Monday, March 26, 2012

Dutch Oven Carnitas!!

This weekend here on Long Island was cloudy, chilly & rainy. Hey, why not, it's Long Island. At least I am not out there shoveling snow!

I had planned on trying my hand at a dutch oven recipe that I had seen on the youtube channel of Outdoor Cast Iron Cooking. Dean & Joanie have many excellent videos, all about 'cooking in the great outdoors'. Every video is filmed at some cool location while cooking some awesome food.

When I saw how Dean whipped up some pork carnitas I knew I had to try it out. Here is how it turned out, on a rainy Sunday in March.

The method was Brown - Braise - Broil.

This is a rundown of what & how:
Note! For the braising portion of this cook, Dean used charcoal. As this is my first attempt at a long Dutch Oven cook and I did not have a covered area to use charcoal out of the rain, I braised using a propane burner. I know, lazy huh?
I used a 12" Dutch Oven

4 lbs Pork / cubed / from a large loin I found on sale
Tango Spice Chik N' Rib Rub
1 cup Dr Pepper
2 Oranges / sliced
2 Ancient Sweet Peppers / split & seeded
Some small onion / peeled
Cooking Oil

Browning Directions:
Place cubed pork on a parchment lined surface, coat with Chik N' Rib Rub (or your seasonings of choice) Then place in a a non reactive bowl.
Add enough cooking oil to cover inside bottom of dutch oven and preheat.
Add the pork in a single layer & brown both sides, turning once. This will take two or three batches depending on how much meat you have.
Remove browned meat, place in a separate bowl, brown the remaining meat.
Remove second batch of meat to the bowl with the first batch.

Braising Directions:
Scrape the brown bits left over with a wooden spoon, loosening them.
Add Dr Pepper & place pork meat into oven.
Place orange slices on top of meat and the split peppers on top of the oranges.
Add enough water to bring liquid level up to the top of the pork mixture.
Cover and braise for 2-3 hours until meat is tender.
After about one hour, remove the peppers, as they will be very tender. Remove the skin and use the pepper flesh to make a spicy paste*
After another hour, check the meat for tenderness. When you feel it is ready to shred, remove the pork from oven and place in a large bowl.
As you near the end of the braising time, start a full chimney of charcoal for the broiling portion.
Discard orange peels and remove the onions.
While meat is cooling, reduce braising liquid by two thirds, boiling and stirring using high heat.
While that is reducing shred pork.

Broiling Directions:
Remove the oven from the heat, place on a heat safe surface.
Place shredded pork back into oven, stirring it into the braising liquid.
Cover and broil meat for 10-15 minutes using a full chimney of coals on lid.
Once it becomes browned on top, remove lid from oven and discard coals.

The meat was insanely good! This method does differ from Dean's so please check out his video for his version. You have to try this, it is SO GOOD!

Spice Up The Pork

Brown It

Add The Oranges

Top With Peppers

The Aroma Was Amazing

Shredded Perfection

Top The Lid With Hot Coals

Wow, Look At That

Dig In!

As Always, Thank You For Reading!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Irish Barm Brack Bread

Greetings everyone and welcome to March 2012! Spring is just around the corner and Saint Patrick's Day is fast approaching! Around this time of year I search around for some new recipe to try, or even several recipes that will 'Get My Irish Up'!

I will admit that I have no interest in cooking 'corned beef and cabbage' as presented over the years. How over played is that tune? This is a day for celebration and who really wants to celebrate with with boiled meat and soggy cabbage? No offense meant to those who like the 'traditional' way it is cooked here.

In trying to expand my playlist for for St. Patty's Day I am going to see how many new things I can try this year. It is during the search for new & exciting I found the following recipe, and I am pleased to share it with you now.

Barmbrack is a tea bread popular in Ireland, especially around Halloween. I am presenting here because it is a great bread for any time of year and is a much more welcomed addicting to a Saint Patrick's meal that soda bread. Being a sweet rather than savory bread it can be eaten with a meal or as dessert or breakfast bread. Once you try it you are going to want it all day.

Makes one 8-inch round loaf

16 oz Long Ireland IPA (India Pale Ale)
2 Cups Dried Fruit / small fruits - raisins, golden raisins, cranberry, etc

1 Cup Milk / lukewarm (110-115°F)
2 1/4 tsp Yeast
2 tsp Sugar

2 1/2 Cups AP Flour
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Nutmeg

1 Egg / beaten
1/3 Cup Unsalted Butter / softened
1 tsp Salt

Place the IPA and dried fruit in a bowl and let soak overnight.
The next day when you start to gather your other ingredients drain the fruit and spread them out on paper towels until needed.
In a small bowl mix the yeast, warm milk and 2 teaspoons of sugar together and set aside for 5-10 minutes to activate the yeast.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and spices. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast mixture, beaten egg, butter and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients and bring the dough together. Add a little more flour if the dough is too wet or a little more milk if it is too dry.
Remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth but still a little sticky. You can also use a mixer and dough hook, which is what I did, as I was lazy that morning. Setting 2 or 3 is fine, for 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the dried fruit a little at a time into the dough and knead until all the fruit has been incorporated.
Remove the dough to a large, lightly buttered bowl. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm corner until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and punch down to deflate. Knead lightly for 2-3 minutes. Form into a ball and placed in a buttered 8-inch cake pan. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise again until doubled in size, 30-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until top is browned and sounds hollow when tapped. If bread starts to brown too quickly tent with foil.
Remove to a rack and cool.

The entire time, from needing to baking the bread had a wonderful aroma. This is a very tasty loaf of bread, something you can enjoy any time of the day. Pop a slice in the toaster and spread with a little butter and you have a very yummy snack.

Just before baking, brush the top of the loaf with a mixture of 1 egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of milk beaten together. This will give the loaf a dark shiny crust.
Many barmbrack recipes call for "mixed spice." This could be equal parts ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Ground allspice can also be used. I will try differing spices as I continue to experiment with this loaf.

Long Ireland IPA & Fruit

A Little Left Over For My Glass

Sugar, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg  & Bran

Drunken Fruit

After First Kneading

After Second Rise & Oven Ready
Baking Away

Time To Cool Down

Wonderful Aroma

Irish Barm Brack!

Also known as barm brack, barn brack or baírín breac.
At Halloween, barmbrack is used to tell fortunes for the coming year. A pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a coin and a ring are all baked inside the bread. The one who gets the pea will not marry. The one who gets the stick will have an unhappy marriage. The piece of cloth fortells poverty, while the coin indicates riches. And finally, the finder of the ring will marry within the year.

As Always, Thank You For Reading!