Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Cornbread

Deb, you got me again! Smitten Kitchen does not yield up her goat cheese recipes by a simple ingredient search, you have to stumble across them. And stumble I did, finding this delicious recipe for a cornbread so northern and savory, I will just have to have it on my go-to list as an accompaniment to thick winter soups!

This is an incredibly moist nontraditional cornbread with a great flavor and mild sweetness. The goat cheese adds a subtle tang. Not aggressive, just very pleasant!

1 cup (6 ounces) coarse cornmeal (also packaged as “polenta”) but regular old cornmeal will also work.
2 cups (16 ounces) buttermilk
1 to 2 tablespoons oil, butter or a combination thereof
1 cup onion in a 3/4-inch dice (you could also go up to 2 cups, if you’re really into the caramelized onion thing)
1 3/4 cups (8 ounces) unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons (.75 ounce) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (.05 ounce) baking soda
1 teaspoon (.25 ounce) salt
6 ounce log of goat cheese, at room temperature for a good while, so it’s very soft
2 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) honey
1/4 cup (2 ounces) granulated sugar
3 large (5 ounces) eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, mleted
2 1/2 cups (16 ounces) fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) bacon fat, vegetable oil or butter

The night before baking the cornbread, soak the cornmeal in the buttermilk. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight. [Though this step is optional, you might appreciate it if you use coarse cornmeal or if you often find cornbread on the gritty side.] If you don’t do this in advance, mix them in before you start the next step.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

The next day, prepare the onions. Heat a large saute pan to medium and coat the bottom with 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil, butter or a combination thereof. Add the onions and cook them until they’re well-caramelized with browned edges. Season with salt and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the goat cheese until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and scraping down the bowl between each. (It may look a little curdly at this point, don’t worry. It all comes back together in the oven.) Add the melted butter, honey, sugar and cornmeal/buttermilk mixture and mix until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined and then gently stir in the corn kernels, mixing them until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Place two tablespoons of bacon fat, vegetable oil or butter in a 10 inch round cake pan (you can also use a cast-iron skillet, 9 by 13-inch baking pan or a 12-inch square pan). Place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the fat gets very hot. With good pot holders, remove the pan and tilt it to grease the corners and sides. Pour in the batter, spreading it evenly and sprinkle the caramelized onion evenly over the top.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cornbread is firm and springing (the baking time will depend on the size and type of pan) and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow the bread to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before slicing it into squares or wedges. Serve immediately.

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Goat Cheese-graced Knishes

Because I’m from Michigan, the first thing I think of when you say pastry-enclosed potatoes and veggies is PASTIES. No, not with a long a, but a short a. These are Cornish meat and potato hand pies, originally made for the coal miners of southern England to take down into the mines with them for lunch. Knishes, I suppose, are just Jewish pasties…and from a much older tradition, I imagine. Come to think of it, these are also a good deal like Russian pieroshki. Everybody into the pool, why not?!

So how could I avoid bringing these knishes to you, especially when I found a recipe that has been enhanced by the addition of chèvre? Yums! Thanks to Joe Pastry, you can have your potatoes, flaky dough, goat cheese, and eat them too!

 

Ingredients

One of the nice things about this dough is how easy it is to prepare and store. You just mix it up, let it sit for an hour, and it’s ready to use. Or, you can refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it, up to several days.

11 ounces all-purpose (AP) flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil (very soft rendered chicken fat [schmalz], if you can find it, is even better)
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 cup lukewarm water

Whisk together your dry ingredients, beat the egg in a small bowl, and combine the vegetable oil, vinegar and water in a separate bowl or measure. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the beaten egg and the wet ingredients. Bring the dough together with a spatula, then knead lightly into a ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough sit for an hour at room temperature to relax and hydrate.

Directions

Whisk together your dry ingredients.

Then make a well in the center and add your beaten egg…

…followed by the wet ingredients.

Bring the dough together with a spatula…

…then knead it lightly into a ball. It will be somewhat oily feeling. That’s what you want. Let the dough rest and hydrate for an hour. It may weep a little bit of oil as it sits. That’s perfectly OK.

Meanwhile make your filling. Here I’ve got three medium red potatoes (cooked), about half a cup of deeply caramelized yellow onions (one onion diced finely, cooked gently in two tablespoons of vegetable oil over low heat for a little over an hour), about a two-ounce blob of fresh goat cheese, and a teaspoon of salt.

Mashed. This isn’t nearly enough filling for this amount of dough, but it’s a good “for-instance.” Knishes are great stuffed with just about any leftovers you have in the fridge.

When you’re ready to shape your knishes, generously flour a dough board. Pull off a piece of dough from the ball and start rolling. You’ll find that as long as you use enough flour, it’s a very flexible and forgiving dough that rolls out easily. Roll it out as thin as you can without the dough tearing. The precise shape of your sheet isn’t important. A rough rectangle is just fine.

When the dough is nice and thin, apply a long mound of filling to the bottom edge. I’m making rather small knishes, so my filling mound is small. For bigger knishes, well, you know what to do.

Then — and you can probably see where this is going — enclose the filling to form a long roll.

Roll the dough up in the sheet, but not terribly tightly. Knishes tend to want to break open in the oven. A little slack will help prevent this. Since this dough sheet is very thin, I keep rolling until the tube has about two layers on it. Some people really go nuts in this step and roll their dough out even thinner so as to give the tube four or five flaky layers. Me, I’m happy with two. Some like a thicker crust in just one layer. It’s really up to you.

When you’ve got as much crust on your knishes as you like, use a pizza cutter to trim off the excess. Add the scraps back to the dough ball for re-rolling.

Trim the excess, if there is much, from the ends.

Now to shape the actual knishes. This is very like making sausage. You want to pinch off about a three or four-inch length.

Give it a twist.

Then using your pizza cutter, cut it off.

The result is indeed like a small sausage. Pinch the ends shut to enclose the filling.

Turn the knish end-up on the pastry board…

…and with your palm push it down to form a squat cylinder.

Poke the top down with your finger to keep the center from crowning in the oven.

Lay the knishes out on sheet pans — these don’t need any proofing — and either bake, refrigerate (up to three days) or freeze (up to three months).

When ready to bake, paint with egg wash…

…and bake 30-40 minutes at 350 Fahrenheit until the crusts are golden brown.

 Now wasn’t that special??

 

Pogácsa — Hungarian Cheese Bites

Thanks to Delicious Days, we now have a new and wonderfully crispy cheesy appetizer!

The great thing about this recipe is that you receive a maximum of crisp flakiness with a minimum of tedious puff pastry techniques. They almost triple in height while in the oven, and seem to breathe!

These are perfect for those people who pay close attention to how they eat something. Of course, you can eat them all at once, which is only half the fun. Better yet,  nibble away one thin layer after another layer of the flaky pastry, starting from the bottom up to the top, to finally be rewarded with the cheesy, crusty top layer.

Ingredients (~ 36 nibbles):

175 g chèvre

125 g cold butter

125 g bread flour (type 550)

3/4 tsp fine sea salt

1 egg (M or L), lightly beaten

20 g freshly grated cheese (mix of Gruyere and Grana Padano or other sharp, dry cheese)

Directions:

Start the night before: Line a large metal sieve with either a clean cheesecloth or a paper towel and fill with the Chèvre. Leave covered to drain in a cold spot, preferably in the fridge.

On the next day: Cut cold butter into cubes and put into a bowl together with 125 g of the drained Chèvre, flour and sea salt. Quickly knead together by hand or with a handheld mixer (use the dough hooks), just make sure not to overwork the dough, small visible spots of Chèvre and butter are fine.

Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with some flour and carefully roll it out to a rectangle, about 1 cm (0,4 inch) thick, then fold the dough like a letter into thirds (when making puff pastry this procedure is called “one turn”). Rotate and repeat the step, then wrap the dough into plastic foil and freeze for 20 to 30 minutes. Throughout the whole process it is important to work quickly, but in case the dough gets too warm and too hard to work with, just wrap it into foil and freeze for a couple of minutes. If you are having trouble keeping the edges of your dough straight, use a large ruler: push it against the sides from time to time, this helps to keep a nice rectangular shape.

Remove the dough from your freezer and repeat step no.3. Put into the freezer for another 20 to 30 minutes. In case you are completely new to making puff pastry and turning the dough, this video is a great starting point (although the dough isn’t folded into thirds).

 Preheat the oven to 200°C (~390°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the freezer again, dust surface and rolling pin one last time and roll into a neat square (~ 18 x 18 cm/ ~ 7 x 7 inch), trimming the edges with a sharp knife if necessary. Then cut into small squares ( 3 x 3 cm/ 1,2 x 1,2 inch) using the large ruler (for measuring and pressing down the dough, while cutting) and knife or pizza cutter.
Place them on the lined baking sheet not too close to each other, then brush with the beaten egg. Top with a mix of freshly grated Gruyere and Grana Padano, then bake on middle level for about 15 minutes or until puffed and nicely golden brown (don’t get nervous, if the butter looks like it is leaking during the first minutes, that’s normal).
Place on a cooling rack – or eat right away… Best eaten the day they were made.

 

 

 


Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts

No such thing as too many appetizers, I feel. I am going to be a grandma soon, so of course, I have been cruising baby thing blogs when up popped this recipe! Had to have it. Thank you to Jenny Steffens Hobick, whom I discovered through Pinterest:)


Anytime you say “goat cheese” or “caramelized onions” you hear “ooohs” and “ahhhs” – can you imagine the reaction when you put them together on puff pastry?  This is a great recipe.  It is pretty and special looking, but it is so simple.  It works great cut into small pieces for a cocktail party, in large pieces with a salad or as a side dish with dinner.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart
18 hors d’œuvres | 9 medium-sized for salad or side

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (usually comes with 2 per box, so this is an easy recipe to double)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 red onion, sliced thinly
4 ounces of goat cheese

Start by caramelizing the onions in a saute pan in olive oil over medium heat.  This will take 10-15 minutes.  Keep stirring until they start to turn brown… you’re bringing out the sugar in the onion and creating a caramel.

On a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, place a sheet of puff pastry (unfolded from the package). Cut it along the folds into three long pieces.  Pile the onions down the center of each piece.   Top the onions with chunks of the goat cheese evenly distributed.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes until puffed and the edges are brown.

Herbed Goat Cheese Dip

I can’t believe I haven’t entered this into the files yet — it is so incredibly simple and delicious. And for a certain man in Charlotte, NC who loves Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce, I hope it tries it! Thanks to Food 52 for the recipe!

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

3.5 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre), room temperature

1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

1/2 tablespoon parsley, minced

1.5 tablespoons mixed herbs (I use thyme, rosemary, basil)

1/2 cup sour cream

6-8 dashes Texas Pete Hot Sauce (or Tabasco)

1 garlic clove, minced

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture comes together but is not pureed.
  2. Serve with crudites, crostini, your favorite crackers, or even warm, crusty bread. You can serve this with slow roasted tomatoes drizzled with balsamic alongside.

Involtini (Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Rolls)

The always fabulous David Lebovitz gave me another way to use prosciutto and chèvre when I can’t get asparagus in season. Friends, family and frequent visitors to this blog know how I love to make asparagus spears with prosciutto and chèvre…now you can skip the veg if you want or need to! Read on!

Chèvre and Prosciutto Rolls (Involtini)
About 25 bite-sized rolls

Depending on where you live, you can use any kind of thinly sliced air-dried ham: anything labeled prosciutto will work, or one with provenance, such asjambon de Bayonne or San Daniele ham. I trim off the excess fat on the ham slices; unless it’s very thin, it can be chewy and tough.

Adding some fresh herbs adds a nice flavor; if the leaves are small, use them whole. Otherwise cut them lengthwise into thin strips. If you can’t get chèvre where you live, try a feta, or even cream cheese, adding some chopped herbs or black pepper perhaps to give it a little kick.

3 thinly-sliced pieces of prosciutto (about 2 ounces, 60 gr)

2 ounces (60 gr) chilled chèvre or feta cheese

Optional: a few leaves of fresh sage, mint, basil or oregano

about 1/3 cup (80 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1. With a sharp knife, cut a slice of prosciutto into rectangular strips about 1″ x 2″ (3 cm x 5 cm).

2. Cut the chèvre (or feta) into bâtons approximately the same width as the ham slices.

3. Make thin slices of a few leaves of a fresh herb, if using.

4. Take a piece of chèvre (or feta), rest it on the narrowest edge of a rectangle of prosciutto along with a sliver of herbs, and tightly it up, pressing it to make sure it stays together.

5. Set the roll in a dish, and continue, using the rest of the prosciutto and feta.

6. Once finished, douse the rolls with enough olive oil so that they’re saturated and nearly fully immersed in the olive oil.

7. Serve, or refrigerate until ready to serve. If refrigerated, let come to room temperature before serving.

Storage: The rolls can be made up to three days in advance. Any olive oil leftover can be used as a base for vinaigrette, or for another purpose.