by Suzanne S. Jones
My co-workers and I enjoyed the chicken tortilla soup from the Big Bear Brewing Company in Coral Springs and were wondering if they would part with the recipe. – Sandy Anderson, Coral Springs
It only took one phone call, and general manager Greg Sherman of the Big Bear Brewing Company American Grill, 1800 University Drive, Coral Springs, 954-341-5545 readily agreed to share their recipe for Tortilla Soup.
This exceptional soups begins with chopped green peppers, onions and garlic sauteed to their aromatic best in olive oil and butter. It is then thickened with some flour and finely-chopped corn tortillas, judiciously seasoned with chili powder, cumin, cayenne and black pepper and cooked to perfection in chicken stock enhanced with chicken base.
All this is pureed to a creamy consistency before cooked white chicken is added, and each serving is garnished with tortilla strips, shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses and cilantro. You must be hungry by now.
We go easy on each seasoning so feel free to add more after a final taste.
12 (6- inch) corn tortillas
1/4 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons butter
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
10 cups chicken stock*
2 heaping tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
1 pound cooked boneless, skinless white chick meat, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese mixture, for garnish
2 1/2 tablespoons coarse-chopped cilantro, for garnish
Cut 9 corn tortillas into 1-in pieces. Place some of them in a food processor fitted w ith a metal blade. Process until finely chopped. Transfer into a bowl. Repeat until they are finely chopped. Set aside.
Cut the remaining 3 tortillas into 1 by 1/4- inch strips. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for garnish.
In a large pot (ours was 5 quarts), heat the olive oil with the butter over medium-high heat.Add the green peppers, onions, and garlic. Saute about 2 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and fragrant but not browned.
Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the processed tortillas, flour, chili powder, cumin, black pepper and cayenne. Cook, stirring about 10 minutes, being careful that the mixture doesn’t burn.
Slowly add the chicken stock, stirring occasionally. When all has been added, stir in the chicken base until it dissolves. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off any foam that rises and accumulates on the surface.
Remove from the heat and let cool about 30 minutes, stirring periodically to prevent a film from forming on the surface.
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, puree the soup in as many batches as necessary until smooth. Transfer to a clean pot. Taste for seasoning, then stir in the chicken and reheat over low heat to desired temperature for serving. Can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated 2 to 3 days. Reheat over low heat just before serving.
To serve, ladle the soup into 8 warm bowls. Sprinkle a portion of tortilla strips, about 2 tablespoons shredded cheese and a teaspoon cilantro on each. Makes 8 hearty servings.
Per serving: 444 calories, 49% calories from fat, 24 grams total fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 75 milligrams cholesterol, 32 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams total fiber, 4 grams total sugars, 30 grams net carbs, 24 grams protein, 936 milligrams sodium.
* You can buy chicken stock in shelf-stable cartons and Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base in jars in the soup aisle of supermarkets. If stock is unavailable, substitute chicken broth.
Brewery’s Chili is a Bear
by Suzanne S. Jones
Q. Could you ask Big Bear Brewery Restaurant in Coral Springs for their chili recipe? I’ve tried many different ones, but my husband and I agree theirs is the best (especially if served in a bread bowl).- Susan Becker, Lauderhill
A. General manager Greg Sherman of the Big Bear Brewing Company, 1800 N. University Drive, Coral Springs, 954-342=5545, was happy to respond to Becker’s request and to send their chili recipe. He told me the chili is generally served in a standard bowl, but the restaurant will, if requested, serve in a bread bowl. But he didn’t include that recipe (it usually means taking an individual round loaf of bread and hollowing it out so there’s a “bowl” to hold a portion of the chili or soup).
For any of you who are chili aficionados (the number is large), this recipe will rate high. It is thick, meaty and chock full of heady flavors. Since it is a long-simmering, make it early in the day or even the day before serving. The flavors just get better. Any leftovers can be frozen for up to six months.
I elected to serve the chili with cooked rice. All it needed was a nice green salad to round out the meal. No other starch was needed but you could always offer some crusty French or Italian bread.
1 ½ pounds ground sirloin
1 ½ cups drained whole peeled tomatoes, smashed
1 ½ cup ranch-style beans ( We use a 15-oz. can of S & W Traditional Texas Ranch Recipe pinto beans, undrained)
¼ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
½ teaspoon granulated garlic ( We use Lawry’s Coarse Ground Garlic Powder with Parsley)
⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ cup fine-diced onions
1 ¾ tablespoons beef base ( We use Better Than Bouillon Beef Base*)
3 cups water
⅓ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish
1 cup diced white onions, for garnish
In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, saute the ground sirloin, using a wooden spoon to break it up while it cooks. Continue cooking until no pink remains. Transfer to a strainer or colander to drain off the grease. Discard the grease and set aside the cooked meat. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels and set aside.
In a large nonreactive saucepan or Dutch oven (we use a 5-quart pot), stir together the tomatoes, beans, black pepper, granulated garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin and chili powder. Stir in the cooked meat.
In the same skillet in which the meat was cooked, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the garlic and onions about 2 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add to the beans along with the beef base, water, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well to completely dissolve the beef base and simmer tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture is at a slow simmer. Cook, partially covered, 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The chili should be nice and thick. Serve hot, garnish with cheddar cheese and diced onions. Makes about 8 (1-cup) servings.
Per serving: 329 calories, 24 grams protein, 20 grams fat, 14 grams carbohydrates, 85 milligrams cholesterol, 698 milligrams sodium, 54 percent calories from fat
*Better Than Bouillon Beef Base, a Superior Touch Brand product, is available in most supermarkets in the soup aisle.
Big Bear Brewing Company Mango Chutney Dressing
Mango Dressing Make Good Things Better
by Suzanne S. Jones
Q. I would love the recipe for Mango Chutney Dressing that Big Bear Brewing Company serves. Mango season is here and I would love to make some. It is the best dressing I have ever had. Can you help?- Sherry McLaughlin, Coral Springs
A. You’ll have to find another use for those mangoes, Sherry. As part of a fruit salad tossed with the Mangoe Chutney Dressing, perhaps. General Manager Greg Sherman of the Big Bear Brewing Company, 1800 N. University Drive, Coral Springs, 954-341-5545, sent me their recipe, which uses Major Grey’s Chutney “made with imported mangoes” instead of fresh fruit.
This outstanding dressing is a delicious combination that can be made in the food processor or blender. You may be sorry I reduced the 5-gallon yield from the restaurant recipe to a mere 3 cups.
The dressing is the consistency of very heavy cream and firms up even more when refrigerated. It marries well with all combinations of fruits, greens, poultry, seafood and pork. It keeps well refrigerated for up to 10 days. If you still have a bit left over after making those salads, spoon it directly from container to mouth, or dip it up with a nice Bremner wafer.
¾ cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise (the real stuff, not the lite or fat-free)
⅓ cup Major Grey’s Genuine Mango Chutney
3 medium scallions, white and 1 inch of green parts, cut into ½-inch pieces
⅔ cup of sugar
1 tablespoon Lea and Perrins Steak Sauce
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes Tabasco sauce
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Per servings (1-tablespoon): 69 calories, 78% calories from fat, 13 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrates, .03 grams total fiber, 6 grams total fat, 3 milligrams cholesterol, 47 milligrams sodium.
Big Bear Brewing Company Turkey Meatloaf
Turkey Meatloaf’s Sweet and Savory
by Suzanne S. Jones
Q. The Big Bear Brewing Company in Coral Springs serves a Turkey meatloaf that is out of this world. I think it’s better than any I’ve ever made with beef or pork. I wonder if they would share their recipe.- Greg Snyder, Coral Springs
A. Thanks to Greg Sherman, general manager of the Big Bear Brewing Co, 1800 N. University Drive, Coral Springs, 954-342-5545, we have the Turkey Meatloaf recipe.
The restaurant serves this delicious dish with gravy made from a combination of drippings, their own long simmered chickIn a good blender or food processor fitted with metal blade, put all ingredients except vegetable oil and vinegar. Process a few seconds, or until thoroughly blended and sugar is dissolved. Stir oil and vinegar together and, with motor running, pour mixture slowly through feed tube. It will form a heavy but not overly thick emulsion. Transfer to a nonreactive storage container and refrigerate until ready to use. Stir before using. Make this dressing a couple of hours before you want to use it so the ingredients get acquainted and it can chill. Makes 3 cups.
en stock, heavy cream and a commercial mix not available to the home cook.
Because that recipe is impossible to duplicate at home, we created a gravy using a combination of Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base and about 2-ounces frozen Bonewerks Culinarte Glace de Volaille or a 1.5-ounce container of Glace de Volaille Gold (roasted turkey stock). Both products are available at some supermarkets, high-end butcher shops, natural food stores and gourmet shops. Our tasters gave the gravy high marks.
You can use a mixture of ground dark and white turkey meat or, for a leaner meat loaf, use all white meat. The texture of the finished loaf is dense, but moist from the sauteed diced onions, celery and green peppers and the fine-chopped dried cranberries. Those cranberries make this meat loaf look appealing and gives it a flavor that hovers somewhere between slightly savory and sweet.
Our recipe makes a loaf large enough for 10 so there’s plenty to serve warm from the oven, then serve cold in sandwiches. Rewarm in the microwave or saute in a bit of butter for another hot meal.
3 tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups diced onions
¾ cup diced celery
¾ cup diced green bell peppers
2 pounds ground white turkey meat or 1 ½ pounds ground white and ½ pound ground white and dark turkey meat
1 large egg, beaten lightly
2 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
Fresh-ground white pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, or to taste
Pinch cayenne pepper, or to your taste
1 ½ tablespoons Kosher salt, or to taste
½ cup ketchup
½ cup half-and-half
1 (6 oz.) package dried cranberries (We use the Sun-Maid brand), finely chopped in food processor
¾ cup dry plain bread crumbs
¾ cup dry Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Our Turkey Gravy (see recipe)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the onions, celery and green peppers about 4 minutes until soft and fragrant. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey with the sauteed vegetables, egg, mustard, peppers, salt, ketchup, half-and-half, cranberries and bread crumbs. With clean hands, thoroughly mix the ingredients.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, packing it in evenly. The pan will be full. Bake in the center of the oven about 1 hour and 15 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the oven and let sit in the pan about 10 minutes.
Remove from pan and slice to serve with the turkey gravy on the side. Makes about 10 servings.
Per serving: 348 calories, 39% calories from fat, 15 grams total fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 100 milligrams cholesterol, 32 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams total fiber, 16 grams total sugars, 30 grams net carbohydrates, 22 grams protein, 966 milligrams sodium.
Our Turkey Gravy
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups plus ⅓ cup water
2 oz. frozen Bonewerks Culinarte Glace de Volaille or 1 (1.5 oz.) container Glace de Volaille Gold*
2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
½ cup heavy cream
salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste
Mix the flour with ⅓ cup water; set aside. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the Glace de Volaille and chicken base in 1 ½ cups water, stirring constantly. Stir in the heavy cream. When the liquid comes to a simmer, slowly whisk in the flour mixture. Keep stirring or whisking until it comes to a simmer again.
Reduce the heat and simmer gravy gently about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Makes about 2 ½ cups.
Per serving ( ¼-cup): 66 calories, 61% calories from fat, 5 grams total fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 17 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams carbohydrates, .05 gram total fiber, .24 gram total sugars, 5 grams net carbohydrates, .68 gram protein, 399 milligrams sodium.
*Available at some supermarkets, high-end butcher shops, Whole Foods locations and gourmet shops.
Pretzel crust gives chicken a new twist
by Suzanne S. Jones
Q. My husband and I enjoyed eating at the Big Bear Brewing Company in Coral Springs. We just love the pretzel-encrusted chicken they serve. Can you please ask the chef there how they make it?- Alyssa Freilich, Coconut Creek
A. General manager Greg Sherman of the Big Bear Brewing Company, 1800 University Drive, Coral Springs, 954-341-5545, agreed to share the recipe for Pretzel Chicken With Beurre Blanc Sauce.
After tasting this unusual coating, with its combination of pretzels, bacon bits, parmesan cheese and fresh parsley (not to mention salt and pepper), you may never go back to plain or even Italian-flavored bread crumbs to coat any food. Dipping the chicken breasts in a batter made from McCormick’s Golden Dipt Fish ‘n Chips batter mix combined with beer instead of water adds another flavor dimension.
When you saute the battered and crumb-coated chicken until golden brown, it becomes gloriously crunchy.
At the restaurant, the accompanying Beurre Blanc Sauce is often enhanced with grainy mustard. We tried it both ways and like the little extra zip mustard gives.
You can prepare the crumb mixture several hours ahead or even the day before. We used 2 cups Snyder’s Butter Snaps Pretzels that we turned into 1 cup crumbs by grinding in the food processor fitted with a metal blade.
1 cup pretzel crumbs
¼ cup bacon bits (we used the Betty Crocker brand Bacos)
1 cup fresh-grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 cup McCormick Golden Dipt Fish ‘n Chips batter mix*
¾ cup red beer plus more as needed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 (5-oz.) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
Beurre Blanc Sauce
Stir pretzel crumbs, bacon bits, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper together well in a bowl large enough to let you dip chicken breasts into it. Set aside.
In another bowl large enough to dip chicken breasts, whisk together batter mix and beer. If mixture seems too thick-it should be consistency of very light whipped cream- add a little more beer, a tablespoon at a time.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat butter and oil in a large, heavy skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Dip each piece of chicken in batter mixture, letting excess drip off, then cover well with pretzel crumb mixture. Place in skillet and saute 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown and not quite cooked through. Transfer to a baking sheet and finish cooking in oven 5 to 7 minutes more. Serve at once with Beurre Blanc Sauce. Makes 6 servings.
1 tablespoon butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
⅓ cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons chicken base (we use the Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base)
1 ⅔ cups heavy cream
3 teaspoons cornstarch
3 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon grainy mustard, optional
In a nonreactive heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and saute 2 minutes. Add white wine and chicken base. Stir to dissolve base. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 to 8 minutes, or until most liquid has evaporated. Stir in heavy cream and return to a simmer.
Mix cornstarch and water together to make what the restaurant calls a slurry. Slowly stir this into cream mixture and continue cooking and stirring until the mixture thickens and coats back of a wooden spoon dipped into it. Simmer another 1 to 2 minutes. If using mustard, stir in during last minute of simmering. Makes about 1 ¾ cups.
Per serving (1-tablespoon): 56 calories, 94% calories from fat, 6 grams total fat, 21 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams saturated fat, .34 gram protein, .83 gram carbohydrates, .01 gram total fiber, 54 milligrams sodium.