Le caldarroste

Italian for Roasted Chestnuts. 

chestnuts

When in Rome during late fall there are a few must to-dos. Sure, it helps to have family as I do but, I have a list. Must haves; artichokes, lamb, and some great carbonara. Heads-up, there's the perfect walk along treat this time of year. I can smell roasted chestnuts blocks away. I turn the corner coming out of the Vatican and see chestnut vendors with their portable roasters everywhere, at the ready. I scope out the chestnut scene and feel-out who has the perfect roast going on. I use my food radar, (which by the way I am never really wrong) and approach the tidiest chestnut vendor on the corner to place my order. A few Euros later with parchment wrapped warm chestnuts in hand, we stroll through the streets of Rome with the perfect snack. 

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Roasting Chestnuts

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Clean chestnuts and dry. Use a sharp paring knife to cut a small X into flat pointed tip end of each chestnut, or prick chestnuts with a sharp church key (can opener) fork to allow steam to escape, preventing them from exploding.

 Place chestnuts in a shallow roasting pan. Roast in oven for 15-25 minutes, shaking occasionally or until chestnuts are tender and shells peel easily. Chestnuts are enjoyed at their best when warm.

Tip: Roasting time is variable depending on freshness. Choose firm heavy, not hollow when buying.

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Chorizo

Watch GHL CreateTV Weekend Marathon Sat Nov 14th + Sun 15th for a Soup-Er Weekend

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Grilling the chorizo and vegetables before they go into the pot is a good example of how browning ingredients first, adds to the flavor of a dish.

All chorizo sausages are not the same. The Spanish make it from smoked pork, while the Mexican chorizo is made from fresh pork. To further confuse the issue, the flavor can differ depending on the variety of spices, the hotness of the chilies and the texture can range from styles made with chunks of meat to those made from ground meat. 

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Chorizo and Pepper Stew

Makes four servings

georgehirsch.com | GeorgeHirschLifstyle

1 pound fresh chorizo sausage

2 bell peppers, halved and seeded

1 sweet onion, peeled and thickly sliced

Olive oil

3 slices of bacon, chopped

1 (16 ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained

6 cloves Caramelized Garlic

1 teaspoon each: ground cumin, oregano, paprika

Hot sauce to taste

1 cup red wine

Top with fresh chopped parsley

Pre heat grill to medium.

Grill the chorizo 7 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove, cool and slice into 1-inch pieces. Brush the bell peppers with olive oil, grill 2-3 minutes on each side, cool and cut into thin strips. Brush the onion slices with olive oil, grill 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove, cool and chop. 

On the side burner or stove top preheat a sauté pan to high heat. Add bacon and cook until light brown. Add the grilled peppers, onions, beans, garlic, spices and cook for 2 minutes longer. Lower the heat to medium and add the chorizo. Stir in the wine and cook 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. 

Serve with fresh chopped parsley or cilantro.

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Grilled Schweinefilet Sandwich

Schweine is a pig or like in today's post refers to a pork fillet or loin. What makes Schweine so timely is the upcoming Super Bowl XLVI which is taking place in Indiana, February 5th. And, one of the largest food staples produced in Indiana is pork. So much so that Indiana pork industry produces more than $4 billion annually to the Hoosier's economy. So there is no doubt gameday parties all over Indiana will contain Schweine on the grill. My sandwich recipe pays homage to my all my Hoosier friends, so this is what will be on my grill for Super Bowl XLVI. I will also slow cook my dry rub ribs too, but since they take a while my Schweinefilet Sandwich will be good to munch on while we wait!

My Dry Rub Ribs Recipe

Proud Hoosier Agriculture:

- 94% of Indiana's pork farms are family owned and operated.

Good to Know:

- Pork can be safely cooked to medium rare at a final internal temperature of 145 degrees F, as measured by a food thermometer, followed by a three minute rest time. NOTE: Ground pork, like all ground meats, should be cooked to 160 degrees F.

Grilled Schweinefilet Sandwich
Makes four Sandwiches | Adapted from Adventures in Grilling Cookbook by George Hirsch

1 1/2 pounds pork loin cutlets, trimmed
Juice of two lemons
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons ketchup
6 cloves caramelized garlic
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Place the cutlets between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound thin with a meat pounder or the bottom of a heavy skillet.

Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, ketchup, caramelized garlic, paprika, chili powder, rosemary, thyme, sea salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix well.

Add the pork cutlets and refrigerate for one hour, turning the meat occasionally.

Pre heat the grill to high. 

Remove the meat from the marinade and grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, basting occasionally with the remaining marinade. Remove meat from the grill and allow meat to rest 2-3 minutes. Serve on favorite breads such as chiabita, kaiser roll, baguette,  focaccia, or sliders.

Optional Fillings for Sandwich: Grilled peppers, sliced tomatoes, pickles, arugula, micro-greens, or  Top with Dill Sauce or favorite dressing.

Optional Side: Savory Slaw Recipe

For the Dill Sauce: Mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard, juice from one fresh lemon, 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, 1 Tablespoon caper, 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, and fresh ground black pepper.

Le caldarroste

That's Italian for chestnut. Yes, it is officially chestnut season. I look forward to this part of the Fall season every year. You will begin to see some local and imported chestnuts available at your local market. I've been informed that the abnormally cool Spring and Summer in the Pacific Northwest had delayed domestic harvest a few weeks. So, walk don't run.

Did you know there are many recipes that can call for chestnut flour as a substitution for wheat flour? Chestnut flour is also gluten free. I'll have to post Chestnut Flour Pancakes recipe + a Chestnut Cheesecake recipe. Meanwhile, roast some chesnuts.

Rome, roasted Chestnut vendor

Roasted Chestnuts Recipe - Chef George Hirsch

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Clean chestnuts and dry. Use a sharp paring knife to cut a small X into flat pointed tip end of each chestnut, or prick chestnuts with a sharp church key (can opener) fork to allow steam to escape, preventing them from exploding.

 Place chestnuts in a shallow roasting pan. Roast in oven for 15-25 minutes, shaking occasionally or until chestnuts are tender and shells peel easily. Chestnuts are enjoyed at their best when warm.

Tip: Roasting time is variable depending on freshness. Choose firm heavy, not hollow when buying.