Tag: Chopped

Reinvent a Middle Eastern Classic with Turkey for a Spin on Tradition

by in Recipes, Shows, November 13th, 2013

Sausage FalafelChopped Dinner ChallengeThe Chopped Dinner Challenge is a new series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!

On this week’s Chopped: Thanksgiving episode, the competitors found turkey sausage, rutabaga, green bean casserole and honey-baked ham in their appetizer round baskets. Nearly each competitor decided to make a hash with the ingredients, and most succeeded, except for one, whose execution suffered. But for this Chopped Dinner Challenge, the featured item is turkey sausage, which is an ingredient that’s great cooked on its own but even better when it’s taken out of the casing and incorporated with other ingredients to make an entirely new dish, like this Sausage Falafel with Romaine and Yogurt Sauce. This variation on a Middle Eastern classic is a great way to introduce your family to different flavors and cultures.

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Traditions of All Kinds — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, November 12th, 2013

It was Thanksgiving in the After Hours kitchen this week as Chopped judges Maneet and Chris, and host Ted, rolled up their sleeves to prepare a holiday feast in only 40 minutes, working with such classic fixings as giblet gravy, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin pie ice cream and, of course, a whole turkey. (Just like the show’s chefs, the judges were allowed an extra 10 minutes to cook on account of the whole turkey.) Thanksgiving is a holiday centered on tradition just as much as it is on food, so it’s no surprise that the judges took the timeless elements of a tried-and-true Turkey Day menu and opted to celebrate them rather than hide them.

For host-turned-competitor Ted, that meant “a very traditional Thanksgiving turkey and dressing,” he explained to Maneet, Chris and guest host Alex. To make sure he’d have time to cook such a large bird, Ted worked with only a segment of the meat and let the stuffing be a shining element on his plate. “My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is the stuffing or the dressing.” Ted said, noting that his offering was a “straight-up sage stuffing.” He added, “I tried to make it look a little nicer by putting it in a mold, which sort of worked.”

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Spiced Coconut Pot Pies for Cold-Weather Comfort

by in Recipes, Shows, November 6th, 2013

Curried Pot PiesChopped Dinner ChallengeThe Chopped Dinner Challenge is a new series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!

On this week’s Chopped: Redemption, four former competitors returned to the Chopped kitchen to try their luck again with mystery basket ingredients. In the dessert round, two chefs faced off and cooked with bubble tea, papaya, coconut butter and chocolate-covered bananas. But for this Chopped Dinner Challenge, the featured item is coconut butter, which takes a savory turn in this recipe for Curried Pot Pies. Serve these personal-size pies to your family for a comforting dinner on a chilly fall day.

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A Lesson in Transforming Unwelcome Ingredients — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, November 5th, 2013


Certain culinary tactics are required when it comes to working with an ingredient that’s not so desirable. That’s when chefs — especially Chopped competitors — pull out all the stops in the kitchen. But success isn’t guaranteed. It takes a lot of skill and creativity to transform an unwanted ingredient, whether by elevating it or disguising it. That’s exactly what the judges accomplished with the appetizer baskets from the special Chopped: Redemption episode. Marcus, Amanda and Aarón took up spots in the Chopped kitchen for an After Hours competition where they faced cooking with vegan lobster, chop suey, hot mustard and winter melon.

On the show, the competitors all made dishes that incorporated the basket ingredients rather well, whether it was a salad, soup or stir-fry. Ultimately the chef whose preparation didn’t disguise the unwanted flavor of one of the basket ingredients was chopped. The judges attacked the basket ingredients with the same fervor, knowing what mistakes not to make. Marcus and Aaron both made dishes that disguised the vegan lobster and incorporated all the basket ingredients. Amanda decided to highlight the vegan lobster with flavors that brought it up to nearly the level of actual lobster, which proved to be very successful.

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Aarón Sánchez’s Dream Tailgating Chopped Basket

by in Food Network Chef, November 5th, 2013

Aaron SanchezYou’ve seen Chopped judges dish out unapologetically honest criticism to chefs and even take their places in the kitchen while cooking on After Hours, but they’ve never before had a say in what mandatory ingredients land in the mystery baskets. While there’s no plans just yet to let the panel exercise this would-be-new power, you can be sure that some judges’ picks would be more ordinary than others, while some would likely be too demanding to ever assign to competitors.

FN Dish caught up with longtime Chopped judge Aarón Sánchez at an event hosted by Ortega, where he was celebrating the start of tailgating season and his partnership with the Mexican food company, and he told FN Dish the four ingredients he’d include in the baskets if there were to be a tailgating-themed episode of Chopped. “I would definitely put some sort of jam, like a marmalade or some sort of preserves, so you could make a barbecue sauce,” he said before adding, “I would do chicken necks for sure,” in a creative twist on the classic chicken wing. “I would do some sort of spicy [ingredient], maybe chipotles in adobo ‘cause … they’d be awesome with the marmalade,” he added. “Then I would do a blue cheese, then I would make a sauce.”

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Halibut with Soppressata and Fennel — The Chopped Dinner Challenge

by in Recipes, Shows, View All Posts, October 30th, 2013

Halibut with SoppressataChopped Dinner ChallengeThe Chopped Dinner Challenge is a new series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!

On this week’s Chopped: Competition Italiano episode, the competitors found limoncello, pasta dough, soppressata and newborn baby fish in their appetizer baskets. Except for that last ingredient, the items sound pretty standard for an Italian kitchen. During the challenge, some of the competitors got into a bit of a sticky situation with the pasta dough, which turned out to be the most difficult to transform. But for this Chopped Dinner Challenge, the featured item is the soppressata, a very flavorful Italian salami that’s much easier to use than pasta dough. It’s great eaten on its own but even better when cooked in a dish like this: Pan-Seared Halibut with Soppressata and Fennel. The recipe is perfect for either an elegant dinner party or a casual family dinner.

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Cooking, Eating and Living La Dolce Vita — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, October 29th, 2013

When you think of Italy, one of the first things that come to mind is probably the food. Then it’s imagining all the enjoyment of eating it. Just think: big bowls of pasta, plates of salami and a final celebratory toast with limoncello. Those are exactly the ingredients from the appetizer basket in this week’s episode of Chopped, which had a special Italian theme. To have their way with the ingredients, judges Amanda, Aarón and Maneet took up spots in the Chopped kitchen for an After Hours competition. They faced cooking with pasta dough, soppressata, limoncello and baby fish.

On the show, the competitors all tried making pasta in some shape or form, but not without some sticky situations. Just think about how much time you might need for rolling out pasta! Amanda and Maneet reinvented the pasta. Amanda, deciding to make a fritto misto, thought not only was she going to fry the fish, she would fry the pasta too. And Maneet wanted to turn her pasta into Mexican tostadas with an Indian twist. Only Aarón tried to make a traditional Italian pasta dish of ravioli uovo, which is pasta with an egg yolk inside. Unfortunately his attempt to make “the best pasta ever” didn’t turn out so well, so instead he switched to plan B.

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Mexican Chili with Chicken Dumplings — The Chopped Dinner Challenge

by in Recipes, Shows, View All Posts, October 25th, 2013

Spicy ChiliChopped Dinner ChallengeThe Chopped Dinner Challenge is a new series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!

On this week’s Chopped: Circus Spectacular episode, the competitors found nachos, chicken fingers, candy apples and baby corn in their entree baskets. All three remaining competitors chose to feature the chicken fingers in their dishes with the goal of reimagining the favorite kids’ food in an elevated way. This recipe for Spicy Mexican Chili with Chicken Finger Dumplings offers the same exact solution — it turns the chicken fingers into a south-of-the-border comfort food dish that the whole family can enjoy for dinner.

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Going Over-the-Top at the Big Top — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, October 24th, 2013


The circus is filled with amazing attractions and fun amusements, but lest we forget there’s also the food: corn dogs, cotton candy, peanuts, candy apples and more. This week’s episode of Chopped was a special Circus Spectacular theme, with basket ingredients that evoked the big top. Judges Alex, Scott and special guest judge Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel took up spots in the Chopped kitchen for an After Hours competition. They faced cooking with the basket ingredients from the dessert round, which included a snow cone, popcorn, a funnel cake and sour cream.

On the show, the competitors embraced the childhood fun of the dessert basket ingredients and reimagined them in unique ways. The judges followed suit and created playful dishes that exemplified the joy of going to the circus as a kid. Right off the bat, Alex decided to bake cookies and make sorbet out of the snow cone and sour cream so she could create ice cream sandwiches. She thought it best evoked the fun of “getting it all running down your hands while you’re watching the circus.”

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The Cast of Chopped Hands Out the Award for Best Bloody Mary in America

by in Events, October 21st, 2013

ChoppedWhen it comes to judging a competition, there’s no better group of discerning taste-testers to turn to than the cast of Chopped. At this Sunday’s Absolut Best Bloody Mary Brunch during the New York City Wine & Food Festival, the cast of Chopped gathered to host an elegant sit-down event, which featured food stations manned by former Chopped competitors and drink stations run by the eight finalists in Thrillist’s Search for America’s Best Bloody Mary, sponsored by Absolut Vodka. Attendees voted for the best bloody Mary and the Chopped cast picked three winners: best dressed, most creative and most original/exotic.

The big award of the day went to Kristin Alfandre from Mason’s Grill in Baton Rouge, La., wining a trip to serve at next year’s South Beach Wine &Food Festival in Miama, Fl. Her drink, called the Bloody Mason (Burn Baby, Burn!) used the classic Bloody Mary mix with Absolut Peppar vodka, horseradish, Sriracha, lemon, lime and Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces. Toppings included bacon, beef jerky straw, celery, okra, cocktail onions and a green bean.

FN Dish was on hand to capture the best brunch creations — and drinks. Read on to find out more about the winning drinks and which dishes were the standouts from former Chopped competitors.

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