Chewy Chocolate Brownies

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I don’t generally like to bake, partially because I hate following recipes and partially because I usually end up eating too much of the finished product. However, when it comes to parties, it is nice to have something sweet on hand that can feed a large number of people easily, and brownies fit that bill very well. The better the chocolate used in these, the better the brownies will be. There are so few other ingredients that you will actually be able to taste the more subtle flavors that the chocolate will carry, so use one that you like the taste of when eating it on its own. The recipe is adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

The Software

The Recipe

  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make a Foil Sling using the following steps: Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and fit into width of pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet (if using extra-wide foil, fold second sheet lengthwise to 12-inch width). Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Whisk cocoa and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces. (this may seem like a bunch of steps, but it comes together very quickly)
  4.  Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.
  5. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.



This is a very easy recipe and makes a big pan of chewy, dense, intensely chocolaty brownies, just prep everything in advance. These are nice with a small sprinkle of sea salt on top, but really just work fine on their own. I like using chocolate in the 70-85% range for this (my preferred chocolate is Kallari), but the original recipe calls for 60%, so you can use that. I wouldn’t use chocolate under 60% (the brownies will be very sweet) or over 85% (never tried this, but I suspect that the chocolate chunks won’t end up melting enough). The notes from the Cook’s Illustrated recipe:

For the chewiest texture, it is important to let the brownies cool thoroughly before cutting. If your baking dish is glass, cool the brownies 10 minutes, then remove them promptly from the pan (otherwise, the superior heat retention of glass can lead to overbaking). While any high-quality chocolate can be used in this recipe, our preferred brands of bittersweet chocolate are Callebaut Intense Dark Chocolate L-60-40NV and Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar. Our preferred brand of unsweetened chocolate is Scharffen Berger. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Sausage Dressing without the Turkey

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I am not much of a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving – I really don’t care for turkey (have had too many bad ones over the years and that is inexcusable – turkey is easy to cook, of course, I am there if you are going to serve wild turkey, either the bird or the booze), stuffing (especially the store bought stuff) or cranberry jelly. I would much rather have a traditional Thanksgiving of deer, game bird and small furry woodland creatures; pretty much what would have been served at the actual first Thanksgiving. I still get roped into making the traditional meal and my sister-in-law usually requests my stuffing, and lots of it for leftovers. The beauty of this stuffing recipe is that it doesn’t require it to be stuffed into a turkey cavity (the idea is that you butterfly the bird and put it on top of the tray of stuffing so the juices drip down), so you actually don’t need to make a turkey at all to enjoy stuffing (the directions are for if you aren’t cooking a bird with the stuffing). The plus side is that it is easy to make, produces a sufficient quantity (the recipe feeds 12 in theory) and reheats well. I adapted this from the original Cook’s Illustrated recipe.

The Software

  •  18 cups 1-inch challah or Italian bread cubes (from about 1 1/2 loaves)
  • 2 cups turkey stock or chicken stock
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 ½ lbs mild Italian sausage
  • 3 cups onions, chopped fine – I prefer sweet onions here
  • 1 ½ cups celery, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
  • 1 ½ teaspoons table salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper


The Recipe

  1. Adjust one oven rack to upper-middle position and second rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Spread bread in even layers on 2 rimmed baking sheets and dry in oven 40 to 50 minutes.
  2. Place bread in large bowl. Whisk together stock, half-and-half, and eggs in medium bowl; pour over bread and toss gently to coat so bread does not break into smaller pieces. Set aside.
  3. Heat heavy-bottomed, 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage loses its raw color, 5 to 7 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer sausage to medium bowl. Don’t drain the fat. If there isn’t much in there, add a tablespoon of olive oil.  Add about half of onions and celery to fat in skillet; sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to bowl with sausage. Return skillet to heat and add 2 tablespoons butter; when foam subsides, add remaining celery and onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, sage, and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds; add salt and pepper. Add this mixture along with sausage and onion mixture to bread and stir gently to combine, trying not to break bread into smaller pieces.
  4. Spray disposable aluminum 12 by 16-inch roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dressing to roasting pan and spread in even layer. Cover pan with foil and refrigerate until needed. It should be good in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Remove from the fridge about 45 minutes before cooking.
  5. In a 400 degree oven, cook the dressing covered for 80 minutes covered, rotating the pan after 40 minutes. The internal temperature should be about 150-155 degrees. Uncover, increase heat to 450 degrees and cook until the surface starts to become golden (keep an eye on it, it can burn), about 10-15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, plate and serve.


The original recipe called for just 12 oz. of sausage, which really didn’t seem like that much. I like the flavors Italian sausage brings to the party, but you could certainly use any sausage that you like. I would highly recommend using turkey stock if you are making this, even if you roast a bird on top of it, I think it has better flavor than chicken stock, plus then you can make turkey gravy to put over it. If you want to make it vegetarian or vegan, it is easy – I have made this using vegan sausage and it works. You just need to use oil in the pan for sautéing the sausage and veggies and replace the meat stock with veggie stock; everything else would be the same. I prefer Italian bread to challah just because it is easier to work with. Oh yeah, the recipe actually scales down pretty easily if you don’t want too much leftover stuffing.

Classic Buttermilk Waffles

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I don’t normally do breakfast, but when I do, I tend to gravitate more toward pancakes and French toast. On occasion, I will get a waffle, but generally it is something I may eat once a year. On a recent trip back to the Iron Chef homeland, my mom purchased a waffle iron. Well, she needed a recipe; I knew a good one from Cooks Illustrated, so here you go:

The secret to great waffles is a thick batter, so don’t expect to pour this one. Make toaster waffles out of leftover batter—undercook the waffles a bit, cool them on a wire rack, wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze. Pop them into the toaster for a quick breakfast.

The Software

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 7/8 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

The Recipe

1. Heat waffle iron. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Whisk yolk with buttermilk and butter.

2. Beat egg white until it just holds a 2-inch peak.

3. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients in a thin steady stream while gently mixing with a rubber spatula; be careful not to add liquid faster than you can incorporate it. Toward end of mixing, use a folding motion to incorporate ingredients; gently fold egg white into batter.

4. Spread appropriate amount of batter onto waffle iron. Following manufacturer’s instructions, cook waffle until golden brown, 2 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately. (You can keep waffles warm on a wire rack in a 200-degree oven for up to 5 minutes.)


That is it. Serve with syrup, butter, whipped cream, fruit, fried chicken or whatever you like.


Skillet Fried Potatoes

By Iron Chef Leftovers

This type of steamer basket works best. You can get them at for about $8.
This type of steamer basket works best. You can get them at for about $8.

I do entirely too much reading of cookbooks. These days, I am not really looking for recipe ideas, more just to learn techniques. One thing that I hate to cook, but Mrs. Iron Chef loves to eat are potatoes. For me, they really are just a vehicle for adding stuff to it, much like chicken breast, so you go from healthy to unhealthy in a hurry since potatoes don’t inherently have much taste. For my End of the World meal, I was making beef stew served in a can, which I thought about it, and what goes better with beef stew than potatoes (well, celery root puree, sun choke puree…just humor me here). I took a hybrid technique from Modernist Cuisine and Cook’s Illustrated to come up with this recipe. This really isn’t much more difficult to do than making regular potatoes, but you will get better texture on them and you can actually do stage one in advance and finish them when you are ready to serve. When you are done, you should end up with potatoes that are creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The only special equipment you really need is a steamer basket.

The Software
1 large Yukon Gold potato, cut into ¼ inch slices
2 tablespoons fat (bacon fat, duck fat, butter or olive oil all work well. See note below)
Salt and pepper

The Recipe

Stage 1 – Fill a large pot with water to just below the surface of the steamer basket. Heat water over high heat until steam is visible. Add the potatoes to the basket in a single layer. Cover the pot and steam for 13 minutes. Check the potatoes for doneness – you are aiming for them to be slightly al dente and they should have leached their starch to the surface, so they will feel tacky. Remove them to a plate lined with a couple of paper towels and dry. It is important that the potatoes are dry before starting stage 2.

Stage 2 – Heat a large (12 inch) skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes (don’t use non-stick here). Add the fat and heat over medium-high heat until it just begins to smoke. Test the heat of the fat by dipping the edge of one potato slice in the fat. If it sizzles immediately, the fat is hot enough and you can add the potatoes in a single layer. If they all won’t fit in the skillet, you can do stage 2 in multiple batches. If the fat is not hot enough, continue heating it until you can get your test to sizzle. You are really just browning/reheating the potatoes and looking to get a golden crust on each side, so you probably won’t need more than about 2 minutes of cooking time on each side, checking after 1 minute to see the progress. After both sides are browned, remove to a cooking rack or a plate with a paper towel, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve right away. It pairs nicely with this Beef Carbonnade recipe.

Your end result should look something like this. You can also get really classy and serve it in a can, like I did.
Your end result should look something like this. You can also get really classy and serve it in a can, like I did.

You really want the potatoes dry before putting them in the fat since hot fat + water = bad news. Your cooking time will really depend on what type of fat you use. Animal fats (butter, bacon fat, duck fat) have a lower smoke point than vegetable fats (olive oil, vegetable oil), so they will reach that stage quicker and take longer to brown the potatoes, which is why you really want to check them after about the first minute. You can actually skip stage 2 if you want and just serve the potatoes steamed. Just increase the cooking time to about 16 minutes in the steamer. This dish would also benefit from the addition of some fresh rosemary, sage or thyme.

Toasted Quinoa Hash

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Too bad the Mayans hadn’t actually invented this dish, they might be remembered for something other than they amazing grasp of astronomy and a faulty calendar.

I like quinoa – it is nutty, easy to cook and really healthy for you since it is a whole grain and does not contain gluten. It is also one of the oldest cultivated agricultural products on the planet. I recently served a quinoa hash as a side dish for my End of the World meal. If you need a hearty side dish or something that can be expanded to a meal and cooked in really short time, this is one for you. I got the idea from this recipe from both Modernist Cuisine at Home and Cooks Illustrated, but the recipe is pretty much my version.

The Software
½ cup red (or any type) quinoa
2 teaspoons olive oil
¾ cup stock (chicken of veggie) or water
½ can black beans (preferably low or no sodium)
2 oz. queso fresco

The Recipe
Rinse the quinoa and drain. In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the quinoa and toss to coat with the oil. Sautee the quinoa for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant. If it starts to brown deeply, lower the heat to medium. Add stock to the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until the quinoa begins to unfurl, about 15 minutes. Drain the beans and fluff the quinoa with a fork when it is finished. Add the beans to the quinoa, taste (add salt as necessary) and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Plate and sprinkle queso fresco on top. A sprinkle of chopped cilantro would also be nice.

The quinoa can be made in advanced and reheated with the beans prior to serving. This serves as a nice base for chicken, fish, veggies, or pretty much anything that you would want to put with it. Make sure you rinse the quinoa first and drain most of the water before putting it in the oil. Rinsing it removes a naturally occurring chemical on the grain that produces bitter flavors if you make it without washing it first. Quinoa can be found at most supermarkets either in the bulk food section, the rice isle, organic section or the ethnic foods section.