Saturday, January 28, 2012

Clare Mackey Chili

 By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

This is a treasured family recipe. I cut it out of the Detroit Free Press years ago and have no clue what drew me to this odd blend of ingredients. It was called "Clare Mackey Stew" after the wife of a Michigan politician. 

When our sons were in school, we would haul gallons of this to ski meets and it would wow people. Everyone called it a chili. No one could guess the secret ingredient: apples.

Once or twice a year, a friend will ask for the recipe for "Clare Mackey" as it was affectionately called at the ski meets.  We would show up for the tailgate party and people would ask "Did you bring Clare Mackey?" It's that good.

½ pound dried red kidney beans
1 lb. pound breakfast sausage
1 large onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 large Granny Smith apples, cored, unpeeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
3 T chili powder
1 ½ t dried mustard
15 oz. tomato sauce
sour cream for garnish

Soak kidney beans overnight. Drain, cover with water and cook over low heat until the skin begins to break but the beans are still slightly hard. Drain beans reserving 2 cups of the liquid.

In a large heavy pot, brown breakfast sausage breaking into 1" pieces. When the sausage is pink, add the chopped onion. Continue to brown the sausage; drain off any fat. Add to the pot, the beans, the garlic, apples, sugar, chili powder, mustard, tomato sauce, reserved bean liquid, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 60-75 minutes or until apples are softened and the chili is thick.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Spanish Judion Beans from Avila

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Several years ago, we were making a dish with kidney beans and the only kind available at our local grocery store was a somewhat pricey Michigan grown bean. It was outstanding and for the first time, we understood the difference in dried beans.

We were in Avila, Spain a few months ago, a walled city in a region known for their dried beans. I brought back 2 kilos of them, a large lima and a kidney bean. Today, I prepared a tapas-like lima bean dish similar to a tapas we had in Spain. We were wowed by the beans: huge, meaty, sweet, fabulous.  We won't be buying generic dried beans again.  There are no words to describe how spectacular these beans are.

For this dish, I soaked 1 c of the Judion beans for about 6 hours. To a pot, I added the beans covered by 1" of water and:
1/2 large onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
several sprigs of fresh thyme
These simmered for 30 minutes.

In a Dutch oven, add:
2 T olive oil, heated, then mixed with
1/2 c chopped green pepper
1/2 c chopped red pepper
the remaining onion half, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 qt of canned tomatoes drained (I used tomatoes I canned from my garden)
1 t smoked Spanish paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Bring this to a simmer. To it add the beans and the bean water and spices.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cranberry Apple Pecan Pie

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

I love cranberries and am excited each fall when fresh ones appear in the grocery stores. Cranberries are too good for just the holiday season so I stash several bags in the freezer. Many grocery stores now carry frozen cranberries year 'round--as well they should.

Because we're pie people in our family, a variety of pies come out of our ovens. This cranberry, apple and pecan pie has a great blend of flavors from the sweet apples and  the tart cranberries mixed with the pecans.  This one's a keeper!

In our family, pies always start with home made crust. If you have to succumb to the grocery store version, so be it, but truly, making a crust is easy.We had an abundance of apples in our orchard this year and still have a supply stored in a cool spot. For this pie, I used three different varieties--because I have them--and for apple pies, I prefer to blend two or three varieties.

Mix together:
5 c chopped, peeled apples
1 1/2 c fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 c chopped pecans
1 c sugar
1/4 c flour
1 t cinnamon

Pour the fruit mixture into a pie plate lined with a crust. Cover with a top crust and bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees F and then reduce the heat to 355 degrees F and bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown.