Italian Onion Soup

Categories: Soup
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Published on: October 21, 2011

Italian Onion Soup

Italian Onion Soup
Italian Onion Soup

Baked French onion soup. Who hasn’t been ordering that since they were a kid?
As far as I can recall, that was the first “adult” thing I ordered in a restaurant when I was a kid.
Seeing all that cheese baked over the top of the crock. Getting to that soggy crouton underneath. Mmmm. That was good eating.
All that cheese and bread made it worth having to eat all those onions. But as I grew up and the novelty wore off, I ordered it less and less.
I do still enjoy it, but I’ve gotten a few “bad bowls” of it over the years. So I tend to not order it when I am out. Plus…who can eat all that and then a meal. That is a mean.

Last year, I thought I’d give it a try myself, but instead of French Onion, I put more of an Italian spin on it and made my own “Italian Onion Soup”.
It doesn’t roll off the tongue like French Onion, but damn is it good. And simple to boot.

6 cups beef stock
1 large sweet onion (cut in 1/2 and then sliced)
1 large white onion (cut in 1/2 and then sliced)
2 cloves garlic (pressed)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp oregano
Grated Fontinella (about 3 cups)
Grated Romano cheese (about ¼ cup)
Salt and pepper

Large Ciabatta bread crouton

TIP: I suggest you make the croutons in advance of making the soup.
Or you can do it while the soup is simmering. Either way, have them ready to go when you need them.
You can read how to make them here: Ciabatta Bread Crouton.

If you really have some time on your hands, you can make your own hearty beef stock. Which I did when I made this one. It adds more complexity to the flavor of the soup.
if you don’t have time, pre-made beef stock will do.

Heat oil in a large pot on medium.
When the oil is hot, add the onions and salt and pepper. Sauté until they begin to soften. About 10 minutes. (DO NOT BROWN!)
Add thyme, oregano and garlic. Continue to sauté for another 2 minutes stirring frequently, so the garlic cooks a bit but does not brown or burn.
Add your stock. Turn the heat to low  and let it simmer for an hour.

TIP: After about 15 minutes of simmering, taste the broth and adjust with salt and pepper.

Ladle into oven safe bowls (or crocks) and drop your Ciabatta bread crouton on top.
Cover with Fontinella cheese and top with a little grated Romano cheese.
Personally, I just like enough cheese to cover the bread. I don’t overload the top, so it’s dripping down the bowl. It’s just too much cheese.

Place bowls on a sheet pan and under a broiler for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. (You can keep it under until cheese is brown if you like.)

Use pot holders to remove sheet pan. Top with a little more grated Romano cheese (And chopped chives if you like) and serve.

The Ciabatta bread has a great chewy crust to it, which stands up to the liquid in the soup. Because of this, you should serve this soup with a fork and knife as well as a spoon.

An alternative to the large crouton is to use a bunch of little ones. It’s easier to eat, but lacks the presentation value that impresses your guests.

Slow Cooker Pulled Beer Pork

Categories: Pork
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Published on: October 16, 2011

Slow Cooker Pulled Beer Pork

Slow Cooker Pulled Beer Pork
Slow Cooker Pulled Beer Pork

1 (4-6 pound) bone-in pork shoulder
4 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
1 bottle of  beer (I used an ale.)

Spice Rub:
1 tbs ground black pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs ground cumin
2 tbs dark brown sugar
1 tbs dried oregano
4 tbs paprika
2 tbs salt
1 tbs white sugar

This is a great dish to serve at parties as little sandwiches. Although it can be messy, so I wouldn’t serve it at a black tie affair. I would stick to the casual paries or when watching football with the guys. The kids love it too!

This is a SLOW COOKER recipe, so give yourself about 8 hours of cook time.

Tip: While this is cooking, DO NOT open the lid. This releases the heat and adds to the cook time. Just leave the top on till it’s done. You don’t need to stir it.

Mix all spices together in a bowl.
Rub the spices into meat and wrap tightly in double layer of plastic wrap.
Then refrigerate for at least 3 hours. I did this about 12 hours before I cooked it.

When you’re ready to start cooking, slice up the onion and make a “bed” of onions on the bottom of the slow cooker.
Then slice the garlic and place that throughout the onions and then pour the beer in.
Unwrap roast and place it in on the bed of onions, garlic and beer.

Turn slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours.

Take pork out and “pull” on cutting board, using 2 forks to sperate meat. Drain most of the beer out of the cooker. Leave the onions and garlic and a little liquid. I used a slotted spoon and just tipped it into the sink.

Place shredded meat back in slow cooker and mix with the onion, garlic and beer.

Serve on buns or WITH BBQ sauce on the side.

On step 8, you could add a cup or so of BBQ sauce, and heat on low for 30-60 minutes if you wanted BBQ pork. That’s good too.

The beer and spices give this meat a great flavor.

 

Beer Chili

Categories: Beef, Chili
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Published on: October 5, 2011

Homemade Beer Chili

Beer Chili with Cornbread
Beer Chili with Cornbread

Who doesn’t love a hot and hearty bowl of chili on a cold
day?  Hell, I eat this in the middle of summer too, who am I kidding?

If you are a chili lover, you need to try this recipe. You can adjust the
seasoning blend to your own taste. In this recipe I used some sundried hot
chili powder, that my neighbor bought from the Spice House. It adds a mellow smoky
flavor, but not too much. Good stuff.

1 lb of *lean ground beef
1 stalk celery
1 small sweet onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 4oz can green chilies (sweet or hot which ever you like)
1 15 oz can of black beans
1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes (With the tomatoes pulled apart into smaller pieces)
2 Ears of sweet corn (With the corn cut off the cob or ½ – ¾  cup frozen or canned corn)
1 bottle of dark beer or ale

Seasoning blend:
2 tbs chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sundried hot chili powder (optional)
1 tsp cayenne
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbs sweet paprika
1 tsp oregano

Pour oil into a pot and heat to medium.
Add onions and celery and sauté for about 5 or 6 minutes.
Add the can of green chilies and the pressed garlic and continue to saute for another 3 minutes.
Put that mixture in a bowl to the side and add  ground beef to the pot.
Brown the meat and drain the grease.

Add the veggie mixture back into the pot, along with the tomatoes, beans, beer and spice mix.
Stir till blended and simmer for about 1 – 2 hours.
About 20 minutes before serving, add the corn into the pot.
Taste and adjust seasonings.

The longer it simmers, the more liquid will cook out and the richer and thicker it will be.

Ladle into a bowl and top with:
Sour cream (optional)
Chopped Green Onions (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Serve with cornbread or garlic bread.

* You can also try this with 1lb of lean ground turkey or pork!

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