Friday, September 23, 2016

Ham with apples & bacon in Dutch oven

Today is the all or nothing day on my blog :).
I am so dead tired from finishing the grill paving this morning, that I prefer to hit the keys only while enjoying the evening chill in San Diego.
I have a meat eater in the family, and I must share this recipe, because while my kids love my cooking, in general, the youngest confessed with a big sigh that our paving guy might be an even better cook than I am, but quickly continued: "when it comes to meats" :D.
Well, he is absolutely right, I am everything but a meat eater.. But this one, this one was sooo goood...

pork loin (it was that large loin from Costco, maybe 3-4 pounds)
about 6 slices of bacon
2 apples
spice mix (he used Vegeta from Podravka ), I'd advice 1/2 tsp of spice/ pound of meat, but you can use any pork meat spice mix you like. Like Magyaros fuszerkeverek
additional black pepper, 1/2 tsp (only if the mix doesn't have yet)
additional paprika, 1/2 tsp  (only if the spice mix doesn't have it yet)
1/2 cup beer

Serve baked potatoes and baked yams on the side. Wrap them in aluminum foil, and baked them in the last 60 minutes together with the ham.

The most difficult part of this exercise is poking holes in the meat, and trying to push through the slices of bacon. However, do not skip this move!, the loin by itself is very dry, and you'll be less than satisfied with your end result.
Place the meat in a dutch oven. Luckily I have an oval one, and could fit a 15 inch long meat in it. Pick your size by the Dutch oven size, and your family size, obviously. This portion will fill 5 people easily.
Place the ham in the oven, sprinkle the spice mix on the top, place the bacon slices on the meat, place the apple slices to the sides of the loin, and last but not least pour the beer (optional).

Cover with lid, and bake at 350F for at least 2 hours. The baking time will also depend on the meat size, I usually allow 1 hour / kg, eg. 30 minutes / pound, not counting the first 30 minutes, when I basically warm up both the meat and the oven. Take it out and spoon the juice on top of the meat every now and then, to make it shiny and crispy.
60 minutes before the end of your baking time, place the potatoes and yams on the oven shelf wrapped in aluminum foil, and bake them together with the ham.
Remove lid and let it broil for the last 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, and serve immediately while hot.

I liked it sooooooooooooooo much, that it will be a regular meal on our table. It is easy, filling, and it satisfies a festive table setting, too. If you are not a big meat eater, prepare it at least for Xmas. You won't be disappointed!
Bonn appetite!

OBS: you can make your own spice mix by mixing salt, garlic powder, minced coriander seeds, minced caraway seeds, black pepper, paprika, marjoram, minced nutmeg, dried thyme, or a combination of these..

Cream cheese filled jalapenos with Serrano ham

Oh.. my...
These are some of my forever favorites I've eaten at a friends', and kept making it at home.
It has everything I love: heat, smoothness, and fat ;), plus they are very easy to make.
They are also rather economical for the fanciness, as jalapenos are usually below $1 a pound, cream cheese in not too expensive either around here, and it doesn't take that much ham to bake enough.

Serrano ham or thinly sliced bacon, but I'd add only half of the regular slice / jalapeno for crunchy results
cream cheese

One jalapeno will make two pieces, obviously, you'll need 1/2 slice of the sliced serrano ham for one piece, and about 1tsp of cream cheese. You do the math.. I'd estimate 1 pound of jalapeno (0.5 kg), one package of thinly sliced ham, and 1 cup of cream cheese is a hood start for a portion.

Preheat the oven to 400 F, 200C.
Start by washing the peppers, and continue by putting on some rubber gloves!! You'l thank me later when, after cooking, you can rub your eyes without crying them out.
Cut the jalapenos in half, remove the seeds and the veins, just as much as you want. Now it's the time to adjust the heat level to your audience. If you remove all of it, it will be no spicy at all, if you leave the veins they will give you some surprise as you take a bite :) (I got hiccups once :D), and if you are feeding some real chiliheads, leave some seeds in, too.. I warned you! Only for chiliheads!
Fill the half jalapeno with 1 tsp of cream cheese, and wrap it in half a slice of ham, or bacon. (On the left a plate of jalapenos with bacon..)
Place the filled jalapenos in a tray lined with parchment paper, sprinkle some olive oil if you use ham, but no need for it if you decided to use bacon.
Bake for ~15 minutes, until the ham had shrank and the jalapeno looks darker green, but definitely NOT mushy yet.
If you made them with bacon, you might need few extra minutes to have the bacon crunchy, and also change the oven from bake to broil for just 3-5 extra minutes.
Serve, preferably, while still warm.
Bonn appetite!