POTATO SKINS WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS & CHEESE
8 russet potatoes (about 3 lb/1.5 kg total weight), scrubbed and patted dry
4 tablespoons (2 oz/60 g) butter, melted
FOR THE ONION & CHEESEFILLING
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
6 oz (190 g) crumbled goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, and
place on a baking sheet. Bake until fork-tender, about 1 hour. Remove and let cool
slightly, then cut in half lengthwise and remove the flesh, leaving ¼ inch (6 mm)
around the perimeter. Reserve the potato flesh for another use.
Preheat the broiler. Place the potato skins in a single layer on a baking sheet
and brush both sides with butter. Broil 4 minutes, turn over, and continue to
broil until the edges are golden brown, about 4 minutes longer.
To make the filling, in a frying pan over high heat, warm the oil and butter.
Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and sauté, stirring often, until
softened, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring
occasionally, until deep brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and thyme
and cook for 10 minutes. Spoon the onions into the potato skins, then divide
the goat cheese over the top. Return the filled skins to the broiler and cook just
until the cheese is melted, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve.
PANCETTA & CHEDDAR In a frying pan over medium heat, fry 10 oz (315 g)
diced pancetta until crispy. Divide the pancetta, 3 chopped green onions, and
2 cups (8 oz/250 g) shredded Cheddar cheese among the skins.
TOMATO, CHIVES & GRUYÈRE Divide 6 diced Roma tomatoes, 1∕4 cup
(1∕3 oz/10 g) chopped fresh chives, and 2 cups (8 oz/250 g) shredded Gruyère
cheese among the skins.
REUBEN Divide ¼lb (125 g) sliced corned beef, 2 cups (16 oz/1 kg) sauerkraut,
1 cup (8 oz/250 g) Thousand Island dressing, and 8 halved slices Swiss cheese
among the skins.
TEXAS BEEF CHILI
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 lb (2 kg) boneless beef chuck roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bottle (12 oz/375 ml) lager beer
1 cup (250 ml) beef broth or water
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
Shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped red onions, sour cream, and minced jalapeño chiles for serving
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and heat, stirring often, until toasted (you may see a wisp of smoke), about 1 minute. Transfer to a mortar and finely grind with a pestle (or use a spice grinder). Transfer to a bowl and add the chile powder, paprika, and oregano. Mix well and set aside.
Cut the beef into 1∕2-inch (12-mm) cubes. Season with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. In batches to avoid crowding, add the beef cubes and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Add the onion, jalapeño, bell pepper, and garlic and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Uncover, add the spice mixture, and stir well for 30 seconds. Stir in the beer and broth. Return the beef to the pot, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the beef is fork-tender, 1½–2 hours.
Remove the chili from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Return the pot to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Transfer about 1∕2 cup (125 ml) of the cooking liquid to a small bowl, add the cornmeal, and whisk well. Stir into the chili and cook until lightly thickened, about 1 minute.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the chili into warmed bowls and serve hot, with bowls of Cheddar, onions, sour cream, and jalapeños on the side for sprinkling on top.