Fall Weekend Tailgate

Celebrating Chef George's 25th Anniversary on PBS and Public Television stations,

Tune-in for all NEW SHOWS this October, check local listings.

Saying goodbye summer and welcoming “slow and low cooking” during Fall.

Forget the brats and sausages this weekend. Let's cook-up a dish..I'm talking a hearty, meaty dish with a spicy-kick that melts in your mouth and warms you up before the game. Here's one of my favorites. You can make it ahead of the tailgate. Try my Faux Pressure-Cooked Chili Recipe. In less than a couple hours, you'll be enjoying the warming comfort of the best chili that will keep you satisfied well past half-time. Don't forget- bring the toppings!

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We have made the move from picnics to tailgates. Now that the season is in ful swing, here’s a great do ahead chili. The flavors only get better the next day. Tailgate season is in full swing

A favorite crowd pleaser is using whole meat as opposed to chop meat in a chili. There’s more to chew on, so to speak. However the real results achieved is the flavor and texture in this dish. I use a combo beef and pork version for the ultimate pleasure.

This recipe cooks quicker than just simmering on the stove. If you do not have a pressure cooker or slow cooker; none to fear. Use a cast iron pan such as Le Creuset.

Faux Pressure-Cooked Chili

Makes 8-10 servings 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

2 pounds Chuck roast 

2 pounds Boneless country-style pork ribs

Olive oil as need to sear meat

4 Tablespoons ground cumin

4 dried chilis, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 onion, quartered

6 cloves garlic, halved

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

2 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth

Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Sear the pork in the hot oil until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Repeat by searing the beef.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Add pork back into pan with beef, along with the 4 Tablespoons cumin, dried chilis, quartered onion, garlic halves, and jalapeno pepper. Add broth, cover with a tight lid, and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours. If you do not have a very tight lid, cover with foil and then place the lid over foil. Do not open oven or peek inside the pan for 1 1/2 hours. 

Remove meat from oven, Do Not remove cover. Allow to cool for thirty minutes.

Prepare sauce to add to meat. 

For the Sauce & Finishing:

1 Tablespoon each oregano, cumin, chili powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

4 cups crushed tomatoes

2 can pinto or red beans, rinsed

2 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, melted

In a sauce pan heat olive oil, onions, garlic and cook until tender but do not brown. Add toasted spices and add tomatoes, chocolate and beans. Lower temperature and simmer for thirty minutes while meat is resting. 

After thirty minutes, remove cover from meat and pour juices into sauce. Shred meat finely with two forks. Pour sauce into meat and cook an additional 1 to 1 1/2 hours to allow sauce and meat to blend. 

Note:

Bring out the flavor by slow-toasting spices by slowly toasting powdered spices in a dry skillet over low heat before adding them to the chili. 

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Pumpkin Stuffed with Chicken and Rice

So Perfect for Autumn

The ultimate one-dish meal is cooked in its own pot-in this case it's a pumpkin. I remember the year we picked a lot of pumpkins on the East End farms for decoration at my restaurant on Long Island. When it came time to use them up, this dish became a very popular item on the menu.

If you like to experiment, toss in some chicpeas, sweetpeas, or slices of smoked sausage when you add the chicken.

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Pumpkin Stuffed with Chicken and Rice

Recipe by Chef George Hirsch, Gather Round The Grill cookbook, 1995 | Makes 4 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

2 large pumpkins (8 to 12 inches in diameter)

One 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, or 1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets 

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium onion, cut into rings

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch strips

1 cup long grain rice

2 1/4 cups chicken broth

Puree from 1 head Caramelized Garlic

2 bay leaves

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons cumin 

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

Preheat the grill.

Using a sharp knife, cut a 5-inch hole in the top of the pumpkin and remove the seeds. Reserve the lid.

Brush the chicken with some if the olive oil and grill about 20 minutes or until three-fourths done. (if using cutlets, grill 4 to 5 minutes.) Brush the onion and red pepper with the remaining olive oil and grill until light brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove onion and peppers and chop ito 1 inch pieces.

In a large saucepan heat the rice and broth. Add the garlic, bay leaves, cilantro, cumin, hot sauce and tomatoes. When the mixture begins to boil, stir in the onion, red bell pepper, and the par-cooked chicken.

Wrap the bottom of the pumpkin with foil. Spoon the mixture into the pumpkin, then cover with the pumpkin lidd. Place the pumpkin on the grill, lower the grill hood, and cook 45 to 50 minutes. Or, cook in a 375 degree F oven. Remove the pumpkin from the grill, place on platter discarding aluminum foil and bay leaves.

Add a little additional broth if the mixture is too dry. Bring the pumpkin to the table and serve the chicken directly from it.

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Georgie Porgie Pudding

Dessert Comfort

Oh, how I hated that rhyme growing up, it meant it was time to put up your dukes. It doesn't quite have the same affect anymore. Nowadays the idea of pudding stirs up nostalgic memories of my Nana making batches of her rice pudding. Nana would serve it warm on a cold night or chilled on a sticky summer's night. She might even top it with a little glazed meringue, because just a simple blob of whipped cream just wouldn’t do. I was also led to believe that comforting rice pudding had curative properties. If not feeling well, a healthy scoop was the remedy in my house. I guess that’s why the Romans ate rice pudding as a cure for upset stomachs?

Having really no economic barrier and universal appeal- I’ve seen rice pudding on restaurant menus from diners and joints (my favorite place to find RP) to high-end linen napkin on-your-lap digs. Personally I‘ve made more batches than I can even remember. Here are a few variations that come to mind; Rum Raisin, Berry, Pomegranate, Coconut Mango and Banana. Keep in mind, I made mega batches. I prepared rice pudding batches to feed a daily buffet for about 10,000 people with list of ingredients like; 18 gallons milk, 12 pounds of rice, 12 pounds sugar. 

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Making a batch for 10 thousand or 10 hungry people at home is pretty easy, as most ingredients are probably already in the pantry and can even be made by using leftover plain cooked rice. 

TIPS: Knowing your grains is important, as each type of rice will provide different results. Here are your options; long or short grain white rice, brown, basmati, or jasmine. Cooking times and consistencies will vary wildly, ok maybe widely. Long grain rice makes a pudding that is slightly drier and chewier than one made with short grain rice. While brown rice will be nuttier. Arborio rice is starchier and therefore can set up without addition of eggs. Cooking times will also depend on the type of rice, along with the amount of milk used. 

as seen on  George Hirsch Lifestyle

as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Other important tips: Do not combine any sugar to rice until the rice kernels are completely tender or the starch will begin to set and harden and will not become additionally tender. Do not use converted rice as it contains pre-gelatinized starch, which will not thicken rice properly. To keep a skin from forming over rice pudding, sprinkle a small amount of granulated sugar over the top as soon as you pour the pudding out of the pot.

Experiment with your own favorite flavorings and styles, and serve it up on your next tailgate, more formal occasion or just when you need a Nana pick-me-up! Enjoy!

My Basic, But Good Rice Pudding Recipe