Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chile Relleno Tart

from Bon Appetit, December 1996

What makes this tart extra-special is the blue cornmeal; it gives the base an extra depth of flavor and heartiness. But cheese, chiles, and pastry, I mean, really, what's not to love?

Serves: 8

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup blue cornmeal* or yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons (about) ice water

  • 3 large fresh poblano** or New Mexico chilies
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup crumbled soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), room temperature
  • 1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Colby cheese

  • *Blue cornmeal is available at natural foods stores and some specialty foods stores.
  • **A fresh green chili, often called a pasilla, available at Latin American markets and some supermarkets.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ratatouille and Sausage Potpie With Cornmeal Biscuits

Adapted from the ever-reliable New York Times

1 hour 25 minutes


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup sour cream or plain whole milk yogurt

1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds) cut into 1-inch chunks
3 small zucchini ( 3/4 pound), cut into 1-inch chunks
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 red pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil.


For the biscuits: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Fold in the sour cream. Gently knead mixture until it comes together in a ball, adding a drop or two of milk if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

For the ratatouille: In a bowl, toss eggplant and zucchini with 5 tablespoons oil; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread vegetables in a single layer on one or two large baking sheets (do not crowd vegetables). Transfer to oven and roast, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep, preferably oven-proof sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Crumble sausage into pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage to a paper towel-lined plate.

Return pan to medium heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Stir in the onion, pepper, garlic and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and thyme sprigs; simmer gently until tomatoes are cooked and mixture is stew-like, about 10 minutes. Stir in the sausage, roasted vegetables and parsley. If you are not using an oven-safe pan, transfer mixture to a 2-quart gratin dish or baking pan.

Divide biscuit dough into six equal balls. Use your palm to flatten each ball into a 1/2 -inch-thick disk. Arrange on top of ratatouille mixture. Brush biscuits lightly with milk.

Transfer skillet or pan to oven and cook until biscuits are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings.

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