Mary Beth Riley
Jay Deihs
50, Elk Grove Village
Former cook of the week.
Favorite recipe web site:

Octoberfest Pork Chops with Ricotta Spaetzle and Bavarian Roasted Beet Salad


  • 4 medium or 3 large beets
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seed, toasted
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced (about 1/3-inch rings)
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) dark beer, preferably Becks
  • 1 1/4 cups white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seed, toasted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Ricotta Spaetzle

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese

For the beets: Peel and take off stem and root ends of beets. Toss beets with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place onto a foil lined shallow pan. Roast beets at 350 degrees until a knife easily pierces, about 1 hour. Cool completely. Slice beets into matchstick julienne cuts. Place into a bowl and set aside.

In 10 inch saute pan, cook chopped bacon over medium-high heat until browned. Add chopped onion to bacon and cook until onion browns. Stir in vinegar and caraway and cook until it reduces slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes. Toss with beets; set aside.

For the pork chops: Salt and pepper pork chops on both sides. In 12-inch stainless steel skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until hot. Add pork chops and saute until well-browned, about 4 minutes. Turn pork and saute other side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer pork to a plate. Add onion to skillet and cook until translucent.

Combine remaining pork ingredients in a bowl. Whisk until combined — add to skillet with onions. Stir to combine while scraping fond from bottom of skillet. Add back pork chops and any accumulated juices on the plate. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 25 minutes. Pork should be cooked to 145 degrees. Remove pork chops to a plate again.

Cook sauce uncovered whisking constantly until it reduces by half and becomes thick and shiny. Add back pork chops with accumulated juices, coating pork chops with sauce.

For the spaetzle: In an 8 quart stock pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Salt water with 1 tablespoon of salt.

Sift flour and mix with salt.

In separate bowl, whisk the water, egg, and ricotta cheese. Combine wet ingredients to dry and mix well; batter should not be too thin or too thick; it should break from the spoon and resemble a very wet bread dough.

Using a spaetzle grater, grate dough over boiling water (alternately, press dough through holes of a collangder). The spaetzle will rise to the top of the water when almost done. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer cooked spaetzle to a bowl and keep warm. Continue with remaining spaetzle dough.

To serve: Spoon spaetzle onto a plate. Spoon sauce from pork onto spaetzle and top with a pork chop. Serve beet salad on side.

Serves four.

Contestant's Recipe from the First Round

Pan Fried Chorizo Ravioli with Creamy Spinach Pesto


  • 1 package (12 ounces) won ton skins (31/2-inch squares)
  • 8 ounces fresh chorizo
  • 1/2 cup potato (1/4-inch dice)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 2 ounces finely shredded manchego cheese
  • 1 egg, separated

Creamy Spinach Pesto

  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds
  • 4 ounces baby spinach (about 4 cups, packed)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 4 ounces shredded manchego cheese
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup plain, Greek yogurt

For the filling: In a saute pan over medium heat, cook chorizo, crumbling it as it cooks. Remove meat to a paper towel lined plate. Wipe out saute pan, leaving a little of the chorizo fat.

Add potato and onion; cook about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add jalapeno pepper and cook another 2 minutes. (At this point, the potato should be tender and the onion translucent). Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add the Combine cooked chorizo and vegetable mixture in a bowl; add cheese, cilantro, egg yolk and salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper).

To assemble ravioli: Lay a won ton skin onto a cutting board. Brush with egg wash (egg white whisked with a bit of water) and place 2 to 3 teaspoons of filling in middle. Lay another wrapper over the filled one. Seal with fingers and press out any air bubbles. Cut edges with a ravioli/pastry cutter to seal and give a nice edge. Repeat until filling is gone. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

For the pesto: In food processor, chop almonds until finely ground. Add rest of ingredients and process until smooth. Makes about 3 cups.

To cook ravioli: Saute ravioli, about four at a time, in a skillet with about 1/4 cup olive oil. Cook 1 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

To serve: Place raviolis on serving dish. Drizzle with spinach pesto and garnish with crumbled queso fresco, finely diced red pepper, and little cooked, well drained chorizo.

Makes about 22 raviolis.

46, Arlington Heights
Favorite food show: "Man vs. Food"

Mini Chorizo Egg Rolls with Avocado and Chipotle Dips

  • 1 pound bulk fresh chorizo
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 ears grilled corn, husk removed
  • 1 grilled red pepper
  • 1 grilled poblano pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons fig preserves
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 1/2 quarts canola oil, for frying
  • 1 package (12 ounces) won ton wrappers

Avocado Dipping Sauce

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 container (7 ounces) plain Greek yogurt (Fage 2% preferred)
  • 1 lime, juiced

Chipotle Dipping Sauce

  • 4 chipotle peppers from a can, plus 1 teaspoon sauce
  • 1 container (7 ounces) plain Greek yogurt

First, make the sauces: Slice the peeled avocado and put into a medium bowl (reserve a slice for garnish); smash with fork until almost smooth. Add yogurt and lime juice and stir until well blended. Garnish with a fresh avocado slice. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the chipotle sauce, finely chop peppers and put into a medium bowl; mix with yogurt until well blended. Garnish top of dip with a slice of chipotle pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the egg rolls: Heat grill to medium–high.

In a large skillet over medium heat on the stove, cook the chorizo and onion until browned, crumbling the chorizo as it cooks. You will need to occasionally remove excess oil from the skillet while cooking the chorizo.

Lightly brush the husked corn with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil and place on the grill for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally. Cut off stem-end of sweet and hot peppers and slice peppers in half, vertically; discard seeds and veins. Lightly brush peppers with olive oil and grill until charred and speckled, about 3 to 4 minutes each side.

After the corn and peppers have cooled, cut the kernels from the cob and chop the peppers. Place the corn, peppers, cooled chorizo in a large mixing bowl. Add the drained black beans and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper and toss in bowl. Add the fig preserves and fresh lime juice, mixing to blend. Chop the spinach and add to filling mixture.

Heat canola oil in a wok or deep fryer to 375-400 degrees. Place won ton wrapper in front of you like a baseball diamond. Place 1 teaspoon of filling onto won ton wrapper. Fold from the bottom to cover the filling and then fold in the sides. While keeping the roll tight, lightly moisten the top portion of the wrapper with water and fold over, sealing the egg roll. Make six to eight at a time and then deep fry until golden brown. Do not make more than what can easily be cooked in the oil or the uncooked egg rolls will become soggy and not fry properly. Continue to cook in batches. Serve hot with dipping sauces.

Makes about 40 mini egg rolls.