Leftover Brisket Chili

brisket chili

One of our favorite weekend traditions is visiting Smoque, a BBQ restaurant that has amazing Brisket Chili.  Since we had about one pound left of brisket, I decided to try my own homemade recipe.  I used a receipe from the Food Network as a guide, and wanted to minimize the additional ingredients I needed to purchase at the store.  I adjusted the recipe considerably, (see below) and will continue to tweak the spices.  Although I was looking for a recipe with a “kick” next time I will test out a recipe with more oregano, basil, onion powder, thyme and less cumin and cayenne.  I also may test cocoa powder and omit cinnamon until the chili has begun to simmer for at least an hour.  I also enjoyed the coffee and will experiment with different types to see what provides the best flavor.  For this version I used the daily brew of allegro coffee from Whole Foods.

If you want to scale back the kick, try cutting the first four spices below in half, and additional seasoning as the chili continues to simmer.  For those that love spicy chili with a heavy cumin taste, this recipe is for you!

brisket chili spices

1 pound beef brisket, cut in 1-inch cubes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium sweet or yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes, crushed
1/2 Tbsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 tsp paprkia
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 bay leaves
6 small roma tomatoes, chopped with their liquid
12 ounces Pomi diced tomatoes
2 (5.5 oz.) cans tomato juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup strong coffee
1 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans (strain half the juice)
1 Tbsp chopped basil leaves

Cheddar jack cheeseSliced avocado
Tortilla chips
Diced tomato
Thin Spaghetti

Before You Begin Cooking:
Recommend chopping tomatoes and green pepper in advance, set aside.   Combine chili powder, pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.   Remove brisket from fridge and cut any fat from the meat; cut into inch size pieces.

Add olive oil to a dutch oven, heat on medium heat until oil shimmers.  Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.   Add the dry spices and saute for 1 minute, until the onions are evenly coated.
Add the green peppers, bay leaf, tomatoes with their juice, the reserved meat, 1 tsp of salt  pepper (or to taste) and bring to a boil.   Reduce the heat, cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and add additional seasoning taste.   Add the coffee, cover the pot and simmer for 30 more minutes.

Add the kidney beans and basil, and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Transfer the chili to a large serving bowl and serve with your favorite toppings such as cheddar jack cheese, diced tomato (reserve an additional tomato to chop at the end), tortilla chips and avocado.   You can also serve with sour cream but recommend omitting this to cut calories.   For those from Cincinnati, you can also pour the chili over cooked, thin spaghetti.

My official taste tester liked the chili and went for seconds and even thirds, but recommends taking a PEPCID before chowing down on this meal due to the intensity of spices!

danny tasting chili3

To see the original Food Network recipe, click here.


Braised Beef Brisket


Brisket is one of my favorite meals to braise in the oven, cooking slowly for several hours.  It is a great Sunday meal or perfect to simmer in the oven for a few hours if you have errands to run or a longer cardio session during the week.  Brisket is generally a tough cut of meat but with a little love can turn into a delicious, tender dinner.  Cooking the meat at a lower temperature in a dutch oven (my favorite cooking pan), allows the meat to slowly break down the connective tissues as it braises in liquid.


I like to cook the meat about 1 hour per pound, basting every 90 minutes to an hour.  If the meat is not cooked long enough, the brisket will remain tough.  When using tomato juices in the liquid, make sure to layer the top of the pan with parch paper and then tin foil as the acidity of tomatoes can cause a reaction with aluminum foil, causing small pinholes in the foil.


    • 1 (3-5-pound) brisket of beef
      • Can also substitute chuck roast
    • salt, pepper seasoning to taste
    • 1 garlic clove chopped or 1 tsp garlic seasoning
    • 1 tsp sweet paprika
    • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (higher smoke point than olive oil)
    • onion, celery, carrot mix peeled and diced
    • 1 (26.46 Ounce) Pomi chopped tomatoes
    • 2 cups red wine (medium body) (I used Sleeping Bear Red)
      • This wine is a Burgundy-style blend of five different grapes, light-to-medium bodied with definite tart cherry and red-currant flavors.
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
    • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
    • 6 to 8 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
    • 6-8 medley of small yellow, red, and purple potatoes, quartered
  1.  Remove the meat from the fridge and let come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Sprinkle salt pepper to taste over the brisket and rub with the garlic and paprika.
  3. Heat the grapeseed oil until it shimmers, then sear the brisket on each side (2-4 minuter per side) until browned.  Remove brisket from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add onions to pan and cook until softened and begin to caramelize.
  5. Add the brisket back to the pan, fat side up (so fat can seep into meat while it cooks).
  6. Add the chopped thyme, rosemary and bay leaves.
  7. Pour tomatoes, broth and wine into the pan and bring to just a boil.
  8. Cover (don’t forget the aluminum and parch paper!) and transfer to oven; bake in the oven (1 hour per pound), basting hourly with the pan juices.IMG_1132Snapchat-8494526538160828331-169x300
  9. With an hour remaining add the carrots and potatoes, continue cooking until both meat and vegetables are fork tender.
  10. To test if the meat is done, place a fork in the brisket and see if it slowly pulls away from the meat when removed, or “falling off the fork”.
  11. Remove the meat from heat, place on a cutting board,  venting tin foil over it for 10 minutes to cool.
  12. Place the pot back on simmer burner to keep vegetables and sauce warm.
  13. Cut the brisket against the grain, serve with sauce and vegetables.IMG_1140 IMG_1141 IMG_1144 IMG_1147

Clean out the Pantry Oven Baked BBQ Chicken



Have you ever cleaned out your pantry and realized you have a surplus of a few items?   This was the case for me this weekend as I realized I had 5 bottles of BBQ sauce in my cabinet.  Solution?  Juicy, oven baked chicken with roasted vegetables and baked potatoes.   I adapted this from the below recipe, but recommend longer cooking times and for those who love paprika, closer to 2 tsp for the marinade.  If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, you can use dry, minced garlic seasoning.  In addition, the sauce at the bottom of the dish can be used as a sauce to serve over the chicken for additional flavor.

I also recommend using the juice from half a lemon in the marinade, using a lemon squeezer.  Then use the remaining half of the lemon to squeeze over your choice of vegetables to roast in the oven along with olive oil (use sparingly), salt and pepper to taste.


  • 2-4, bone-in Chicken Breast Halves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (for 2 breasts recommend 1 tbsp)
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½-3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • pepper to taste (course, ground black pepper is my favorite)
  • 1-2 cups favorite prepared BBQ sauce
  1. Combine olive oil, smoked paprika, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag and add the marinade.
  3. Let chicken marinade for at least an hour, up to 24 in the fridge.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  5. Remove chicken from bag and place in a shallow baking dish covered with aluminum foil for easier clean up.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on size of chicken.
  7. Remove chicken from oven and brush a layer of BBQ sauce on the chicken.
  8. Return to the oven and repeat brushing with BBQ sauce every 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, about 20-30 minutes longer. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and juices run clear.

**Recipe adapted from:



Caramelized Brown Sugar Chicken

I really love cooking with brown sugar as a rub but never tried using brown sugar as part of a sauce.  The brown sugar and honey caramelized, creating a sweet crispy layer on the outside while sealing in the savory garlic taste.  The chicken broth allowed the chicken to braise while baking, keeping the meat moist and collecting the drippings from the brown sugar, honey and spice topping.  For those looking to cut calories and fat, you can try this with boneless skinless thighs.

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Season chicken thighs with paprika, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken from heat and place in a baking dish lined with tin foil.
  • Melt remaining Tbsp butter in the skillet. Add garlic, stirring frequently, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in brown sugar, honey, oregano, thyme, and basil until well combined, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  • Once warmed, the mixture will be sticky; take a spatula and evenly coat the top of each chicken piece with brown sugar mix.  The sauce will be thick; try your best to spread it evenly across the top of each thigh.
  • Pour the 1/2 cup chicken broth in the baking dish; do not completely cover the chicken but leave about an inch of liquid at the bottom of the dish.
  • A small amount of the brown sugar mix will drip to the bottom of the baking dish to combine with juices, oil, and chicken broth making a delicious sauce.
  • Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, about 30-40 minutes.
  • Let chicken stand 3-5 minutes and serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Inspired from below recipe:


Hummus Chicken with Butter Thyme Fingerling Potatoes


I wanted to try something different for a baked chicken recipe and this was the perfect weeknight solution.  The hummus cooked with the vegetables made for a yummy sauce mixed with the olive and seasoning.  I made additional steamed green beans and potatoes as a side and will make again soon!   This will be my solution to leftover hummus after serving as an appetizer when we have friends over so it doesn’t sit in my fridge for weeks!


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup hummus, (I used whole foods store bought)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare two baking dishes lined with tin foil.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cut up the zucchini, squash and mushrooms and place in baking dish and coat with olive oil, basil, salt and pepper.  You can also add 1/4 cup chopped onion.  Squeeze half lemon onto the vegetables and layer 2-3 tbsp of hummus over the vegetables.

Lay the chicken breasts in the second dish, then spoon the hummus on each chicken breast, coating both sides.  Squeeze the juice of the other half of the lemon over the chicken and sprinkle the top with smoked & sweet paprika.

Optional: Thinly slice the remaining lemon, and place the slices in between the chicken and vegetables.

Bake for about 40 minutes, and the last 5 minutes turn the broiler on to give the vegetables and top of chicken a roasted look.  Serve immediately,  recommend with fingerling potatoes.  If you aren’t afraid of  a little butter, see below recipe for braised fingerling potatoes.

  • 1-3/4 lb. fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
  • 6 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth

Cut the potatoes so they are 1 inch in diameter.  Arrange the potatoes in a skillet, ensure potatoes are not stacked on top of each other.  Lay the thyme sprigs between the potatoes. Cut 1-2 Tbs. of the butter into pieces. Add the butter, 3/4 tsp. salt, and a sprinkle pepper on the potatoes.

Pour over just enough broth to almost cover the potatoes (about 2 cups). Partially cover and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Simmer, stirring gently once or twice, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a skewer, about 25 minutes. (If the broth  dries up before the potatoes are tender, add another 1/2 cup, or add water.)

Transfer the potatoes to a serving dish. Increase the heat to high and boil the remaining liquid, uncovered, until it’s reduced to a buttery glaze, 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the amount of liquid. Remove the thyme sprigs . If you would like a richer sauce, add an additional Tbs. butter, but I didn’t find this necessary. Pour the glaze over the potatoes and serve immediately.

Adapted from below recipe: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/braised-fingerlings-butter-thyme.aspx

Chicken Adapted from the below recipe: