Posts Tagged ‘bacon’

At some point, I think we’ve all heard that what has commonly been regarded as “stuffing” should actually never be stuffed inside of anything. While pictures from the 1940s and 1950s showed an iconic turkey bursting with goodness, putting stuffing inside a turkey or chicken actually slows down the cooking process and leads to what I believe is a lesser quality flavor. So yes, for your geniuses out there that will inevitably critique my recipe, this should be called “dressing” and not stuffing, but I suppose if you really wanted to, you could easily stuff this inside a chicken or turkey after everything is cooked separately.

Ingredients

  • 16oz unseasoned croutons
  • 1 lb lean pork sausage (without casing)
  • 1/2 lb thick cut bacon
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 3c chicken stock
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 tsp sage, ground
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1/2 tsp basil, dried

1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the bacon strips. You are probably going to have to do this in two batches. The goal is to achieve a beautiful crispiness that will not become soggy once inside the stuffing. Set aside to cool on some paper towels.

2. Remove all but two tablespoons of the bacon fat. Keep the heat on medium high and place the carrots, celery, onion, and apple in the pan. Saute for 5 minutes or until the carrot just begins to soften. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, and sage and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Add the white wine to deglaze. Continue to cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Place the cooked vegetables inside a large mixing bowl.

3. In the same pan, add the sausage and cook through. You can choose to cut the sausage into small bits, or keep in large clumps. The choice is yours. Cook until you cannot see any pink. Add the sausage to the vegetables.

4. Chop the bacon and add to the mixing bowl with the croutons. Add the chicken stock 1/4 c at a time until the croutons begin to get soggy and fall apart slightly. Combine the vegetable and meat mixture to the bread crumbs. Add to a casserole dish.

5. Cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until the top begins to get crispy. While cooking, the outside will get brown and crispy, the inside will remain moist and delicious. Serve piping hot.

I think bacon makes nearly anything taste better and with Thanksgiving shortly coming, I wanted to inspire people to make one last attempt to enjoy Brussels sprouts as an accompanying side dish. Brussels sprouts are incredibly healthy and contains sulforaphane which is believed to have tremendous anticancer properties as well as indole-3-carbinol which boosts DNA repair in cells and blocks the growth of cancer cells.

If you’ve tried Brussels sprouts before in the past and didn’t particularly enjoy the flavor (or lack thereof), I encourage you to try this recipe as a last-ditch effort.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts
  • 4 or 5 rashers of thick sliced bacon
  • salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set four or five pieces of bacon on a sheet pan and cook until crispy. Remove and lower the heat to 350 degrees. Crumble the bacon in pieces and set aside.

     

2. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and add to a large mixing bowl. Tilt the sheet pan slightly and collect  2 tbsp bacon fat. Add it to a bowl with the Brussels sprouts.

     

3. Toss the brussel sprouts with the bacon fat until well coated.  Spread the brussels sprouts out on a clean sheet pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Cook for 15 minutes and then turn the Brussels sprouts over. Some will have begun to caramelize and others may just begin to show signs of wilting greens. Cook for another 15 minutes.

5. Serve the Brussels sprouts hot with the crumbled bacon pieces on top.

Jalapenos have gotten a bad rap. Spice sensitive palettes instantly begin to seize whenever the word is mentioned and rightfully so. Often, jalapenos are served with the seeds and membranes intact bringing the heat – and the hurt – along for the ride. However, with some careful preparation, you will find that oven roasting a jalapeno pepper eliminates the heat and replaces it with a sultry sweet flavor that I am confident you will adore.

I borrowed this recipe from Aarti Sequeria who hosts the show Aarti Party on the Food Network. One morning I was absently watching her show while checking my email. I looked up from my computer only to see this magnificent appetizer magnified on my screen. It did not look like any jalapeno popper I had ever seen in my life and I instantly went to the store to recreate it. The only change I made is to double the cheese mixture added to each boat. This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled.

Ingredients

  • 10 jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 large scallions
  • 1 large granny smith apple

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Start by cleaning the jalapenos out. If you are particularly sensitive to capsaicin, you may want to where latex gloves during this process. Cut the jalapenos in half. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and the white membrane. Core the apple and cube into small chunks (about the size of a pea). Then cut the scallion into similarly sized coins.

Note: Do not touch your eyes or face during this process. The oil on your hands can and will cause massive discomfort. Be sure to wash your hands, cutting board, and the knife before moving on.

2. Add the scallions and apples to the cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

3. Add 1 tbsp of the cheese mixture to each jalapeno boat. Wrap with 1/2 slice of bacon. Secure with a toothpick.

4. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking oil. Place the boats on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart and cook for 30 minutes until the bacon has crisped. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: Leftover poppers go excellent the next day with eggs and toast.

Freezing Notes

You can easily make these months ahead of time and cook only what you will eat. Follow the recipe until step 3. Instead of placing the sheet pan in the oven, place it in the freezer instead. You want to make sure none of the peppers are touching or they will stick together. After four hours, place the frozen jalapeno boats in a freezer bag. When ready to cook, place the frozen boats on a sheet pan and cook for 30 minutes at 375 degrees until the bacon is crisp.