BACON-WRAPPED DANISH MEATLOAF

Oh…and there is bacon on the inside as well!

So, what makes it Danish? Some ingredients that I put in Swedish Meatballs and Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs)…allspice and nutmeg. The bacon is an embellishment on my part. I’m Danish…I’m allowed!

A couple of tips I use for any meatloaf recipe. First, I minced the bacon and onions in a small food processor, then saute them for about 10 minutes. Second, I use a Kitchenaid stand mixer to combine all the ingredients…wet stuff first, then the meat. Third, I dump it all in a parchment paper-lined loaf pan, and mold it as round as possible. Then, lift it out with the parchment paper and place on the bacon laid out on a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet. Did I tell you I hate mashing meatloaf up with my hands? I’m not alone. Let it sit about 15 minutes before serving, or, like I am doing, let it sit in the fridge overnight for Meatloaf Sandwiches…another blog post on the way. There is an optional Honey BBQ Chipotle Bourbon glaze recipe below as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 8 slices bacon, divided
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 slices of sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn in pieces
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard

For the glaze:

  • In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s or Bullseye), 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp ketchup, 1 tbsp bourbon, and 1/2 tsp minced chipotles in adobo. After the meatloaf cooks to 165 degrees, slather the glaze across the top, raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees, and cook for about 3 minutes until the glaze has caramelized.

Directions:

  • Chop 3 slices of bacon. Add the bacon and diced onions to a small food processor and process until just minced.
  • Place the bacon and onions in a small saucepan and cook for about 8 minutes until the bacon is rendered and the onions are soft. Place in a small bowl in the refrigerator until cool, about 10 minutes.
  • Place the torn bread and the cream in the bowl of the stand mixer and let soak for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the egg yolks, onion and bacon mixture, chopped parsley, granulated garlic, slat, pepper, Worcestershire, all spice, nutmeg, and dry mustard. Attach the pallet and mix on low for about 2 minutes.
  • Crumble the ground beef and ground pork into the mixer bowl. Mix on low for about 5 minutes, scraping down the side occasionally.
  • Preheat the oven to 360 degrees.
  • Place a wire rack over a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Cut some parchment paper the length of your loaf pan. Spray the pan with pan spray. Press the parchment paper into the loaf pan letting the long sides hang over. Spray the parchment paper.
  • Dump the meatloaf mixture into the parchment line loaf pan and try to mold it as round as possible by picking up the paper and squeezing it slightly.
  • On the wire rack, place about 5 slices o bacon side by side. Lift out the meatloaf and place on the bacon slices. Careful roll the meatloaf onto the slices, removing the parchment paper. Wrap the bacon slices around the meat loaf, then gently roll the meatloaf over onto the bacon seam side.
  • Bake in the 360 degree oven for about 55 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Add the glaze if using, turn up the oven to 425 and cook another 3 minutes until the glaze has set.
  • Let cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.
  • I like to serve mine with Yukon Gold Hand-whipped Potatoes.

HOW TO COOK CHICKEN FRIED STEAK WITH HAND-WHIPPED YUKON GOLD POTATOES

I have made Chicken Fried Steak numerous times…some OK, some epic failures (coating falling off, tough meat, etc). But this recipe, though not fool-proof, has been very successful most of the time. Instead of Top Round (pounded and tenderized so much my arm hurt), I use a boneless ribeye, trimmed and lightly pounded. Of course, a good CF Steak also requires a great gravy, and that is included in this recipe. It’s basic, it’s old-school, and it’s relatively easy!

As with Fried Chicken, there are a couple of tips that will help insure it comes out, ie, use a cast-iron skillet, fry in canola oil at 325F, and season properly. Oh, yeah, and keep it simple.

So, here goes…This should serve 2-3 people.

INGREDIENTS:

– 1-8 oz boneless ribeye, about 1 inch thick, trimmed of fat

– 1/2 cup buttermilk

– 2 medium eggs

– 1 1/4 cups flour, seasoned, divided

– 3 tsp seasoning mix (recipe below)

– Kosher salt

– Fresh ground black pepper

-Canola oil for frying

For the gravy:

– 2 1/2 tbsp seasoned flour

– 1 1/2 cup whole milk

– 1/2 cup cream

– Kosher salt

– Fresh ground black pepper

– Hand-whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes (recipe below)

DIRECTIONS:

– Mix the flour with the seasoning mix, place in a flat bowl or pie plate. Beat eggs with the buttermilk and place in another pie plate. Put some parchment paper on a plate for the coated steaks.

– Trim the actual ribeye (the center) out of the rib steak. Save the rest for grinding hamburger some other time. Trim off all the fat. Butterfly the ribeye into 2 pieces. Pound the steaks with the tenderizer to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper to taste.

– Place a steak in the seasoned flour, shake off excess, then coat with the egg/buttermilk mixture, then back into the flour. Place on the parchment paper.

– Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet, about 1/2 inch deep, to 325F, no hotter. Add the meat to the oil and cook for about 2-3 minutes then turn and cook another 2 minutes or so. It should be golden brown on both sides. Remove to a cooling rack over a sheet pan and put in a 250F oven until ready to serve.

– Pour off all but about 2 tbsp of the oil in the skillet. Over medium heat, sprinkle in the flour and begin whisking. Cook the flour for about 3 minutes, do not brown. Slowly add the warm milk, whisking constantly, until it begin to thicken and become smooth. Add more or less milk to reach your desired gravy consistency. Add the cream and 2 tbsp of butter, whisk in until smooth. Cook for about 5 minutes on a very low flame, whisking continuously. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Seasoning mix:

– 1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1/2 tbsp onion powder, 1/2 tbsp paprika, 1 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste).

For the potatoes:

– About 1 1/2 lbs (about 4 medium) Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled, leave whole

– 1/2 cup cream

– 2 oz unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

– Kosher salt

-Fresh ground black pepper

– Place the peeled, whole potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a simmer, not a boil. Lower heat, cover, and cook for about 32 minutes or until completely done but not mushy.

– Drain the potatoes well. Use a potato ricer and rice the potatoes back into the saucepan. Place over low heat. Add half the butter cubes and half the cream and begin stirring with a stiff spatula or spurtle. Stir until smooth, add the rest of the butter and continue stirring until very smooth. Add more cream and butter for your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle some whipped potatoes on a plate. Lean a fried steak against the potatoes, and ladle on the gravy. Garnish with chopped chives. Pass more gravy at the table.

The Ten-Ounce Burger

So, why the 10-ounce burger? Well…it promised to be a great food photo opportunity, and it was. I wanted to do a McD’s “Quarter Pounder” on steroids!

The build for something this big is critical, as the patty is so big, a lot of superfluous toppings would make it totally unmanageable from a dining point of view. I wanted to be able to eat it!

I worked at McD’s for a time back in the mid 60’s. I made 1000’s of burgers there. This is the order of ingredients and how to make this thing.

After griddling the buns, nice Brioche buns not too big here, lay both sides on a work surface. You will build only on the top bun…in this order:

  • The top bun
  • A couple squirts of ketchup
  • A couple of squirts of yellow mustard
  • 3 sliced dill pickles
  • A few slivered white onions
  • A slice of American cheese
  • Put nothing on the bottom bun.

After griddling the burger patty, lay a slice of American cheese on it. Now place the patty on the top bun with the cheese. You should now have all the condiments on the upside down top bun and a slice of cheese on both sides of the patty.

Place the bottom bun of the burger. Invert…and voila…a monster McD burger. I did give it a few seconds in the microwave to melt the cheese a bit for the photo. In the restaurants, the cheese melts while the wrapped burger sits in the bag!

Pair with twice fried french fries slathered with a fresh made 1000 Island dressing (recipe below), a nice icy cold Root Beer, and a knife and fork, and you’re ready to go. Yes, I feel ashamed. I did eat it with a knife and fork! And, could only get through about half of it.

The thick, 10-ounce 80/20 burger patty was cooked to about 155F, slightly pink inside. It was salt and peppered on both sides.

After all…today, May 28th, is National Burger Day in the U.S.

Baked Spaghetti…not just another lasagna!

There’s your basic lasagna…then there’s your basic Baked Spaghetti. The only difference? The type of pasta in it. And, Baked Spaghetti is easier to make!

Easy. Serves about 4-6 people.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of spaghetti, cooked al dente according to package directions, about 9 minutes
  • 2 cups of spaghetti meat sauce, jarred or home made like I did here (recipe below)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheesse
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of ricotta or cottage cheese
  • 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Fresh chopped basil and grated parmesan to serve.

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the melted butter, the pepper, and the grated parmesan cheese.
  • Add the cooked spaghetti to the egg mixture. Add 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce and toss the spaghetti.
  • Spray an 8×8 baking dish with pan spray. Add half of the spaghetti mixture and spread it around evenly. Top with half of the ricotta, 1 cup of meat sauce, then half the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with the remainder of the spaghetti, ricotta, meats sauce, and mozzarella.
  • Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let it sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes to set up. Sprinkle with fresh chopped basil to serve if desired. Pass more parmesan at the table.

MEAT SAUCE FOR SPAGHETTI

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup of white onions, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1/2 cup of green bell pepper, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1/2 cup if red bell pepper, 1/4 inch dice
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, thin sliced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper taste
  • 2 – 14 1/2 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • 1 tablespoon of herbes de Provence
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

Directions:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, the bell peppers, and the garlic and saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Crumble the ground beef into the pan and stir all the ingredients, letting the beef cook through, about 15 minutes. You may want to drain the meat at this point, but I chose not to (if the beef is lean enough, there is no need to drain it).
  • Add the remainder of the ingredients, stir well and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover, and cook for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Taste. Reseason if necessary.

Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings

I have made Chicken and Dumplings countless times over the years. But this is the first time with “old-fashioned” flat noodles. And I gotta say, I prefer these to the traditional drop-style biscuits. They are a little lighter and less filling. Rolling out and cutting the dough is a breeze…just keep the surface and the dumplings well floured.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of chicken, legs and thighs
  • White onions, peeled
  • Carrots, peeled
  • Celery
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sprig of sage
  • 3 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup of dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon of herbes de Provence
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Medium Bay leaf
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/4 cup of solid shortening or lard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • Chopped parsley

Directions:

  • In a large saucepan, put the chicken stock, the rosemary, the sage, the sherry, the herbes de Provence, the Bay leaf, the chicken pieces, 1/2 onion (cut into quarters), 1 medium carrot (cut into fourths), 1 celery stalk (cut into fourths), and bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and cook for about 60 minutes.
  • When the chicken is done, remove it and the vegetables, save the broth, and discard the vegetables. Let the chicken cool until you are able to handle it. Remove the skin and bones then chop the meat and set aside.
  • To the stock, 1/2 cup of white onions, 1/4 inch dice, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/4 inch dice, 1/2 cup of celery, 1/4 inch dice. Bring to a low simmer for about 30 minutes uncovered. Add the cream. To thicken, mix 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water. Add to the stock, stirring, and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of peas.
  • To make the dumplings (can be done while the chicken is cooking). In a medium bowl, combine the flour, the baking powder, the salt, and the shortening. With a fork or dough cutter, mix everything together.
  • Add some milk and mix until the mixture is soft.
  • Knead a few times on a floured surface. Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut dough into 1” by 2” pieces and add to the simmering stock. Cover, and cook about 15-20 minutes.
  • Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

Chicken Fried Sirloin Steak with Fresh Cracked Black Pepper Gravy

First, let’s explain the difference between Chicken Fried Steak and Country Fried Steak. Simply put, arguably, Chicken Fried Steak is served with creamy, white gravy…Country Fried Steak is covered in a brown gravy made from the pan drippings. Of course, neither are chicken…but, we knew that, right? Chicken F.S. often has the gravy served on the side so as to maintain the crispiness of the meat…Country F.S. is often smothered in the gravy to finish cooking. I kind of prefer the Chicken F.S., and this is my recipe for it.

Typically, you use heavily tenderized cube steak made from round or chuck. This one uses sirloin, and it is cut thin then tenderized with a mallet.

Please note, as with almost all of my recipes, it has been seriously cut down to feed 2 to 3 adults. Even with that, you may have enough gravy (and a steak) for a leftover the next day…maybe not! Don’t on the pepper in the gravy.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound sirloin, cut into 1/2 inch slices, pounded with a tenderizer mallet to 1/4 inch
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup of flour + 1 tbsp
  • 1/2 tsp of granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 2 thick slices of bacon, small dice (optional)
  • 1 tbsp of shallots, minced
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1 cup of low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup of dry sherry
  • 1/2 tsp of fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 cup of cream
  • Paprika, chopped chives, and chopped parsley for garnish

Directions:

  • Make your favorite mashed potato recipe. Keep warm.
  • Bring the sliced steak pieces to room temperature. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Mix together the granulated garlic, the onion powder, the paprika, the cayenne, and the flour in a flat bowl. Place the buttermilk in another flat bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the oven to 250F. Place a rack on a baking sheet and place it in the oven.
  • In a medium skillet, heat about 1 inch of canola oil over medium high heat to about 375F.
  • Dredge the pounded sirloin pieces in the flour. Then dip them in the buttermilk, letting the excess dip off. Then dredge them again in the flour, shaking of the excess.
  • When the oil is hot, cook the coated sirloin pieces, turning once, until they are golden brown and cooked through. If your sirloin is 1/4 inch thick, it will cook in about 1 1/2 minutes per side in 375F oil.
  • Remove the steaks to the rack on the sheet pan in the oven while you make the gravy.
  • Drain all the oil out of the skillet, saving to filter and use again. Lower the heat to medium. Add the chopped bacon and cook until slightly crisp. Remove all but 1 tbsp of bacon fat. If not using bacon, just add a little oil or butter to the skillet after draining the cooking oil and saute the shallots that way.
  • Add the minced shallots and saute for about 3 minutes, do not let them burn. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp of flour and cook an additional 1 minutes.
  • Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking until it begins to thick. Add the sherry and the fresh minced thyme. Bring to a low simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the cream and heat through. Add fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Taste. Reseason with salt and pepper if neccessary.
  • To serve, place a large dollop of mashed potatoes on a plate. Place about 1/4 cup of the gravy next to the potatoes and ladle some over the potatoes. Place 1 or 2 crispy chicken fried steak pieces next to the potatoes on the gravy. Garnish with paprika and fresh chopped parsley.