Monday, December 29, 2014

Blackeye Pea Gumbo

      For good luck and prosperity in the upcoming year, my Southern friends traditionally eat blackeye peas on New Year's Day.  More like a jambalaya than a gumbo, this very easy recipe from Bush's can be tweaked and adapted to suit your needs.  If you're a vegetarian, substitute with vegetable broth and if you want a heartier more stick to your ribs kind of meal, add sliced, cooked kielbasa and raw shrimp during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time.  Ramp up the heat and flavor by adding your favorite spices.  In my 12 inch dutch oven I sauteed the vegetables with a full mound of 24-26 coals underneath my dutch oven.  Once the onions were translucent I moved the coals to a ring of 12 around the base of the oven with 26 briquettes on the lid.  It took a good 45 minutes for the rice to cook and absorb some of the liquid.  So ring in the New Year with a big bowl of lucky blackeye peas and I hope all your dreams come true in 2015! 

Blackeye Pea Gumbo
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup rice
2 cups chicken stock
4 15 oz cans blackeye peas with liquid
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tblsp Cajun spice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste    
     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch or larger dutch oven.
     Saute olive oil, onion, pepper, garlic and celery over a full compliment of coals until softened.
     Move bottom coals to a ring around the base of dutch oven.
     Add remaining ingredients, stir until well combined.
     Cover dutch oven with as many coals as needed to bring gumbo to a strong bubble.
     Simmer for 45-50 minutes, stirring halfway, or until rice is tender.
     Makes 8 servings.

Saute onions, pepper, celery and garlic over high heat
until softened

Add remaining ingredients, stir until well combined

Simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is tender

A great warming, filling game day dinner and don't
forget the cornbread

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cranberry Orange Upside Down Cake

     What could taste more like Christmas than a cranberry-orange topped cake laced with cinnamon and ginger?  It may look complicated but if you make this cake from Midwestern Living magazine in steps it's very easy to assemble.  One little hint, you need to melt two different measurements of butter, one for the topping and one for the cake.  In my 10 inch dutch oven the cake baked for a total of 35 minutes with 10 coals placed around the bottom of the oven, 14 briquettes placed around the edge of the lid with 4 spaced evenly in the center.  Keep an eye on it, with all that butter, it will brown quickly.  The aroma wafting from your oven is worth the effort of making it alone.  Allow the cake to cool for a good 20-25 minutes before inverting onto a plate.  The tart but sweet topping melds perfectly with the buttery, spiced cake.  Leave a piece out for Santa and hide the rest for yourself, with a cup of tea, it's just what the doctor ordered after a long day of holiday activities. 

Cranberry Orange Upside Down Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tblsp butter, melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 11 oz can mandarin orange sections, drained
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 eggs
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt OR sour cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 Tblsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; set aside.
     Place 3 Tblsp melted butter in parchment lined dutch oven, swirl to completely cover bottom of oven.
     Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over melted butter.
     Arrange orange sections over brown sugar.
     Top evenly with cranberries.
     In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, granulated sugar, the 6 Tblsp melted butter and the vanilla.
     Add flour mixture to egg mixture, one-third at a time, stirring just until combined after each addition.
     Spoon batter into dutch oven, spreading carefully to cover fruit.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
     Let cake cool for 20 minutes before lifting from oven and inverting onto plate.
     Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cover bottom of oven with 3 Tblsp melted butter, sprinkle
with brown sugar then top with oranges and cranberries

Carefully spread thick batter over fruit

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes

Allow to cool for 20 minutes before inverting onto plate

Tart, sweet, spicy and incredibly moist, a new holiday favorite

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pulled Pork Tortilla Pie

     Seems like I'll never learn, I get so excited about trying something new that I sometimes dive right in without actually reading the recipe.  I mistakenly doubled the recommended amount of sour cream in the original recipe but it was so light and creamy, you can definitely stick with the full 16 ounces.  Once you have all of your ingredients lined up and ready to go, all you need to do is light your coals and assemble the pie.  Pillsbury gives you the step by step instructions here.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, the pie baked for 30 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 20 briquettes on the lid.  I then sprinkled on the final topping of cheese and let it bake for an additional 5 minutes.  This is a great way to use up any leftover pulled pork you may have made from scratch.  The smoky barbecue sauce pairs very well the the green chiles, a unique, somewhat quirky combination of flavors and like lasagna allow the pie to sit before serving so it will firm up and become easier to slice.

Pulled Pork Tortilla Pie
1 11 oz can corn, drained
1 4 oz can chopped green chiles, drained
12 corn tortillas
1 16 oz package hickory smoked pulled pork
1 16 oz container sour cream
1 10 oz can mild green chile enchilada sauce, divided
8 oz (2 cups) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     Reserve 2 Tblsp. enchilada sauce.
     In small bowl, mix corn and chiles; set aside.
     In prepared dutch oven, layer 4 tortillas, half each of the pork, corn mixture, sour cream, enchilada sauce and 1/2 cup of the cheese.
     Repeat layering once.
     Top with final layer of tortillas, spread with reserved 2 Tblsp of enchilada sauce.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until pie is bubbling around edges.
     Top with remaining one cup of cheese, bake 5 more minutes or until cheese has melted.
     Allow to sit in dutch oven for 20 minutes before serving.
     Makes 6 servings.

Layer ingredients ending with a final topping of
enchilada sauce

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes before adding cheese

Continue baking until cheese has melted

Allow pie to sit for 20 minutes before serving