Chopped fans, here’s your chance to be a part of the competition. You’ll be able to choose the basket ingredients for unsuspecting chef-competitors for an upcoming episode. Food Network is giving you the opportunity to assemble the ingredients that make it into all three of the mystery baskets. It’s a special viewers’ choice episode that will take the competitors by surprise.
For the Chopped judges, there is no such thing as too bizarre a basket. They’re willing and able to take on even the weirdest one of all. And the entree round from tonight’s Chopped episode was pretty odd, to say the least, containing goat heads, flaming shiso, blue foot mushrooms and kholodets. Judges Chris Santos, Alex Guarnaschelli and Geoffrey Zakarian were excited to get their hands on these ingredients without any aversions — except for maybe Chris, who thinks, of all the ingredients, the kholodets, a Russian jellied meat dish, looks the least appetizing.
Ted Allen wonders if they have any ideas for these unusual ingredients. “I’m quite certain based on history we’re going to come up with three wildly different ideas,” Chris tells Ted about the possibilities that the basket presents. “I think this is a great basket to showcase using ingredients we might not otherwise think are going to become anything,” says Alex. With just 30 minutes on the clock, the judges get right to cooking. “It’s so serious in here,” says Ted. “You guys do know that no one is getting chopped, right?”
When you think of the word “meatballs,” what comes to mind? It’s probably something different for everyone: It could be spaghetti and meatballs or Swedish meatballs, a meatball grinder or meatballs made with something other than beef or pork. On tonight’s episode of Chopped, the chefs face cooking meatballs out of their mystery baskets in every round. And the Chopped judges decided to get in on the fun, too, taking on the appetizer basket from the show on After Hours.
Faced with the ingredients lamb shanks, fresh ginger, baby leeks and one outlier, creme brulee, the judges have 30 minutes to make a meatball dish, but each one takes a very different direction. “We have no choice but to grind this stuff,” says Scott about the lamb shanks, which can take a long time to cook. But he turns on a dime when it comes time to cook, deciding to braise the lamb shanks to make a ragu with vegetarian “meatballs” made out of spinach, leeks and ricotta.
Brunch, that between-breakfast-and-lunch mealtime, is the perfect opportunity to enjoy both sweet and savory dishes, sometimes all in one dish. And when it comes to the perfect accompanying drink, Bloody Marys are a popular choice. At this Saturday’s Chopped Best Bloody Mary Brunch at the New York City Wine and Food Festival, the judges from Chopped gathered to taste offerings from 12 finalists in Absolut’s nationwide search for the best Bloody Mary. Also on hand were former competitors from the show, who presented food pairings that ran the gamut from tried-and-true brunch classics to fusion dishes.
The award of the day, chosen by the Chopped judges, went to David Wakefield of TenOak in Texas.
Tater Tots have long been a side dish darling, with the versatility to accompany nearly any meal, from breakfast to dinner. But in this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge for Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole, those craved-after Tater Tots serve as the basket ingredient, and that means they’re being upgraded to the main dish. As the Food Network Kitchen chefs point out, this meal is a perfect, crunchy substitution for a typical pot-pie dish.
When it comes to creating a successful dessert, it’s often about striking the right balance. Cloyingly sweet is not necessarily how you want to finish a meal, especially on Chopped. When presented with a dessert basket consisting of some of the most-sugary processed items, the two finalists (a 10-year-old and an 11-year-old) on Short Order Cooks stayed mainly within the sweet confines of the basket, whereas the judges take it one step further, bringing in savory notes, but with one holdout: Geoffrey, who says, “I’m going right at the sweetness.”
“All the best restaurants in the country are sort of tilting away from excessive sweetness,” Ted infers from what Alex and Chris are saying about taking the baskets, containing banana pudding, vanilla ice cream, icing and brownie mix, in a slightly savory direction. “You could kind of just put all this together and be done,” says Alex, baking a warm brownie and topping it with a scoop of ice cream, but “the challenge is to figure out something to make that reinvents what’s here.” Chris adds, “I think that’s the only route you can go,” taking it down a savory road.
Chestnuts may typically give off a distinct holiday-season vibe, but the Food Network Kitchen chefs are changing that, looking to welcome in fall with an innovative twist. This week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, Chestnut Ravioli with Browned Butter and Thyme, replaces a beloved fall favorite, butternut squash, with a winter-esque basket ingredient, canned chestnuts. To evoke an uncanny butternut squash texture out of those chestnuts, first drain them, reserving the liquid from the can, and finely grind them. Next, add ricotta, Parmesan, the reserved liquid and an egg, and then blend for an enticing ravioli filling.
Start by heating the drained chestnuts in the microwave with water for about 3 minutes or until they’re soft. Once that’s done, add a tablespoon of the reserved liquid and finely grind the chestnuts. Then, add the Parmesan, the ricotta, and a large pinch of salt and pepper, and blend it all together. Once smooth, taste and season as needed. After, add an egg and mix until the ingredients have meshed. Put it in a mixing bowl and reserve.
Tonight one professional chef and three amateur cooks faced off in the finale of the first Chopped Ultimate Champions tournament, battling for the chance to win $50,000 and a brand-new car, the largest prize in the show’s history. Amateur cook Keith Young, hero cook Diana Sabater and celebrity cook Laila Ali all had what it takes to beat professional chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, and, in fact, one of them did just that. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winner.
We’ve watched as four returning champions have battled to earn a spot in the Chopped Ultimate Champions finale. One professional chef, one amateur cook, one hero cook and one celebrity have made it through. On the line is the biggest prize ever handed out on Chopped, $50,000 in cash and a new car. Each of these competitors has the potential to win, but only one will walk away the Ultimate Champion. Ahead of Tuesday’s finale at 10|9c, support your favorite competitor by voting for him or her in the fan poll.
Chopped, with its unconventionally combined ingredients, is all about the chefs’ creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. And this Chopped Dinner Challenge recipe for Oat Risotto with Roasted Cauliflower is certainly a dish that requires a degree of inventiveness. Because in this risotto, there isn’t any actual risotto involved. The Food Network Kitchen chefs selected steel cut oats as the basket ingredient to substitute the main ingredient — rice — and, no, they aren’t cooking up breakfast. The steel cut oats, fused with chicken broth, white wine, pungent garlic, parsley and Parmesan, serve as the perfect complement to the crisp, lightly seasoned roasted cauliflower.