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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Meat & Poultry

TIP OF THE DAY: Prosciutto Salad, The Sophisticated Ham Salad

prosciutto-salad-olionyc-230

Slices of prosciutto topped with a salad of
baby arugula and watercress, topped with
Parmigiano-Reggiano. Photo courtesy Olio e
Piú | NYC.

 

When you hear the words “ham salad,” you think of diced ham, possibly the leftovers from a holiday ham or Sunday dinner.

Diced or minced ham is mixed with diced bell pepper, celery and onion or other favorite raw vegetables; perhaps with some hard-boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, pickle relish or green peas; and bound with mayonnaise (we use a mayo-Dijon blend).

It’s one of those traditional Anglo-American sandwich salads, along with chicken salad, egg salad and tuna salad.

It’s also served sans bread on a bed of green salad ingredients, perhaps with a scoop of another protein salad or a starch-based salad such as potato salad, macaroni salad or chopped vegetable salad.

But there’s another, more sophisticated way to serve ham salad: as a first course with prosciutto or Serrano ham.

Prosciutto, or Parma ham, is classically served as a first course with melon in Italian cuisine.

At Olio e Piú in New York’s Greenwich Village, the chef takes a different direction, adding a salad of vinaigrette-dressed bitter greens (we like baby arugula, watercress or a mix) atop the prosciutto and topping it with some fresh-shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

 

WHAT ARE BITTER GREENS

Bitter greens are part of the larger family of leafy greens, which include the lettuces, known as “sweet greens.” The bitterness can be mild or strong. Greens harvested earlier in the season tend to be less bitter than more mature plants harvested later.

Many bitter greens are dark green in color, although some are pale (endive, frisée) and some are red or have red accents (amaranth, chard, radicchio). If you like your veggies, you’ve likely had more than a few of these:

 

  • Amaranth
  • Arugula
  • Belgian endive
  • Beet greens
  • Broccoli rabe/rapini
  • Chard
  • Chicory
  • Cress
  • Collard greens
  • Curly endive
  • Dandelion greens
  • Escarole
  • Frisée
  • Kale
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard greens
  • Nettles
  • Radicchio
  • Spinach
  • Tatsoi
  • Turnip greens
  •  

    red-white-belgian-230

    Not all “bitter greens” are green. Above, white endive and red endive, the latter also known as radicchio. Photo courtesy Endive.com.

     

    PROSCIUTTO & SERRANO HAMS: THE DIFFERENCES

    Both prosciutto and Serrano hams are dry-cured: salted and hung in sheds to cure in the air. Both are served in very thin slices. Country ham, preferred in the U.S., is smoked, and a very different stye from dry-cured hams.

    While prosciutto and Serrano hams can be used interchangeably, they are different.

  • Prosciutto, from Italy, is cured for 10-12 months with a coating of lard. Serrano, from Spain, can be cured for up to 18 months (and at the high end, for 24 months). The differing times and microclimates affect the amount of wind that dries the hams, and thus the character of the final products.
  • They are made from different breeds of pigs: Prosciutto can be made from pig or wild boar, whereas Serrano is typically made from a breed of white pig.
  • The diet of the pigs differs. Parma pigs eat the local chestnuts, and are also fed the whey by-product of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Italian-made prosciutto is never made with nitrates. American made prosciutto, as well as both domestic and Spanish Serrano-style hams, can have added nitrates.
  • Prosciutto is considered more salty and fatty. Serrano is considered more flavorful and less fatty.
  •  
    MORE HAM

  • The different types of ham
  • American hams
  • Serrano ham vs. jamón ibérico
  •   

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: The Flying Meatballs

    open-package-ps-230

    Six large meatballs are tucked under a
    blanket of smooth tomato sauce. Photo by
    Faith Tomases | THE NIBBLE.

     

    There is a National Meatball Day: It’s coming up soon, on March 9th. And we know just how we’re going to celebrate: with lots and lots of The Flying Meatballs.

    The Flying Meatballs is a side business established by an elegant restaurant in Whippany, New Jersey, Il Capriccio. The restaurant’s meatballs have been a perennial menu favorite, with patrons always asking for orders to go.

    The Grande family, owners of the restaurant, decided that the meatballs were ideal for selling directly to consumers—that they would literally “fly off the shelves.” Hence the brand name.

    Made in small batches, the meatballs are now sold direct-to-consumers at TheFlyingMeatballs.com). They’ll also be at a growing list of deli counters, currently at Balducci’s and King’s (listen up, Fairway!).

    Six meatballs, blanketed in sauce, include a choice of:

  • The Classic Meatballs, a 50:50 blend of beef and veal, $16.00
  • 100% Premium Beef Meatballs, $15.00
  • Organic Grass-Fed Meatballs, $25.00
  • The Three Meats Meatballs—beef, pork and veal—$15.00
  • 100% Premium Turkey Meatballs, $15.00
  •  
    The company sent us a sample of each, and we’re now a raving fan. Each order of meatballs is packed by the half-dozen in a velvety tomato sauce. The meatballs are bit: about 3.5 ounces in weight and about three inches in diameter. Two meatballs is more than enough for adults; small eaters and children will do well with one meatball. A big eater, we consumed them without the conventional pasta or submarine roll, with just a big salad. We were more than satisfied.

    Everything is made from scratch, including the breadcrumbs. Just as at the restaurant, prime, natural cuts of meat and premium ingredients are combined into a dense yet tender texture. You get lots of great meat for the money.

    Chef Grande has a degree in engineering, which enabled him to design and build a proprietary meatball extruder. The technology creates a replicate a perfectly hand-rolled meatball, just like his grandmother makes.

    The meatballs are flash frozen after being made and keep their flavor and consistency until thawed and cooked.

    “We’re bringing the comforts of Nonna’s kitchen to customers’ doorsteps,” says chef Natale Grande. The recipe, handed down through generations, rocks. We must give a shout out to the wonderful sauce. A velvety purée, more a gravy than a conventional chunky sauce, it is so good we would like to buy buckets of it and put it on everything.

     

    DELICIOUS ACCOMPANIMENTS

    Pasta

    The company also sells premium imported pastas from Rustichella d’Abruzzo:

  • The curly al torchio (the torchio is the press that shapes them)
  • Bucatini, thick spaghetti with a hollow center
  • Casarecce, meaning “homestyle,” two-inch twists
  • Farro (spelt) penne rigate, short tubes with ridges
  • Fusilli, “little spindles,” a variation of corkscrew pasta
  • Spaghetti, the oldest cut (the name means “lengths of cords”)
  • Organic whole wheat spaghetti
  • Organic kamut pasta from pasta maker Gianluigi Peduzzi
  •  
    Grating Cheeses

    For a primo pasta experience, there’s a choice of six aged Italian cheeses:

     

    flying-meatballs-plated-230L

    Bundles of love. Photo courtesy The Flying Meatballs.

  • Vacche Rosse (“Red Cow”), 30 months aged), considered to be the finest Parmigiaino-Reggiano
  • Grana padano
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Percorino crotonese
  • Pecorino romano
  • Ricotta salata
  •  
    You can see that it’s not all about Parmigiano-Reggiano. The next time you make pasta, consider one of the others. Check out our article, Italian Grating Cheeses.
     
    Pasta Sauces

    The same is true with the sauce. Much as a tomato sauce is beloved on pasta, consider other favorites from the Grande family, including:

  • Basil pesto
  • Classic tomato ragu (the signature San Marzano-based tomatoes sauce that envelopes the meatballs
  • Roasted garlic and broccoli rabe purée
  • Mascarpone fondu, a smooth and very creamy cheese sauce made from blend of mascarpone cheese and 18-month-aged Grana Padano cheese
  •  
    Along with some fine olive oils and a mac and cheese (a blend of Gruyère, provolone and marscopone with a touch of nutmeg over imported gemelli pasta—we can’t wait to try it), TheFlyingMeatballs.com is a treasure trove for delicious Italian comfort food.

    For a treat or a gift (the packaging is quite attractive), order a slew of meatballs. All are delicious, although our personal favorite was the complex layering of Three Meats.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Slow Cooker Short Ribs

    We love short ribs, but they do take a long time to cook and tenderize. If you have a pressure cooker, you can do it in 45 minutes (here’s a recipe). If not, a slow cooker does just as nicely.

    With this recipe from McCormick, prep time is 30 minutes, slow cooker time is 8 hours.

    This short ribs recipe is “Asian fusion.” The inspiration is Sauerbraten (sour beef), the German classic that marinates the beef in a mixture of vinegar or wine (the “sour”), spices and seasonings.

    Here, the Asian twist comes from the use of rice vinegar, soy sauce and bok choy.

    Consider this dish for Super Bowl Sunday or Valentine’s Day. For Valentine’s Day, garnish the dish with some pomegranate arils.

    RECIPE: ASIAN-STYLE SLOW COOKER SHORT RIBS

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1 jar (1-1/2 ounces) mixed pickling spices (see recipe below)
  • 3 pounds boneless beef short ribs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  •    

    Slow_Cooker_Asian_Style_Beef_Short_Ribs_mccormick-230

    It’s easy to make short ribs in a slow cooker. Photo courtesy McCormick.

  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 2 cups)
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1-1/2 cups beef stock
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 cup crushed gingersnaps, about 20 cookies
  • 1/2 head bok choy, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the pickling spice in the center of a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Tie tightly with a long piece of string. Set aside. Coat the short ribs with flour.

    2. HEAT the oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the short ribs; cook 5 to 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Add the short ribs to slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining short ribs.

    3. PLACE the vegetables and the spice bundle over the short ribs. Mix the beef stock, soy sauce, vinegar and ginger. Pour over the top.

    4. COVER and cook for 8 hours on LOW or 4 hours on HIGH, or until the short ribs are tender. Stir in the crushed gingersnaps during last 30 minutes of cooking. Stir in the bok choy during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Discard the spice bundle. Serve the short ribs and vegetables over cooked Asian noodles.

     

    pickling-spices-chilefoundry-230

    Pickling spices. Buy them or blend your own using the recipe below. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

    WHAT ARE ASIAN NOODLES?

    Ribbon pasta—long cut pasta—originated in Asia. This is the type of pasta “discovered” by Marco Polo and brought back to Venice.

    Because communications were not so great in those days, he didn’t know that Arab traders had brought pasta back with them centuries before, and introduced it to Southern Italy when they invaded in the 8th century. Pasta was a convenience food for travelers: One only needed to boil water to turn the dried pasta in one’s pocket into a nutritious meal.

    An even earlier Italian pasta was an Etrusco-Roman noodle made from durum wheat called lagane, the descendant of the modern word lasagna, which was mentioned way back in the first century C.E. It was not boiled, as it is today, but baked in an oven.

    But back to Asia, the motherland of pasta:

     
    There are numerous types of Asian noodles based on ingredients alone: arrowroot starch, bean curd skin, bean starch (cellophane noodles), buckhwheat (soba), mung bean threads, rice noodles, sweet potato starch, tofu and yes, wheat noodles (udon).

    Asian noodles are also made in a broad variety of shapes and sizes. The type of noodle used depends on country and purpose.

    Some Chinese noodles contain eggs, e.g. Chinese egg noodles, although the majority of Asian noodles do not.

    Unlike Italian noodles and other Western pasta, Asian noodles are generally not eaten with a sauce on top, but are stir-fried or used in soups and salads.
     
    WHAT ARE PICKLING SPICES?

    Picking spices are a blend of different spices, ground or whole. They are added to vinegar for making cucumber pickles and other pickled foods.

    You can purchase them ready-blended, or make your own from this easy combination:

  • 1 tablespoon each of black peppercorns, cloves, coriander seed and mustard seeds
  • 3 dried red chiles
  • 1-inch piece dried ginger root
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 3 dried bay leaves, broken up
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients; measure and use as needed.

    2. KEEP the unused blend in an airtight container, away from light and heat.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Moroccan Baked Chicken & Olives

    If you love to snack on olives, look for ways to add them to your main courses. We enjoy everything from olive mashed potatoes to olive omelets and olives in pasta.

    This classic Moroccan dish, courtesy of OlivesFromSpain.us, combines chicken with briny olives and preserved lemons, which contribute their own special pickled taste. The result: rustic flavors layered with citrus accents.

    Manzanilla olives are the Spanish green olives are available in most supermarkets, often pitted and stuffed with pimento or garlic. You can substitute other green olives or even caperberries.

    You can buy preserved lemons at many olive bars, or make your own with this preserved lemons recipe.

    RECIPE: MOROCCAN CHICKEN & OLIVES

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Manzanilla or other green olives
  • 2 preserved lemons, rinds removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  •  

    chicken-olives-olivesfromspain-230

    How delicious does this look? Photo courtesy Olives From Spain.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.

    2. HEAT a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium high heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. When hot, add the chicken breasts skin side down. Cook until skin is golden brown and the skin is crispy, about 4-5 minutes.

    3. FLIP chicken breasts over, add the rosemary sprigs to the pan and place the entire pan in the oven. Cook until the chicken is just cooked through, about 10-12 minutes, or until a thermometer placed in the chicken reads 150°F.

    4. REMOVE the chicken from the pan, add the olives, preserved lemons, lemon juice, parsley and about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil to the pan. Whisk to combine; this will be the sauce.

    5. DIVIDE the chicken among four plates, heat the sauce over medium heat and spoon evenly over the chicken breasts. Serve while hot and enjoy with a vegetable side such as roasted onions or carrots, plus a optional starch—rice or other grain, or crispy roasted potatoes.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Mashed Potato Stuffed Burger Recipe

    You’re used to fries or potato chips with your burger. But how about mashed potatoes?

    For some food fun, executive chef Craig (Andy) Beardslee of Hash House A Go Go in San Diego suggests a layer of Parmesan mashed potatoes between two eight-ounce burgers. This one-pound burger with mashed potatoes is not quite Paula Deen (who famously sandwiched a burger, fried egg and bacon between Krispy Kreme donuts), but it’s fun.

    About the name: It’s not really a potato-stuffed burger. It’s more of a potato-layered burger; otherwise, the potatoes would be stuffed inside the burger patties. As in recipe ingredients, in naming, strive for accuracy!

    We like onion with our burger; so when we tried this recipe, we added thinly sliced green onions (scallions) to the mashed potatoes. We also mashed the potatoes with basil oil, and on another occasion with truffle oil. Both are inspired choices, with or without the Parmesan cheese.

    RECIPE: MASHED POTATO STUFFED BURGERS

    Ingredients For 1 Serving

     

    mashed-potatoStuffed-burger-IdahoPotCom-230

    Mashed potato stuffed burger: Just in time for Super Bowl supping. Photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission.

  • 2 8-ounce ground prime beef patties
  • 6 ounces mashed potatoes with fresh shaved Parmesan cheese, griddled
  • 2 bread and butter plank pickles
  • 2 tomato slices
  • 2 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 red onion slices
  • 2 applewood-smoked bacon strips
  • 1 ciabatta or sesame bun
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the mashed potatoes on a griddle in a pancake shape. Brown and turn.

    2. LAYER the lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles on bottom bun. Top with one beef patty.

    3. LAY on a mound of griddled mashed potatoes and add 2 strips cooked bacon. Top with the second beef patty, then the top half of the bun.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Elvis Burger

    January 8th marks the birthday of “The King,” Elvis Presley. Today he’d have been 80 years old.

    Loyal fans celebrate the day with Elvis’s favorite sandwich: a fried peanut butter sandwich with sliced bananas and bacon. (The recipe: Make a PB sandwich on white bread, with sliced bananas and fried bacon. Brush the outsides with softened butter and fry until golden brown.)

    Elvis was a big cheeseburger fan, too, so here’s an Elvis Cheeseburger recipe.

    But Helen Graves of FoodStories.com put her own spin on an “Elvis Burger”, topping a burger with bacon and peanut butter. She contributed the recipe to the wealth of PB recipes on ILovePeanutButter.com.

    Unlike the Elvis Sandwich, banana slices don’t work here. But a side of fried plantains, related to bananas and substituting for French fries, works just fine. See the recipe below.

    RECIPE: ELVIS BURGER

    Prep time is 5 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pound grams ground beef
  • 8 slices smoked bacon
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili flakes
  • 4 tablespoons Old Fashioned Smooth peanut butter
  • ¼ iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 burger buns
  •    

    Peanut-Butter-Elvis-Burger-helengraves-foodstories-230

    The Elvis Burger, with bacon and peanut butter. Photo courtesy Helen Graves | Food Stories.

     

    Preparation

    1. DIVIDE the ground beef into 4 equally sized balls, then flatten into patties and set aside. Grill the bacon rasher until crisp, then chop into smallish pieces and set aside.

    2. HEAT a pan until very hot. Season the burger patties with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes each side, or to taste. While the burgers are cooking…

    3. MAKEe the peanut butter sauce by heating a tablespoon of oil in a pan and gently softening the ginger and garlic for a couple of minutes, stirring. Add the chipotle flakes for a further minute, then take the pan off the heat and add the peanut butter, along with a tablespoon of hot water (don’t use cold water). Mix well. When the burgers and sauce are ready…

    4. PLACE some iceberg lettuce on each bun, followed by some onion, a burger, then some of the peanut butter sauce. Top with crispy bacon pieces and the top half of the bun. Eat immediately.

    See more prep photos at ILovePeanutButter.com.

     

    Peanut-Butter-Elvis-Burger-toppings-helengraves-foodstories-230

    The Elvis Burger, topless. Photo courtesy Helen Graves | Food Stories.

     

    RECIPE: FRIED PLANTAINS

    Plantains are cousins of bananas, a staple in most Latin American cuisines. Plantains are larger and green; they don’t ripen to yellow. They are firm and served cooked like a vegetable, not eaten as a raw fruit.

    Ingredients

  • Fresh plantains
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat.

     
    2. PEEL the plantains and cut them into round slices (coins) or vertical slices (slice in half lengthwise and then into halves again to desired thickness). halves lengthwise into thin pieces.

    3. FRY the pieces until browned and tender. Drain excess oil on paper towels. Season with salt as desired.
     
    Here’s a recipe for tostones, double-fried plantains that are popular in Puerto Rico.

     
    MORE ELVIS TRIBUTE DISHES

  • Elvis Presley Birthday Sundae Recipe
  • Elvis Cheeseburger Recipe
  • Peanut Butter Banana Cake Recipe
  • Peanut Butter & Banana Quesadilla Recipe
  •  
    How about an Elvis portrait made from toast?

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Muffin Pan Meat Loaf

    These fun individual meat loaves from McCormick.com cook in less than 30 minutes—perfect for an easy weeknight dinner with built-in portion control.

    The grated carrots and zucchini in the meat loaf mixture add moisture and are a tasty way to eat more veggies.

    RECIPE: MUFFIN PAN MEAT LOAF

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

    For The Meat Loaf

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons garlic and herb seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves
  •  
    For The Sauce

  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  •  

    Muffin_Pan_Meat_Loaf_mccormick-230

    Turn your muffin pan into a meat loaf maker. Photo courtesy Caroline Edwards | Chocolate and Carrots.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Mix all meat loaf ingredients in large bowl until well blended. Divide the mixture into 12 balls. Place each ball into a muffin cup.

    2. BAKE for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. While the meat loaves are baking…

    3. MAKE the sauce. Place all the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve with the meat loaf.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Christmas Goose

    No plans for Christmas dinner? You can create your own festive event by roasting a Christmas goose.

    Here’s a recipe from New York City-based Michelin-starred chef Kurt Gutenbrunner, a native of Austria where the Christmas goose is the go-to dish.

    Serve it with your favorite sides. In Austria, these include red cabbage, baked marzipan-stuffed apples, roasted chestnuts, celery root purée and little bread dumplings served in a napkin.

    The one thing you need to do in advance is let the goose dry out in the fridge overnight before roasting. This produces crisp skin. So head to the store and pick up your goose and trimmings.

    An average goose serves six (or a fewer number of large portions). But even if you’re just one or two, you’ll be glad for the leftover goose.

    RECIPE: CHRISTMAS GOOSE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 goose (10 to 12 pounds), giblets, neck and wing tips reserved
  • 3 carrots cut into 1 in dice
  • 6 celery ribs, cut into 1 in dice
  • 3 onions, 1 quartered, 2 cut into 1 in dice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 apple quartered
  • 1 orange, quartered (with skin)
  • 12 thyme sprigs
  •    

    goose-cooked-dartagnan-230sq

    A traditional Christmas dish: roast goose. Photo courtesy D’Artagnan.

     

    For The Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • Reserved giblets, neck and wing tips from the goose
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  •  

    raw-goose-dartagnan-230

    Ready to roast! Photo courtesy D’Artagnan.

     

    Preparation

    1. PAT the goose dry inside and out, using paper towels. Set it in a roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered overnight. The next day…

    2. REMOVE the goose from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature (about 1 hour). If the bird is still moist, pat it dry inside and out with paper towels.

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. In a large roasting pan, scatter the carrots, celery and onions. Generously season the inside the inside of the goose with salt and pepper and stuff it with the apple, orange, quartered onion and thyme.

    4. PRICK the skin of the goose all over. Season the outside of the bird with salt and pepper. Truss it and set it directly on top of the vegetables. Add 1/2 inch of hot water to the pan. Transfer the roasting pan to the oven and roast the goose until an instant-read thermometer interred in the thigh reads 165° to 180° and the juices run clear, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

     
    5. REMOVE the fat from the pan with a baster as necessary and reserve the fat for the braised cabbage (otherwise, store in the fridge for future use). If the skin is not crisp, increase the oven temperature to 375°F and roast for 10 minutes more. Transfer the goose to ae cutting board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile…

    6. MAKE the sauce: In a large casserole, heat the oil until smoking. Add the giblets, neck and wing tips and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the giblets, neck and wing tips to a bowl. Pour off most of the fat in the pot.

    7. ADD the onions, carrots, celery and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the wine and ice cubes and cook, scraping up the browned bits stuck to the bottom, until almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Return the giblets, neck and wing tips to the pot and add enough water to cover the ingredients by 2 inches. Add the thyme and rosemary and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 1 hour.

    8. STRAIN the stock into a large bowl, discard the solids. Return the stock to the pot and boil over high heat until it coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.

    9. DISCARD the apple, orange, onion and thyme in the goose’s cavity. Carve the goose and serve with the sauce.

     
    THE HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS GOOSE

    While modern American families tend to have a turkey, ham or roast beef for Christmas dinner, goose remains the traditional Christmas meat of choice for many Europeans.

    Goose has been a feast bird as far back as ancient Egypt. According to FoodTimeline.org, before modern animal husbandry, geese were at the ideal stage to be eaten twice a year. The first time was when they were young, in the early summer; and the second when they were at their fattest and ripest, toward the end of the year.

    Before Christianity took hold, Northern Europeans feasted on goose to give thanks to Odin and Thor for the harvest. By the Middle Ages, geese were the feast food at Michaelmas, which fell on the winter solstice (which occurs on December 21, 22 or 23, depending on the year), to honor the end of the harvest. It was just a short step to Christmas.

      

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    RECIPE: Pulled Pork

    When you’re having a crowd, a popular main course and fuss-free recipe is pulled pork.

    Pulled pork is a method of cooking where a tough cut of meat is cooked slowly at low temperatures, allowing the meat to become tender enough so that it can be “pulled,” or easily broken into tender pieces.

    This recipe uses a slow cooker, which in turn can be placed on a table for guests to help themselves. We made it over Labor Day Weekend (check out these pulled pork sliders, which also have a recipe for the cabbage slaw that goes so well with the pork) and are making it again this weekend, for holiday party fare.

    You can provide burger buns or mini buns for those who want to fix themselves a sandwich; the cabbage slaw; and a big, green salad to counter the richness of the pork. We’re also making a whole-grain “dirty brown rice” with black beans and a garnish of green onions.

    Thanks to Ryan Hughes and Zabars.com for this tasty recipe.

    RECIPE: PULLED PORK

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

    For the BBQ Pork Shoulder

  • 3-pound pork shoulder
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoon liquid smoke flavor
  • 2 cups water
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    pulled-pork-bun-zabars-230

    Pulled pork on a bun. Photo courtesy Zabars.com.

     
    For Serving

  • 1 jar of your favorite barbecue sauce (plus a back-up jar if guests use a lot of it)
  • Quality hamburger buns
  • Optional sides: coleslaw, pickles, potato chips
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    pork-shoulder-raw-foodnutritiontable-230

    Pork shoulder, an inexpensive cut that’s tenderized via slow cooking. Photo courtesy FoodNutritionTable.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the dry rub: Combine kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and cayenne pepper. Coat the entire meat with this rub (you can’t over-coat the meat at this point). Set the meat aside.

    2. PLACE the quartered onions and crushed garlic into the slow cooker. Add the meat. Slowly pour in the water until the meat is about 2/3 covered, avoid pouring it over the meat so you don’t remove the rub. Add the liquid smoke.

    3. COOK on low for 9-10 hours.

    4. REMOVE the meat from the crock. It’s going to be falling-apart delicious. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out any meat that may have fallen off. If you’ve used a piece of meat with the bone in, remove the bone; it should just slip right out. Pull apart (or shred) the meat with two forks. This will also be very easy and the meat will be very tender.

     

    5. ADD the barbecue sauce to the meat now or serve it on the side, allowing each person add sauce to his or her sauce as desired.

    6. TO SERVE: If you’re serving from the clock, first clean the crock, discarding the liquid and onions. Return the meat to the crock set to keep warm. It’s best to add some barbecue sauce if you’re serving it this way, to help keep the meat from drying out.

    Alternatively, you can place the shredded meat on the hamburger buns and serve them on a plater, with the barbecue sauce and slaw on the side.

      

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    PRODUCT & GIFT: Perky Jerky, Now In Flavors

    There’s only a week left until Christmas, but you can click on over to get a boat load of one of our favorite snacks for gifting: Perky Jerky.

    This is tender, flavorful gourmet jerky with a twist: the meat is caffeinated. The manufacturer calls it “the world’s first all-natural performance enhancing meat snack.”

    Anyone who needs a snack along with a bit of energy can simply tear open a portion-controlled package and enjoy a flavorful, nourishment and yes, liveliness.

    The protein-laden beef or turkey jerky has been caffeinated with guarana, a natural energy booster with about twice the caffeine content of a coffee bean. A single-portion bag has less than 100 calories per ounce and is low in carbs, with 5g or less of sugar per serving.

    The products are all natural: no added MSF, no nitrates, no preservatives.
     
    BEEF & TURKEY, ORIGINAL & FLAVORS

    Since it debuted several years ago, Perky Jerky has grown in flavors. Marinating the meat overnight allows the flavors to infuse, and makes the jerky even more tender.

    Beef Perky Jerky and Turkey Perky Jerky are available in Original, Hot & Bothered, Sweet & Spicy and Teriyaki. Additionally, Turkey Perky Jerky is Jamaican Style.

       

    jerky-black-plate-230

    Delicious and tender jerky with a jolt of caffeine. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    package-trio-230

    Give individual packages or multipack boxes.
    Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    PACKAGES FOR EVERYONE

    From individual snacks to multi-portion sizes, there are:

  • Individual snack bags (1 ounce), $2.99
  • Multi-portion bags (2.2 ounces), $4.99
  • Family-size bags (5 ounces), $9.99
  • Multipack boxes of 6-packs (2.2 ounces) and 12-packs (2.2 ounces), $59.88
  •  
    If you want to try the flavors, pay for four and get the fifth free (2.2-ounce bags).

    You can sign up for monthly deliveries, too, and save 20%-30% with free shipping.

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL

    There’s 40% off plus free shipping on orders over $50. Use code HOLIDAY 40 through midnight on December 21st.

    Place your order for great jerky at PerkyJerky.com.

    Perky Jerky is also available in more than 30,000 retail outlets across the U.S., including GNC, Target and Walgreens.

    JERKY TRIVIA

  • The word jerky comes from the Quechua language of the Incas, who called their dried meat “charqui.”
  • While the prehistoric method of meat preservation was used by other ancient peoples, it was not known in Europe. The first European visitors to the New World found Native Americans making jerky from the meat of any animal they hunted, from buffalo to whale.
  • Today jerky can be found in meats as common as turkey, tuna and salmon, to exotic alligator and ostrich.
  • Perky Jerky was a accidental invention, like potato chips, yogurt and many of our foods. An energy drink spilled over some jerky, drenching the meat. Not about to throw good jerky away, the “inventors” ate it and discovered that it was not only more tender, but a great energy boost. (Today, the process for making Perky Jerky is a bit more sophisticated.)
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