Category Archives: Cured Meats

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Harringtons Black Pudding Bacon and Egg Brunch

I love a tasty brunch and this was quick to plate and perfect the other week. I had some cubed roasted vegetables leftover from the night before and with some of Harrington Small Goods in the fridge, their yummy dry cured streaky bacon and black pudding so I made myself and a couple of friends very happy.

I have been cooking with Harrington Small Goods for years and love their range. Check out their website for a wide selection is very traditional small goods that are well worth trying.

http://www.harringtonsmallgoods.co.nz/our-products/

Serves 4

Extra virgin olive oil
2 cups of diced, leftover roasted vegetables
Harringtons black pudding, cut into eight (1cm/½in) slices or 4 long slices) as in the image
8 rashers of Harringtons dry-cured bacon
2 teaspoons white vinegar
4 eggs (as fresh as possible), poach more if desired
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crusty bread, to serve if desired

Preheat oven to 170C

In a baking tray spread the leftover roasted vegetable cubes and give them a light coating of olive oul and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes and turn oven down to 160C to keep them warm.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add one tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the black pudding in 2 batches and cook for one minute on each side until tender. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Once drained add to the top of the vegetables in the oven to keep warm.

Increase the heat a little, add the 4 bacon slices and sauté until lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper and then add to the black pudding to keep warm. Repeat

To poach the eggs, bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the vinegar to the water, season with salt and reduce to a very gentle simmer. Carefully break the eggs into the water and simmer for three to four minutes until just cooked but still soft on the inside. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper, trimming away ragged edges of egg white.

In 4 wide bowls serve the roasted with the black pudding, bacon and egg(s) on top of the vegetables. Enjoy!!!

Cornbread Muffin Cups

2 cups coarse cornmeal (available in New Zealand as maize flour or maize meal )
2 cups flour (use gluten-free as required)
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 and 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups cheddar (tasty) cheese, grated
Fine diced fresh chilli to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 200C (400F) degrees, making sure its well warmed up.

Grease a standard size muffin/cupcake tray.

Hot sauce match – Smoky Dragon Chipotle

Mix dry and wet ingredients in 2 separate bowls. Pour the dry over the wet and combine the ingredients gently taking care not to overmix, the batter should be a little lumpy.

Pour into the muffin tray compartments, filling each to ¾ full.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until firm to the touch and lightly browned.

Let muffins cool completely and using a teaspoon or a small knife cut or scoop out the middle of the muffin, making a deep well for your filling.

Add your choice of warmed filling, leftover pulled pork is perfect. Top with a poached egg, garnish with diced chilli if using and serve.

Hot sauce match Smoky Dragon Chipotle

 

Home Cured Pork Belly Bacon

BK-for-BGR-webDry Cured Bacon

When you make home cured bacon yourself, you are in total control over the quality of the meat and the ingredients you use to cure it! I love the thought of the chemical-free goodness of homemade bacon right in my kitchen.

There are a few considerations that need to be considered and understood when you are “Makin Bacon”.

Processes and Food Safety At Home

There is one primary concern we have to consider when curing and preserving meat, and that is protecting from possible botulism. While botulism is usually related to improper canning/preserving procedures, food-borne botulism also occurs in meats that have been improperly cured. Often this is due to methods and the process used and the possibility can be easily prevented with care and attention detailed below.

To prevent this, most commercially preserved meats contain sodium nitrite, often known as pink salt, which acts both as a preservative and a colour fixer. This also gives store-bought bacon that bright red colour. I am not interested in this colour in my bacon.

Sodium nitrite is toxic in high quantities, and has been linked to migraines in many people.

For me the main concern about the use of sodium nitrite is that when it is exposed to high heat in the presence of protein (nitrite cured bacon) the proteins in the meat will bond with the sodium nitrite to produce the toxic nitrosamines. Studies have shown that certain nitrosamines have been proven to be deadly carcinogens. This can vary from country to country as far as government policy as to their position on the use of nitrates.

For myself at the end of the day, chemical free bacon is better in flavour and cooks in a different way with incredibly better results.

Frying nitrite-cured bacon presents the scenario for nitrosamines to form when the bacon is cooked and then to enter your system. This alone in my view is a good reason to home cure (with care).

The home cook can much better control the variables and handling procedures, and can get those assurances without the addition of nitrites. Purchasing from your local butcher that has pasture raised pork is the start as it will have a documented procedure and correct food handling record. Organic raised pork is the best choice in my opinion.

I would never use home-kill pork because environment and food safety procedures are not controlled. This is important as a poor hygiene environment can contaminate the meat with food-borne botulism and other possible contaminates.

Making Home Cured Pork Belly Bacon

Ingredients

2kg (4.4lb) piece of pork belly, skin/rind and bones removed
1/2 cup sea salt (not refined iodized table salt)
1/2 cup packed unrefined raw sugar or coconut sugar
1 tbsp. freshly ground black peppercorns
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp toasted fennel seeds
½ cup bourbon, to taste (optional)
½ cup apple cider vinegar

Method

Cut your pork belly into a nice even square or rectangle, bacon-like block. This can be done by the butcher on request

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl until they are well combined and the wet ingredients (if using) in a separate bowl until they are well combined.

Making sure that your hands are well washed and clean coat the meat all over with the wet ingredients (if using) until thoroughly coated everywhere.

Place one half of the dry cure mixture in the bottom of the glass dish. Place the wet pork belly into the dish and press it into the salt/sugar mix.

Carefully sprinkle the rest of the mixture across the top of the meat and press it in uniformly all around, using your hands to thoroughly apply the cure mix into every nook and cranny of your pork belly.

Cover and place the dish in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, until the meat feels firm throughout. (5 days is a good average, but check to be sure. The longer you cure it, the saltier it will be.)

Turn the bacon over every day in the liquid that will accumulate in the dish. Pour off half of the liquid each day. After 5-7 days curing remove the pork belly and wash the salt/sugar mixture off of the pork belly very carefully.

Give the soon to be bacon a good pat dry all over with a clean towels. Place the bacon on a rack over a baking sheet and place in the fridge uncovered for 12-24 hours.

At this point, you can slice it for “green bacon” or you can smoke or roast the whole belly.

If roasting, preheat the oven to 80-90 C. (175-200 F.) Roast the pork belly in the oven to an internal temperature of 65 C (150 F) for about 90 minutes. The meat should be cooked a bit on the outside, but not all the way through.

If smoking, smoke over hickory, cherry or Applewood, a mix is fine at 80 C (175 F) until meat reaches an internal temperature of 65 C (150 F), for about 3 hours. The meat should be cooked a bit on the outside, but not all the way through.

Remove and let the bacon cool to room temperature on a wire rack over the baking sheet, tightly wrap in parchment (butchers) paper, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight to set the flavour and texture. 

Homemade bacon will keep for a week in the refrigerator and several months in the freezer.

22499205_1732146957091602_1812541121412361253_oCold smoking Introduction from my friend Nickie Sattler at Blue Moose Barbeque
www.bluemoose.co.nz
www.facebook.com/bluemoosebbq

So for bacon, we either cold smoke it or hot smoke it.  To cold smoke it, we use our bourbon barrel and cold smoke generator or place it in our gas BBQ grill with an A-Maze-N tube.  We use either hickory and apple wood chips for flavour (although I want to try maple or pecan as well). 

We cold smoke for about 8-9 hours.  To hot smoke it, we use our Oklahoma Joe Highland offset and try to keep the heat down to 150-175 F.  We will use apple or hickory to smoke the bacon for 2-3 hours, until bacon reaches 150 F internal.

Bourbon Bacon Jam

2016-bc-jam-webFor my bacon jam I select bacon that has a low fat level. I love to make it with dry cured, smoked bacon. During the cooking of the bacon remove as much of the oils released from the bacon and set this aside. I treat it like duck fat, wonderful for roasted vegies.

Ingredients

600g bacon, fat trimmed off, sliced into small pieces
2 cups of shallots, finely chopped
2 cups red onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ cup Bourbon (125ml)
½ cup honey
¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Cook the bacon pieces in batches to allow for it to cook properly without being too crispy. Cook over medium heat until  brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain excess fat off.

Pulse your shallots and onions in the food processor or cut them by hand.

Leave about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the fat in one of the pan. Add shallot and onion to the pan, cook over medium heat until they start to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for about one more minute.

Add the chili powder and smoked paprika, stir to combine.

Increase heat to high and add the bourbon (carefully) and honey. Bring to a boil, stir and scrape the pan so all the little bacon bits comes loose. Continue boiling for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add vinegar and continue to boil for about another 3 minutes.

Using a sharp knife cut the bacon into small pieces. You can also tear it by hand so it looks more rustic, not too perfect.

Add the bacon into the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, the mixture will thicken.

Turn off the heat and using a teaspoon remove any excess fat off the bacon jam. 

Now you have two options, you can pop the mixture into a food processor and pulse until it breaks down more. Or you can leave it chunky, your choice.

Transfer to jars, seal and store in the fridge.

Pea and Red Bell Pepper Salad

Pea-Pepper-Salad-webThe core recipe is very yummy and can be added to with what’s in season. I serve this super fresh salad with cold cuts of roasted chicken, lamb or fried salmon fillets.  

Its also you can crumble some feta cheese right before serving.

Ingredients 

600g (¾ lb.) snow peas

400g (½ lb.) mushrooms, sliced

2 small sweet red bell pepper, cut in half, de-seeded and sliced into strips

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds 

Walnut orange dressing 

1 small clove of garlic, pressed

½ cup orange juice

2 tsp raw or runny honey

3 tbsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

2 tbsp walnut oil (or olive oil)

Pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper

 Method

Top and string peas and then blanch peas in boiling water for 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Drain and put into cold water to shock (stop the cooking) and dry thoroughly. 

Combine dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until well combined (or whisk together in a bowl) 

Toss vegetables with dressing and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. 

Serve immediately. 

Optional additions 

1 cup sliced cheery tomatoes

½ cup sweet corn kernels

Easy Damson Plum Jam

Plum-Jam-Jars-webDamson plums are small and the flesh is quite sharp and sour, but in my view makes the absolute best plum jam in the world. I match the jam with nice cheeses on a platter with some slightly spicy cured meats. I am in heaven. 

Makes about 8 250ml jars. 

Ingredients 

1 1⁄2kg (3.3lb) whole, washed damson plums

3 cups water

5 cups sugar 

Method 

Combine the plums and the water and over a medium hot heat bring to a boil. 

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. 

Allow to cool enough to handle – or completely, if you like and fish out the pits. It’s a bit messy but well worth it. 

I put them in a colander over a large pot and pass the liquid and as much of the flesh that you can through and then start picking out the stones. Return the pulp to the rest of the jam to the pot once the pits are out. Bring them back to the boil and add the sugar to the plums, stirring to dissolve. 

Reduce the heat to a light, rolling simmer and cook to jam stage, about 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, put the clean jars into a pre-heated oven at 140 C (300F). 

Return the plums to the jam kettle, and bring them back to the boil. Add the sugar to the plums, stirring to dissolve. 

Jam Stage Test 

Sheet or spoon test — Dip a cool metal spoon into the boiling jelly mixture. Raise the spoon out of the steam, about 12 inches above the pan. Turn the spoon so the liquid runs off the side. The jelly is done when the syrup forms two drops that flow together and sheet or hang off the edge of the spoon. 

Once the jam has reached setting point remove from the heat and stir and skim 5 minutes. 

Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal with lids sterilized according to the manufacturers directions. (Generally, boiled for 5 minutes.) 

Let cool, label and store when the jars have sealed.

Easy Chicken Bites

Chick-bites-webChicken breast seasoned with sage and Italian seasoning, rolled in prosciutto, then skewered.

Makes about 30-36 

Ingredients 

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
12 strips prosciutto or streaky bacon
120g (4oz) cream cheese, room temperature
6 basil leaves, chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stalk and chopped
3 parsley sprigs, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced 

Method 

Preheat your oven to 175C (350F)

In a medium bowl mix together your whipped cream cheese, thyme, basil, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic.

Spread the cream cheese mixture on each piece of bacon and then cut into thirds. Then wrap 1 piece of chicken with the piece of bacon. It will only wrap around one time, secure with a skewer.

Place on a flat baking tray lined with parchment paper, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the bacon is crispy and the chicken is cooked through.

Whats in the Pantry Frittata

fancy-frittata-webFrittatas are a great “go to” when you want an easy brunch, lunch or evening meal. There are so many things that can go in them and they are ideal for using up leftovers from the fridge and pantry. 

If you are catering for a crowd you can make several in batches and heat them up later as required. 

What Are Frittatas? 

A frittata is an Italian twist on the humble omelet. Since there’s no tricky flip to perform, they’re actually easier to make. Fantastico! 

Frittatas combine eggs and various combinations of vegetables, meat, cheese and even cooked pasta. The end result looks a bit like a quiche, without the crust. 

How to Serve Them 

Frittatas can be served in wedges for breakfast, lunch or dinner, either hot or cold. I like to fill the rest of the plate with salad. If you make frittata for dinner, you’ve got a lunchbox-friendly lifesaver for the next day. They work as a quick weeknight dinner, or as a main dish for brunch with friends. They are also great to take on a picnic or to a shared meal. 

Invent Your Own Frittata 

Once you’ve made one frittata, you can make them all – adjust the fillings and flavors based on what’s in the fridge. Frittatas can give new life to leftovers, and they are a great way to get several food groups into a meal. If you’ve got company coming, go for fancier ingredients like olives, asparagus and aged cheese. 

Frittata  How to Cook

 Frittatas are usually cooked in a fry pan on the stove first, and then finished in the oven. This means you need to use an oven-safe fry pan. Your pan might be labeled as oven safe on the bottom; if not, try looking for information on the manufacturer’s website. 

No guessing is allowed- either your pan is oven-save or it is not! Just remember that the handle will be very hot when you take it out of the oven. 

Fritattas can be cooked only on the stovetop, but this means they have to be flipped—not easy. Some frittatas can be cooked entirely in the oven. 

Pantry Frittata 

The more you make frittatas the more you will know what ingredients work together. They can be very cost effective and you can use up so many leftovers. 

frittata-recipe-webIngredients 

10 eggs
3 tbsp milk or cream
6 leaves of silverbeet (swiss chard) tough stems removed and chopped into small bite-sized pieces or 2 cups spinach leaves or rocket

1 cup grated cheese of choice. I use up the little pieces of cheese that seem to collect in my fridge.

½ cup sliced spring onions
2-3 small sweet potatoes, sliced thinly into rounds. Leftover are fine, they just don’t need cooking
1-2 roma (Italian) tomatoes, sliced thinly into rounds
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup cold meat chopped, pulled or sliced depending what it is (optional)

1 tsp fresh thyme or parsley

Salt and pepper to season 

Method

In a skillet, cook sweet potato slices over medium heat until they are fork tender.  Remove and set aside. If you are using leftovers there is no need to cook. 

Heat the oven grill (broiler) on high.

In a medium sized bowl, beat together the eggs and milk or cream and season with salt and pepper.  Mix in the chopped greens, onion, cheese, meat and garlic and pour this mixture into a cast iron skillet.   

Arrange potatoes and tomatoes on top and sprinkle the thyme over.  Place skillet over medium-low heat on the stove and cook for a few minutes, just until the egg starts to set.   

Then transfer the skillet to an oven set to grill (broil).  Grill the frittata until the top is golden and starts to puff.  Slice into wedges and serve by themselves or with a yummy seasonal fresh salad. 

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs

Chicken-Thigh-BaconIngredients

8 chicken thighs, bone out
8 tbsp grated pecorino romano cheese or a hard cheese of choice
8 slices thin streaky bacon
salt & pepper to season
3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

Method 

Pound the chicken thighs thin with a meat mallet and lightly season with salt and pepper.

Lay the chicken thighs on a tray or cutting board and divide the cheese amongst the eight cutlets, arranging it to cover, leaving a little space along the sides.

Starting at one end, tightly roll the chicken thighs up.Using a slice of the thin bacon, carefully wrap the chicken roll around and secure each with a toothpick.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and brown all the chicken rolls very well on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the stock and wine and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, partly cover the skillet and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a heated plate, and bring the wine mixture remaining in the skillet up to a boil. Add the sage, season with salt and pepper and reduce the sauce by half.

Remove the toothpicks from the rolls, and return the chicken to the skillet and turn to coat in the sauce to warm up the chicken rolls.

Place the chicken on a platter and pour the sauce on top.

Serve hot.

Prosciutto Melon Starter

Prosciutto-Melon-Starter-weQuick, fresh and a yummy balance of flavours. The watercress adds a light, peppery finish to each bite. This recipe can easily be scaled to your needs. 

Ingredients 

10 slices prosciutto
10 slices melon
Lemon garlic dressing
Watercress 

Method 

Wrap the prosciutto around the melon pieces and place on a plate together. Place desired serving numbers on individual plates then drizzle with the dressing and top each serving with watercress. 

Lemon Garlic Dressing 

Ingredients 

4 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped (more if you LOVE garlic)
1/2 tsp of black pepper (more if desired)
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method 

Mix all ingredients into a container that has a tight fitting lid. Place lid on tightly and shake vigorously until olive oil and lemon juice blend into one, after about 1 minute of shaking.

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