Tag Archives: Fall recipes

Jalapeño Popper White Chicken Chili

jalapeno-popper-white-chili_2418Wow! I can’t believe a season actually caught up with the calendar on time.  The fall equinox (for those of us up here in the Northern Hemisphere anyway) occurred about three weeks ago.  Usually the weather stays warm for a couple of weeks, but BAM! Almost immediately the temperatures dropped from the upper 90s to the cozy 70s. Figures that just as I get my AC fixed the weather would turn and a new HVAC issue with the heating pops up. Oh dear.

Oh, but lovely fall! It’s my favorite season. I love the cool, but still comfortable weather, the cozy scent given off by the wood burning fireplaces of the older neighborhoods down the hill from me. Hay rides, bonfires, and trips to the apple orchards and pumpkin patches are always on my calendar.  And of course I can’t forget how everything becomes pumpkin jalapeno-popper-white-chili_2428flavored and scented and how kitchens begin smelling of warm spices from chili to cinnamon.  Or maybe I just like fall so much because I’m a fall baby.

Anyway, I definitely was not prepared for this sudden chill. My closet still full of summer clothes (I just returned from Florida to boot!), I thought a cardigan and closed toe pumps would suffice…until I stepped out into the 40° morning. Brrrr! At least no one looks at me funny now when I order my 185° lattes?

With the drop in temperature, it is no wonder I succumbed to fall’s siren call for a piping hot pot of chili. I went for a white chili for this first batch since I was craving something creamy. I actually created this recipe last year, making it for my former team-mates as a thank-you for the wonderful going away events (bowling and beer…they know I love being active) and presents they gave me (a Starbucks Verismo complete with pods and syrups…they know I love my lattes) before I transferred to my current office. Boy did it go fast!

jalapeno-popper-white-chili_2421It’ll probably disappear fast from your tables, too! It has all the right fall stuff after all: warm spices with just enough heat, soothing creaminess to offset the heat, and filling late summer and early fall veggies, most of which you can still find at the farmer’s market.

Aren’t you imagining curling up with a blanket or finding a seat by the fire with a bowl of this warm and comfy meal? I know I am!


Jalapeño Popper White Chicken Chili

serves 6
  • 1 lb cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 15-16 ounce can of Great Northern beans (or Cannelini)
  • 1 15-16 ounce can of sweet corn
  • 1 10 ounce can mild rotel style tomatoes
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 dry pint, about 6 large, tomatillos quartered
  • 3 large jalapeños, diced finely and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounce package of light cream cheese
  • Homemade ranch dressing mix
    • 8 ounce envelope of powdered buttermilk
    • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
    • ¼ teaspoon onion power
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon freeze dried chives
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped cilantro + more for garnish
  • Spices:
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt + a pinch
    • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne chili powder
    • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  1. Heat a large, heavy pot (I use my Dutch oven) over medium heat and melt butter.  Once butter is melted add and saute onions and jalapenos until tender, about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and cook for another 30 seconds.Jalapeno Popper White Chili_saute
  2. Pour broth into pan then add Great Northern Beans, sweet corn, rotel tomatoes, tomatillos, and all the spices into the pot.  Stir to mix.  Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally.Jalapeno Popper White Chili_veggies in pot
  3. If making your own ranch dressing mix, while chili is coming to a boil blend all ingredients together in a medium bowl.Jalapeno Popper White Chili_ranch mix
  4. Once chili comes to a low boil, stir in ranch dressing mix until blended.
  5. Add cream cheese to the pot, stirring constantly to melt and blend into the chiliJalapeno Popper White Chili_cream cheese
  6. Once cream cheese has melted, add your spices to the pot, stirring to blend into the chili.Jalapeno Popper White Chili_spices
  7. Add the shredded chicken, lime juice, and cilantro.  Stir to mix and bring to a low boil again. Reduce heat to low and simmer chili for 10-15 minutes.Jalapeno Popper White Chili_shredded chicken
  8. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired.  If chili is too spicy, adding additional cream cheese or heavy cream will help. I recommend adding the additional dairy in one tablespoon increments.  If the chili is too acidic, add sugar in one teaspoon increments.Jalapeno Popper White Chili_simmering
  9. Serve with your favorite chili accompaniments such as tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, crumbled bacon, etc.

Leftovers freeze very well!

Jalapeno Popper White Chili_2416

Beef and Barley Soup

We’be been on a bit of a soup kick here at Chez Emilie as of late because we have both been suffering from a variety of colds, stomach bugs, and just the chill of late fall. Last week alone I made 3 different batches of soup, including my version of beef and barley soup, which was a big hit.

Beef and Barley Stew - finished bowl up close

When I first told Tom about the way I make the soup, he seemed a bit skeptical about the final result. Unlike many of the most common beef and barley soup recipes, my soup includes tomatoes and green beans; making it more like a beef vegetable soup with barley. It’s an especially great recipe for those getting over a cold or the flu because the tomatoes give an extra shot of vitamin C and magnesium to someone on the mend.

Beef and Barley Stew - finished stew 2

I prefer to use pearl barley in my soup, but that has been impossible to find recently, leaving me with instant barley as my only option. I use instant barley in this recipe, but I definitely encourage you to use pearl if you can find it. If you do use pearl barley, add it to the dish much earlier, as it takes about a full hour to cook, as opposed to the 15 minutes the instant barley takes. Regardless of whether you use instant or pearl barley, this is definitely a soup you should eat sooner rather than later, as the barley will continue to soak up the broth, even after you have refrigerated the leftovers. If that happens, you may need to add a bit more beef broth or water to the soup when you reheat it.

Beef and Barley Soup
serves 6-8

2 tblsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
3 medium carrots
2 ribs celery
¼ lb fresh green beans
1lb chuck shoulder roast
1 tsp Hungarian smoked paprika
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 medium dried bay leaves
6 cups beef broth
⅛ red wine vinegar
1 can (approx. 14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper
1 cup hot water
1 cup instant barley

1)     Begin by prepping your ingredients. Dice the onion and garlic. Cut the carrots and celery in to similarly sized pieces, about a ¼ to ½ inch in size. Cut the green beans into ½ inch lengths as well. Finally, cut the meat into ½ inch cubes. Set this all aside.

Beef Barley Stew - Prep the veggies

2)     Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven. When the begins to shimmer add onion and garlic and cook 4 minutes until soft. Then add the carrots and celery and cook for another 8 minutes.

Beef and Barley Stew - saute the onions and garlic

Beef and Barley Stew - saute the carrots and celery

3)     Add the beef to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in Hungarian paprika, thyme, pepper, and salt.

Beef and Barley Stew - Brown the beef

4)     At this point there should be some browned bits forming on the bottom of the pot.  Add about half a cup of broth to deglaze the pan and use a spoon to scrape these bits off the bottom of the pot.

5)     Add the rest of the broth and the can of crushed tomatoes to the pot. Drop in the bay leaves. Add the cut green beans. Bring soup to a boil.

Beef and Barley Stew - Add the broth

6)     Once boiling, reduce heat and loosely cover the pot. I put the lid on a  bit of an angle so some of the steam can escape. Simmer for at least 1 hour, although I usually let it cook for 2 hours.

7)      About 20 minutes before serving, add hot water to pot and return soup to a boil. Add instant barley and simmer until cooked and soft.

Beef Barley Stew - stir in crushed tomatoes

8)      Serve hot with warm crusty bread and butter.

Beef and Barley Stew - finished stew 1

Kitchen Basics – Homemade Pumpkin Puree

By now you know its Autumn, if only because your blog rolls are filling with pumpkin recipes ad nauseam, and yes, I know Cork and Spoon is not exactly helping [ADD pumpkin bourbon link!]. But can you blame us addicts? Pumpkin is tasty, versatile, incredibly healthy, and comes – conveniently – pre-pureed in 15-ounce cans. Heck, I probably have 5 or 6 of them in my pantry right now for whipping up a quick batch of scones, pumpkin spätzle, or a savory pumpkin sauce.

Pumpkin and White Chocolate Scone with Tea

Pumpkin and White Chocolate
Scone with Tea

Pumpkin Spatzel with Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan

Pumpkin Spatzel with Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan

Savory Pumpkin Sauce over Pappardelle

Savory Pumpkin Sauce over Pappardelle

About once a year though, right around Halloween, I see a beautiful stack of sugar pumpkins at the farmer’s market and I convince myself that I am a fool for not making pumpkin puree from scratch. Making your own pumpkin puree for cooking and baking is surprisingly easy, here let me show you.

The first, and most important thing, is picking your pumpkin. You will want to use a sugar, or pie, pumpkin. These average about 6 to 10 inches in size,  much smaller than the pumpkins you carve for jack o’lanters. You want a pumpkin that is heavy for its size, unblemished, and free of soft spots. On average, each pound of unprepared pumpkin with its rind and seeds will yield 1 cup of puree.

Pumpkin Puree - sugar pumpkin

While pumpkin puree can be made from any cooked pumpkin flesh, whether boiled, steamed, or microwaved, but I firmly believe that roasting the pumpkins provides the best flavor and requires the least amount of work, so that is the method I am going to describe here.

Begin by cutting the pumpkin in half from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy center. If you are a fan of pumpkin seeds, set aside the pumpkin guts to clean and bake the seeds later.

Pumpkin Puree - halve and core pumpkin

Brush the cut sides of the pumpkin lightly with neutral flavored oil, such as vegetable or canola oil, and place cut side down on a cookie sheet lined with foil (for easy clean up).

Pumpkin Puree - prep for roasting

Bake the pumpkin at 375ºF for 45 minutes to an hour – until a fork slides easily into the flesh of pumpkin. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let cool until in can be easily handled without burning your hand; I usually wait an hour.

Pumpkin Puree - roasted pumpkins

Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, carefully scoop out the flesh. Use a blender to puree the flesh until silky smooth. Use the fresh puree with 48 hours or freeze to use later.

Pumpkin Puree - removed roasted pumpkin meat

Pumpkin Puree - finished puree 2

Pumpkin Scones

Are you tired of hearing me talk about how much I love autumn yet? I go on and on about the weather, the awesome squash and produce, and the delicious drinks I can concoct with whiskey and other spirits. I have bad news for you though, I can’t stop. I haven’t even shared a pumpkin recipe with you! It isn’t fall until I’ve bought the grocery store out of pureed pumpkin.

My favorite pumpkin recipe is a moist, rich pumpkin scone. I tasted my first pumpkin scone soon after college graduation, about 7 years ago, and I was in love. My co-worker and I even had a Monday ritual of heading to the Starbucks on the corner for a pumpkin spice latte and scones, all the while catching up on our weekend exploits.  As good as Starbucks scones were, I was never a big fan of the icing, and they were a touch too dry. So a year later I started making my own. I make my first batch sometime in the middle of September, and just keep baking them until January, maybe even February. I bake them for myself, I bake them for brunches, and even bake them for birthday or wedding gifts. I might be a touch obsessed. Become obsessed with me, make them just once and you’ll be hooked.

Pumpkin Scones

2 cups flour*
⅓ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup/ 1 stick cold unsalted butter
⅓ cup buttermilk
½ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
⅓ cup white chocolate chips (optional)
⅓ cup chopped pecans (optional)

*You can use up to 1 cup whole wheat, any more and they become too dense. I tend to go with ¾ of a cup wheat flour, the rest unbleached white flour.

1)      Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

2)      Whisk together flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, soda, and salt.

3)      Cut cold butter into small, about 1 inch, pieces, and add to flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or two dinner knives, cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

4)      (Optional) Stir in pecans and/or white chocolate.

5)      In a small separate bowl, mix pureed pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla together.

6)      Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until it just comes together.

7)      Knead dough on a floured surface 6-7 times. Pat dough into a circle about 1 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter you can cut the scones into circles or you can cut the circle into 6 or 8 triangles. This is completely a matter of preference.

8)      Brush the top of the scones with a little buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.

9)      Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and let cool completely on wire rack before putting away, or serve slightly warm.

I particularly love these with my morning coffee as I get ready in the morning,or as an evening snack with chai tea.