All posts tagged cornmeal

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Published December 5, 2013 by jenmatteson

I love soup, and chicken tortilla soup is one of the best!  This is the perfect time of year to make soup, and as I had just made a whole chicken the day before (rustic roasted chicken), I had the perfect opportunity not only to make chicken tortilla soup, but also to make my own stock for the soup.  No worries if you don’t have your own homemade stock, store bought chicken broth or stock will do just fine.  And if your wondering what the difference is, or how to make your own, see my earlier post from this week.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup was soooo good.  While still working on his first bowl, Nate asked me if there was more.  I said he had to work on what he had in front of him, then he can think about seconds (sometimes I feel like a mother, though I have no actual children).  And he did.  And he devoured it all.  I loved the addition of the cornmeal to this soup, not only adding a little more heft, but also a slightly sweet corn flavor.  As always, adjust the vegetables to what you have in your kitchen – I used frozen bell peppers I had leftover from our wedding reception.  Also, adjust the heat to your liking.  The original recipe doesn’t call for any chilis, but I have a ton frozen from my garden over the summer, and threw in two jalapeno and one Serrano pepper.  It added a great amount of heat, without over powering the flavor of the soup.  This is an excellent wintertime comfort food and would be fantastic for entertaining.  Just set up a bunch of accoutrements for everyone to make their own creation!Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Source: Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Servings: 6-8


olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup bell pepper (I used a mixture of yellow, red and orange), diced
3 jalapeno or Serrano chilis (completely omit or adjust for little to no heat)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1-10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
32 oz low sodium chicken broth (I used homemade chicken stock)
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups water
2-15 oz cans black beans, drained (I used dried black beans, cooked, about 3 cups)
3 tbsp cornmeal
5 corn tortillas, cut into uniform strips around 2-3 inches


1. Heat one tbsp olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onions, peppers and garlic and cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add chicken, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, crushed red pepper and salt.  Cook until spices become fragrant, about 2 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, water and black beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 45 minutes uncovered.

3. Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water, then pour into soup.  Simmer for 30 minutes longer.  Check seasonings and adjust to taste.  Turn of heat and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.  5 minutes before serving, add tortilla strips.  Serve and garnish as desired (avocado, cilantro, cheese, onions, sour cream, etc.).

Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings with Chipotle Mayo Dipping Sauce

Published April 16, 2013 by jenmatteson

I love a good onion ring.  And I’m quite finicky about how I like them.  I don’t want them too crispy, but certainly not soggy or limp.  The outside needs to be salty with a good crunch, but the onion inside should be cooked all the way through, but still have a slight bite to it.  Furthermore, the breading must have some flavor, not just any old gooey batter or breading.  And last, I need a good dip with my onion rings.  I do not accept ketchup or marinara.  I like a spicy mayo to dip these golden rings into.

Onion Rings

That being said, I have had a hard time choosing an onion ring recipe to fulfill my 30 Before 30 item.  Last week, there was a new member on my What’s Cooking board, Courtney, so I headed over to her blog, Cook Like a Champion, to see what kind of cool stuff she had.  So many things looked amazing, but her Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings caught my eye right away.  The cayenne and thyme in the breading paired with the cornmeal sounded like a great fit for my onion ring ramifications!

Onion Rings

Turns out, they were awesome!  Not too heavy, the breading stuck to the onions, and just one large yellow onion was more than enough rings for 4 people.  Sadly, I had to keep them in the oven longer than 30 minutes (while we were waiting for Nate’s ribs to be done – post soon to come), so when I finally served them, they were cracker crumbly.  When I test made them earlier in the day, Nate basically tried to eat the entire plate in one handful after his first bit.  Even when I did get to serving them before dinner, they were gone like hot cakes.  I’ll have to make it up to my future parent’s-in-law for round two of onion rings.  Can that ever be a bad thing?  I served them with my chipotle mayo, which was the perfect dip for these rings.  A wonderful first taste of Cook Like a Champion.  Thanks Courtney!

Onion Rings

Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings with Chipotle Mayonnaise

Source: Adapted from Cook Like a Champion
Servings: 6-8


1 large yellow or spanish onion
2 cups buttermilk
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1-2 tsp hot sauce
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
4-6 cups vegetable oil or peanut oil


1. Slice of the top and root end of the onion and carefully peel off the brown skin.  Slice into 1/2 – 3/4 inch slices, and separate into rings.

2. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and hot sauce.  Add onions to buttermilk and toss well to coat all onions.  Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, up to several hours.

3. In a shallow dish, combine flour, cornmeal, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, cayenne and thyme.  Whisk together so all ingredients are evenly incorporated.

4. Heat oil in large dutch oven or large pot to 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, prepare baking sheet with foil.  One at a time, remove onions from the buttermilk, and dredge in flour/cornmeal mixture.  Completely coat outside and inside of ring and tap off any excess.  Place ring on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining onions.

5. Prepare another baking sheet with paper towels and place next to oil.  Once oil is heated to 350, drop in a few onion rings at a time, making sure not to crowd the pot.  Fry until rings are golden brown, flipping over every so often.  They should take about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from oil and place on paper towel lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt immediately.  If you are not serving these right away, place in oven at 200 degrees.  They should remain crisp for about 30 minutes.  I don’t suggest any longer because mine were cracker crisp and crumbly…just a little too crispy.  Serve with chipotle mayonnaise, or other desired dipping sauce.

%d bloggers like this: