Autumn Cabbage and Smoked Meat Borscht

I found this recipe on Food Republic that I wanted to try with some porkstrami from Tails & Trotters, but I tinkered with it so much that I decided to re-write the recipe.

1 tbsp bacon fat
½ green cabbage (about ¾ lb)
½ large white onion, thinly sliced
2 or 3 golden beets, peeled and diced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups pork stock, divided
¾ lb porkstrami, diced
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes, drained
½ cup distilled white vinegar
⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ tbsp pimentón
½ tsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
Crema Mexicana
Rustic Rye Bread

Cut the cabbage into quarters lengthwise through the core. Trim out and discard the core from each quarter. Cut the cabbage crosswise into thin slices.

Heat the bacon fat in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage, onion, beets, garlic and salt and stir to coat the vegetables in the fat. Pour in ¼ cup pork stock and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage and onion are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

Stir in the porkstrami, tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, pimentón and gochugaru. Pour in the remaining pork stock (and additional water if necessary) to cover the mixture by about 1 inch and bring it to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to maintain a low simmer. Skim the foam that rises to the top of the borscht. Cook, uncovered, until the cabbage is very tender and the flavors come together, about 1 hour.

Serve with a dollop of Crema Mexicana and some Rustic Rye Bread on the side.

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I washed this down with some [Banished] Better Off Red from Crux Fermentation Project.


Crawfish Pie and Croque-Monsieur Salad

This meal is my attempt re-create what was one of my favorite meals from a restaurant that is long gone – Roux.

Crawfish Pie

This dish – which is basically étouffée in a pie shell instead of being served on top of rice – was a revelation the first time I had it.

½ cups of roux (recipe coming soon)
½ lb of cooked crawfish tail meat
½ cup of heavy whipping cream
Frozen Pie Crust
Chives, chopped

Special Equipment: 4″ ~ 5″ Small Pie Pans.

First, cut down the pie crusts to fit in the small pans. Then, follow the instructions on the packaging.
Slowly bring roux up to a simmer as the pie crusts cook. Add crawfish, and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes – just to get the meat warmed up. Then, mix in heavy cream. You want to time it so that the pie crust come out of the oven just a few minutes before the filling in finished so that they are still warm. Plate the crusts, pour in filling and top with the chopped chives.

Croque-Monsieur Salad

The first few times I made this salad, I used Trader Joe’s Traditional Carnitas instead of pulled pork. But I’ve since switched to using smoked ham. I use this recipe for the salad dressing. I get a mini baguette from the bakery, cut into ¼” slices, brush with garlic oil and then toast in the oven at 450° for 15 minutes. Immediately after the pan comes out of the oven, sprinkle grated cave aged Gruyère over the toasted bread. Then take a bag of baby spinach and remove all of the stems from each leaf. Mix with the pulled pork or ham (depending on which you are using) and grated Parmesan. Plate the cheese covered toasted bread and put salad on top then coat with the dressing.

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Back when it was released in April, I picked up an extra bottle of the White Truffle Gose from Upright Brewing specifically to have with this meal.

Sicilian Spiced Duck Breast with Preserved Orange and Roasted Fennel Salad

I was planning to cook the Crispy Duck Breast with Glazed Carrots again with the Roasted Fennel Salad, but I stumbled upon the Sicilian Spiced Duck Breast with Preserved Orange and decided that it would be a better match for the salad. Unfortunately, the way both of these recipes were written are a bit confusing. They did not come out as well as I would have liked…

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To drink, I went with a 2013 bottle of the Pituh from Propolis Brewing.