So often on Chopped we see chef contestants open their mystery baskets to find such odd, uncommon and downright scary ingredients — pre-cooked pig snout, pickled beef tongue or grasshoppers, anyone? — that it can seem nearly impossible for home cooks to put them to work in everyday meals. On other episodes, however, the ingredients are far less intimidating yet not quite familiar. That’s where we come in. Each week during the brand-new season of Chopped Champions, FN Dish will break down the whats, hows and whens of an approachable, family-friendly ingredient and share deliciously simple recipes for using it, so that you can show off your best culinary chops at home. Following last Tuesday’s round-four competition, the focus is now on Greek yogurt, which made an appearance in the dessert basket alongside maraschino cherries, canned espresso and corn nuts.
Tangier than traditional yogurt, the Greek variety has undergone an extensive straining process so it’s noticeably thick and creamy, not watery in the least. Since it’s not too sweet, Greek yogurt is an easy substitute for sour cream in traditionally decadent recipes, plus it’s packed with protein so it’s a good-for-you alternative that doesn’t sacrifice flavor or texture.
Unlike, say, yuzu marmalade or calf’s liver – two ingredients recently featured on Chopped – you’ve likely tasted Greek yogurt before, whether with your morning granola or on its own as an afternoon snack. This weekend, try working in Greek yogurt to satisfying appetizer and main dish offerings like layered dip and orzo with Food Network Kitchens’ can-do recipes below. You can rely on store-bought yogurt to prep each dish, or follow Food Network Magazine‘s simple how-to to create your own Greek Yogurt (pictured above) at home. Don’t let the long time on the recipe deter you from making it; the three-step process is a cinch to master, and all but a few minutes of time spent is hands-off.
Made with classic Greek salad ingredients like cucumber, feta cheese and black olives, Food Network Kitchens’ Greek Salad Layered Dip features a substantial base of Greek yogurt, plus garlic and mint for traditional taste. Serve this quick dip with crispy pita or vegetable chips for fuss-free dunking at your next weekend get-together.
In place of heavy cream, Food Network Kitchens uses Greek yogurt to add richness and a silky texture to the pasta sauce featured in their Creamy Lemon-Pepper Orzo With Grilled Chicken. To prepare, mix in rice-shaped orzo pasta and bright peas to fat-free Greek yogurt and add crumbled goat cheese to create a filling side dish to juicy chicken.
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Tune in to the finale of Chopped Champions on Tuesday, February 12, at 10pm/9c.