. the “poor boys”) free sandwiches. When a striker came by the restaurant, the staff would call out “Here comes another po-boy!”

When making a po-boy, many consider the bread to be the most important part. It should be crispy and flaky on the outside, and soft on the inside. In New Orleans, bakeries make loaves specially designed for po-boy sandwiches. If you are outside of New Orleans, a classic French roll or baguette is the best option. As for the meat of the sandwich, the options are limitless.  Roast beef with gravy, ham and cheese, fried seafood, and grilled fish are some of the most popular. It really up to the creativity of the cook.

I like to use blackened fish on the po-boys I make at home. The main two reasons are that blackening is a really simple cooking technique and that it adds a delicious kick to an otherwise mild fish or meat. The key to blackening is the blackened seasoning. You can find blackened seasoning in the spice department at most neighborhood supermarkets. You simply dust the fish with a light coating of this dry seasoning and then cook it in a cast-iron skillet or on a grill.

I typically use red snapper when I make this sandwich since it’s a Gulf fish often found on New Orleans menus. Any firm white fish, like tilapia or grouper, can easily be substituted for the snapper.

I like to dress my po-boys with the classic lettuce, tomato, and pickle as well as a spicy remoulade sauce.

Enjoy!

Blackened Snapper Po-Boy

For the Remoulade Sauce:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely sliced scallions

For the Blackened Snapper Po-Boy:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 red snapper fillets (6 ounces each)
4 tablespoons blackened seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 crusty French rolls, split
1/2 cup sliced dill pickles
4 slices tomatoes
4 pieces tender leaf lettuce

To make the remoulade sauce: In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the scallions. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the blackened snapper po-boy: Season both sides of the fish with the blackened seasoning. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan.

Sear the fish on one side until the meat is well browned and releases easily from the pan, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over the fillets and cook until desired doneness, about 5 more minutes.

About 1 minute before the fish is done, lightly toast the rolls.

To serve, spread remoulade sauce on the top and bottom of each roll. Place the fish on the bread and garnish with the pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tips:

Don’t like it spicy? Just omit the blackened seasoning and season your fish with salt and pepper.

This fish can be cooked on a grill.

 

 

Recipe from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

Story excerpted from Jennifer Chandler’s bi-weeky Commercial Appeal newspaper column Dinner Tonight.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.  Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

Cabbage Soup

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Recently I was at my friend Lucia’s house and she gave me a pint of the veggie soup she was making.  I am not normally a huge fan of cooked cabbage so I was pleasantly surprised to find out how tasty the soup was.  When she told me how easy it was to make, I knew this was one I needed for my repertoire. And to top it all off – this soup has nothing bad for you in it!

Lucia uses fire-roasted canned tomatoes and I think that is the key.  They add a nice depth of flavor to the soup.

I made a big pot and then froze it in one serving portions so I have a quick go-to lunch or supper when I don’t have time to cook!

Enjoy!

Lucia’s Cabbage Soup

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 head of green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 cup diced carrots
2 cans (15-ounce) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable broth
Kosher salt and black pepper
Hot sauce (optional)

Place the onion, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, and vegetable broth in a large stock pot. If needed, add water until all the vegetables are covered. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm. Season with hot sauce if desired.

Serves 6 to 8.

Freezes well.

Vegetarian and Vegan

Tomato Pie

 

There is nothing better than a ripe, juicy summer tomato. I sometimes find it hard to believe that these bright red, juicy fruits are even in the same family as the bland, pinkish variety available at supermarkets the rest of the year.

Tomato pie is a classic recipe that is a delicious way to enjoy this summer treat. Tomatoes take center stage in this dish that is made with simple ingredients.  In this recipe, the taste and texture of the tomatoes don’t get lost in a rich custard. Instead, the additions of cheese and a flaky crust compliment the tomatoes to make this dish irresistible.

Summer tomatoes tend to be very juicy. To make your tomato pie less watery, place the tomatoes in a colander over the sink.  Sprinkle a little bit of salt on them and allow to drain for about ten minutes. This simple step will make your pie easier to slice. If you don’t mind the juiciness, you can skip this step.

When reading the ingredient list, you may question the mayonnaise. Be assured it is an essential addition to this recipe. The thin layer of mayonnaise on top offers a crusty golden top to the creamy, juicy interior of the pie.

Perfect hot from the oven, or equally as good at room temperature as well, tomato pie is perfect summertime fare. Pair it with a leafy green salad and you have a complete meal.

Tomato Pie

1 unbaked pie crust (9-inch), homemade or store-bought
4 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the pie crust in a deep-dish pie pan. Flute the edges, if desired. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking, place tomato slices in a single layer in a colander; sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 10  minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

Remove the crust from the oven. Layer 1/2 the tomatoes slices on the bottom of the crust. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1 clove of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of sliced basil evenly over the top. Sprinkle 1/3 cup cheddar cheese and 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese over the tomatoes. Arrange remaining tomato slices over the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining garlic, basil, and cheeses evenly over the top of the tomatoes. Evenly spread the mayonnaise over the entire pie.

Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6.

 

Grilled Herb Chicken with Greek Tomato-Olive Relish

A good relish can make an everyday chicken breast into a show-stopper. This Greek-inspired tomato relish from my new cookbook Simply Grilling is just such an example.

Enjoy!

Grilled Herb Chicken with Kalamata Olives, Cherry Tomatoes, and Feta Cheese

For the Greek Tomato-Olive Relish:
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/4  cup finely diced red onion (1/2 small onion)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint 

For the Herb Chicken:
Vegetable oil, for the grates
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
4 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the Greek Tomato-Olive Relish: Place the tomatoes, olives, red onion, oil, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Toss to combine. Add the feta cheese and mint and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the chicken: Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Season both sides of the chicken with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until no longer pink in the middle, 6 to 8 minutes per side.

To serve, place the chicken on the plate and top with a generous spoonful of the tomato-olive relish.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tips: To evenly cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I suggest pounding them to a uniform thickness before grilling.

Dried Italian seasoning is a mixture of several dry herbs. To make your own, combine 1 tablespoon each of dried basil, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried marjoram, dried thyme leaves, dried rosemary, and dried sage. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to six months.

Do-Ahead: The tomato-olive relish can be made 4 hours ahead. Store covered in your refrigerator until ready to serve.

Variation: Fresh basil would be a delicious substitute for the fresh mint.

Grill Pan Friendly: Don’t have a grill or the weather is not so great, this dish can be made inside in a grill pan.

Photo credit: Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

These stuffed bell peppers are a cinch to make … and are a super tasty supper!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

6 large red, yellow, or green peppers, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup long-grain white rice, cooked as per package directions
3/4 cup diced tomato (fresh or canned)
1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon French’s® Yellow Mustard
1 teaspoon dried basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4  cups (about 5 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
2 cups crushed French’s® French Fried Onions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil the bottom of a casserole dish.

Slice the top 1/4 inch off each pepper. Finely chop the flesh on the stem end; set it aside. Remove the seeds and white pith from inside the peppers. (If the peppers won’t stand up straight, take a small slice off the bottom with a paring knife to make a flat surface.)

Put a steamer basket (or a colander) inside a large pot and add an inch or so of water. Place the peppers in the basket. Bring the water to a boil and tightly cover the pot. Steam the peppers for 8 minutes. Remove the peppers with tongs and set them on a wire rack to cool.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the skillet. Add the meat, onion, reserved chopped peppers, and garlic and cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked meat to a colander and drain off the excess fat. Transfer the drained meat to a large bowl and stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and dried basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in 1 cup of the cheese. Spoon the mixture into the prepared bell peppers and place in the prepared casserole dish cut-side up.

Evenly top each pepper with crushed French fried onions and the remaining cheese.

Bake the peppers until they are heated through, about 35 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.


Jennifer Chandler

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