Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thick & Creamy Killian's BEER CHEESE SOUP

There's a chill in the air, and that means soup.

The little devils, angels and demons in the neighborhood are out and about and plotting their Halloween fun.

Time for a beer cheese soup.

I am a BIG fan of beer cheese soup.  I like mine thick (lots of cheese), I like mine creamy (Buttermilk adds a tang and helps to make it creamy).  I like a little extra bite (I add roasted peppers) and I like to taste a hint of the beer (Killian's, and Irish red beer has a distinctive taste that is easy to spot in the soup).

I'll belly up to a bar with a Bud in my hand with the best of 'em.  Miller Light is indeed less filling and Michelob Ultra will help cut carbs.  But for a soup, pick a beer with a distinctive flavor.  Guiness Stout would be perfect (if you like that sort of thing), Amber Bock, Sam Adams; hunt down a specialty beer.  Most liquor stores have some bottles available individually.  No need to buy a six pack if you are not a regular beer drinker.  Ask for help, tell them soup and the clerk will direct you to the more distinctively flavorful beers.

Me, I like the brilliant color and the caramelized malt taste of Killian's Red.

Here's what I did...

1 cup Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Carrot, chopped
1/2 cup Celery, chopped

4 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 cup Butter
4 oz can Green Chile, chopped (do not drain)
1 tsp Mustard Powder
12 ounces Killian's Beer
3 cups Chicken Stock
4 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup Flour
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • Melt the butter in a large soup pot.  
  • Add the Onion, Carrot, Celery, Garlic and Chiles, Stir occasionally and simmer for 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  • Add the beer and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Pour all this into a food processor and pulse until liquefied 
  • Return to the pot, add the buttermilk, mustard powder, Chicken Stock and Worcestershire Sauce and return to simmer.
  • Add the cheese 1 cup at a time.
  • Add flour as a thickening agent to the desired thickness

The actual liquor in the beer cooks out.  the distinctive caramelized malt taste of the Killian's Red is not over powered by the cheese.  A quick note on the cheese, be sure to use a better quality sharp cheddar.  DO NOT USE THE ALREADY SHREDDED BAGS.  Cheese loses it's flavor the more air that hits it.  the shredding adds lots of air surface.  Buy the bricks and grate it yourself just prior to use.

Thick, rich, creamy and delicious!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kefta - a Meatball Tajine with Tomato and Eggs

Show of hands... Who knows what a Tagine (or Tajine) is???

Here's a hint... more than a dish... more than a dish (the hint is I named it twice).

Anyone... Anyone... Katie, not you... Anyone else???

Me either.  Until a couple days ago, when Katie from Thyme for Cooking, the Blog posted a version of this recipe.  Katie has a wonderful blog.  She is a transplanted American, living in France and restoring a French Country home.  Updates on the progress of the restoration, difficulties or challenges (depends on the perspective) of shopping in a different culture, but also wonderful "real" food recipes.  It is always a treat to stop in and visit.

And last week was no exception. Katie posted this recipe (well, a version of it) for a Tagine, cooked in a Tagine.  That's right, a tagine is a recipe, as well as a name for dish that the recipe is made in.

Katie has a beautiful Moroccan Tagine... I have the mid-western version... Corningware...

And who knew?  I had this dish in my basement.  Bought at a garage sale for a dollar.  I bought it for it's presentation possibilities.  Maybe roast a chicken in it.  I can carry a half dozen cupcakes to the neighbors in it.  I had no idea it has a rich history.  Dating back centuries, an authentic North African (Morocco, Algeris, think Rick's Cafe in Casablanca) tagine (or tajine) is a heavy clay glazed cooking vessel.  It consists of two parts: a base unit that is flat and circular with low sides, and a large cone or dome-shaped cover that rests inside the base during cooking. The cover is so designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. With the cover removed, the base can be taken to the table for serving.  

More importantly for me, this dish is also especially useful for low and slow cooking.  Designed to retain all moisture, it is perfect for oven or stove top cooking of less expensive cuts of meat.  You'll be seeing lots more of my Tajine in the future!

As to this recipe, a little research found that it is called a KEFTA.  A spiced meatball recipe, served with cooked tomatoes and eggs poached in the juices from the dish.  My version is true to the spirit, true to the look, but I used spices I had in my pantry, so the spices were more Cajun than Moroccan.

Katie cooks with milder spices than I do.  If you want to see her version, her adaptation for the cookbook, "The Food of Morocco", click HERE.  My meatballs are quite a bit different from hers.  Also, I decided to brown my meatballs instead of cooking them 100% in the Tajine.  I wanted to get some of the rendered fat from the meat out before adding to the stew.  I also added 2 cups of my marinara sauce (I made several batches back when tomatoes where in season and froze them in 2 cup bags).  This is one of those 30 minute meals.  For just a second, I pondered serving this over a pasta, turning Moroccan into Italian.  But, decided against that.  It's my first time, decided to be as gentle as possible to the spirit of the dish.

Here's what I did...

For the meatballs...

1 lb Ground Beef
2 Eggs
1 cup diced sweet Onion
2 TBS "Big Easy in a Jar" (my Cajun Spice mix, a commercial brand can be substituted)
4 TBS fresh chopped Parsley
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs

Mix well and form into meatballs @the size of golf balls.

For the Tomatoes and Sauce...

2 cups Marinara Sauce
1 can Tex-Mex spiced diced Tomatoes (@14 oz)
1 TBS Sugar
1 TBS Cinnamon
2 TBS "Big Easy in a Jar" (my Cajun Spice mix, a commercial brand can be substituted)
1 Sweet Onion, medium dice
1 TBS Olive Oil

For the Eggs...

4 Eggs
Fresh ground Pepper to taste

Spice Mixes I Love!Here's my usual note about my spice mixes.  I make up a batch of 3 favorites every couple of months.  If there is one hint I can pass on to others, it would be to make your own spice mixes.  Mine are all low salt (I am old and fat, I don't need the salt.  But those of you that are young and spry, you don;t need as much salt as you are ingesting).  But, equally important, the fresh spices taste so much richer than the dated little jars in your drawer.  Making them in bulk means they are always around, perfect to add to a cooked egg, season some bread or just to goose up a hamburger.  Of course, commercial brands are available and easily substituted in this recipe, but do look at the salt content in those.  If salt is the number one ingredient... run from em.

If you want to see the formulas I use, click the photo of the spices.

OK, off my soap box and back to the stove...

To cook...

  • Add the oil to the Tajine.
  • Heat over medium flame (or burner unit if you are cursed (as I am( with an electric oven)
  • Add the Onion and cook until tender
  • Add the tomatoes, marinara sauce and spices
  • Simmer covered for 15 minutes
  • While that is simmering, Mix and form the meatballs.  Brown them and then add to the Tomatoes and sauce
  • Space them evenly in the tajine and again cover and simmer for 10 minutes to finish cooking the meat
  • Move the meatballs around to form 4 pockets of sauce.  I had so many meatballs I needed to stack them.
  • Drop an egg in each spot, cover and allow them to poach in the sauce.  Takes about 5 minutes
  • Pepper to taste
Spoon onto a plate with a nice helping of the tomatoes, a couple of the eggs and 3 or 4 meatballs and sing along with Bing and Bob...

While that's playing, here's a few photos to show you what I did...

Thanks Katie... I now LOVE my Tajine too!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Quiche with Hash Brown Crust and my Honey-do List

Real men eat Quiche with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with green onions...

I had a very interesting meal planned for last night.  Something with eggs poached in a tomato sauce that I had seen on a friends blog recently.  I did my daily constitutional and made a hike to the grocery store (enjoying a beautiful crisp fall morning here in god's country... possibly the most beautiful walk since getting back from the Virgin Isles.  Get up early and take a walk around the park as the sun comes up... incredible... but I digress).

My point is, I had already made my trip to the store, already had the evening meal planned and alread had a plan.

Then, my wife sent me this email...
Thanks.  Would you please make either a spinach/cheese quiche tonight or soufflés??  I think we have enough eggs and spinach.  We need to use up what we have. 

About Halloween . . . . We can get some more Fritos, grate some cheese for the top and I think I will make a crock pot of baked apples.  I know you don’t like them, but I think it will be a nice night for it.  Also we could make some hot drinks or something.  What do you think? 

I want the kids bedroom painted and back in order before your party – do you think we could tape it tomorrow night and paint it right away?  It needs to dry before I can carry up all the crap from the basement and organize it again. 

If Kevin replaces the bad part of the railing first thing Saturday, I can begin priming it.  Takes 2 hours to dry and maybe with any luck, it will look decent for Halloween.  Have to get garage paint tonight –

Did you call the granite people?  Let me know what they say.

Nothing like late October, when you start looking at those outdoor  projects that need to be finished before it dips below freezing on a regular basis... AND, at the same time, plot out new indoor projects for my time.  It's going to be dark for Trick or Treeters Sunday night.  We are having two friends over that have been here a hundred times for dinner, but she wants to be sure the porch gets painted before Halloween... sigh.

The "kids" bedroom (yes, we have are empty nesters, but we have a bedroom set aside in the house just in case kids come to visit) gets used 10 nights a year.  But, since they have seen one color, we want them to enjoy a redecorating... sigh.

And the garage door... Our neighbor painted his.  According to my wife, "it changed the whole way their house looks".  So, we now have to paint ours.  Never mind that it's the same color as when we fell in love with the house.  Good enough then, good enough now in my opinion... sigh.

But worst of all is her plan to make "baked" apples in a crock pot.  A left over recipe from our Weight Watcher days.  If you try hard, you can pretend that the recipe tastes "just as good" as an apple pie.  But, no crust, no sugar, no butter and you can imagine my opinion... sigh.

Shaping up to be a fun weekend for me.

But the good news... Quiche!  

My point... Real men do the chores and projects that need to be done around the house without complaint (maybe a heavy sigh, but no complaints).  And real men do indeed make and eat Quiche!

Besides, as all happily married guys know, ain't nobody happy if she ain't happy...

So, last night I started my weekend "Honey-Do this, Honey-do that" list with a quiche.  But, I didn't have a pie crust, and my record right now is about 60/40.  40% of my pie doughs are spectacular, 60% are ... not.  One of the cooking projects I need to work on.  But fortunately, I did recall seeing Ms Paula Deen on an episode of her TV show do a hash brown crusted quiche... Now that sounds good...

And a word about hash browns.  Occasionally you will see a bag in the store on sale ridiculously cheap.  Like 39 cents cheap.  When you do, buy a few for the freezer.  But when they are not on sale, hash browns are about the easiest thing in the world to make.

3 large Russet Potatoes
1 sweet Onion
1 Red Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

And let the food processor do all the work.  Use that seldom used blade and just push the Veggies through.  I use potatoes unpeeled (healthy and lazy), making this even easier.  Took less than 5 minutes.

Squeeze the juices out of the taters/onion/pepper mix.  And then, just line a couple of pie pans with the fresh hash browns.  Of course, if you have the frozen ones, they work well also.

Bake the shells at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.  If you are starting with frozen potatoes, allow to cook for 30 minutes before adding the fillings.

While that is baking, time to make the egg goo and fillings...

(makes two pies)

8 LG Eggs
1 cup Half and half
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 pound Sausage, browned, drained
1 bunch green onions sliced thin divided (some for the quiche, some for garnish)
1 cup Provolone Cheese (could use Swiss Cheese), thinly sliced
1 cup sharp Cheddar Cheese, thinly sliced
3 TBS Sodom and Gomorrah Sesame/Salt/Garlic herb spice mix
(or this could read salt and pepper to taste... see note below) 

Spice Mixes I Love!
A word about the Sodom and Gomorrah Sesame/Salt/Garlic herb spice mix.  It is one of the easiest of the spice mixes that I make.  It is simply equal parts black and white sesame seeds (the Sodom and Gomorrah part), combined with equal amounts Garlic Flakes and Coarsely ground Sea Salt.  I use this often as a substitute for "regular" salt.  Adds deeper flavors, and has the health benefits of making your dishes "low salt".  Click the photo to see more tips on mixing your own spices.

OK, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 and 1/2 and cream.  When the potatoes have baked for just a bit, start layering...

Crumbled Sausage first

Slices of the cheese next

Egg goo next. It will ooze into the cracks and crannies of the potatoes and around the sausage and cheese nicely.

Spices and half of the onions.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the top just starts to turn golden brown and delicious!

Garnish with a little sour cream and some sliced green onions!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

REALLY ROCKY Rocky Road Brownies with Chipotle Chile Pepper Spice

Extra Fudgie, Extra Gooey, toasted pecans and beautiful slightly toasted marshmallows and the colored rock chocolate chips make a fun presentation and an amazing tasty brownie.

Oh! NutsHow about those fancy pretty colored rocks that are actually Chocolate Chips... OK, here's that fair use and warning the good folks of the US Gov't have asked (ordered) bloggers to do.  I got the nuts FREE!!!  BWAHAHAHA FREE I SAY!  Yeap, the truly very good folks at the OH NUTS company contacted me and offered a few pounds of their nuts.  And Oh Boy, did OH NUTS ever come through for me.  I spent a few minutes navigating around their mail order site.  It was very easy to follow and amazing in the amount of products they carry.  Not just nuts (including the very rare unsalted cashews that didn't last long enough in my pantry to make it to any recipes.  Talk about good eats!), anyway, not just nuts, but dried fruits, chocolates, granola, candy and even specialty ice cream.  Take a minute and look over their site.  Very reasonable prices, easy to navigate site and a tremendous selection of bulk and gift items.

And the keep these little gems in stock!

Sure, you can get the taste by following the recipe with "normal" boring chocolate chips at the end instead of chocolate rocks...  But come on, how can you resist serving ROCKY Rocky Road Brownies???   Look at em!  They have real (looking) rocks in the rocky road!

I measure the success of a dessert two ways... First, would kids eat em.  Of course they would!

Second, from my youth and the competitive world of Baptist Church basement potluck dinners, who can bring a dish that goes home empty is always remembered.  Although, truth to be told, whoever takes a dish home that is barely touched is not only remembered, but discussed, not always in a Christian manor... but I digress.

If you pop a plate of these bad boys down in front of the congregation, along side the other 10 plates of brownies and these are gone first.  You can rule the church basement with these...

Here's what I did...

1 cup semi-sweet Chocolate chips
2 sticks Butter
1 cup light brown Sugar
1/2 cup granulated Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
2 tsp instant Coffee crystals
3 large Eggs
1 1/4 cup unsweetned Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Powder
Double Pinch of Salt

1/4 tsp (yes, only 1/4) Chipotle Chile Pepper Spice

1/2 cup Mini Marshmallows (or large MM cut into 8 pieces to make 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup Pecans

1/2 cup Rocky Chocolate Chips
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Melt 4 tablespoons Butter and all the Chocolate Chips in microwave using 15 second bursts, stir in between zaps
  • In your Kitchenaid, mix, cream the remaining butter with the two sugars.  Add the Vanilla, coffee, eggs, chipotle powder and the cooled melted butter/chocolate mix.
  • After all the wet ingredients are combined, slowly add the flour and cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  • Spread the batter in a 9X9 greased baking dish.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick can be inserted and removed without anything sticking.
  • Add the toppings
  • Return to the oven for 5 minutes, until the marshmallows begin to toast!
Allow to cool completely before cutting.

First note, I always undercook my brownies.  I only cooked mine for 30 minutes, but I like eating mine with a fork. They come out more fudgie than cakey.

Second, two ingredients you might be surprised about... Coffee in your brownies is a WONDERFUL thing.  Just a bit, especially the instant, will make the chocolate more pronounced.  Really, it works!

But the surprise may be the chipotle powder in the mix.  Competitive chili cookers have known for years that to add a bit of chocolate to the chili gives it just enough of a hint of ... something to make yours stand out.  Same with chipotle powder spice in your chocolate.  Just a tiny amount, just enough to make yours stand out and that extra little tang at the end.  Trust me, NO ONE will think your brownies taste like peppers, but there will be that hint of something extra!

Holidays are coming.  Presentation desserts are coming.  Consider looking over the OH NUTS company website and seeing if there is anything fun that gives you an idea.

And the BSI "secret" ingredient this week is Chiles.  I am sure Biz meant for us to show off our stuffed pepper recipes, but I am turning in my brownies as an outside the box pepper entry.  If you want to get in on the BSI fun, click HERE.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cheese and Spinach Souffle - Single serving in a cup

Souffle... Say the word out loud, go ahead, I'll wait.

What a beautiful sounding word.  Just the word conjures up images of luxury for the eater, and looming disaster for the cook.  

But, I tell the nay...

Nay I tell thee.

When it works.... Such beauty.

I will admit, they are just a tiny bit complicated, but in reality, a series of tiny steps make this a guaranteed success for anyone.  But, a souffle does not work the next day.  It's one of those dishes that you need to make, eat and remember, all in one setting.  So, I decided to try a single serve souffle.  It was to be a side dish, and a cup of souffle is a perfect size...

Just a standard coffee cup.  If it's microwave safe, it is safe to use in the oven.

Here's what I did...

This recipe is for TWO cups, 2 servings

2 TBS butter, room temperature
2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese

2 TBS flour
2 TBS butter
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cups milk, hot
2 la
rge egg yolks
3 egg whites plus 1 tablespoon water
3 ounces Chedder, grated@20 large Spinach Leaves Cut into thin 1/2 inch strips
½ teaspoon cream of tartar (or you may use baking powder)

Use room temperature 1 tablespoon of butter to grease each coffee cup. Add the grated Parmesan and coat the butter with it. Set in the freezer for five minutes [to make the cheese stick to the butter.]
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  • In a small saucepan, heat the other 2 tablespoons of butter. and combine the flour to make a roux.
  • Add the hot milk to the roux and turn the heat to high. 
  • When it starts to boil, remove the saucepan from the heat.In a separate bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, salt. 
  • In another bowl, beat the egg yolks. Slowly…mix the eggs into the milk mixture, stirring constantly. 
  • Add the cheese and stir until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the spinach and mix.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar or baking powder until stiff. 
  • Fold into the hot milk/cheese mixture by thirds.
  • Gentle, gentle. When incorporated, pour the mixture into the cups (about half way).
Place on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
Note: This soufflé will sink the moment it’s served. It’s a shame, but that’s the way it goes.
Here are some photos that might help give you an idea of what I did...

The tip about freezing the butter and Parmesan cheese coated cup prior to pouring the hot egg/cheese mixture in is inspired.  A soufflé rises best when it has something to climb.  In this case, the egg climbs up the cheese.  Using this technique, you will get a much taller rise from your soufflé.  And, let's face it, in addition to the light fluffy texture, the dramatic presentation are the best reasons to go to the trouble of a soufflé.

It probably would have worked better if I could have grated my fresh Parmesan finer, but I only have one grater, and this is the size I got.  In reality, it worked great.  the soufflé rose a full inch above the lip of the cup.

Add the egg slowly.  It is a tough thing to do, have the roux hot enough to melt the cheese without over cooking the eggs.  Just know to not have it boiling hot, not even simmering hot, just warm.  If you add the cheese slowly, it will melt without cooking the eggs.

And of course, stiff egg whites are key.  All those hours holding up that Farrah Fawcett poster with one hand has finally paid off, as it took at least 20 minutes of constant whisking to get my peaks stiff.  But I did it!  I didn't want them to fall, so I folded them in before I got a photo, but trust me... they were stiff. 

Also important is to only FOLD the whites in.  Do not undo all your whisking by over mixing the whites into the yolk/cheese mixture.

And work very quick.  have your pan (dish) handy, have your oven pre-heated.  You want to get the egg yolk/cheese/egg white mixture in the oven as fast as possible.

When the time to take it out of the oven comes, be ready to have everyone look.  A soufflé falls.  It is what it does.  No getting around it.  But it will last the few minutes it takes to remove, listen to the praise of your guests, and slice into.  just don't listen too long.

Made a nice side dish to a pan seared steak and taters!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mediterranean Herb Spice Simple Vegetable Melange

Today is a big day for me... But you have to wait til the end of the post to hear why.

Yesterday, I did my favorite post of the year... Raspberry Chipotle Marinated Sausage Stuffed Spiral Cut Pork Loin with a Bacon Lattice.

Today, just the simple vegetables that I served to accompany the masterpiece shown above.

The Pork Loin did take a bit of time.  Probably counting every step, nearly an hour to assemble.  I needed something simple and fast to keep from spending all day on the kitchen.  These were perfect.

Cooking time and temperatures were exactly the same as the pork loin.  One goes in the oven, same time as the other.  One comes out, same time as the other.

And easy...

a half dozen Red Potatoes, diced to bite size
a half dozen Fresh Carrots, halved and quartered
a bag of tiny Pearl Onions, tops and ends cut off, the outer skin removed

Olive oil to coat
2 TBS "Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" Spice mix

Spice Mixes I Love!As to the "Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" Spice mix, again, I like to make my own.  This is a mix of mostly Mediterranean herbs and spices.  I make a big batch about once every other month.  Always fresh and always at hand to add an herb taste to any dish... 

There are plenty of commercially available spice mixes you could use for this.    Or, just pick your favorite spice.  Dill alone would make a terrific flavor enhancer, or play the Simon and Garfunkel song while you add Parley, sage, Rosemary and Thyme.  But, making a batch in advance is so much easier.  Once you have a jar of this, you will make it a point to never go without again.

OK... Back to the recipe (come on, it's a cooking technique, too easy to call it a recipe)...

Just arrange the vegetables however you think is attractive in a large shallow bowl.  You want the tops to get a bit  crunchy, while the bottoms will retain the soft texture of cooked veggies.  Drizzle the oil over, then top with the "Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" Spice mix.  And bake at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half; alongside the pork, which that you are monitoring the internal temperature (internal temp on the pork, 150 degrees).

And that's it.  Listen, I love a complicated recipe as much as the next presentation inspired cook.  But sometimes, you just want a little roasted vegetables with a light seasoning...

Like these...

And now for something completely different...

I received a very exciting email today.  I was selected as 1 of 100 bloggers to host a POM DINNER PARTY!  In addition to lots of freebies from Pom Wonderful (Is there a single company out there that is nicer to bloggers than Pom Wonderful???), I have an opportunity to win fame and valuable prizes.  I'll be honest, it hurt when I was passed over for the Foodbuzz contest last month.  Not that I expected to win, but losing out on a chance to accept the challenges hurt.

So, I am excited to again refocus my efforts, regird my loins (ouch) and move on to new challenges.  I have decided to again make a multi course meal, complete with new recipes, new drinks, new challenges to pull the entire evening off.

This time, I am going to change my strategy a bit.  No old friends will be invited, I am going to invite KC area bloggers (and any bloggers willing to visit KC).  make this into a smallish blogger meet-up.  I read of the Tennessee meet-up, the occasional NYC meet-up, etc and am very jealous.  It is just too easy to write up our recipes that we share with just our family and a few friends.  the best part of blogging is getting to know in small ways, like minded people.

Time for the KC area like minded people to meet-up.

SO, if you are a KC area blogger... drop me a note.

If you are able, willing and interested in visiting KC around Sunday, November 14th, drop me a note.  Nothing would please me more than to have Mary, Southern Mary, Carolina Mary, Kris, Penny, Margarete, Lea Ann,  Any of my friends from Our Krazy Kitchen, any of the 6 Merry Murderesses of the Mystery Lover's Kitchen, the Dude, Biz and/or Jenn, Heather or Joanne or any of the dozen or so bloggers I have stolen recipes from to attend...

Any takers????


Monday, October 25, 2010

Raspberry Chipotle Marinated Sausage Stuffed Spiral Cut Pork Loin with a Bacon Lattice

Pork, wrapped in pork, wrapped in pork...

And the marinade, and the cheese in the stuffing, and the Raspberry Chipotle, and the potatoes/onions/carrots...

But mostly it's the pork, wrapped in pork, wrapped in pork...

And a little bit the presentation, how can you not love a bacon lattice!

But mostly it's the pork, wrapped in pork, wrapped in pork...

By putting the sausage on the inside, the rendering fat oozes through the cooking pork loin, making it the most tender and moist slice of pork you will ever eat.  By marinating the sausage in my raspberry Chipotle Sauce, you add a wonderful "extra" flavor that also oozes throughout the loin.  Add a little provolone cheese for an unexpected snap and you have something wonderful...

The bacon lattice is just the beautiful topper to a wonderful dish... 

Dare I say Thanksgiving table worthy???

Here's what I did...

1 - 4 pound Pork Loin
1 pound fresh ground Sausage
1 pound thick slice Bacon
3 slices Provolone Cheese
1/2 Red Onion, diced
2 TBS Raspberry Chipotle Paste
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1 TBS "Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" Spice mix

1 dozen tiny Pearl Onions
5 Red Potatoes, diced same size as the Onions
5 Carrots, cut 
2 TBS "Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" Spice mix

I did have so many vegetables that I put a few in the casserole dish under and around the Bacon wrapped Pork Loin, but also in a separate dish... Can't have enough veggies!

Especially when you are making...

Pork, wrapped in pork, wrapped in pork...

As to the Raspberry Chipotle Paste, I happen to make my own.  You can find the technique and recipe by clicking HERE.  BUT, there are a few commercially available Raspberry Chipotle sauces available, check your BBQ sauce section and you should be able to find some.  I make a thick paste that can be thinned as desired.  Thus, the vinegar I use to make it marinade thin.

Spice Mixes I Love!As to the "Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" Spice mix, again, I like to make my own.  This is a mix of mostly Mediterranean herbs and spices.  I make a big batch about once every other month.  Always fresh and always at hand to add an herb taste to any dish... 

Like this one!

OK, back to the recipe...

  • First, combine the Raspberry Chipotle Paste and the vinegar.  or, use the commercially available Raspberry Chipotle sauce straight.
  • Mix the sausage and red onion and the marinade and allow to rest for 1 hour.
  • Spiral cut the pork loin.  This does take practice, and you will get better the more times you do it.  be sure to have the sharpest knife possible when you start.  Just start cutting about 1/2 inch slices and roll the loin out as you slice till it is long and flat.
  • Spread the sausage on the loin.
  • Top with the provolone slices
  • Carefully roll up the loin.  DO not push and squeeze, as all the goo will ooze out.
  • Top with the Bacon Lattice, then sprinkle some of the "Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" Spice mix.
  • Rest the loin on a bed of cut raw potatoes, surround with more potatoes, carrots and onions.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees.
Alright, if you are new to making a bacon lattice, I have several photos showing step by step how to's coming... Easy as could be...

Here the bad boy is laid flat, with the sausage and provolone cheese on top...

And here he is rolled up.  Note where the "open" part is (bottom right)...

Now we add the bacon.  Note that I moved the "open end" to the top.  If you leave the open end on the bottom, you will lose most of the rendered fat and the sausage and loin will be drier than it should be.  OK, depending on the width of you loin, place bacon slice flat, with one end of each  under the loin.pull everyother slice over the loin...

Add a slice across the side, tuck the edges into the center of the roll.  Roll the top slices of bacon down, carefully so that they are out across the cutting board without pulling on the bacon laid and tucked across.  Then, pull the "other" slices of bacon up over the bacon laid and tucked across...

And just repeat, every other time alternating which slices are pulled down and which are pulled over.

I pee my pants just a little when I see the beauty of pork, wrapped in pork, wrapped in pork!

And the taste... Most importantly, is amazing!  The sweetness of the raspberry shines through.  the heat from the Chipotle shines through.  The spiral cut allows a bit of the sausage and a bit of the loin in every bite.  Such a mixture of flavors and tastes!

And a beautiful look!