Crispy Fried Shallots

This past weekend I stopped by one of our local ethnic markets called Cermak. I actually like shopping at this place as the have an array of ethnic aisles and pretty good produce to boot. This particular stop actually yielded a bunch of fruit, Indian chilies, and a bunch of shallots (on sale). I typically cook with shallots throughout the week, and the package had about 8 shallots for something under a dollar! I was in. Granted I did not know what I would be doing with these shallots until I decided I would make burgers on the grill.

As I was driving my son and daughter to Sunday school, I asked what they wanted on their burgers. They stated ‘plain with slow cooked onions and mushrooms’, and ‘just cheese’. That’s when those shallots sparked. I asked them if they had ever tried crispy, thin onions on their burger, and both responded with a ‘no’. That’s when those shallots sparked by attention, and hence why my entire family devoured all of them.

These are super easy to make (just get your onion goggles on to prevent the tears), and only requires a bit of time.

Crispy Fried Shallots Recipe
Crispy Fried Shallots Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of canola oil
  • salt

Does it get any easier than this? Also note, the oil that is leftover can be stored, and used in stir fry and various other saute’s, and one that has a great onion taste.

Start by adding the oil to a small pot. Add the shallots to the cold oil. Bring the oil to a medium-low heat, stirring along the way, and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until they get a nice light golden brown. Once you get that light golden brown, remove the crispy shallots with a slotted spoon or kitchen spider, and place onto a paper towel lined plate.

Crispy Fried Shallots Recipe
Crispy Fried Shallots Recipe

Immediately season with salt. As the shallots drain any excess oil, they will continue to cook from the residual heat and get nice and crispy.

Crispy Fried Shallots Recipe
Crispy Fried Shallots Recipe

Place into a bowl and serve alongside, or on your favorite burger. As soon as my kids tasted them, I said ‘see what I was talking about in the car?’, they were eating them like chips. Next time I will have to make double the amount! Hope you enjoy.

Smoked Ham

I’m probably getting excited, not only because it is Spring time, or at least getting close, but probably because Easter Sunday is near. Unfortunately this year much of the family will not be around and no one will be able to get together to enjoy an Easter Sunday feast, hence why I had glanced in my freezer only to find a small ham I had found on sale some time ago. I love ham, don’t you? It’s probably my son’s favorite, maybe both of my kids, and to me, there is nothing better than a ham that is plated on a table. The big question is, is why do we typically only make ham once or twice a year?

When I saw that ham, I knew I could go the standard route and bake it, but I wanted to do something different, plus I wanted to bust out the smoker, and hence why I now had that smoked ham.

Smoked Ham Recipe
Smoked Ham Recipe

This is so easy to make, and the smoke adds a great additional character to the ham. Did my family love it? Yes! We actually ended up eating it for three days straight.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ham (I use the butt end)
  • 1/2 cup of yellow mustard
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • cherry wood for the smoker
  • water pan for the smoker

Start by rubbing the ham with the mustard. The yellow mustard will act as the glue for the brown sugar.

Next, add the brown sugar, and massage it onto the ham. Let the mixture sit on your plate as you prepare your smoker.

When I smoke, I use charcoal as my ignition, and chunks of cherry wood as my smoking agent. I also have been using the Smokenator for well over a year now, and love it. But whatever smoker you use, have at it.

Smoked Ham Recipe
Smoked Ham Recipe

Once the charcoal is lit and nice and grey, add the wood chunks and water pan, and set your ham over the indirect heat on the grill. Cover, and cook for about three hours at 250 degrees.

After three hours, remove the ham from the smoker, wrap it in a couple of sheets of aluminum foil, and place into a 300 degree oven until the internal temperature of the ham is about 140 degrees. I do this in a two step process as to not only get the great smoke flavor from the grill, but to also have it finish and be nice in tender in the oven.

Once the temperature has reached 140 degrees, remove it from the oven, and using a sharp knife, cut it into thin slices, or your desired thickness.

Now you are ready to serve. The subtle smokiness of the cherry wood really had my kids, all of them, coming back for more. Again, we ate the ham for dinner three nights straight, and even my kids loved it so much they were making ham sandwiches for their lunches, plus I had plenty of leftover ham to freeze. I’m sure I’ll be serving it again during the Easter holiday.

If you are looking for a nice smoked ham, give this one a shot. That mustard and sugar combination, along with the cherry smoke, really made this smoked ham shine. Enjoy!

Awesome Burger Sauce Recipe

I’m a sucker when it comes to sauces, or burgers for that matter. Especially now that we are starting to see temperatures in the 60’s in Wisconsin. That temperature always has me thinking about grilling out for dinner, getting out from in front of the stove, or slow cooker for that matter. There is something about grilling that I really love. The preparation, the hot coals, the smokey smell, you know what I’m talking about right?

Well, I think that with any good burger, it deserves a really good sauce, and this sauce in particular is one of them. It’s vibrant in color, packs a ton of awesome flavor, and will have you wanting to slather it on pretty much anything. Yeah, it’s one of those sauces.

Awesome Burger Sauce Recipe
Awesome Burger Sauce Recipe

Let’s get started.

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 5  whole cloves of garlic
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of mango, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt, more to taste

To a food processor, toss everything in, and pulse until you have a really smooth sauce. Yep, that’s it. This is a flavor bomb. It’s a bit sweet, spicy, and has you wanting more and more.

Lather this stuff onto any burger (as you can tell by my burger, I was very generous), dip your fries into it, or use it on anything from eggs, to salads, to sandwiches. This one is a real winner. Hope you enjoy, and get those grills ready!

Awesome Burger Sauce Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauces
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 5 whole cloves of garlic
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup of mango, cubed
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • ½ tsp salt, more to taste
Instructions
  1. Add to a blender, and mix until smooth.

 

Italian Style Pulled Pork Sandwich

Do you love sandwiches? I know I do and as a matter of fact I really was craving a BLT the other day, but you know what, tomatoes are just not in season here. This sandwich however is in season as it is comfort food season! This one is the Italian style pulled pork sandwich, and one that screams comfort, and as a matter of fact my kids devoured this sandwich and came cruising back for another one.

Italian Style Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe
Italian Style Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe

The pork is slow cooked in a great tomato based mixture until fall apart tender, then served on some crusty bread with melted provolone cheese and sauteed greens. What’s not to love!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb pork shoulder, fat trimmed
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried red chili flakes
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, stem removed, finely chopped
  • 1 whole head of garlic, finely diced
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 whole yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of beef stock
  • 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of rapini
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach, tightly packed
  • 1 cup additional beef stock
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • bolillo rolls, to your serving
  • Chicago style sport peppers, optional
  • 2 slices provolone cheese, per serving

Start by making your rub for the pork. To a small mixing bowl, add the fennel seeds, red chili flakes, chopped rosemary, parsley, and garlic. Give a good mix, and season with some salt and pepper.

Add the pork shoulder to a large cast iron skillet, or dutch oven, large enough to hold all of the broth and tomato mixture. Make sure it is fat side up.

Add the garlic mixture to the top of the pork shoulder. Next pour around the shoulder the beef stock, add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves and onions.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and let the pork shoulder rest on the counter as the oven heats up. Your goal here is to build a nice crust, then either cover with foil and reduce the heat to 300 degrees and braise for 2-3 hours, or what I did was simply transfer everything to a slow cooker, covered it and forgot about it until the next day (I recommend this approach as it was like butter).

Once the oven is heated, add the pork, and build a nice crust, about 25 minutes or so. Next, carefully remove from the oven, then place in a slow cooker, on low, and cook for about 10 hours or so. I simply did this overnight.

Ingredients for making Italian style pulled pork sandwiches
Ingredients for making Italian style pulled pork sandwiches

Now let’s make the greens. To a stock pot, add the rapini and spinach. Give a pinch of salt and crushed red chili flakes, and the additional cup of beef stock. Bring to a simmer, stir, and cover, cooking until the greens are completely wilted. They will not be pretty, but they are super delicious, and great for you to boot.

Now let’s make the sandwich. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice your roll, but not all of the way through. Layer in the cheese, and place in the oven, cooking until the roll is crusty and the cheese is nice and melted. You want a crusty roll here as when you fold in the pulled pork and greens, it gets pretty darn saucey. You’ll see. It’s like the best gravy for swiping your sandwich into.

During this time shred the pork. It should simply fall apart. Once shredded, mix everything together. Remove the roll from the oven, then add some greens, fold in the pork mixture to your liking, and top with a couple of sport peppers. I liked adding the peppers as that vinegar and subtle heat cuts through that savory pork.

Eat this one over a plate people as that pork is so super juicy and it will run out all over your plate. This sandwich is a real homerun, feeds a ton of people (We ate it for two days and I ended up freezing a ton of it), and is super delicious. Hope you enjoy!

Italian Style Pulled Pork Sandwich
Author: 
Recipe type: Sandwiches
Cuisine: Italian Style
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 lb pork shoulder, fat trimmed
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried red chili flakes
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, stem removed, finely chopped
  • 1 whole head of garlic, finely diced
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 whole yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of beef stock
  • 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of rapini
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach, tightly packed
  • 1 cup additional beef stock
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • bolillo rolls, to your serving
  • Chicago style sport peppers, optional
  • 2 slices provolone cheese, per serving
Instructions
  1. Start by making your rub for the pork. To a small mixing bowl, add the fennel seeds, red chili flakes, chopped rosemary, parsley, and garlic. Give a good mix, and season with some salt and pepper.
  2. Add the pork shoulder to a large cast iron skillet, or dutch oven, large enough to hold all of the broth and tomato mixture. Make sure it is fat side up.
  3. Add the garlic mixture to the top of the pork shoulder. Next pour around the shoulder the beef stock, add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves and onions.
  4. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and let the pork shoulder rest on the counter as the oven heats up. Your goal here is to build a nice crust, then either cover with foil and reduce the heat to 300 degrees and braise for 2-3 hours, or what I did was simply transfer everything to a slow cooker, covered it and forgot about it until the next day (I recommend this approach as it was like butter).
  5. Once the oven is heated, add the pork, and build a nice crust, about 25 minutes or so. Next, carefully remove from the oven, then place in a slow cooker, on low, and cook for about 10 hours or so. I simply did this overnight.
  6. Now let’s make the greens. To a stock pot, add the rapini and spinach. Give a pinch of salt and crushed red chili flakes, and the additional cup of beef stock. Bring to a simmer, stir, and cover, cooking until the greens are completely wilted. They will not be pretty, but they are super delicious, and great for you to boot.
  7. Now let’s make the sandwich. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice your roll, but not all of the way through. Layer in the cheese, and place in the oven, cooking until the roll is crusty and the cheese is nice and melted. You want a crusty roll here as when you fold in the pulled pork and greens, it gets pretty darn saucey. You’ll see. It’s like the best gravy for swiping your sandwich into.
  8. During this time shred the pork. It should simply fall apart. Once shredded, mix everything together. Remove the roll from the oven, then add some greens, fold in the pork mixture to your liking, and top with a couple of sport peppers. I liked adding the peppers as that vinegar and subtle heat cuts through that savory pork.