Apple Pie Bars


Reprinted with permission from Two Chicks from the Sticks: Back Home Baking by Jill Schwalbe Means and Jamie Greenland Gorey (2011, Living the Country Life)

Yield: 24 bars
8 cups cored, peeled and thinly sliced apples (you can use Gala, Pink Lady, or Fiji for a sweet filling or Granny Smith for a tart filling)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or butter flavored shortening, cold
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1/4-1/3 cup milk
1 cup crushed cornflakes or graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons soft butter for dotting onto filling
1 egg white, beaten lightly
1 tablespoon sugar
Glaze (recipe below)

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Grease a 15 x 10-inch baking pan; set aside.
To prepare apple filling, place apple slices into a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add dry mixture to apples and toss well; set aside. (Prepare the filling first and let it rest while making the crust so the sugar and cinnamon have time to permeate the apples.)
To prepare pastry,* in a large bowl sift together flour and salt. Cut in butter or shortening until pea-size clumps form. In a liquid measuring cup, beat egg yolk; add enough milk to measure to 2/3 cup and mix well. Add milk mixture all at once to flour mixture; stir with a fork until combined. On a floured surface, roll a little bit more than half of the dough into an 18 x 12-inch rectangle. Transfer rectangle to prepared pan. Sprinkle crust with crushed cornflakes. Spread apple filling evenly over cornflakes. Dot apples with softened butter.
On a floured surface, roll out remaining dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. Dot water around edges of the bottom crust. Place top crust over apples, press edges of crusts together, and trim excess crust. Brush top with egg white; sprinkle with sugar; cut six 2-inch long slits in the top of the pastry. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the filling begins to bubble through the slits in the top crust. Drizzle Glaze over bars while still warm. Cool on wire rack.

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
To prepare glaze, in a small bowl combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.
*Our pastry can be substituted with 2 individual store-bought pie crusts. If using, grease a 15-inch round pizza pan, instead of the rectangular one. On a floured surface, roll out 1 pie crust into a 16-inch circle. Transfer to prepared pizza pan and proceed with method for cornflakes, apple filling, and soft butter.
On a floured surface, roll out second crust into a 16-inch circle and continue with recipe.

Known in Greek as “the food of the gods,” the vibrant orange persimmon reaches its peak as temperatures cool in late November. Persimmons come in two commercial varieties, the hachiya and the fuyu. The hachiya persimmon is the most common of the varieties, accounting for the vast majority of persimmons sold in the United States. The acorn-shaped hachiya is best eaten when bright orange and soft, with a sweet jelly-like texture. Because of their strong acidic flavor and odd texture, hachiya persimmons are used mostly for baking, though they can be consumed raw.

Though not as popular, the fuyu variety (pictured at left), which resembles a tomato, has a sweeter, less acidic taste and can be enjoyed while it is still firm. Fuyu persimmons are often served raw, by themselves or as a lively addition to a fruit salad.

Most persimmons are sold before they have ripened to preserve their shelf life. They ripen quickly and are only enjoyable for a few days after they ripen. To keep persimmons fresh, they may be stored in the refrigerator before they are allowed to ripen at room temperature. Persimmons may also be frozen and allowed to defrost and ripen.

Here are some great persimmon recipes to enjoy with both varieties:

Spinach with Fuyu Persimmon and Prosciutto
4 oz. spinach
1 fuyu persimmon (peeled, pitted and chopped into bite-sized pieces)
8 oz. prosciutto (cut into strips)
Blue cheese crumbles
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Wash spinach and place in a large bowl. Add persimmon, prosciutto and blue cheese. In a separate bowl, mix olive oil, vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper. Pour over salad.

(I added a little red onion and some French bread croutons to this for a bit of extra crunch, and you can also add nuts, such as pistachios.)

Fall Fruit Salad
1 fuyu persimmon, peeled and cubed
1 kiwi, peeled and cubed
8 oz. pomegranate seeds
1 Golden Delicious (or similarly sweet) apple, peeled and cubed
1 bunch red grapes
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Peel and cube persimmon, kiwi and apple. Mix in large bowl with pomegranate seeds and grapes. Sprinkle lemon juice on top and toss.

Persimmon Cookies from, using Hachiya Persimmons.

Compiled and written by Rachel Bunn. 

So much work goes into creating the perfect Thanksgiving feast - setting a beautiful table, seasoning and roasting a juicy, golden bird, conducting a symphony of side dishes so that they all are piping hot at just the right time, choosing the right wines to complement, and baking a sweet finale. Aren’t you a bit exhausted just reading that last sentence?

And then, in a matter of minutes, the meal is enjoyed and reduced to an often-vilified and almost always under-appreciated word: leftovers.  

Enter Chef Hilary White of The Hil at Serenbe (, who offers two recipes that put a spin on the traditional leftover route of a cold turkey sandwich. First, she shares her recipe for Eggs Soufflé, which you can customize based on what you have available - a perfect way to use roasted turkey or even asparagus from the day before. “I really enjoy the eggs souffle because it's such a good one the morning after,” White says. “Garnish it with a greens salad, and a little cranberry sauce and it's perfect!” She also shares her recipe for one of her signatures - Chicken Pot Pie. Her recommendation? “Subbing turkey meat for chicken and gravy and stock for veloute would all be quite tasty.” Enjoy... and Happy Thanksgiving!

Eggs Soufflé
10 Portions

2 cup Whole Milk
1cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Half and Half
12 Eggs
½ Loaf Egg Bread or Brioche, Crust Removed and Cubed
Salt and Pepper
Internal Garnish of Choice

Place cubed bread and garnish(es) in 9x13 baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients for the royal. Pour royal over garnish or garnishes. Bake at 325F until set, 30-45 minutes.

Garnish Recommendations: turkey, sausage, bacon, cheeses, herbs, leeks, mushrooms, tomatoes, crab, lobster, zucchini, squash, asparagus and more! *Garnishes are best cooked.

Chicken Pot Pie
Four Individual Servings

For The Chicken (NOTE: if using leftover turkey, skip this step)
 1 Each Whole Chicken, 2 - 2.5 pounds
Salt and Pepper

Heat oven to 425F. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken in oven and roast until dark golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven and cool.Remove and discard skin. Pick all meat from bones and set aside.

For The Stock
Chicken Bones (OR Turkey Bones)
1 Large Can Low Sodium Chicken Broth
½ Onion, Chopped
2 each two inch Pieces of Carrot
2 each two inch Pieces of Celery
1 Bay Leaf
4 Peppercorns
1 Sprig Fresh Thyme

Place chicken bones in a pot. Cover with low sodium chicken broth. Add all other ingredients and simmer one hour. Strain and set aside.

For The Roux
¼ Cup Clarified Butter
2 oz Flour..By Weight

Heat clarified butter. Stir in flour. Cook 3-4 minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly so that there are no lumps. Cool. 
For The Veloute (NOTE: Can use leftover gravy instead of Veloute, diluted a bit with Chicken Stock)
1 qt. Chicken Stock
4 oz Roux
Heat chicken stock.Stir in cold roux. Strain and set aside NOTE: When making veloute, roux must be cold and stock must be hot.

For The Pastry Top

Place dry ingredients in a bowl. Add butter and shortening. Working by hand, mix until crumbly. Slowly add water until dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic and chill one hour. Roll dough on a floured surface until ¼” thick. Cut to fit your final baking dish. Bake at 350F until light golden brown and set aside.

For The Vegetables
Select seasonal vegetables (NOTE: these could be leftover, cooked vegetables) and cook them gently, prior to assembly: 
Winter: Parsnips and Greens
Spring:Peas and Carrots
Summer: Corn and Potatoes
Fall: Squashes
Heat oven to 450F. Place four oven-proof bowls on a cookie sheet. Place chicken and seasonal vegetables in each bowl. Cover with veloute. Place in oven. Remove bowls from oven when edges bubble. Place pastry tops in oven, to warm. Remove pastry tops and place on bowl. Serve & enjoy! 
A guest post by Doug Bryant, owner of Sherlock’s Wine Merchant

The cooler days of fall have arrived and it’s time to start thinking about the holidays. America’s most food and table-centered holiday, Thanksgiving is a time for sharing and recognizing the many blessings in our lives. And with the multitude of flavors found on any given table on Thanksgiving Thursday it’s no wonder folks often come to us with the query: Which wine do I serve for Turkey Day?

Right off the bat, we’ll offer this disclaimer – while Grandmother’s turkey may be too dry, your wine should not!
To begin, select something sparkling and light - with some fruity overtones that will cleanse the palate and begin things deliciously (this wine could also be poured throughout the remainder of the meal should you so desire). Our choice: Clairette de Die ($20), a natural sparkling white wine from the Rhône Valley region in France. This zippy blend of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Clairette is characterized by peach and apricot flavors with rose and honeysuckle aromas. Serve chilled with a variety of first courses including oysters on the half-shell, crab, salad with dried fruit, lobster or pumpkin bisque or an assortment of cheeses.

In the still white wine department, there are two varietals worth seeking out - Oregon Pinot Gris and classic Alsatian Gewurztraminer. Both offer nice acidity along with a fruit presence (not overbearing or sweet) to accompany turkey and the side dishes typically found at Thanksgiving including sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green beans, dressing, etc... These wines come to the table with fruit up front and a little bit of zing on the finish. Chances are, to the trained palate, they will taste more expensive than their price tags. Cristom Pinot Gris ($20) from the Willamette Valley in Oregon or Trimbach Gewurztraminer ($20) are both good choices.

Riesling is also a good alternative in the still white wine category. The Selbach Oster ($23) Riesling Spatlese is an excellent choice. While most people think of Riesling as a sweet wine, this one is dry and has a delicate texture with apple, lime and spice flavors. Balanced and vibrant, on the juicy side, with a mouthwatering finish, it is a perfect counterpoint to turkey!

If you typically consider red wine to be the hero of Thanksgiving dinner, lots of good options await. Traditionally, Beaujolais, with its jammy Gamay grape (not to be confused with Noveau Beaujolais, its younger cousin) or Pinot Noir- the classic “food wine” make excellent selections for Thanksgiving. Our picks include a fantastic value from American-born French winemaker Alex Gambal Cuvee Les Deux Papis ($25.99) or an import of Gamay from Morgon under our house label J. Sanders (a steal at $15). Both wines present good body and fruit to compliment without overpowering the assortment of flavors on the plate.  Another great choice would be the Banshee Pinot Noir ($20) from Sonoma County. Pinot is a truly versatile food wine and will go with just about anything. This sexy number from two great Sonoma County growing regions (Russian River and Petaluma Wind Gap) will accentuate bold flavors without stealing the show.

And speaking of stealing the show – we thought we might throw in a little dessert action to put things over the top. A noteworthy hostess gift, or contribution to the sweet ending of the meal can be found in a bottle of Sauterne. Classic dessert wine, it exhibits nuttiness, ripe peaches, apricots and perfectly complements pecan, pumpkin or apple pie. The Chateau Suduiraut (a splurge at $50) is a perfect example and will complete the Thanksgiving feast on a high note.

For more information about Thanksgiving wines, or to consult with a wine expert, please contact us at – and Happy Holidays!

If the thought of letting someone else do the cooking this Thanksgiving sounds appealing, one of our picks from around town might be just the ticket. Whether you're looking to dine out (and even let someone else do the cleaning) or to pick up some goodies to go with your homemade offerings, there are plenty of options in and around Atlanta to make this Thanksgiving truly stress-free. 


Food 101: A special “family-style” Thanksgiving will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. $42/adult, $21/child, Free/5 & Under.
4969 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342-2680 

Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta and Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead: Both locations of the Ritz-Carlton will be serving a Thanksgiving brunch and a Thanksgiving dinner. Reservations required.
Brunch from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: $70/adult, $35/child;
Dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m: $65/adult, $30/child
181 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta, 30303 USA
Brunch from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: $99/adult, $39/child;
Dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: $99/adult, $39/child
3434 Peachtree Road, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30326

Lobby Bar and Bistro: Lobby will be serving a Thanksgiving buffet from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. $49/adult, $17/child, Free/5 & Under.
TWELVE Hotel and Residences, 361 17th Street, Atlanta, GA 30363

103 West: The ninth annual Thanksgiving dinner will be held from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 103 West. Minimum of four guests and reservations required. $69/adult, $35/12 & Under, Free/6 & Under.
103 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30305

Villa Christina: The Tuscan restaurant will serve a special Thanksgiving brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations required. $45/adult, $25/child, Free/5 & Under.
4000 Summit Boulevard,
Atlanta, GA 30319

The Sundial Restaurant: A fixed three-course Thanksgiving menu will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Reservations required. $51/person.
210 Peachtree St, Atlanta, GA 30303

Kurt’s Bistro: The German bistro will serve a Thanksgiving buffet with seating times from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. $45/person.
3305 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard Suite 100, Duluth, GA 30096

Wildfire Restaurant: Wildfire will be serving a special “family-style” menu from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. A portion of the day’s proceeds will benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Carry-out is also available. $34.95/adult, $14.95/child.
94 Perimeter Center West at Perimeter Mall, Atlanta, GA 30346


Star Provisions: Provisions To Go is offering "Turkeys & Fixin’s" take-out meals. Orders must be placed by Nov. 19. Pick-up is Nov. 23.
1198 Howell Mill Road Suite 100, Atlanta, GA 30318
404.365.0410, ext. 131

Serpas True Food: Serpas True Food is offering a take-out Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings (and lots of choices!). Orders must be placed by Nov. 21. Pick-up is Nov. 23. $100/four-person meal, $135/four-person fried turkey meal, $175/eight-person meal, $225/eight-person fried turkey meal.
659 Auburn Ave. #501, Studioplex, Atlanta, GA 30312

Murphy’s Restaurant: Murphy’s will be offering a take-out Thanksgiving meal. Orders must be placed by Nov. 19. Pick-up is Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. $125/four-person meal.
997 Virginia Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

Alon’s Bakery: Alon’s will be offering a take-out Thanksgiving meal. Orders must be placed by Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. Pick-up is Nov. 23 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at both locations.
Virginia Highland:
1394 North Highland Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30306
4505 Ashford Dunwoody Road NE, Dunwoody, GA 30346

Want to see what's the most convenient? Check out our interactive map below to find the simplest way to your Thanksgiving feast! 

View Thanksgiving Events in a larger map
Compiled and written by Rachel Bunn. 
Avocado, Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti
Recipe by the California Avocado Commission
Yield: 32 biscotti cookies

1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup mashed ripe avocado*
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1 tablespoon low-fat milk

In a small pan, combine cranberries and orange juice. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in orange peel and let stand until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine avocado, lemon juice and sugar. Beat for 1 minute until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, to avocado mixture, beating well until blended. Add vanilla and beat until mixed in. With beater at medium speed, add flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, scraping down bowl after each cup. Beat until blended. Mix in cranberry-orange mixture and pistachio nuts by hand, blending well.

Turn out dough onto lightly floured board. Divide mixture in half. Roll each half on board until lightly coated with flour; form into a 1/2-inch thick and 4-inch wide log. Brush top of each log with milk.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Transfer logs to cookie sheet and bake for 35 minutes. Remove logs from oven and place on cooling rack. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Slice each log into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet and arrange slices, cut side up. Bake in 300 degree oven for 15 minutes. Turn each cookie over and bake additional 15 minutes; cool. Repeat process with remaining slices. Cool and store in airtight container.

*Large California avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger avocados, adjust the quantity accordingly.

Tip: One-quarter cup mashed avocado is equivalent to approximately one quarter of a large California avocado. Remaining avocado can be used for other recipes, or when mashed, can be stored in the freezer for future use.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 90; Total Fat 2 g (Sat 0 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 0.4 g, Mono 0.8 g); Cholesterol 20 mg; Sodium 105 mg; Potassium 58 mg; Total Carbohydrates 17 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Total Sugars 7 g; Protein 2 g; Vitamin A 42 IU; Vitamin C 2 mg; Calcium 6 mg; Iron 1 mg; Vitamin D 0 IU; Folate 19 mcg; Omega 3 Fatty Acid 0 g 
% Daily Value*: Vitamin A 0%; Vitamin C 4%; Calcium 0%; Iron 4% 
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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Fresh Bites


Atlanta is brimming with fun upcoming events for foodies. Whether you’re craving a culinary outing or a delicious way to support a good cause, our list of Atlanta area offerings has you covered. 
Happy dining!

Thanksgiving Treats at Theo’s Brother’s Bakery

November 19th
Theo’s Brother’s Bakery in Crabapple

The Sedgwick Group will be offering a plethora of sweet Thanksgiving treats for you to order and share with the family. Sweets will include traditional favorites such as pumpkin pie, cranberry tarts, warm pull-apart rolls, banana nut loaves and decadent fall treats including plum-pistachio tarts, chocolate turtle truffle torte, and ciabatta leek and sage stuffing. Order ahead by November 19th at 770.740.0360.

Children’s Gingerbread House Decorating Class
December 10th, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse

Davios’ Executive Pastry Chef Kathleen Miliotis is offering a Gingerbread House Decorating Class for children of all ages. Homemade gingerbread pieces, frosting and candies will be provided to make one-of-a-kind gingerbread houses to share with family and friends for the holiday season. The class is $20 per student and space is limited. Call 404.844.4810 or contact Amy Howard at to reserve.

Glimpses of the Moon
Through November 20th
Georgia Ensemble Theatre

This romantic musical follows the whirl of New York high society in the roaring 20’s. Decide for yourself, should they marry for love or money? There are only six showings left so check out their website soon for details. For tickets and showtimes please visit or call 770.641.1260.

Master Engraver Casey Cochran
November 21st and 22nd
Beverly Bremer Silvershop

Master Engraver Casey Cochran will be in the store to hand engrave your silver purchase on November 21st and 22nd during store hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). You can shop beautiful silver items beforehand here or stop by the store to have your silver items cleaned, repaired and appraised. For more information, call 404.261.4009. 

Thanksgiving Buffet
November 24th, 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Kurt’s Bistro
Looking for a no work, no clean up holiday feast? Look no further than Kurt’s Bistro! Kurt’s will host a full Thanksgiving meal including a spiced apple cider reception, featuring a charcuterie and artisan cheese display, smoked trout, grilled autumn veggies, a raw bar, crab cakes and shrimp cocktails. The carving station will offer classic slow-roasted turkey breast, Black Angus prime rib and roasted pork loin. The addition of tasty holiday side dishes and decadent desserts round out the perfect recipe for a Turkey-day nap. Cost is $45 per person and $20 for children up to 12. Call 770.623.4128 for reservations

Wine Pairings @ Kurt’s
Kurt’s Bistro
Featuring an impressive sommelier-curated wine list, filled with new arrivals, Kurt’s offers a wine tasting every Thursday evening for $15 per person. Call 770.623.4128 for more details. 

Thanksgiving at Wildfire, Family Style
November 24th, 12 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Wildfire Steaks and Seafood
A family-style Thanksgiving feast doesn’t have to be at your home! Wildfire is offering a five course menu with traditional Thanksgiving options including cornbread, “wildorf” salad, spit roasted turkey, redskin mashed potatoes, brown sugar glazed sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. The full menu can be found at Cost is $34.95 per person, and $14.95 per child. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Call 770.730.9080. 

Early Bird Menu
5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Daily
Aspens Signature Steaks (East)
Aspens Signature Steaks is offering a special early bird menu with excellent prices. The menu includes a variety of fresh salads, entrees such as sirloin au poivre and braised short ribs, and sumptuous side dishes like three cheese and bacon macaroni and sweet potato fries. Call 678.236.1400 for reservations. 

Compiled by Sara Goodell, Flavors Magazine Editorial Assistant. 
Flavors Magazine is pleased to announce the launch of our new online content, Flavors NOW. Our team of writers, editors and photographers produce tremendous food-related content in our quarterly, printed magazine, but there’s so much happening in Atlanta and beyond that Flavors NOW will provide more current, up-to-the-minute news and commentary in between issues. 

Look out for some of our regular posts:
  • Flavors In Season: An exploration of a seasonal ingredient with links to some of our favorite tasty recipes from around the web.
  • Flavors’ Friends: Occasionally we’ll publish guest posts by chefs, sommeliers, mixologists or bloggers on topics specific to their area of expertise. It’s fun to change it up and hear from someone new!
  • Fresh Bites: A weekly roundup of our sponsors’ events, wine dinners, charity events, new menu rollouts, and more. You can typically expect to find these on Wednesdays.
  • Flavors at Home: In these posts, we’ll explore gorgeous kitchens around Atlanta and beyond, take a look at cool kitchen gadgets and offer tips on kitchen remodeling.
  • Toast of Flavors: We’ll whet your appetite by featuring great beverages (wine, beer and spirits) and giving you practical tips you can use at home.
  • Ask Flavors: Do you have a burning culinary question? Have you tasted a dish that you can’t get out of your mind and want to recreate at home? Ask Flavors ( and we will do our best to find the answer!
Stay tuned for original companion recipes to those printed in the magazine, interviews with chefs, tips on cooking techniques, culinary travel destinations, news about new restaurants and so much more. Of course, part of the beauty of an online extension of the magazine is that it’s flexible and dynamic. If there’s something you’d like to see more of, a chef you think we should consider featuring or any suggestions at all, please reach out. We’d love to hear from you! 

If you love us and want to stay in touch, be sure to connect on Twitter (@FlavorsATL) and Facebook ( We’ll occasionally offer special perks and giveaways, exclusively for our friends. 

Jennifer B. Franklin
Online Editor
Flavors NOW

Pimiento and Cheese Chilaquiles
 Reprinted with permission from The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes that Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South by Sandra A. Gutierrez (The University of North Carolina Press, 2011)

Yield: 4-6 servings

vegetable oil for frying
12 corn tortillas, each cut into 8 wedges
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pimiento Sauce 
1 1/2 cups shredded queso fresco (or Monterey Jack)
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 Haas avocados
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro (leaves and tender stems)

Line 2 baking sheets with metal cooling racks. In a large skillet with high sides, heat 2 to 3 inches of vegetable oil to 360 degrees (or use a deep fryer according to the manufacturer’s instructions). Working in batches, carefully add tortillas, stirring constantly; fry them for 3 to 4 minutes, or until crispy and a light golden color (they darken as they cool, so don’t let them get too dark). Using a slotted spoon, transfer chips to the prepared cooling racks; immediately sprinkle with salt. (This step can be completed several hours ahead or the day before assembling the final dish.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper; bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the Pimiento Sauce and remove from heat. Spread 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish. Place 1/2 of the fried chips over the sauce. Spread 1/2 of the remaining sauce over the chips; spread 1/2 of the cheese over the sauce. Repeat layering, ending with cheese; press down tortillas with a wooden spoon (don’t worry if some break). Drop sour cream by dollops all over the top of the casserole; cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil. Halve, pit and peel avocados and slice them thinly. Place slices decoratively over the top of the casserole; sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Note: The casserole can be assembled ahead of time (without the avocados and cilantro); bake it just before serving and then garnish with avocados and cilantro.

Pimiento Sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups roughly chopped yellow onion
1 cup peeled, seeded and roughly chopped plum tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 7-ounce jars diced pimientos, drained (juices reserved)
1 teaspoon aji panca paste or hot sauce (such as Tabasco®)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Pimiento Sauce
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they begin to soften; add tomatoes and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add pimientos, aji panca paste, water, reserved juices from the pimientos, salt, and pepper; bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return it to the saucepan and keep warm until ready to serve.