Bacon Wrapped Guinness & Cheddar Meatloaf

March 15, 2014

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So here I go…wrapping more things up in bacon. Yup…you’ve got my number by now. One might think that if I’m not drowning it in booze, I’m wrapping it in bacon! And this wonderful St. Patrick’s Day offering of Bacon Wrapped Guinness & Cheddar Meatloaf allows me to do both! That’s right, I’ve taken that old comfort food standard, meatloaf, and added some smooth, malty Guinness Stout and Irish cheddar into the mix and wrapped it all up in bacon.

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I didn’t think meatloaf could get any better, but I was wrong! I must admit, I’ve had some dreadful, tired old dry meatloaf in the past. And serving meatloaf did go out of fashion for a while. Though recently I’ve noticed it has made a comeback. I’m happy to say that I’ve been seeing it featured on the menus of several hot and trendy restaurants. But I’m not nearly as happy to see it as my husband is. He loves meatloaf and once he spies it on a menu, you pretty much can guess what he will be dining on that evening.

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So he was beyond happy when this amazing meatloaf meal showed up right on our own table. The beef and pork mixture is very tender, the earthy Guinness infused mushrooms are perfection and well…then there is the bacon. It is amazing! Not only does it infuse the meat with wonderful salty, bacon-y brilliance but it also serves to keep it very moist and juicy. No chance of dry meatloaf here! The original recipe called for a sweet Guinness-y glaze as well. I chose not to add it because we aren’t really into putting a sweet glaze onto our meatloaf. Sometimes even the standard ketchup is a bit too much for us. We don’t want one thing to interfere with the flavour of all of that meaty bacon-y goodness, so we left it out. But I know there are plenty of ya’ll  out there that do have a sweet-tooth and would love to glaze it up, so I’ve included the recipe for it here. For us that glaze seemed a bit like gilding the lily!

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Well folks, there you have it…beef and pork, wrapped in more pork and infused with Guinness. Served up with a big old helping of mashed potatoes and washed down with a pint or two…or so…You can’t go wrong with this Bacon Wrapped Guinness & Cheddar Meatloaf for your St. Patrick’s Day feast!

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Bacon Wrapped Guinness & Cheddar Meatloaf

recipe adapted from: Galley Gourmet

yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

For the Glaze: (Glaze optional – I did not use it)

  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) stout beer, such as Guinness extra stout
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

For the Meatloaf

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces Portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) stout beer, such as Guinness extra stout
  • 4 ounces quality white bread (about 2 slices of white bread), roughly torn
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 3 ounces Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces sliced bacon, about 12 strips

Directions:

For the Glaze
In a medium saucepan, bring the stout, brown sugar and honey to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until reduced by half, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool; set half the mixture aside.  Reserve remaining glaze for another use.

For the Meatloaf
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until softened and just beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened. Add stout and simmer briskly until almost dry, about 4-5 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl and let cool until just warm.

In a shallow dish, soak the bread in the milk, tossing once, until soggy but not falling apart, about 5-7 minutes; set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, add beef, pork, and soaked bread and process until well-combined, about 10 (1-second) pulses.  Transfer meat mixture to bowl with cooled onions/mushroom mixture.  Add eggs, cheese, parsley, Worcestershire, salt and pepper; mix with hands until thoroughly combined.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then a sheet of parchment paper.  Transfer the meat mixture to the sheet and form into a 9×5-inch rectangular loaf.  Drape the meatloaf with slightly overlapping strips of bacon, tucking the ends under the loaf. Brush the top of the meatloaf with half of the glaze (if you are using the glaze).

Bake until an instant read thermometer registers 160° F in the center of the meatloaf, about 45-50 minutes.

Remove the meatloaf from the oven.  Place the oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element and preheat the broiler.  Brush the remaining glaze over the meatloaf (if you are glazing) and broil until the bacon is browned and crisped, about 2-3 minutes, checking and rotating to make sure the glaze doesn’t scorch.  Using two large spatulas, carefully transfer the meatloaf to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.  Cut into 3/4 to 1-inch thick slices.

Enjoy!


BBQ Pulled Pork Taquitos

May 3, 2013

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Here it is, May 3rd and Cinco de Mayo is nearly upon us! But there is still time to make these outstanding BBQ Pulled Pork Taquitos before the big day and I assure you, you will be glad that you did! If you’ll recall, just a few weeks ago I broke out my slow cooker and made some mouth-watering pork carnitas which I used for Carnitas Tacos. Quite unbelievably,  I actually had a bit of that pork leftover and that is what went into these Taquitos.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I loved those tacos, but I can see firing up that crock pot again just to make these little devils. Not only are they absolutely dee-lish but they are also easy to prepare. No frying, these gems are baked. And where a lot of recipes I perused called for cream cheese, these little fellows are made with ranch dressing and BBQ sauce. Now you can pick whatever BBQ sauce happens to be your favourite. As you know, if you’ve been paying any mind to us around here, we like it pretty spicy, so I went with a Habañero Hot. But you can customize this recipe to your taste and do whatsoever you please, as far as the sauce goes anyway…sweet, mustardy, vinegary…you name it! I will say though if you are going to follow my lead, you might want to have a bunch of beer iced down and ready to go. (Actually, now that I think about it,  you should do that regardless of the sauce you pick :)

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One thing you should keep in mind is that it does take a while for the slow cooker to work its magic on that pork shoulder, so plan ahead. But once that pork is pulled and ready to go, these Taquitos assemble quickly and easily. You can make up a big tray of them earlier in the day and then just pop them into the oven 30 minutes or so before party guests arrive. Not that you need to have a party to serve these. My husband is already making plans to have the next batch I make all to his self! In fact, I haven’t tried this, but I think you could substitute in some chicken (perhaps rotisserie chicken if you are pressed for time) for the pork and these would still taste superb. So there you have it. I’ve given you a few great Cinco de Mayo recipes now, Carnitas Tacos, Salsa, Guacamole and BBQ Pulled Pork Taquitos. With food mostly covered, you should be well on your way to planning a rocking celebration in just a couple of days. Don’t forget the drinks…oh, and a hot Mariachi Band. Let me know how it goes!

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BBQ Pulled Pork Taquitos

recipe slightly adapted from: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Yield: 10-12 Taquitos

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce  (I used Sticky Fingers Smokehouse’s Habañero Hot sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • dash of hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups shredded pulled pork (I used left-overs from the pork I made for Carnitas Tacos)
  • 1 cup shredded  cheese (I used Sargento’s Four Cheese Mexican Blend)
  • 10-12 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
  • ranch dressing and/or barbecue sauce, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the ranch dressing, the barbecue sauce, paprika, chile powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, brown sugar, salt, red onion, scallions and cilantro. (If the mixture seems too dry, add the remaining ranch dressing.) Add the pork and cheese and stir until evenly distributed. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

Place 2 tortillas at a time on a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 25 seconds, or until the tortillas are soft and pliable. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly. Place seam side-down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.

Spray the tops of the taquitos with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden. Serve with salsa and/or barbecue sauce.

Enjoy!


Carnitas Tacos

April 19, 2013

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I gotta tell ya’ll, we LOVE any sort of Mexican/Tex-Mex food around here. I’m always more than happy to try out any such recipe. And on Friday night, one of the bands my husband plays in usually arrives here to rehearse. (yup…we have a rehearsal space/recording studio in our basement.) Which is great because it gives me a captive audience to try out new recipes on. And they went absolutely wild for these Carnitas Tacos! What really made these tacos stand out from the run of the mill ground beef tacos was the delicious, spicy, melt-in-your-mouth-tender yet crispy at the edges pork. And the truly wonderful thing about these carnitas is that I was able to make the dish with very little fuss. No really, I kid you not and I’m not even exaggerating the least little bit! You see they are crock pot carnitas. I don’t know about you, but I seem to have some strange ideas about how one gets pulled pork. Perhaps it is a bit of the southerner in me, but I instantly think of a whole pig over a spit and some poor sweltering soul that is left to turn the crank on the spit for the days it takes it to cook. Of course, I fear that I’m going to be that poor soul, so I tend to shy away from any pulled pork recipe. But do you know what I’ve come to realize? You don’t need to man a spit. In fact, you can make some heavenly pulled pork in a crock pot. Go figure! So, this is what I did. I got up the day before folks were going to arrive and put a big old pork shoulder into my crock pot with all the appropriate spices, some lime juice, orange juice and beer and then just turned it on and let it do its thing for 8 hours. When it was all done, I removed the meat, shredded it and popped it into the fridge. The next evening, I got all my taco fixings ready to go, you know the grated cheese, shredded lettuce, salsa, guacamole, diced onions and tomatoes, fresh chopped cilantro, sour cream and tortillas both soft and crispy. Then, shortly before I was going to serve dinner, I put the shredded pork in the broiler to warm it up and get it a little crispy around the edges.

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It was really easy and incredibly tasty! And the other amazing thing is that there were left-overs! On band rehearsal evenings I’m usually feeding six hungry musicians, so more often than not the only thing I bring back into the kitchen are dirty dishes. However, this time I knew I’d be able to get at least one more meal from these carnitas. Hmmm…there are so many possibilities, we could do more tacos, or a tamale pie or pulled pork sandwiches. You’ll have to check back to see what I actually came up with, but I’ll tell you it was just as good as these stop-you-in-your-tracks Carnitas Tacos and that is saying something! But don’t let folks in on the secret, let them imagine you out there toiling endlessly over that spit!

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Carnitas Tacos

recipe from: Pinch of Yum

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 lbs. pork shoulder
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce
  • juice of 2 limes
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 12 ounces beer
  • ½ cup salsa

Taco Fixings: whatever your favourites are, but here are some suggestions

  • tortillas, soft or crispy – your choice
  • lettuce, shredded
  • tomatoes, diced
  • guacamole or sliced avocados
  • onion, diced
  • cilantro, freshly chopped
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • salsa
  • hot sauce

Directions:

Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker, fat side up. Roughly chop the garlic and place in the slow cooker (I actually kind of rubbed it onto the meat to get as much garlic flavor as possible, but you could just toss it in, too).

Sprinkle the meat with salt, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne. Rub seasonings onto the pork.

Add lime juice, orange juice, beer, and salsa. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove pork from the slow cooker. Shred meat with two forks. Reserve the sauce separately. The meat should fall apart easily. At this point, you can either place the meat in the refrigerator if you are serving at a later date. Or if you are ready to serve it right then and there, preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the shredded meat on the cooking sheet and pour a few spoonfuls of sauce over the top. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until you get browned edges on the pork.Serve on tortillas with fresh cilantro, avocado, and all the fixins!

Enjoy!


Coffee-Chipotle Pulled Pork

September 7, 2012

Coffee-Chipotle rubbed Pulled Pork on home made Jalapeno Cheddar Rolls! Super yum!!! This is the fabulous creation with which I stuffed my tasty Jalapeno Cheddar Rolls that I was all a flutter about earlier this week. I certainly was pleased with those rolls and the addition of the pork barbecue elevated this sandwich to legendary status in my house! Once I had all of that tender, spicy pulled pork piled high on my roll, I drizzled a Chipotle Barbecue Sauce over the top. Let me tell you folks, it was BBQ Heaven! Truly stunning, if I must say so myself, though I really needn’t bother because the friends I served it to did manage to sing its praises as they gobbled it up.

The husband and I love a good pulled pork sandwich, preferably with a North Carolina style BBQ sauce (vinegar based). I had never actually tried to make this favourite dish of ours at home, preferring to leave all that hard work to the certified pit-masters. However, I thought perhaps I should attempt to raise my Southern cred a bit. I mean what self-respecting Southern cook can’t handle whipping up a little pulled pork?! So I started looking for a good recipe. I looked at lots of recipes and was definitely intrigued, especially by those that directed you to cook the pork submerged in root beer. (I love root beer!) But they almost always called for cooking it up in a slow cooker or crock pot, neither of which I own. (how is that possible?) Then I came across this recipe from Tracey at Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, which called for simply cooking the pork in your oven. For a long time, mind you, but no special equipment was necessary. The other interesting thing about the recipe was that all you added to the pan besides your coffee-chipotle rubbed pork butt was a bit of olive oil. What no root beer?!! I was afraid this pork was going to be tough and dry as old shoe leather. But Tracey has never steered me wrong with one of her posted recipes, so I popped that seasoned pork into the oven in the morning and by the time folks showed up that evening, dinner was ready to be served. And the house smelled amazing!

You can toss this pulled pork with some of the Chipotle BBQ sauce prior to serving if you wish. But I knew I had some dedicated North Carolina style BBQ fans coming over. So I served this spicy pulled pork “naked” and provided both the Chipotle BBQ sauce as well as some good old North Carolina sauce on the side. (Along with coleslaw, which I love to put on my BBQ sandwiches.) Turns out the Chipotle BBQ sauce was quite tangy, so much so that even the North Carolina diehards were eating it up. So overall, this recipe was easy to prepare, very easy to cook and really delicious! The only drawback was that we had very few leftovers! ( note to self: invite fewer folks next time I make this or get a much larger cut of pork)

Coffee-Chipotle Pulled Pork

Recipe very slightly adapted from: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Yield: about 12 servings (kind of depends on how much meat you pile on your roll!)

Ingredients:

  • 4 lb. boneless pork butt
  • canola oil

Coffee-Chipotle Rub:

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground dark coffee
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon allspice

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons adobo sauce from can
  • 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice

Directions:

To make the rub: Stir all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Massage the spice rub onto the pork, coating each side thoroughly. Wrap the pork tightly with two layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. (You may have extra rub, save it in an airtight container for another time.)

To make the barbecue sauce: Add the oil to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. When shimmering, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If desired, you can puree the sauce to a smooth consistency. (I pureed mine because I had an onion-hater coming for dinner and was attempting to hide the offending vegetables presence.) The barbecue sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in your refrigerator for a week.

Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before you cook it. Preheat oven to 250 F.

Add 1 teaspoon of canola oil to a dutch oven, and place the pork in the pan, fat side up. Cook, uncovered, for about 8 hours (about 2 hours/lb if you want to use a bigger or smaller piece of meat), or until very tender.

Remove the pan from the oven and let stand for an hour. Transfer the meat to a cutting board, and use two forks to shred it. Toss with some of the barbecue sauce – how much is up to you. Or serve meat naked with sauce choices on the side.

Enjoy!


Spicy Pork & Chorizo Sliders with Green Chili Mayo

May 21, 2012

Sliders! Who doesn’t love sliders?! These little baby burgers are all the rage these days. Most folks in the US know these comfort food staples from White Castle restaurants which started serving them in 1921. But now sliders are likely to be found in all manner of food establishments, from your greasy spoon diners to upscale posh restaurants.

I tell you, one of the great thing about sliders, besides the cute factor, is that they are really tricky. You can eat multiple sliders, say 4, 5, maybe shock horror even 6 and never feel that you’ve eaten a big ole burger. I mean sliders are just tiny little ole things. They don’t even really count calorie wise, right?

Not to mention, they are much neater and easier to handle in a party setting, than their big, sloppy full-sized cousins that will inevitably end up dribbled down the front of your white shirt. You can nearly eat a whole slider in just one bite! The blog which provided me with this winner of a recipe didn’t make sliders, but instead made 4 full size mega burgers, which have their merits, no doubt. This is certainly an option for you, but then you won’t be able to live in my wonderful land of denial where the smaller the food is, the smaller, to near non-existant the calorie count is as well.

Sliders are where it’s at! And these particular sliders are likely the best I’ve every tasted. No kidding. They are really fantastic. Juicy and spicy perfection! We cooked these Pork & Chorizo Sliders on the backyard grill. They cook up really quickly since they’re so small, only took about 6 minutes total. I served them on potato bread slider buns that I found at the local grocery store and topped them with the not to be missed Green Chili Mayo and a few fresh slices of guacamole. Bet ya can’t each just one! Get to grillin ya’ll!

Spicy Pork & Chorizo Sliders with Green Chile Mayo

recipe from: Just the Tip

yield: 25 sliders, or 4 giant burgers or 8 normal sized burgers

Ingredients:

For the sliders:

  • 1/2 pound chorizo sausage, casings removed, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 1/3 pounds ground pork
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch of dried oregano & thyme
  • salt, black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 25 slider buns
  • 6 slices pepper jack cheese, quartered
  • guacamole slices to top burger with if so desired

For the green chili mayo:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 – 4 ounce can diced green chilis
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

For the mayo:

Combine the mayo, garlic, chilis, and lime juice in a food processor. Pulse until smooth.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the burgers:

Preheat the grill.

Place chorizo in food processor and pulse until finely chopped and crumbly.

In a large bowl, combine the chorizo with the pork, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and spices. Mix gently but thoroughly and form into 25 – 2 1/2″ diameter patties, about 1/2″ thick. I have a slider press that I used for this, but you could use a biscuit cutter or just shape them free form.

Place sliders on the grill and cook for about 6 minutes, 3 minutes on each side. (increase cooking time if you should choose to prepare full size burgers) During the last couple minutes, top each with a quarter slice of pepper jack cheese.

Place chili mayo on half of the slider bun. Top with pork & chorizo slider. Add guacamole if desired. Top with other half of slider bun.

Enjoy!


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