Comfort Suppers

Photography by Mark O. Ramirez


Gumbo & Beignets


Mardi Gras is March 5th - celebrate Fat Tuesday with gumbo and beignets!

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For the Risotto:

Place 2 cups of Arborio grain into pot over medium heat. Add in 1/3 cup minced yellow onions. Stir until onions begin to caramelize. Deglaze pot with ½ cup of white wine. Begin adding vegetable stock at 1 cup increments, stirring as necessary. Allow risotto to soak up all vegetable stock before adding more. When the grain is “al dente” remove from heat and set aside. Season with salt and pepper and fresh Parmesan Reggiano.

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2 diced Onions
2 tablespoons garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups of cooked quinoa
4 14 ½ ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 15 ounce cans of kidney beans
2 15 ounce cans of black beans
2 cups of corn
Heat olive oil in large pot over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, cooking until onions become translucent. Stir in quinoa, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper, and 1 cup of water. Cover and reduce heat to a low simmer for 30 minutes; stir occasionally. Add beans and corn and stir in until warm, about 2 minutes.

itta bena

Mexican Chorizo and Corn Soup

3/4 pound chorizo or spicy pork sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 quarts chicken broth
1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup sour cream
In a Dutch oven, cook and crumble chorizo over medium heat until cooked through, 4-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove chorizo to paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in pan.
In drippings, saute onion and red and poblano peppers over medium heat until tender, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in flour and seasonings until blended; cook and stir 3 minutes. Gradually stir in broth.
Add potatoes and corn; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 10-15 minutes. Stir in sour cream and chorizo; heat through. If desired, serve with cheese and cilantro.

Salud! at Whole Foods,
Poplar Ave.

Pressure Cooker Chicken
in White Wine over
Parmesan Polenta

1 whole chicken (about 3 ½ pounds), backbone discarded and the chicken cut into 8 pieces*
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided
1 medium onion, small dice
3 stalks celery, small dice
2 carrots, peeled and small dice or 1 ½ cup baby carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup Riesling
½ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon cornstarch (optional)
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup polenta or stone-ground cornmeal
2 cups milk
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
Set your pressure cooker (such as an Instant Pot) to the “browning” function. Add oil to heat. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of the dried thyme on all sides. Sear in batches until skin is lightly browned; set aside  to a plate and continue until all of the chicken is seared. Remove from pressure cooker.
Change the setting on the pressure cooker to “saute” and add the onion, celery and carrots to the pot. Season with a small pinch of salt and the remaining teaspoon of thyme and cook until the onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
Add the chicken back to the pot and pour in the wine. Set the lid on the machine and set for high pressure. Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. Quick release the pressure valve and remove the chicken from the pot to a clean plate.
Stir in the heavy cream to the sauce, taste and adjust seasoning before nestling the chicken back in the pot. Keep warm while you make the polenta. If you would like a heavier bodied sauce, whisk ½ teaspoon cornstarch in with the heavy cream before adding it to the cooking liquid. Make sure to set your machine back to the saute feature to bring the mixture back to a boil – allow the mixture to boil for at least one minute to activate the cornstarch.
For the polenta, combine the milk, broth, butter, salt and pepper together in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium low. While whisking constantly, slowly sprinkle in the cornmeal, whisking to prevent lumps from forming.
Continue to cook until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. To serve, spoon the hot polenta in serving bowls, placing chicken, vegetables and cream sauce over top. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

South of Beale

Short Rib Grilled Cheese

6 ounces braised short rib
6 slices sharp cheddar
1 slice of tomato
Iceberg lettuce
2 slices Texas toast
Place 3 slices of cheddar on each slice of bread, lettuce, tomato and short rib. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saute pan, cook sandwich on each side until browned and cheese is melted.


3 carrots
2 cloves garlic
2 yellow onions
3 sticks celery
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
6 pounds crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
Saute vegetables until browned then add red wine and reduce. Next, add brown sugar, Italian seasoning and basil then pour in crushed tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Add heavy cream and 1 cup water. Cook for 1 hour at medium heat and blend.

BLEU Restaurant & Lounge


4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese grits
4 8-12 tiger shrimp
2 ounces crispy Nueske’s bacon, for topping
2 ounces cajun cream sauce


White wine
1 gallon chicken stock
1 bag grits
1 pound butter
½ quart heavy cream
Smoked cheddar cheese

In sauce pot, saute garlic-shallots; deglaze with white wine. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add grits in slowly and cook for 30 minutes. Add butter, heavy cream, smoked cheddar, salt and pepper to finish.


3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves chopped garlic
2 shallots chopped
2 tablespoons white wine
2 gallons heavy cream
½ cup cajun seasoning
¼ container chicken gase
Slurry to thicken; salt and pepper to taste
In a sauce pot, sauté garlic and shallots; deglaze with white wine. Add heavy cream, chicken base, and cajun seasoning. Bring to a simmer and add slurry to thicken plus salt and pepper to taste. Strain through fine china cap.

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