Friday, November 28, 2014

RouxBDoo's Christmas Pear Butter Bread

I was never much of a baker.  I love to cook, fry, saute, etc, but baking has only recently interested me.  Of course I have baked biscuits, cornbread, etc but I am, more and more, looking for tasty breads and loaf cakes to experiment with.

This summer I made a ton of Pear Butter.  I had friends with wonderful pear trees just draped in pears.  We took advantage and made some of the best pear butter ever.  You can certainly use apple butter with this recipe since it's easier to come by.  You can also use raisins instead of the Craisins®, but I think that's part of it's charm.  As a matter of fact, I got the original recipe from and from a Apple Butter Bread recipe by a contributor named Bruce Stone.  I made some changes and this is my version.

I made this for Thanksgiving, but it's a very Christmassy dessert. The Craisins® in it are what makes it perfect.

1 1/4 cups pear butter (or apple butter)
6 tbs butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup Craisins® (dried cranberries)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350º. Spray a loaf pan with Baker's Joy or a similar product. Combine flour with baking soda, and baking powder.  Next add salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves in the bowl and combine well with a wire whisk.  Next, in a separate bowl, use the wooden spoon to mix the butter with the sugar. Beat the egg, add it to the bowl, then the pear butter, combine all your these ingredients together. Add your flour mixture until just incorporated. Add the Craisins® and walnuts, mix well and pour into your loaf pan.

Bake in the oven for 55 minutes.  Turn off oven and let bread remain for 30 mins. until oven has cooled down.  Remove cake from pan and store wrapped in parchment paper, inside a gallon zip-loc bag.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Christmas Party Swede-ish Meatballs

OK, it's nearing the holiday season where people are having special meals and parties.  I wanted to give you this easy recipe for Swedish Meatballs.  I can throw this together in about 15 mins, but it's better if you let them bake in the oven for a while.  You can make your own meatballs, but it is also easier and cheaper if you want to put this together in a hurry.

The ingredients are fairly simple for this.  Nothing exotic, but easy to find things at your local grocery store.  Just stir it up and toss it in the oven, you can even fix it on the stove-top. So here it is...


1 pound frozen meatballs (about 32)
1 10 oz can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 8 oz (or 1 cup) sour cream
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp butter
1 tsp minced garlic

In an oven-proof pot with a lid, melt butter, add garlic, saute garlic for a bit.  Add the soup and sour cream, combine with a whip or spoon.  add the spices, stir, then add the meatballs.  Place in a 350 oven for 30 mins. or just leave on the stove-top stirring periodically.  Keep warm in a crock-pot for the party.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

You're Tellin' Pork Pies Revisited

My Nautical Compass Theme Crust
OK, I know I seem obsessive, but these pies are wonderful.   Why did I create another post concerning these pies?  Well, I have adjusted the recipe and I am making them in my new Springform pan.  I made this pie last night and decided it was so pretty I would post it on my FaceBook page.  I got so many nice comments from friends, as well as "Likes" for the pics I posted.  SO, I decided to bring you up to speed.

In case you missed the recipe on RouxBDoo, here it is... Pork Pies.  Now, I have amended the recipe a bit to make it even more traditional.  I have added about a cup of diced smoked ham, as well as about 3 strips of thick sliced bacon (diced).  These ingredients should be added when you are cooking your ground pork.  I am also adding a nice 1/2 teaspoon of Allspice to the meat mixture.

My new springform pan is something I have been wanting for years, but never really had any use for specifically.  I can't believe though how easy it is to dis-lodge that sucker when it's finished.  I always dreaded trying to cut the first slice and maneuver it out of a pie tin.  Now, I just let it cool a bit, flip the latch and out comes Porky.  If you live in the states and have a Big Lots Store in your area, do yourself a favor and look in their kitchen supplies.  I found a set of 3 different sized springform pans for only $8.00.  They are all non-stick and work great.  Here's a link...  Springform Pan Set.

My Pork Pie in my new Springform Pan
I am not really completely satisfied with this dish though, I want to make a very traditional English version like the famous Melton Mowbray Pork Pies.  This requires a different pastry for the shell, a different shape and size, and a different process to make them.  Traditional English pork pies are put together with the meat being raw and minced into small morsels.  The seasonings are much simpler, salt, white pepper, and allspice (maybe some dried thyme).

After baking for a WHILE, you cool it off and add a collagen or gelatinous stock that holds it all together.  Some recipes have you making the "jelly", as they call it, from sheets of gelatin, or powdered gelatin, that have been dissolved in a stock or broth.  The more traditional version uses pig's feet, or "trotters" as the Brits call them.  These pig's feet are cooked slow in water and spices for hours until they fall apart completely.  They collagen and liquids are strained off and poured into a tiny hole in the lid of the pie. This is then cooled and refrigerated so that the "jelly" sets up, sort of like an aspic.  The tasty, savory, gel fills in all the little nooks and crannies, and makes the pork all happy.

A tasty slice of English Pork Heaven!
The pastry is made with lard, yes lard, which is boiled with water and combined with flour to make a warm pliable dough.  This is used to sculpt into a "Bristol Crock" shaped shell.  It's wonderful to watch.  There are several videos online detailing the process.  These pies are traditionally eaten cold, with a bit of fine mustard, or I like HP Sauce, on the side.

I'll have to say I am also interested in bucking tradition, and to try making these pies using different meats like lamb, chicken, and beef.  I think the lamb would be amazing.  Either way, stay tuned to this blog and we will publish our further foray into Pork Pies, just like me ol Mum used to make them.


Monday, November 10, 2014

RouxBDoo's Crock-Pot Gumbo

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo
OK, I have used a Crock-Pot occasionally over the years, but I recently bought a new, large, Crock-Pot with a removable crock, which makes it easier to clean.  So far I have made Red Beans and Rice, Stewed Chicken Legs, and and Chili.  I had been wanting Gumbo here recently and a friend of mine from Louisiana sent me some nice Andouille Sausage.  So I tried my new Crock-Pot and Andouille at making gumbo... Ahhhh, I love the sweet smell of success when you wake up in the morning with a kettle full of Gumbo.  Needless to say, it was successful and tasty.

I suppose you could use this recipe to make seafood gumbo, but I wouldn't put the seafood in the Crock-Pot until the last hour.  This is a Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo using a rotisserie chicken from the Grocery or Mega-Mart store.  You need to make the roux first on your stove, you can buy pre-made roux in some regions, I have no experiience with it to give you an opinion on it.  Chef Dave here at the theater has used Chef John Folse's ready-made roux and loves it.  Anyway, here we go.

1 cup of oil
1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1 lb andouille smoked sausage (sliced 1/4 in.)
1 rotisserie chicken
1 large onion (diced)
3 -4 ribs of celery (diced)
1/2 lg green pepper (diced)
12 oz. package frozen okra
1 small can Rotel (10 oz. drained) *Optional
2 tbs minced garlic
4 -5 green onions (sliced thin)
8 -10 cups water
4 tbs powdered chicken stock (or 2 stock cubes)
1 tbs Tony Chachere's
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Italian herbs
2 tbs parsley (dried or fresh)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 - 2 tbs Louisiana Hot Sauce (your choice)
1 tsp Liquid Smoke *Optional

This Light brown Roux is just perfect.
Prepare your Crock-Pot by spraying the inside with non-stick cooking spray.  I use a 7 quart Crock-Pot and I would estimate this recipe makes 4 to 5 quarts. Make sure your Crock-Pot is big enough for this recipe or else you might need to cut back on the amounts listed, or even cut the recipe in half. 

Combine the oil and flour in a cast iron skillet (or similar skillet) and stir constantly, on high, until you have achieved a light brown roux. You do not want a really, really dark mahogany roux, for this recipe it needs to be the color of light chocolate.

Once you have the roux finished, turn off the heat, add your onions, and stir them in and let them cook in the roux for five minutes. You need to let this cool just a bit and transfer it into your Crock-Pot.

Now add all of your celery, green bell pepper, garlic, and green onions (reserve a quarter cup of green onions for garnish). Dissolve the powdered chicken stock in a cup of water. Add this and 8 more cups of water to your Crock-Pot. Stir well to combine the water with the roux, making sure it is dissolved well.

Break your rotisserie chicken down and remove all the bones, skin, fat, and cartilage from the meat.  Give the meat a rough chop, but don't mince it up too fine.  Put this nice chicken meat into the Crock-Pot and stir it well.  Add the rest of your ingredients to the pot give it a really good stir and put the lid on it. I let mine cook for one hour on HI, then I turn it down to LOW and cook for seven more hours.

Serve this gumbo with white rice and garnish with the remaining green onions. If you are able to get filé powder, add 1 tablespoon to this recipe.

If you guys like this recipe, let me know.  I might post my Red Beans recipe for you.  My next post will be about my buddy Eric, who is a Red Bean fanatic, he has a wonderful blog and a crockpot cookbook you guys need to download.  I'll try to get Eric's post lined up next week maybe.