Chopped Challenge

I love the Food Network show “Chopped” mostly because I like to try to play along–that is I will  try to quickly come up with an idea for how I would use all the basket ingredients. Thomas insists I should try out for the show.  I just raise my eyebrow at him. But I was all up for a game in the privacy of my house.

Without the time constraint (I didn’t really feel like running around my tiny kitchen and cutting myself in the rush unless there was a $10,000 prize at the end).

So Thomas was charged with getting 4 secret ingredients for an entree round (and being ready to order pizza if it turned out to be a disaster).  It turns out that the ingredients for every episode are catalogued online.  Yes, someone has taken the time to do this. I was set up with a basket of ingredients from season 3 of the show: lamb loin chops, strawberries, swiss cheese and celery root.  Good lord.

Opening the basket

Opening the basket

Swiss cheese??

Swiss cheese?? My mind was reeling at this point

I had never cooked celery root before, but from the dirty, gnarled appearance I was pretty sure I needed to peel it.  So I did and threw it in some boiling water with a few potatoes: celery root mash.  Done.

Now the strawberries–they were really throwing me for a loop.  I decided to make a sauce with them and had to figure out a way to not make them taste like desert.  I pureed and strained them and then cooked them with a little port wine and some poppy vinegar I had. (I have about 11 different vinegars in my house.  Thomas doesn’t understand why and the plethora of bottles in the cabinets tends to bother him a bit).  This worked–I ended up with a sweet and tangy sauce.

The lamb I just simply grilled–I bet the Chopped judges would say that wasn’t very creative.  But whatever.

With some red onion slices, because why not?

With some red onion slices, because why not?

Then I had an “Oh S–t!” moment and realized I forgot the cheese. How on earth would swiss cheese factor in? I ended up grating it into the celery root mash, which is something I would totally make again.

I ended up with an okay meal–a grilled lamb chop with a mash and sauce.  I don’t know if I would make it again, but it was pretty good.  I even ate leftovers the next day.

Complete with a sloppy attempt to be artful with the sauce.

Complete with a sloppy attempt to be artful with the sauce.

It was a fun experience and I was a little bit proud of myself for pulling off something edible.  So if you’re feeling particularly fearless, I would suggest trying your own Chopped challenge one night!


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Categories: Event


A former English teacher living in Stuttgart, Germany who finds some sanity and peace through cooking.


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One Comment on “Chopped Challenge”

  1. January 3, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    What fun! Our kids love the show and we’ve set up a competition between my husband and I with the kids coming up with the ingredients. They can get wacky!

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