Dinner Menu: Carne en su Jugo

mmmm-yummy1

I had big plans for cooking this week, which all went to hell by the end of today. So perfect time for a Men Who Cook/Guest Recipe.

Tonight we have a guest menu from my friend Alton Gunn, who has provided us with several good recipes.  It’s delicious, I’ve been lucky enough to have it several times (good are the friends who feed you).

On the board tonight:

  1. Carne en su Jugo
  2. Pico de Gallo
  3. Tortillas
  4. Margarita Melon Salad

Carne en su Jugo

  • ½ lb bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 lb sirloin steak, sliced thin and then cut in 1-inc pieces
  • 1 can (28oz) tomatillos
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt
  • 2 can pinto beans
  • sour cream for garnish
  • shredded cheese
  • chopped onions for garnish
  • fresh lime juice for garnish
  1. Brown the bacon in a large dutch oven. Add the beef and cook until brown (leave the bacon grease in the pot).
  2. Blend the tomatillos in your food processor and strain well to remove the seeds. Add about a cup of the tomatillo liquid back into the food processor and blend with the cilantro, and garlic.
  3. Add the tomatillo/cilantro/garlic sauce and the rest of the strained tomatillo liquid to the beef and bacon. Add salt to taste.
  4. Stir in pinto beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beef is tender, about 1 hour.
  5. Ladle into bowls  and garnish with pico de gallo (recipe below),  fresh lime, sour cream.
  6. Serve corn or flour tortillas on the side.

Al’s Notes: I’ve made this with beef and pork. The basic sauce is good for stewing pretty much any meat. Will try chicken next.  Works well in the crockpot

Pico de Gallo

  • chopped onion
  • chopped tomato
  • chopped cilantro
  • splash of lime

Mix together 20 to 30 minutes or more before meal.

Margarita Melon Salad

  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 shots tequila
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur (I used Triple Sec)
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ cantaloupe, seeded and cubed
  • ¼ honeydew melon, seeded and cubed
  • ¼ small watermelon, cubed

Many markets sell halved melons and wedges of watermelon, making it easy to prepare this salad closer to desired amounts.

Combine lime juice, tequila, liqueur, and sugar in a bowl. Add melons and toss to coat with tequila and lime. Serve in shallow bowls.

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Originally posted July 2010

Chili-Mac

DSC_6701 [1600x1060]I’ll probably take fire for calling this chili-mac because it doesn’t use elbows.  The chili topping was very easy, a can of pinto beans and a can of tomato bits with green chilies.  I added a fair amount of a general purpose chili powder and then just simmered it in a sauce pan for a little while.  The cheese sauce is heaviest on Monterey jack but I used up the last of a Parmesan-Romano mix that I have been using on pizzas.  I needed the shaker top jar to put my red pepper flakes into and it has nice big holes in the lid.  There is a sprinkle of paprika on the pasta to ease the color transition form the cheese sauce to the chili.

Mmm… pork and beans

DSC_6638 [1600x1060]I always assumed dry beans needed overnight soaking but these pinto beans worked just fine without.  I covered the bottom of a sauce pot with the beans and covered them with broth, seasoned them with chili powder and ground cumin, brought the pot to a boil and then simmered it, covered, for a couple hours with a chopped onion.  I uncovered the pot and cooked them for a while longer because they were a tad thin, hard to overcook them unless they dry out and scorch.  These were flavored with the pork I roasted the other day, a handful of chopped meat including some of the highly seasoned outer layer, along with some of the skimmed pot drippings.  Those larger pieces went atop the beans when they were plated.  That’s a whole clove of garlic that roasted with the shoulder on the bottom of the photo.  Yum!

Mexican Lasagna

DSC_4655 [1600x1200]I thawed some ground beef the other day and surfed around for a recipe that was new to me, I didn’t want the usual hamburgers or chili or whatever.  This recipe for “Mexican Lasagna” caught my eye.  I scrolled through the ingredient list and had most of it, enough to make it work.  I had a can of mushroom soup but no cream of celery, and I had enough leftover enchilada sauce from the last Tex-Mex dinner we had to add to the soup for the sauce.  I thought that the beef would do and didn’t worry about the lack of pork sausage.  The rest of the recipe went pretty much as written.DSC_4648 [1600x1200]The sauce from the mushroom soup and the enchilada sauce gave me pause but I went with it  anyway, the can was opened and I did need to use up the enchilada sauce.  I may go with a mole sauce from dried peppers the next batch.  Yes, there will be a next batch, this stuff was seriously good.  I didn’t skimp on the cheese.DSC_4651 [1600x1200]It was really smelling nice, fresh out of the oven like this, I wondered how long to let it sit, if you try to plate up Italian lasagna fresh from the oven the layers all slump together.  Tasty, sure, but not as pretty (read photogenic) as when it is allowed to rest for twenty minutes or more.  I gave it five minutes.DSC_4654 [1600x1200]The corn tortillas worked pretty well, I didn’t try to fry them first, they were just laid into the casserole straight from the package.  I may try to crisp them in oil the next time, or try some of the packaged tostadas I saw at the International grocery last time we were over there.  Those are like big round nacho chips.

Like traditional lasagna, this stuff was even better the next day.

Beans

I did the usual pinto beans recipe with the overnight soaking and slow cooking with smoked ham hocks and diced onions but thought to try an addition of a couple of chili powders I’ve grown quite fond of.  I have a largish jar of ground chipotle peppers, and another of anchos, both bought through a seller at Amazon.

I have to tread a fine line with this stuff because Mrs J’s notion of “hot peppers” starts just north of peperoncini.  I debated adding some tomatoes of some sort, and looked at a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies for a minute before deciding against them for this batch, pending the outcome with the chili powders.

I must say that the addition of the ground peppers was met with approval.  They will be a standard part of my recipe from now on.  I think I’ll start soaking another batch to try with the tomatoes:)

Spelunking

Occasionally curiosity gets the better of me and I set out on an expedition to do a little caving — in my big freezer.  Things get thrown in there and forgotten, often unlabeled.  My last trip turned up a bag of what appeared to be frozen roasted pork that had been chopped.  A quick microwaving of a piece of it proved that guess correct.

The day before I had dumped some dried pinto beans into a bowl and covered them with water so soak over night.  “Pork ‘n beans” — that phrase jumped into my head.  I set out to try my hand at it.

Thawed, the roast pork went into a sauce pot with a diced onion to cook down a bit.  It was very fatty and I wanted to render some of that out and to get some browning on the pork bits.  After the pork browned and I had spooned out most of the rendered fat, I tossed in a couple of teaspoons of cumin seeds.  Next came 4 cups of chicken broth and the drained beans. It needed something more, and I had noted a bag of just that something in the freezer.

Last winter I made some pozole (pasole).  I had roasted a pork butt with plenty of garlic and onions, and some dried ancho and other chilies.  I strained the juices and pureed the peppers and onions with some of the juice.

I dumped the puree into a stock pot and was well on my way with the pozole dish when Mrs J declared the broth to be too damn hot.  Sigh.

OK, I ladled much of the offending broth into another sauce pot and replaced it with unseasoned broth.  I still had a goodly amount of the other.  What to do?  Aha!

After reducing the offending broth enough to fit into a plastic ice cube tray, I stuck it into the freezer overnight.  It worked as expected:

I have used one or two of these before in chili where they were pretty much wasted because of all the other chili seasonings.  They made a world of difference when I added them to the pork and beans.

I had a few spoonfuls over the left over Kentucky biscuits  that were getting stale.  The beans weren’t quite done yet but I could tell they were very good.  They really needed better than those  old biscuits.

Mmm… Another batch of my world famous bacon cheddar jalapeno cornbread!   I went all in with this batch, red marconi peppers, lots of minced jalapenos, some minced red onion, a good handful of cheddar, the same of sweet corn, and bacon grease.  Mrs J declared the corn bread my best ever!  I think she may be coming around!

Mmm…bacon cheddar jalapeno cornbread

This is pretty simple and easy to get right.  It is great tasting and versatile, you can eat this by itself but you will want to slather some butter on it.  And as long as you are doing cornbread you can’t go wrong with ham and beans.

Recipes?  Moi?  lol…OK

First thing, fry 3 or 4 strips of bacon in your cast iron skillet.  Don’t fry them all the way crisp, just get the grease out of ’em and place them on a paper towel.  You will need the grease so pour it out into something to let it cool down a bit.  Go ahead and turn your oven to 400.  Put the skillet in there with the bacon grease still in it (less the 1/4 cup).

This part is straight off the corn meal container from Quaker:

1-1/4 cups AP flour

3/4 cup yellow corn meal

1/4 cup sugar (optional!  We use Splenda)

2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1 cup of milk

2 egg whites or 1 whole egg (I use the whole egg)

1/4 cup oil (bacon grease! bacon grease!!)

And now for the extras- 1 cup shredded cheddar, half a small red onion, and a couple of minced jalapenos (one red, one green).

Mix everything together and scrape into the hot skillet (still filmed with bacon grease), smooth it out some, and put those pieces of bacon on the top.  The batter should be sizzling when you put it back into the hot oven.  Give it a look after 20 minutes.