Thanksgiving Recipe: Chicken Mole Enchiladas

Chicken Mole Enchiladas

Featuring Maple Leaf Jalapeno Jack & Mozzarella Co. Queso Blanco with Chiles

From Chef Andres A. Barrera of City Winery

They do things a little differently for Thanksgiving in the Barrera household, and at Murray’s we support that. After all, what is Thanksgiving about if not family tradition and indulgence in delicious food? We would certainly be thankful to be served these enchiladas any day of the year.

2 QT water

½ carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

¼ Spanish onion, peel off

1 bay leaf, whole

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

2 Tablespoons olive oil

½ cup Spanish onion, diced small

1 clove garlic, minced

2 cups canned tomatoes, smooshed by hand

1 small canned chipotle pepper, minced

½ cup Maple Leaf Jalapeno Jack cheese, grated

6 corn tortillas

½ cup mole poblano base *found in any respectable Mexican grocery store*

1 cup chicken broth

½ cup Mozzarella Company Queso Blanco with Chiles

Salt & Pepper

  1. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a saucepot, bring to a boil 2qts of water, the chopped carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf & 1½ Table spoons of salt.  Add the chicken breast and cook until still slightly pink in the center, think “mid-rare”.
  3. In a smaller saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium flame & add the small diced onion & minced garlic.  Cook for about 4 minutes allowing to brown only very slightly.  Add the minced chipotle & smooshed can tomatoes along with some juice from the tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  4. Reduce heat to low & allow to slowly cook until the chicken breast is finished cooking in the other pot.
  5. Remove the vegetables & the breast from cooking liquid and set aside 1 cup of the remaining chicken flavored broth.
  6. Carefully hand shred the hot chicken breast into long thick strips. Evenly divide the shredded chicken amongst the 6 corn tortillas. Sprinkle a generous amount of the Maple Leaf Jalapeno Jack cheese over the chicken. 
  7. Remove the tomato sauce from the stove & pour ½ of the sauce into an oven safe baking pan. Roll the tortillas into “flute” shapes and place flap side down into the tomato sauce lined dish.  Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the enchiladas and place into preheated oven for 8 minutes.
  8. In a small saucepan, bring to a boil, 1 cup of the reserved chicken broth.  Add ½ cup mole base & stir until the mole is thoroughly dissolved & has the consistency of melted chocolate.
  9. Carefully remove the enchiladas from the oven and transfer to plates.  Pour your desired amount of mole sauce over the enchiladas and crumble Cojita cheese over the top.
  10. Serve & enjoy!

Yields Six Enchiladas

Thanksgiving Recipe: Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

Featuring Fiore Sardo

by Chef Shea Gallante, as seen in NY Magazine

This recipe was featured in the November 1st issue of NY Magazine. The addition of smoked sheep milk cheese makes it an even more decadent version of the classic Thanksgiving favorite.

10 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 sticks butter
2 cups heavy cream
2 star anise
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. whole mace skins
1 tsp. white peppercorns
1 vanilla bean, split
1 garlic clove
3 sage leaves
2 oz. Fiore Sardo, grated
1 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows
Sea salt and pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 295°. Poke holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork. Set potatoes on a 10-inch square of aluminum foil, and brush with maple syrup. Place 1 tablespoon of butter on top of each, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap each potato in foil and seal tightly. Bake wrapped potatoes in the oven for about 40 to 60 minutes, until fork-tender.

In a saucepan, add the cream, spices, vanilla bean, garlic, and sage, and heat to just below a simmer. Remove mixture from heat, season with salt and pepper, and cover, allowing mixture to steep. After about 30 minutes, strain the cream. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining butter and cook until just before it starts to brown.

Scoop the potatoes out of their skins and into a large saucepan. With a hand mixer, mash the potatoes on low for about 2 to 3 minutes. Allow the mixture to sit uncovered for 10 minutes. Slowly add the cream and melted butter to the potatoes, and blend with the hand mixer.

Spread the potato mixture into a baking dish, and sprinkle with the smoked cheese. When ready to serve, place the potatoes under the broiler until the top is golden brown. Remove, add the marshmallows, and return to the broiler to gratinée the marshmallows to a toasted brown (watching carefully to avoid burning). Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Murray’s Goes Global: Buffalo Will

Murray’s Grand Central Store Director, Will Whitlow, took a trip this October to Salone del Gusto in Northern Italy. On his trip he made a stop at Quattro Portoni, one of Italy’s premier water buffalo farms.

What comes to mind when you think of Italian cheese?  The great cow’s milk cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano?  Or the thousands of sheep milk pecorinos?  Eventually you will probably think of mozzarella from the south of Italy.  But is it really made from water buffalo milk?  You can’t imagine how often we’re asked just that.  Yes, the large, black, big-horned and wooly creatures produce astounding milk for cheesemaking.

Last week, I visited a unique farm in the province of Bergamo in Lombardy called Quattro Portoni.  In the last 10 years, the Gritti brothers, Alfio and Bruno, have transformed their family’s cow dairy into one of the standout water buffalo dairies in Italy.  Located in the heart of the Taleggio-making area, they were looking to distinguish their farm from those that sell milk to the big cheese plants that surround them.  Bringing the southern tradition of water buffalo to the north was exactly the right choice.

Quattro Portoni, or Four Gates, is named after the 13th century gates into their moat-encircled town of Cologno al Serio.  And a couple of their new, modern cheeses carry the names of those ancient, individual gates…Casatica and Moringhello.  Quadrello is their spin on Taleggio, the classic cheese of their region.  It’s creamy, sometimes gooey and always rich and a bit pungent.  Gran Bu, the big buffalo, is just that, a physically big and big flavored firm cheese with sweet and nutty overtones.

One thousand water buffalo live on the farm.  Of those, 270 are being milked for cheesemaking.  Since water buffalo only give about two gallons of milk per day (cows can give up to four gallons), it takes many more water buffalo to have enough milk for a thriving cheese business.  Everything from breeding to calving happens on the Quattro Portoni farm, and most of the crops they feed the buffalo are grown there too, with the addition of some of the spent barley from the beer producer down the road. Theirs is a fairly self-sustainable operation.

The day of my visit, the pristinely clean and shiny cheesemaking room was busy with 2 cheesemakers and 4 helpers making Blu di Bufala, their cube-shaped blue with light veining, a rich, fatty mouthfeel and a minerally tang at the finish.  The buffalo had been milked at 4pm the previous day and 4am that morning.  The milk from both milkings was pasteurized and in the vat by 6am.  They work in three small open vats because buffalo milk is a bit more delicate and feeble than cows.  It’s easier on the milk to work it in small batches.  The milk for Blu di Bufala is coagulated and cut in the vat, then the curds are drained on worktables (the whey is used for fresh ricotta).  Once the curds have drained, they are cut into slabs about 1″x3″x8″ and layered loosely into the forms.  This is a laborious task and all of the cheesemakers and helpers must work together quickly to get all of the curds into forms.  Once all of the forms are full, they will rest for a few hours, be flipped twice and left to sit at room temperature overnight while gas is produced inside the “wheel” making little spaces for the blue to grow.  The following day, they’ll be flipped again and brined.  About 120 wheels were made from this batch and they are now aging in the farm’s temperature and humidity controlled aging rooms.

 

This is old-school, hands-on cheesemaking.  The cheese plant down the road making 100 times more cheese has the same number of cheesemakers.  Machines cannot make cheeses like those produced by Quattro Portoni.

Recipe: Grana Padano, Watercrewss, Fig and Walnut Salad

We’re Grana Padano-crazy this month!  Kick your salads up a notch with this perfect-for-fall recipe using one of our favorite nutty cheeses.

Serves 4

1/3 C walnut halves

2 T soft brown sugar

2 T balsamic vinegar

6 figs, quartered

1/3 C watercress, thick stems removed

2 T Grana Padano shavings

1 T olive oil

  1. Heat a frying pan and toast the walnuts until they turn golden brown.  Remove from the pan.
  2. In the same hot pan, sprinkle the sugar and leave to melt over a high heat before pouring in the balsamic vinegar—it will bubble rapidly.
  3. Add the figs and cook for 1-2 minutes in the caramel.  Take off the heat.
  4. Divide the watercress between four plates and pour the juices over the figs.
  5. Sprinkle with the walnuts and shavings of Grana Padano and finally the olive oil.  Serve immediately.

From the farm to your screen: A taste of Ireland’s Ardrahan

This fall, Murray’s is jumping the pond to find the next big cheese! Our staff are popping in on cheesemakers and artisan food producers all over Ireland, Spain, the UK and Italy to make cheese, taste cheese, and come back to New York to share stories and tastes with you. In our first installment, Louise Geller takes you on a tour of Ardrahan Farmhouse Cheese in the south of Ireland.

When you’ve spent years enjoying a particular cheese as often as possible – in quick snatches from the counter, with a killer wine or beer pairing in the classroom, on a cheeseboard at home with friends and family – it is a singular experience to walk into the room where all of that cheese originated.

This was on my mind as Jason (my colleague and partner in cheese on this trip) and I made our way south from County Tipperary to County Cork on a sunny Wednesday morning. Though rain had pounded for hours on the roof of the 18th century farmhouse where we’d spent the night, we were blessed with clear skies as we drove past untold numbers of sheep and cows happily munching on Ireland’s endless greenery.

It was midmorning when we pulled up to Ardrahan Farmhouse Cheese in Kanturk, and Mary Burns greeted us with the traditional Irish hospitality that we would come to know and love over our weeklong visit. Mary is part of a third generation of dairy farmers: the family’s herd of Friesian cows was first registered in 1925. Their transition into cheesemaking comes from admirable roots: In the 1960’s, Mary’s husband Eugene was dissatisfied with the quality of cultured milk products available for his family, so he started making fresh yogurt, sour cream and cheese with the milk from his own herd. Twenty years later, in 1983, he and Mary founded Ardrahan Farmhouse Cheese and started producing their outstanding product on a commercial level.

Today, Ardrahan is a modest but sophisticated facility. To begin our day, Mary outfitted us in hairnets and shoe covers and took us into the cheesemaking room. Twenty minutes prior to our arrival, the cheesemakers had added rennet to their vats of milk — so we were just in time to watch them cut the curd and mold it. The head cheesemaker, Pauline, gave us each a sample of freshly cut curds from the vat–they were slippery, sweet and incredibly fresh – and ready to become one of my favorite cheeses! Since Ardrahan is a moist cheese, the curds are cut into relatively big pieces. We watched as the cheesemakers scooped up the curds with buckets and deposited them into the molds, which had been neatly lined up on a table that runs through the center of the room. The cheese is lightly pressed (the mold and the press give the rind its distinctive lined appearance) and then brined in large vats before it is transferred to the caves. Jason and I were surprised to learn that Ardrahan is only washed a few times after it is made. Many washed-rind cheeses are washed several times per week throughout the aging process, but it turns out that Ardrahan only needs a few initial washings to develop its pungent aroma – based on the high stink factor when we receive our Ardrahan at Murray’s, those are some active b. linens being cultivated!

Our tour included a stop at the Ardrahan aging rooms, which were filled with the gorgeous co-mingling smells of milk and the ocean. We saw Ardrahan at several different stages of the aging process, from cheese that had been aging just a few days to a few weeks. The transformation is remarkable.

By this time, we were dying for Mary to cut into one of the promising orange rounds. However, this being the land of Irish Hospitality, we waited until we were comfortably resting in the beautiful dining room of Mary’s home, with a freshly brewed pot of tea on the table. Then and only then, Mary cut into a wheel of Ardrahan that was made only two and a half weeks prior to our visit. In the states, Ardrahan is typically aged at least eight weeks, so having such a young wheel was a unique and exciting opportunity. The rind was already fairly aromatic, although the paste had a ways to go before breaking down into the pudding-like texture that we usually find at Murray’s. In fact, the center of my piece practically crumbled into curdy pieces, reminding me that just a short time ago this very bite had been a handful of glistening curds in the vat we had just visited. The Irish market prefers Ardrahan at around this age, while Mary says that most folks overseas prefer a more aged cheese that’s stronger and stinkier. As for me, I now think I can safely say there isn’t an age of Ardrahan I don’t love, though I would most prefer to do my Ardrahan snacking 100 yards from where the cheese is made, at Mary Burns’ table with a pot of tea, with the very cows who provide the milk strolling by outside.

Taste Ardrahan with Louise & Jason on October 19th!