Sopa de Conchas con carne (Conchitas)

What a beautiful day it was outside today! I mean, perfect weather after yesterday’s gloomy downer. Don’t get me wrong, I am all in on a gloomy day–if there is rain. One of my favorite things to do is sit on my back porch with a good book on a rainy day. But NOT today! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, there is a breeze to cool us down….it was amazing.

Today’s recipe comes from a childhood favorite of mine, Conchitas. Mmmm, I love a great soup that hits every part of my soul! I remember having it when I was younger and loved it. I have tried to find it at restaurants here in San Antonio, but haven’t had much luck. No worries, I decided to make my own and it certainly brought me right back to our old kitchen table, surrounded by family. The only thing I was missing was a good homemade tortilla to dunk in this brothy goodness.

I hope this recipe finds its way to your table and is enjoyed by your loved ones they way I always loved it.

Happy eating!

Ingredients

2 tomatoes, cut in half

1 green bell pepper, de-seeded

1/2 onion

3 garlic cloves

1 cup of water

1 lb ground beef

1 tbs oil

8 oz small shell pasta

4 cups chicken stock 1

8 oz can of tomato sauce

1 tbs cumin

1 tsp salt, more to taste

1/2 cup cilantro, with stems

Instructions

In a blender, combine the tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and water. Puree until smooth and set aside.

In a pot, brown you beef until fully cooked. After, drain your meat and set aside. Leave about a tablespoon of rendered fat in your pot.

Add the oil to the pot along with your shells to toast. Be careful to watch and consistently stir to ensure they do not burn.

Pour in your chicken stock, puree, tomato sauce, cumin, salt and cilantro and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the beef back to the pot. Cook for 15-20 minutes, checking periodically if the shells are al dente.

Top with fresh cilantro.


Beef Wellington with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Beef Wellington with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Christmas is by far my favorite time of the year. Maybe it is the nostalgia of it, but I am the happiest around this time. I love spending time with my family, cooking for them, and hanging around the dining room table playing games. Cocktails are poured, plates are filled, and laughs are plenty during this time.

My husband requested beef wellington as one of our date night meals this holiday season. This man knows the way to my heart! Super tender beef tenderloin, crunchy puff pastry, and a glass of red wine and you will have a date night for the books!

Ingredients

For the Duxelles

3 pints white button mushrooms

2 shallots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

5 sprigs thyme, leaves only

3 sprigs rosemary, chopped

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper

For the Beef

3 lb center cut beef tenderloin

Kosher salt and pepper

Avocado oil

12 slices of prosciutto

Dijon mustard

Flour, for rolling out puff pastry

1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, beaten

For the Horseradish Sauce

1 tbs prepared horseradish, more to taste if you like a kick

1 cup sour cream

1 tbs Nutpods creamer, original (or regular milk)

salt and pepper to taste

chives to garnish (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

For the Duxelles: Add mushrooms, shallots, and garlic to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add mixture to a dry pan over medium heat. Add the dry sherry, salt, and pepper and saute for 10-15 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside and allow to cool.

For the Beef: Pat the tenderloin with a paper towel to dry. Liberally season the tenderloin with salt and pepper and sear all over, including both ends, in a hot pan with avocado oil. Take out of pan and brush on dijon mustard all over. Let rest.

Roll out plastic wrap that is the length of your cutting board (do not cut). Lay the prosciutto in a shingle fashion so it forms a large rectangle that is big enough to wrap around the tenderloin. Add the duxelles on top of the prosciutto and spread into an even layer-covering the prosciutto. Place rested tenderloin towards the bottom of the prosciutto/duxelles and using the plastic wrap, roll to completely cover the beef. Roll it tightly in the plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal it completely. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or overnight if making ahead of time).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to about 1/4 inch thickness. Remove beef from plastic wrap and set towards bottom of pastry and roll until the edge meets the pastry. Brush the end with egg wash to help seal and trim the excess pastry. Pinch the sides to enclose the beef. Roll tightly in plastic wrap again to hold desired shape and place back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

Egg wash the top and sides of the pastry and top with kosher salt.

Place beef with the seam side down on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the internal temp is 125 degrees. Once temperature has been reached, take out and rest for 10 minutes-this will allow time for the beef to finish cooking until 130 degrees. This will give you a medium rare beef tenderloin.

Combine horseradish sauce ingredients together, taste, and adjust seasoning. Garnish with chives. Serve alongside beef wellington.