It'd been awhile since my last turn doing a deRosier Chopped Challenge, so I invited Jonna over and asked Steve and Trevor to shop for the mystery ingredients. As a fun twist, I requested that one of the ingredients fit my 43 New-to-Me birthday challenge, a food I'd never tried before.
Here were the items in my basket:
As you can see, my four ingredients are steak, Kraft Mac n Cheese, Dry Roasted Premium Black Edamame (which is a new-to-me food), and a single unripe peach. (You may recall that the very first Chopped basket they gave me contained unripe plums. Sigh. At least there were two. One peach for four people?)
I diced the peach and left it to macerate in brown sugar, then turned my attention to the edamame. I love green, soft, slightly-salty, boiled edamame and wasn't sure how this black roasted version would compare. I tasted some and was pleased that they were delicious. They reminded me more of pistachios than soy, so I treated them as if they were nuts. I chopped them and thought about how I could use them as a crunchy element in my dish.
I turned my attention back to the peach. I diced up some pears that we had on hand and added a little bit of cinnamon. The whole time I worked, Trevor peppered me with questions. "Chef Mommy, what is your plan for the unripe peach?" "Chef Mommy, I see that you've chosen to chop the edamame. How will you be incorporating it?" "Chef Mommy, will you be putting brown sugar on anything besides the fruit? I like brown sugar." And, "Chef Mommy, I am going to have to mark you down in points if you don't use the macaroni noodles AND the cheese sauce."
As he continued his commentary, I used a biscuit cutter to make personal-size rounds of pie dough and put a heap of pear/peach mixture on top.
I added a second piece of pie dough, and crimped the edges with a fork. I dusted them with cinnamon sugar. I sliced the leftover scraps of pie dough, dusted them with nutmeg and put them on the same pan with the mini pies. I put the pan into the oven and turned my attention back to the entree.
As I sliced the steaks, I thought about what to do with the mac n cheese. By far, this was the most difficult ingredient. I combined the powdered cheese with just enough water to dissolve it, then beat in whole milk until it was thin and the cheese wasn't so concentrated. I made a roux to thicken it slightly, then set it aside.
I experimented with crusting the meat with the edamame, but it didn't work at all. Time for something different. I pulled a tube of prepared polenta from the fridge and cut it into slices. I pressed the chopped edamame into each slice, then fried them in butter.
It worked. The edamame actually stayed in place.
I seasoned the beef and did a quick saute, then it was time to assemble. I put a bed of greens on each plate, then rested two polenta rounds next to it. I drizzled the cheese sauce onto the greens, then topped that with slices of beef. Finally, I sprinkled the nutmeg pie crust pieces on top like croutons.
The judges were excited to dig in.
I'm happy to report that dinner was a success! For the most part, the judges were pleased with my use of the mystery ingredients and thought the meal was tasty. Trevor marked me down a bit for not using the macaroni noodles, plus he felt that my use of the steak was too expected.
For dessert, each person got a personal peach/pear pie, plus some extra of the filling. It was a hit.
Another successful deRosier Chopped Challenge!