Tuesday, October 21, 2014

English (Cornish) Meat Pies (Sandwiches)

I thought since doing a blog on Mexican sandwiches (Tortas) a few weeks back, that maybe I should cover another type of sandwich not from the USA.

Every country seems to have their own style of a sandwich.  The sandwich is popular around the world because it is easy and convenient to eat.  You just pick it up with your hands and eat.  It is very portable and great at sporting events.  The sandwich can be go a bit on the messy side but most sold at sporting events and by street venders tend to stay away from those type of sandwiches.

Sandwiches seem to be unique to countries.  Some may seem to have been even been copied or adjusted by different countries.  The "British Pasty" in England is similar to the Calzone of Italy in looks.  But the dough and fillings are quite different.

In England, the "British Pasty" as it is also known, dates back to the time of Henry III (13th century).  They usually were made with whatever food was available.  In the early days, venison was the meat of choice.  Today, skirt steak is that meat of choice for many in England.  Although the sandwich shops in England make all varieties on this sandwich today.

The "Cornish Patsy" or "Meat Pie" has been protected by the European Commission with a "Protected Geographical Indication" and has to be made in the shape of a "D" and crimped on the side.  Other makers of "Patsy" sandwiches throughout Britain have complained about this as unfair.

I had one of these sandwiches a few years back when in London with some family members.  I thought they were a great sandwich to eat as we walked about sightseeing.  If you have a chance to visit Great Britain someday, I suggest you try one of these classic sandwiches.

This week I'm giving you the recipe "Pastry for a Meat Pie" on Wednesday so you will be able to make your own sandwich from Britain.  On Thursday, the recipe is for a traditional "Cornish Meat Pie" that uses the pastry from Wednesday.  Again, remember that you can always create your own filling for the pie.

Please give it a try and let me know how it turned out for you.  Until next week, "Happy Cooking" and please share my food blog with others.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tortilla Soup


Tortilla Soup
(4 servings)


Ingredients:

4 medium Corn Tortillas
1 tbsp. Canola Oil, plus extra for frying
1 small White Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves Fresh Garlic, crushed
1 (14 oz.) can Plum Tomatoes, drained
4 cups Chicken Broth/Stock
1 small bunch Fresh Cilantro
As needed Salt & Black Pepper

Directions:

Cut tortillas in half and stack.  Then cut into strips about ¾ inch wide.  Using a heavy skillet, fill with oil to about ½ inch or so and heat over medium-high heat.  In small batches, fry tortillas until crisp and golden brown.  Remove carefully onto paper towels and set aside.  Now using a heavy sauce pan over medium heat, bring tablespoon of oil to temperature and add the onion and garlic.  Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.  Onions should be soft and translucent and garlic must not brown or burn.  Chop tomatoes and add to the onion mixture.  Pour in the chicken broth/stock and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Chop cilantro leaves and add to soup.  Set some aside to use as a garnish.  Taste the soup and adjust taste with salt and pepper.  Divide fried tortillas pieces among soup bowls and ladle soup into them.  Garnish with remaining cilantro and serve.

Note:               Some people may want to try flour
                        tortillas in place of the corn ones.

Note:               If you like it spicy, add your favorite
                        items to meet your heat level.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Corn Soup


Corn Soup
(6 servings)

 
Ingredients:

2 tbsp. Canola Oil
1 medium White Onion, finely chopped
2 (jarred) Roasted Red Peppers (equivalent of 2)
3 cups Frozen Corn, thawed
3 cups Chicken Broth/Stock
2/3 cup Light Cream
as needed Salt & Black Pepper

Directions:

Over medium-low heat, warm the oil in a large sauce pan.  Add the onion and sauté for about 10 minutes or until translucent and soft.  While onion is cooking, dice the equivalent of 1 pepper into ½ pieces.  When onions are ready, add the diced red pepper and corn to pan.  Increase heat to medium and continue sautéing another 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and spoon mixture into a food processor or blender.  Add the chicken broth/stock and process until smooth.  Do in batches if necessary.  Return pureed mixture to pan and reheat.  Stir in cream, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.  Take the second red pepper and cut into thin strips.  Add half to the sauce pan and combine.  Serve in bowls and garnish with remaining red pepper strips.

Note:               You could use fresh red peppers.  You will just need to use the process to roast the peppers to remove the skins.  Be sure to remove seeds and core before dicing and cutting into strips.

Note:               If you want to add a little spice, try adding some finely diced hot peppers of choice or use some spicy ground dry chiles.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Part 9 Mexican (Soups) Cuisine

One usually doesn't think of "Soups" when they think of Mexican Cuisine.  But they are very popular throughout the country.

People do think of "Chili" or "Chili con Carne" when thoughts go to Mexico.  But in truth, they didn't create them.  These dishes were actually part of the Tex/Mex food experience.  This started out because there was so much beef in Texas and the Southwest.  The original "Chili" was just cooked beef seasoned with chili powder.  It developed into what we have today throughout the USA  and Mexico.  Other counties also have their form of chili too.

But we're talking soups today and chili will be covered at another time in my blog.

Most people when they think of Mexican food, think spicy.  But, in fact, many of the dishes of Mexico are not spicy.  This is very true when it comes to soups.

The different influences on Mexican food all took what was handy for food product and made the best of it in their dishes.  This week my recipes for soup are made using two major items, corn and tortillas.  Neither of the recipes are spicy but do taste delicious.  Wednesday's recipe is for a simple "Corn Soup" and can be made year round using fresh or frozen corn.  On Thursday, the recipe is for a "Tortilla Soup" that has a thinner broth.

I'm not going into a lot on Mexican soups because soups are soups.  I've covered soups before and the basics are pretty much the same in any country.  What I wanted to point out is there are many good soups to try with Mexican origins.

So give them a try.  Make adjustments to your flavor profile.  But with fall here and winter coming, you just might want something new to warm you up at a meal.  Soup is a good dish to do it.

Until next week, "Happy Cooking" and please share my food blog with friends and family.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Garlic Pulled Pork


Garlic Pulled Pork
(10 servings)

 
Ingredients:

1 cup Fresh Cilantro, coarsely chopped
½ cup Fresh Orange Juice
½ cup Fresh Lime Juice
9 cloves Fresh Garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp. Fresh Oregano, finely chopped
1½ tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Kosher Salt
½ tsp. Black Pepper
5 lb. Boneless Pork Shoulder with fat caps
As needed Salt & Black Pepper
4 medium Fresh Limes, cut into wedges

Directions:

In a large, sturdy resealable plastic bag, combine the cilantro, orange and lime juices, garlic, oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add the pork shoulder, seal the bag and turn to coat.  Transfer the bag to a large baking dish and refrigerate overnight, turning the bag once or twice.  Remove the pork from the marinade and scape off the garlic and herbs; discard the marinade.  Season the pork all over with salt and pepper and transfer to a large enameled cast-iron casserole.  Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.  Place pork fat side up and roast for 1 hour in a pre-heated 400 degree oven, until lightly browned.  Reduce oven to temperature to 300 degrees and roast for 4 hours longer, until the pork is very tender and the fat cap is crispy; transfer to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes.  Remove fat cap and chop into bite-size pieces.  Using 2 forks, shredded the remaining pork.  Place pulled pork on a serving dish and garnish with the crispy cap pieces.  Serve with lime wedges.

Note:               The pork roast can be refrigerated
                        overnight; rewarm in a 300 degree
                        oven.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Best Pulled Pork I've Tasted


Best Pulled Pork I’ve Tasted
(12 servings)


Ingredients:

½ cup Sugar
¼ cup Kosher Salt
1 tbsp. Smoked Paprika
1 tbsp. Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp. Ground Cumin
½ tsp. Celery Seed
½ tsp. Ground Mustard Powder
8-9 lb. Bone-in Pork Butt
As needed Buns for sandwiches (your favorite)
As needed condiments for sandwiches (your favorite)
 
Directions:

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the first seven ingredients.  Generously rub the pork butt all over with seasoning and double wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight for best results but at least one hour.  Remove plastic wrap and place in a large Dutch oven or roasting pan fat side up.  Now put in a 275 degree pre-heated oven for 8 to 9 hours or an internal temperature of 190 degrees.  Let rest in pan for 30 to 60 minutes tented loosely with foil.  Using two forks, shred the pork right in the pan and toss in the juices from cooking.  Serve with buns or bread, barbeque sauce, hot pickle slices and slaw if desired.

Note:               I will also make this recipe without
                        marinating with rub overnight.  It
                        turns out just as tasty

Note:               You can try brown sugar instead of
                        granulated sugar for this rub.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pork Butts & Pulled Pork


"Pulled Pork" is a dish everyone loves.  This is very interesting because there isn't just one pulled pork recipe that everyone uses.  No, there are hundreds of different recipe for making pulled pork.

It can depend on what part of the country you live in, as the South does it different then say the Northeast.  There is even differences between countries.  Mexico and Cuba do it different from each other as well as the USA.  But I've got to say, I haven't tasted a pulled pork that I haven't liked yet.

Some are mild while others can get quite spicy.  Some are done with dry rubs while others are done with wet rubs or marinades.  Most are done with ingredients, spices or herbs native to their area, but not always.  There are people who like to use a bone-in to a boneless piece of pork.  Some will only use a particular cut of pork when making their pulled pork.

But "Low & Slow" is what everyone does to make it tender, juicy and easy to pull apart.  You'll find temperatures ranging from 225 to 300 degrees for the oven.  Some may start or end with a higher temperature to create an outer crust too.  As far as time goes, about an hour per pound seems to be the norm.  But that does vary because of the temperature used in the cooking process.

The best equipment for cooking your pulled pork in is an enameled cast-iron casserole.  But if you don't have one, just use a good roasting pan.  Whatever you use, make sure you have a good lid too.  Again, not all but most recipes call for a lid to use during the cooking process.

This week I have two great recipes for you to try.  Tomorrow's is my personal favorite.  It's called "Best Pulled Pork I've Tasted" and uses a bone-in pork butt and a dry rub.  It also has a little bit of a spiciness to it as it calls for "Ground Cayenne Pepper" in the rub.  The recipe calls for a tablespoon of it which in my option makes it just a mild spicy.  Remember you can always adjust ingredients to meet your personal taste requirements.  So have fun with all recipes this way.

On Thursday, I have a recipe for "Garlic Pulled Pork" and it goes the other way.  It uses a boneless piece of pork and a wet rub.  It's also a Puerto Rican recipe but does not use anything to make it spicy.

The two recipes help showcase what I have said above about all the different ways to make pulled pork.  Be sure to try them as I'm sure you will love both.

Another bit of help on pulled pork.  A pulled pork recipe makes a lot of product to eat.  Don't back off because you think it is too much food for you.  What I do is portion the remaining pulled pork from a meal into 1 pound zip-lock freezer bags, mark with necessary info and freeze for later use.  It works quite well for my wife and I.

Remember to thaw in the refrigerator and then warm up in a low (300 degree) oven or use the microwave.

Well I  hope you have enjoyed today's comments and "Happy Cooking" until next week.