Tag Archives: pork

Cornbread Stuffing

So this year, we cooked a good bit of the Christmas dinner at Heather’s grandparents’ house..  It afforded them the opportunity to relax, and me the opportunity to experiment a little.  So, I finally got my chance to fry a turkey and make the stuffing.  The turkey was very good, having bought one of the foo-foo organic, free-range, went to the right schools, and lovingly attended to, right up until its beheading birds, then brined it myself before frying it up..  But this post isn’t about the fried turkey I made, which was delicious, by the way.  This post is about stuffing.

Yes, I called it stuffing, despite the fact that I never shoved it up inside an animal to cook it.  Don’t get all snippy & pedantic here, it’s just stuffing.  Very tasty stuffing, but still, just stuffing.  I also shamelessly lifted this from a recipe of Anne Burrell’s from the Food Network site, though I changed it up a bit to call it my own. The original recipe called for “spicy sausage”.  This spawned much debate between the people behind the meat counter at the market down the road.  We ended up settling on Andouille, since it offers a little spice, but not enough to knock you over.  It all melded really well in the end.

The recipe calls for 10 cups of stale cornbread.  I had no idea how much 10c of cornbread was, but happily, there was a video on the Food Network site, showing Anne Burrell and Ted Allen making the stuffing.  In it, they used 2 8×8 pans of cornbread.  To me, that’s a much more sensible measurement than “10 cups”.  But I digress.  Here we go.

  • 1 large onion, fine dice
  • 3 ribs celery, fine dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed, then finely diced
  • 10 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • Leaves from 3 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound of Andouille sausage, removed from the casings
  • 2 cups dried cranberries (an 8 ounce package was just enough)
  • 2 8×8 pans of stale cornbread, cut into 1″ chunks (I used a mix from Krusteaz, and it turned out well).
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock (I used low-sodium, so I could add salt if it needed it)

Coat the bottom of a big sauté pan with olive oil (again, get the kind made with real virgins, alright?), and sauté the onions & celery over medium-high heat until they’re softening up.  Hit that veg with some salt and pepper to season it up.  Next, add the sausage, breaking it up into small bite-sized chunks and cook until the sausage starts to brown.  Add the garlic and keep going for another 1-2 minutes, then add the sage & rosemary, and keep cooking for another minute or two.

Get a big bowl, dump in the cornbread, cranberries and the contents of your sauté pan, along with 3 cups of the chicken stock.  Now get in there with your hands and mix it all up thoroughly.  The cornbread should be wet when you’re done.  Dump all that into 1 large or 2 small baking dishes and chuck it into a 350F oven for about 30-35 minutes.

This was one of the best stuffings I’ve ever had, and everyone loved it.  It even looks a little Christmas-ish with the red cranberries, and the piney-aroma of the rosemary.

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Turkey & Chorizo Chili

So, last weekend, I christened our new 7.25 quart Le Creuset Dutch (French??) Oven by making some chili.  I scored a screaming deal on eBay for a new with tags pot at $100 under what the shops down the road are charging.

Anyhow, back to the chili.  I shameless ripped this off from Food Network, and (gasp) Rachel Ray.  Yeah, she’s annoying (EVOO! Yumm-o! Shoot me now!), but every now & then, she really gets one right.  This was very tasty and not hard to prepare at all.  The recipe calls for chorizo.  Make sure you’re buying the Mexican stuff, and not Spanish.  Spanish is more like salami, where Mexican is more like a sausage, similar in texture to Italian sausage, but with different flavors.

Lay hands on all of the following:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable/canola/olive oil
  • 1 lb Mexican chorizo, out of the casings – If you can get loose sausage, even better.
  • 1 lb cooked turkey breast, cut into 1cm cubes – I went to the deli, got the store-roasted turkey breast cut into 1cm slices – took 3 or 4 slices to get a pound.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped – I went for the Spanish yellow onion here for some sweetness
  • 1 tablespoon of ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • A 15oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons pureed chipotle in adobo – I just dumped the whole can into the blender
  • 1.5-2 cups chicken stock (she called for 2-3 – I did 2 and needed to reduce for longer than she called for)
  • 2 tablespoons corn meal, quick-cooking polenta or even masa
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Heat up your dutch oven on the stovetop on medium-high heat, put the oil in.  Add the chorizo.  Break that stuff up and cook until it’s browned, and you’ve got that lovely orange grease in the bottom of the pot.  Add the onion, peppers and garlic and cook until they’re soft (about 3-5 minutes).  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer it low for 45-60 minutes.

The original suggestion was to serve with lime wedges and top with Fritos.  I did the Fritos, and it was good, but I also put some shredded sharp cheddar cheese in before the Fritos.  This was absolutely delicious, and the leftovers kept nicely for about 7 days, when I ate the last bit of it.

I don’t usually do chili without beans, but after my recent surgery, I was on a slightly restricted diet (low fiber, low residue).  I’ve since been cleared for beans.  Were I to make this again, I’d probably add a small can of rinsed black beans to round it out.  But without the beans, it was delicious.  The recipe makes 4-6 servings, depending on how hungry you are.  For us, it was enough for the 4 of us (the kids didn’t eat much of it), and we had 2 mug/bowls left over.

Also, highly recommended for fall/winter soup/chili leftovers, are the Corningware mugs with lids (relax, it’s not an affiliate link, I promise). I just checked, and they’re even cheaper in Target ($7.59 at the time I wrote this).

Today’s Lunch, Pork Tenderloin

On the weekends, we usually cook for lunch, and then do smaller, leftover-ish things later in the day if we get hungry again.  So, it’s another lovely day, and we’re off to the grill.  Today?  Pork tenderloin.  It’s just the 4 of us, so I only did one of the two tenderloins that came in the pack we bought.  The other is in the freezer.

I made up a little mojo/marinade type thing using a rub that I’ve had hanging around a while.  It’s the “Jack’s Old South” rub from Food Network.  Here’s the recipe for the rub…

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

I was originally going to make a paste using apple juice and smear it on, much like a rub, but decided to give the pork a bath in it, so I added a bit more apple juice.  Just mix it up until it looks right to you. You’ll need about 4-6 ounces of liquid In there to do an adequate job. Trim up the tenderloin, put it in a gallon sealable plastic bag, and add the mixture.  Smoosh it around to coat, remove as much air as you possibly can and seal it up.  Minimum bath in this stuff should be 4 hours.  24 would be better.  Put it in the fridge for this time.  About 30 minutes before you throw it on the fire, pull it out of the fridge.

Don’t like the rub I mentioned above? Use whatever rub you like. I might try this next time with the rub my butcher makes.

Charcoal grill?  Setup for 2-zone cooking. Gas? Turn on all the burners and heat your grill up to medium high heat.  Cook it for about 2 minutes on each of the 4 sides, then shut off the burner that’s under the pork, or move to a part of a charcoal grill that doesn’t have direct heat going.  Close the lid, and check it every few minutes.  In 8-10 minutes, you should be all done.  Remember, trichinosis is at an all-time low for all of known history.  You do not need to cook your pork until it’s a crispy, dry mess, crying uncle.  140-145F is plenty good enough.

We served this up with a pasta salad, and leftover corn from yesterday’s tacos, and it was good.

Would I change anything? While I found it nicely spiced, as did my wife, the kids thought the spice level was a bit high. They’re a little wimpy with that stuff, so next time, I might do a bit less rub in the mixture.

Pork & Chorizo Burgers – Like Heaven on a Bun

Last year, I had a burger that was probably my favorite burger of all time.  It was at Brown’s, a pub chain in the UK.  Their Wild Boar & Chorizo burger.  It was divine.  Now that I’m not doing much international travel for work, I decided to go my own way and make my own version.  Today was the day.

Mere bog standard ketchup is unworthy of this fine burger.  To that end, I used some leftover meatloaf glaze, from an America’s Test Kitchen recipe.  It’s a fantastic slightly kicked up ketchup.  Here’s the sauce…

  • 1 cup ketchup (I like good old Heinz for this)
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon hot sauce (Pete’s, Tabasco, Sriracha, whatever you like)

Whisk it all together in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until thickened.  That should take about 5 minutes.

Moving on to the burgers..  There is no shortage of recipes out there for burgers like this.  50-50 mixes, 75-25 mixes, ones that have all sorts of other stuff tossed in the burgers too.  I like to keep it simple.  So here’s the recipe…  The recipe yields 4 burgers.

  • 1 1/3  pounds of ground pork (I’d take wild boar if you can get it though!)
  • 2/3 pound of Mexican chorizo (this is important – you don’t want Spanish, you want Mexican, as it’s an uncooked sausage – for me, this was two links)
  • 4 Brioche Buns
  • Sliced Manchego Cheeze (or grated if you don’t have sliced handy!)
  • Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, Pickles as you like

Unwrap those links, slice the casings lengthwise, and remove the sausage from the casing (if you can get bulk ground chorizo, even better!).  Cut the sausage into 1 inch sections and toss in the food processor.  Pulse until the chorizo is crumbly.  In a bowl, combine the chorizo with the ground pork.  Get in there with your hands and combine the meats, but don’t over-work the mixture.  You’ve got 2 pounds of meat here, so divide that up into four 8-ounce balls, and form patties.  I like to use the divot in the middle of the patty trick to keep them from swelling up too much when you’re cooking them.  Season the patties with just a bit of kosher salt and black pepper, and apply the fire!

Cook the burgers to 145 F, keeping them juicy, and allowing carry-over to make sure they’re properly cooked.  Top with a slice or some grated manchego cheese.  Split, butter and toast those buns, assemble and prepare yourself for a mouth full of good burger.