Category Archives: Pork

Smothered Pork Chops over Collard Greens

Old southern foods are a lot like people – resilient!

There has been a lot on my mind lately that I just can’t seem to shake no matter how much I try to move on, certain thoughts still linger around, unsettled I suppose, now going on the second month. I’m talking about people, my southern brethren to be exact, folks who just don’t know how to act nor have learned the values of living. That’s it in a nutshell.

Now, I get all riled up when I see a chef go and do some dang fool thing with a southern recipe, meddling with it or doing something that I purely disagree with and then calling out to all that it’s the real deal. That’s one thing; it’s my opinion and I think I have the right to do so and I guess they have the right too. I have called out on such a thing a few times before and probably will again. Of course, the person that I’m talking about, well, I can say I have never thought of using the title ‘chef’ as reference. Why, that’s like calling me a chef and we all know I’m nothing more that a cook. A self-made entrepreneur for sure, this person climbed to TV stardom and is indeed a very shrewd business person. A ‘celebrity chef’ is perhaps more fitting, but I still think adding ‘chef’ is using the title loosely. Although she did entertain me for a short while before I became bored with the epitomized act of all things southern even though her southernism is a bit uncomfortable and embarrassing. The south was and is the main focus of this celebrity’s food, media and merchandising commodity, but really, do we southerners really tauk like that?

And, when I see such a person acting a fool on a matter that should have been answered and coped with and overhauled so long ago, it just tears me up. To sling slurs as a child or young teenager is one thing. We can blame it on peer pressure. But this is a grandmother. And we are not talking about targeting aspersions toward just one group. Why, no – she made sure she scooped everyone up in her sweet pot. I doubt her intentions missed any of her many pursued crowds. Well, it just goes to show that sooner or later, as grandmother used to say “even sweet honey brings out nasty flies.”

Oh well, I may not feel any better; my head might not be any clearer nor my heart any lighter and I might have offended a few but I do have a real, bonafide southern recipe to share. One that I am proud of and one that’s the real deal. This recipe or versions like it, been around for decades, resilient to disparateness long before anyone ever thought of becoming a ‘celebrity chef.’ Enjoy!

Smothered Thick Pork Chops
over Seasoned Collard Greens
4 servings

for the Smothered Chops:
Salt, pepper and seasoning blend
4 thick cut pork chops (about 1-inch thickness), diced
3 pieces thick cut hickory smoked bacon
2 tablespoon light olive oil
1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 sweet red bell pepper, sliced into ribbons
2 garlic toes, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves or 1/2 teaspoon ground bay leaves
1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley, optional

Dry chops completely with paper towels and season with salt, pepper and a seasoning blend. I used a no salt Creole spice mix but any Mrs. Dash or other blend would do just fine to add a bit of flavor to the meat. Set aside.

Pork Chops in Gravy covered with Onions and PeppersIn a large heavy skillet over medium high heat, cook bacon until lightly browned. Remove bacon with tongs to a plate to drain and remove all but 1 teaspoon of bacon grease to a large stockpot (for cooking the collards). Reduce heat to medium and add olive oil. Add chops and cook about 3 minutes for a good brown sear to form. Turn chops over and sear the other side cooking for 3 minutes. Remove chops with tongs to a clean plate.

Stir in the onion and bell pepper cooking for about 5 minutes until light brown. Remove onion and bell pepper with a slotted spoon to a bowl leaving as much oil as possible in skillet. Stir the garlic into the skillet and cook until fragrant. Add flour and stir to mix. Cook stirring the bottom for about 4 minutes or until mixture is light brown. Slowly add chicken stock and stir to blend. Add bay leaves, thyme and parsley. Add additional salt if needed to the gravy. Nestle in the chops and spoon gravy over the top of each. Sprinkle the onion mixture onto each chop. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes, test (pork should be 145 degrees F.), cover and turn off heat.

for the Collard Greens:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small hot pepper or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 bunches fresh collards (or packaged if desired)
2 cups or more chicken stock
1 smoked ham or turkey meat
salt and pepper to taste
dash of cider vinegar

Rinse greens underwater in a deep sink if possible allowing grit to settle to bottom. Remove greens and drain water rinsing away the grit. Repeat until no trace of grit remains. Remove the thick stems and discard any blemished leaves. Rough chop collards and put aside.

Add olive oil to stockpot with bacon grease and heat over medium high heat. Add onion and hot pepper. Saute until onion is soft. Add a handful of collards at a time tossing all while cooking until all the greens are wilted. Add the chicken stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the ham hock and simmer covered on low until greens are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove cover, add the vinegar, stir and continue simmering out most of the liquid, about 30 minutes. Do not allow collards to scorch.

To serve:
Spoon with a slotted spoon a helping of collards on each dish. Top with a pork chop covered with onions. Divide the gravy among the chops as well as the bacon.

Note: Back in the day, for many households, the collards were cooked into the gravy mixture (which was thinned out) with the chops nestled in during the tenderizing stage of the last, long simmer.

Pork Kabobs with Garden Vegetables

Grilled Pork Kabobs
Another skewer recipe for grilling.

Many of you already know that we do love our barbecue and grilled foods and we especially love the simplicity and ease of kabob cookouts. The pork and vegetable skewers today along with a yellow rice medley and steamed fresh broccoli made for one fine dinner this week.

Now, I have many recipes, as I am sure many of you do too, for kabobs but this one folks, is one that I will be bragging about for a while and one I will make again many times. It really is that good.

The marinade aids in not only tenderizing the pork cubes but also lays down a first layer of wonderful flavors. And, the thing I love about the marinade is there is a harmonious unifying of flavors, not one overpowering the other. The finishing glaze is another layer of flavor that mingles together a taste of distinction that I am proud of and again, not one flavor is more pronounced than the other. The overall taste is really not sweet at all but brings about the gratifying spirit of what a grilled kabob should be. Enjoy!

Pork Kabobs Glazed with Sweet BBQ Finishing Sauce
and served with Grilled Garden Fresh Vegetable Skewers

for the Marinade:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano

Combine all in a sealable bag and let rest for about 20 minutes.
Add 1 tablespoon light olive oil and jumble around before adding the pork cubes.

for the Pork Kabobs:
2 pounds thick cut pork loin chops (or four 1-inch cuts of a loin roast)
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1/4 sweet onion, wide cuts

Trim any fat from the pork and cut into equal cubes. Place in the bag and refrigerate for about an hour or so, no more than 3 hours.
Skewer the pork cubes alternating with the vegetables. Refrigerate until about 20 minutes prior to grilling. Save the marinade for a baste.

for the Glaze:
I stirred together 1/2 cup apricot preserves along with 1 tablespoon cider vinegar over low heat until dissolved, after which I added 2 teaspoons of a Memphis BBQ sauce for good measure. Delish!

for the Vegetable Kabobs:
2 garden onions, sliced
red and green bell peppers squares
2 yellow squash, sliced
16 cherry tomatoes
mushrooms, optional
other seasonal vegetables as desired

Cut vegetables uniformly as possible to aid in cooking.

To Grill:
Prepare grill to 400 degrees F. Place pork kabobs over direct heat and baste 1 time with any remaining marinade. Discard remaining marinate. Cover grill and cook about 6 minutes. Turn kabobs over and cook 4 to 6 minutes or until pork test done. Give the kabobs a glaze of the finishing sauce the last few minutes of cook time.

Meanwhile, cook vegetable kabobs on indirect heat turning once. I basted these with a balsamic dressing.

Chipotle Grilled Ribs with Citrus Pepper Salsa

  • rib tail-end smothered in Citrus Pepper Salsa
  • one rib is topped with tomatillo salsa too

Recipe for grilling pork ribs, Mexican style.

Folks, this recipe will knock your socks off. Well, around these parts, and this time of year y’all know we’re barefooted anyway so I guess you can say, “it already did.”

Now, by no means is this to endorse any product. It is what it is. But have any of you tried the pepper sauce from Tabasco made with vine-ripened, red jalapeño peppers smoked over a smoldering fire? It’s a rich, thick-bodied sauce ideally balanced in heat and flavor. Prized in ancient Mexican civilizations, even before the time of the Aztecs, the chipotle pepper is known for its dark, smoky flavor. It’s a natural for barbeque foods and sauces. Get a coupon here.

I know you will like the way it helps bring out the smoky flavors of grilled ribs. Here’s the recipe from my house this past weekend. Enjoy!

Chipotle Grilled Ribs with Citrus Pepper Salsa
serves 4 hungry folks

For Two -3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork ribs (I used St. Louis cut)

for the Rub:
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup ground ancho chiles – or chile powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion

for the Mop:
4 garlic cloves, chopped garlic
1 large green mild chile, stemmed and seeded
2 tomatillos, washed and quartered
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup, freshly squeezed lime juice
Juice of 2 large oranges
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup nectarine juice
1/2 cup native honey

for the Citrus Pepper Salsa:
2 tomatillos, washed and quartered
1 large green hot chile, stemmed and seeded
4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 ground oregano
3 cloves garlic, minces
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 large lime
Juice of 1/2 orange

Prepare the rub by mixing all together in a small bowl.

Sprinkle and rub generously on both sides of each prepped rib. Allow to set for 4 to 6 hours covered in the refrigerator. Remove 1 hour prior to grilling.

Add the chopped vegetables to a medium saucepan.

Add remaining ingredients for the mop to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes to soften vegetables. Using the container of your blender, add the mixture and pulse until mostly liquefied. Set aside until ready to grill.

Prepare the Salsa in the same manner. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes until vegetables soften. Blend until creamy as desired. I used a hand-held blender and kept some of the veggies in larger bits. Set aside.

Prepare the grill by creating the center or one side with low heat and the outer or opposite side with medium heat. Place the room temperature ribs, bone side down, on the cooler part of the grill. Close the grill lid and cook for about 10 minutes. Rotate ribs and flip placing meaty side down. Cover with lid and cook another 10 minutes. At this time, turn off heat under ribs (or move coals to the outer sides) and begin applying the mop. Always keep lid closed as much as possible. Ideal cooking temperature is around 375 degrees F. Add more briskets if using charcoal.

About every 30 minutes, rotate and flip the rips and apply another generous coating of the mop. Cook the ribs about 2 hours using this method.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

By now, the ribs will be nice and coated with the chipotle pepper mop.

Remove to a non-reactive pan. Add about 1/2 cup or more of water to the bottom of the pan. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes uncovered or until the water is mostly evaporated. Remove from oven and cover pan with foil. Allow to set for about 20 minutes before slicing and serving with the Citrus Pepper Salsa.

Top with tomatillo salsa or fresh limes and more of the Tabasco Chipotle pepper sauce if desired.

Seasoned Country Fried Thick-Cut Pork Chops

Get your taste buds ready!

The beginning of a mouth-watering and head nodding approved meal in our house normally begins with a long stare at the entree as it arrives to the table. In this case, a thick ol’ southern fried pork chop seasoned perfectly.

I say perfectly ’cause this is how we do it. Each bite of this moist, well flavored chop is a celebration of goodness. And if cooked right, not only is it tasty but tender as can be and so moist, that the juicy goodness runs down the fork. Now of course, ya might want to save all the pan renderings for some good ol’ brown gravy, as we do sometimes, or you might want to go with the simplicity of enjoying the chop naked. And if you notice in this recipe from way back when frying was acceptable, and was the mainstay on every southern table, you will notice good ol’ shortening is used as the oil of choice. Butter is added to assist in acquiring a nice, ultra-thin crispy brown crust from a simple dredging in the seasoned flour. No egg, milk or buttermilk here, simple and pure. Enjoy!


Country Fried Thick Pork Chops
2 servings – or increase for more servings

1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/3 cup Crisco
1 tablespoon butter
2 -1 to 1 1/2 inch thick pork chops

In a wide, shallow bowl, mix the flour and cornstarch with the seasonings.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pat the chops dry with paper towels. Season lightly with salt and pepper on both sides. In a wide enough skillet without crowding the chops, heat the shortening over medium heat. Dredge the chops in the mixture coating both sides well.

When shortening is melted and hot, add butter and just as it starts to color, shake excess flour from chops and add to the skillet. Cook 6 to 8 minutes per side.

Remove chops to a baking pan and place in the oven. Cook until internal temp is 145, about 15 minutes. Let rest tented with foil for 5 minutes before serving.

Creole Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Spinach and sausage inside, tasty savor on the outside.

Nothing better than a good stuffing and I’m not just talking about me. For some reason, we love to stuff all kinds of foodstuff from vegetables, loaves of bread to critters of all kind. Many enjoy a stuffed bird but I kinda shy away from that, I mean, I enjoy pan-style dressing with roasted poultry. It’s just the way I was brought up I guess.

Now, stuffed vegetables I can eat my self crazy and beef or pork roulades, why, dey ain’t nuttin’ better if you ask me. This is another way we enjoy eating pork – stuffed tenderloin southern style. Enjoy!

Creole Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
serves 6-8

1 1/2 to 2 pound pork tenderloin
Poultry seasoning, salt and white pepper
1/4 pound mildly spiced ground bulk pork sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup diced celery
1/3 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
8 ounce baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup toasted blanched almonds
1 tablespoons minced white raisins (dried cranberries would be good too)
2 tablespoons
1/2 cup soft breadcrumbs

Prep the tenderloin by slicing down the length about 1/2-inch depth with a sharp fillet knife. Turn the knife to one side and begin slicing horizontally while rolling loin along as you proceed until the tenderloin becomes a flatten, rectangular rolled out piece of meat, sort of steak-like. There are many ways to prepare the loin, some prefer cutting downward in the center and then cutting to each side; the cut would resemble an upside-down ‘T’. And there is the cut that resembles an angular ‘J’. I like the rolled version as the piece of meat becomes more of a roulade.

Lightly sprinkle the inside (cut side) with a little poultry seasoning, a light sprinkle of salt and white pepper. Cover and refrigerate to allow rest while proceeding to prep the veggies and cook the sausage.

In a medium skillet, brown sausage over medium heat and remove any grease. Add the celery, onion and bell pepper to the sausage and cook about 3 minutes over medium low, just enough to soften the veggies. Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Add the almonds and raisins; remove from heat. Stir in the bread crumbs. Allow to cool and give all a rough chop on a cutting board.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Remove roulade from refrigerator and set aside. Place the mixture in the center of the roulade. Spread the mixture to one end (the thinnest) and begin rolling just like a jelly-roll. Use kitchen twine to truss the tenderloin in several places securing it together.

Place the tenderloin cut side down on a baking pan and place in the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Roast about 25 minutes or until internal (meat part) temperature reaches 150 degrees F. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let rest about 10 minutes before cutting.

Notes: This time, I mixed a little soy sauce with red wine vinegar and brushed on the tenderloin before placing it in the oven. Not Creole but it gave it an outdoor flavor.
Many folks prefer to brown the tenderloin on the stove but I think a good hot oven does just as well and leaves only one pan to clean.

Gumbolaya – the best of Gumbo and Jambalaya

A New Orleans and Mobile Flavor.

A rich, full-bodied gumbo is the essence in many southern kitchens across the south but most folks think of New Orleans when the name of gumbo comes up. And that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with New Orleans. Now when folks mention Jambalaya, many too think of the Crescent City. But as I have written previously, the name hails from Mobile, not New Orleans.

According to an essay by Andrew Sigal, the first mention of Jambalaya in English print appears to be from Mobile AL. Submitted from Mobile to the American Agriculturalist journal in May 1849 is a mention of ‘Hopping Johnny’ with Jambalaya in parentheses. Later in 1878, the Ladies of the St. Francis Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Mobile published ‘The Gulf City Cook Book’, which features a recipe titled ‘Jam Bolaya’. The recipe contains oysters and chicken giblets along with the familiar tomatoes and rice.

This recipe melds the deep flavors of a Cajun style chicken and sausage gumbo with the savory essence of a Creole chicken and pork jambalaya. Combining the two is a passage into a whole ‘nother territory and folks, it is a good place to be.  Enjoy!

Gumbolaya
Cajun Gumbo marries Creole Jambalaya
about 10 servings

1 pound hot smoked or Cajun sausage, 1/4-inch sliced
1 tablespoon bacon grease or cooking oil
3 to 4 boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 pound center-cut pork chops, cubed
2 large onions, chopped
1 large green bell pepper
1 small red bell pepper
1 cup diced celery
4 garlic toes, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 -10 oz frozen cut okra
1 -14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 cup chopped green onions

In a large stockpot over medium high heat, add the sausage and oil. Cook until sausage is light brown. Add the pork and cook until brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add the chicken (half at a time) sautéing until each side is nice and brown, about 4 minutes each side. Remove chicken to a plate and keep meats in a warm place.

browned meats for Gumbolaya

Add the vegetables and sauté to brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook stirring until light brown roux forms, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, seasonings, okra, tomatoes and cooked meats. Allow to come to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook covered about 20 minutes.

Add the rice and when the Gumbolaya begins to maintains a simmer, cook uncovered about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Serve in bowls with a topping of green onions. We like hot crusty Fresh bread but cornbread muffins are equally good.

Gumbolaya – the best of Gumbo and Jambalaya

A New Orleans and Mobile Flavor.

A rich, full-bodied gumbo is the essence in many southern kitchens across the south but most folks think of New Orleans when the name of gumbo comes up. And that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with New Orleans. Now when folks mention Jambalaya, many too think of the Crescent City. But as I have written previously, the name hails from Mobile, not New Orleans.

According to an essay by Andrew Sigal, the first mention of Jambalaya in English print appears to be from Mobile AL. Submitted from Mobile to the American Agriculturalist journal in May 1849 is a mention of ‘Hopping Johnny’ with Jambalaya in parentheses. Later in 1878, the Ladies of the St. Francis Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Mobile published ‘The Gulf City Cook Book’, which features a recipe titled ‘Jam Bolaya’. The recipe contains oysters and chicken giblets along with the familiar tomatoes and rice.

This recipe melds the deep flavors of a Cajun style chicken and sausage gumbo with the savory essence of a Creole chicken and pork jambalaya. Combining the two is a passage into a whole ‘nother territory and folks, it is a good place to be.  Enjoy!

Gumbolaya
Cajun Gumbo marries Creole Jambalaya
about 10 servings

1 pound hot smoked or Cajun sausage, 1/4-inch sliced
1 tablespoon bacon grease or cooking oil
3 to 4 boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 pound center-cut pork chops, cubed
2 large onions, chopped
1 large green bell pepper
1 small red bell pepper
1 cup diced celery
4 garlic toes, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 -10 oz frozen cut okra
1 -14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 cup chopped green onions

In a large stockpot over medium high heat, add the sausage and oil. Cook until sausage is light brown. Add the pork and cook until brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add the chicken (half at a time) sautéing until each side is nice and brown, about 4 minutes each side. Remove chicken to a plate and keep meats in a warm place.

browned meats for Gumbolaya

Add the vegetables and sauté to brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook stirring until light brown roux forms, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, seasonings, okra, tomatoes and cooked meats. Allow to come to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook covered about 20 minutes.

Add the rice and when the Gumbolaya begins to maintains a simmer, cook uncovered about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Serve in bowls with a topping of green onions. We like hot crusty Fresh bread but cornbread muffins are equally good.

Beef and Pork Roasted Tomato Chili

Fill Up On this Super Bowl of Chili

Folks sure have been talking up the Super Bowl this year and with the Harbaugh teams going against each other, well, the media frenzy is just crazy. Take Media Day for example; the hype for fans to sit in the Super Dome and watch, which they paid $25 to do, show the obsession of fans who may or may not be in attendance to the actual game. To just hang around and watch 3000 plus reporters do their thing to me is plain crazy. Those in the stands could not talk to, solicit autographs from the players, or come in any contact whatsoever. What they could do is sit there for 4 hours and watch, spend their money at the concession stands, which by the way, sells alcohol and which also probably helped past the time. It just goes to show the popularity of the Super Bowl and the NFL and as one Forbes article put it, ‘if the NFL was selling sand in the desert, fans would buy it.’

More popular than the desire to sit and watch Media Day is sitting and watching the actual game. And to me, more popular than that, is eating on game day. This is a chili recipe I came up with a while back, one based on the old southern way of making chili and one we think is a darn right winning bowl of goodness. The richness of the tomato-laden sauce mingles well with the spiciness of chili flavors and blends into a developed meaty base that has a slight fire-roasted savory savor.

Enjoy!

Beef and Pork Roasted Tomato Chili
6-10 servings

2 pounds pork roast, 1/2-inch cubed
salt, pepper and garlic powder
3/4 cup flour
cooking oil
2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
8 oz mini sweet peppers, sliced (or chopped red bell pepper)
2 large onions, chopped
6 garlic toes, minced
2 cups extra rich chicken stock
2 -10 oz cans petite cut tomatoes and chiles (Hatch brand)
1 -28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 -11.5 oz can tomato juice
1 -29 oz can seasoned pinto beans, with sauce
1 -15 oz can corn kernels, drained
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
4 to 6 tablespoons good chili powder (like Mexene brand)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 cup diced sweet onion
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
grated cheddar cheese

Add the flour to a medium wide bowl and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Toss the pork cubes in the flour coating well.

In a large stockpot over medium high heat, add about 3 tablespoons cooking oil and when hot, add about half of the pork. Brown on all sides and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Brown the remaining pork and put aside.

Add the ground beef and cook until brown. Add the bell pepper, sweet pepper, onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft. Add the chicken stock, Hatch tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, tomato juice, pinto beans, corn, lime juice, oregano, chili powder and cumin. Stir to incorporate and allow chili to come to a light simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook about 20 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

In a small bowl, make the salsa by combining the onions with the tomatoes. Give it a light splash with salt, pepper and lime juice if desired.

To serve, top each bowl with grated cheese and good spoonful of salsa. Serve with cornbread, saltines or your choice of bread and sour cream is optional too.

Saucy BBQ Oven Spareribs

Rib smacking good.

There are times, even in our climate, when we cannot get outside and grill or barbecue as we know and enjoy how to do. So we have to do like many; prepare our foods inside, in the oven and tell ourselves its okay and that it tastes just as good. To get the same outdoor taste that is fire roasted onto a slab of ribs, to do that inside is a feat in itself. Well folks, I think I found one that produces a savory outdoor flavor with very interesting sapidity.

The photo above shows the ribs coming from the oven before slicing and giving a final coating of sauce. That photo didn’t happen. I was too eager I suppose to get at these ribs!

Here’s an old recipe I scribbled down years ago and I finally decided to give it a try. It is to me, in my way of preparing BBQ sauces, an unusual one, with somewhat unorthodox ingredients.

Enjoy!

Saucy BBQ Oven Spareribs
serves 4 or 5

1 1/3 cups ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons gin
1 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (like Trappey’s or Tabasco)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 garlic toes, pressed
2 slabs (2 to 3 pounds total) pork spareribs
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl and set the BBQ sauce aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the black pepper, red wine vinegar and 1/4 cup soy sauce together. Brush both sides of each rib with this black pepper mixture. Place ribs meaty side down on a rack above a large baking pan or use a roasting pan with rack. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn the ribs over and baste with any of the remaining black pepper mixture.

Mop 1/3 of the BBQ sauce on the ribs, both sides, and bake for 20 minutes. Mop again with another 1/3 sauce and bake another 20 minutes or until sauce is baked on. Remove ribs and rack from pan and wipe any grease from the pan. Cut ribs into each section and place in the pan, meaty side up. Mop with remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake another 20 minutes. Remove and allow to rest before serving.

Notes: I used St. Louis cut style pork ribs.  Lining the pan with foil makes for easy cleanup.  Reline the pan for the final baking period.

Southern Red Beans, Sausage and Rice

A  regional favorite.

Red beans are a classic in the south, a part of who we are and way of eating to everyone born and raised along the southern delta states. From Mobile, along the gulf coast of Mississippi and throughout Louisiana, aroma of red beans wafts from homes and restaurants alike, typically on Mondays. Why, there are as many ways of making red beans and rice as there are cooking shrimp I suppose. Probably more than that. We add everything from smoked sausage or Andouille, ham hocks, smoked turkey legs, chunks of ham, pork chops, pieces of salt pork, thick slices of bacon, even my favorite, pickled pork.

The red bean recipe I am cooking today is not the typical pot of red beans, not the real deal recipe I posted several years ago. You see, I know there are many ways to cook red beans and that recipe uses pickled pork and it is one that resembles the truer taste of New Orleans’ kitchens. Then there is the sausage and bean medley I posted two years ago and also the slow cooker version posted back in 2010.


Now just so you know, the beans I like to use are not red kidney beans. Southern red beans are  small  oval pea-like legumes, a beautiful red much like the kidney and the same red bean I suppose grown in Latin American countries. Enjoy!

Southern Red Beans, Sausage and Rice
I say, “there ain’t nothing better than sitting down to a bowl of red beans.” Life just doesn’t get much better.
about 8 servings

1 pound dry small red beans (if not available, use kidney beans)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic toes, minced
6 cups chicken stock or water
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
1 teaspoon dried crushed thyme
1 teaspoon salt-free Creole seasoning
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 pounds spicy link sausage, sliced

4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups long grain white rice
1 tablespoon butter

Prep beans the day before: Rinse with water and cover with enough water to come at least 3-inches above the beans. Allow to soak overnight. Or use my slow cooker method, in starting your beans which is what I did.

In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Saute the trinity (celery, onion, pepper) until onion is wilted. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute. Add the beans, the chicken stock and the next 9 listing of ingredients. At first boil, reduce to low heat and cook (at a slight simmer) covered for 2 hours stirring every 30 minutes.

Stir sausage into the beans, cover and continue cooking for another hour stirring twice.

Cook the rice in a large saucepan: Bring the water to a boil and whisk in the salt and rice. Add the butter. Cover with lid and at simmer, reduce heat to low and allow rice to cook for 18 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice set for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a large (turning) fork. You can also cook the rice to perfection using the Creole method.

Serve the red beans and sausage in a bowl over the rice and with a generous amount of hot, crusty French bread. We like to top it off with red pepper sauce along with sliced green onions.