The Christmas holiday season is a tremendous
opportunity to cook to 'till you drop, especially if you are
not the drop 'till you shop type person. Or I guess I should
say if you are lucky enough not to have to be the shop till
you drop person! Technically not a barbecue, but it does
meet all my criteria for the "event" so here it is!
Hopefully you and yours can take some time to get in the
kitchen, or out with the barbecue smoker, and enjoy a
good holiday meal or two, along with assorted other
snacks and treats along the way.
Cooking at this time of year is also a great way to get
some involvement with kids, if you have any around that
you are trying to spend some time with. They are usually
out of school and looking for something to do, since they
are inevitably bored after a half a day into their break.
Set up a cooking occasion, let them help you do some of
the things that will not harm them (or the food?!) and
make a full fledged event out of it - they will be some of
your most cherished memories - and perhaps theirs as
I am going to list a few things that we have cooked for our
Christmas eve meal, which is when we traditionally have
the "big" meal at Big Daddy T's house. Some of the items
will be the same as ones we had at Thanksgiving. It
happens this way because I can't get the remembrance
of the turkey day meal, and how good some of the
favorites were, out of my head in the short amount of time
between the two holidays, and I know that I won't typically
end up making most of these things and other time of the
year, so time to indulge!
I am always looking to add something different, or try
something new, and it seems that the long holidays like
Christmas and Thanksgiving lend themselves to new
things because you have that extra time to experiment.
So look for "review" items to show up here, and for new
items to appear from time to time.
Roasted Pork Loin, with Applcot Checan Stuffing and
Applejack Brandy Gastrique
This recipe I picked up at a dinner/cooking class one year
around Christmas. A bunch of us went out to dinner at this
place that, in addition to offering regular restaurant service,
also sold kitchen utensils and supplies, and, in a kind of
unique twist, also sold a package where your group could
"rent" the kitchen and the chef for the night. The chef then
divides your group up into stations where each team
actually cooks one of the dishes for that evenings dinner.
The chef and his assistant are there every step of the way to
instruct and guide you, helping to ensure that your group
ends up with not only something edible, but delicious!
At the end of the night the chef then presents you with a
packet of all of the recipes used that night, so even though
you may have only worked on one part of the dinner, you go
home armed with the knowledge of how to prepare the
entire meal if you would like.
I did just that one year, and it turned out great, though I will
caution you that it was a VERY different experience doing all
the dishes myself instead of having about 6 teams helping
out at the original dinner. This Pork Loin is not the faint of
heart, and the glazing a gastrique sauce take a bit of
constant attention in order to come out right, and you will be
extremely busy during the process. So I like to keep my
sides manageable to help make sure we all end up with a
good meal. Here it goes...!
3 lb Pork Loin
3 TBLSP - Olive Oil
1x - recipe for Apricot Glaze
Copyright © 2009 BDT Enterprises, LLC - All Rights Reserved
Coconut Bread Pudding
1 lb Bread, white, firm, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup Coconut, sweetened, shredded
14 oz coconut milk
2-3/4 cups milk, whole
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBLSP Vanilla extract
1 cup Pecans, toasted
1 tsp cinnamon
3 TBLSP Butter, melted
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
6 lg Eggs
Preheat oven to 350`F; Arrange half of bread cubes
in 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with half
of coconut and pecans, and all of the melted butter.
Arrange remaining bread over the top. Top with
remaining coconut and pecans. Combine cream of
coconut, milk, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla in large,
heavy sauce pan. Stir over medium heat until sugar
dissolves. Remove from heat. Whisk eggs in large
bowl to blend. Whisk in warm milk mixture. Pour
mixture over bread in baking dish. Place another
9x13 pan on top and let stand for 15 minutes. Bake
until pudding is set and golden brown, about 45
minutes. Allow to stand 15 minutes before serving.
|This is a wonderful holiday dessert, rich and
warm, but not over the top in terms of sweetness - a
great mix of subtle flavors - try it, I think you will love
|A little chef at work on
his holiday creation
|If pork is not your choice for Christmas, the noble
bird is always a great option - see our Thanksgiving
section for the prep on this juicy treat!
8oz. - Baguette, day old, or other bread, but do not use sourdough bread
1/4 cup - Apple Jack Brandy
1/2 cup - Apricots, dried
1/2 cup - Cherries, dried
1/2 cup - Pecans, toasted, chopped coarse
2 TBLSP - Onion, grated
1 TBLSP - Thyme, fresh
2 lg - egg
1/2 cup - Cream, heavy
1 clove - Garlic, minced
2 TBLSP - Parsley, Italian Flat Leaf, chopped fine
1/2 tsp - cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp - Cumin, ground
pinch - Coriander, ground
1 roll - Butcher's twine
Place dried fruit in brandy to hydrate for about 15 minutes. Strain and reserve brandy for
glaze. Tear baguette into small pieces and place into food processor with steel blade
and run until fine. Combine all dry ingredients and mix well.
I separate bowl beat the eggs and whisk in the cream.
Combine all ingredients and mix well in bowl.
Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with foil and bake @325 for
Once stuffing is cooked, allow it to rest ans slowly com to room temperature.
Raise the heat of the oven to 400`F.
Lay pork loin vertically in front of you on a cutting surface. Using a sharp carving knife,
cut about 2/3s of the way through the meat down the middle of the loin for the entire
length of the loin. At the bottom of this cut turn the knife so it is parallel with the cutting
surface and slice another parallel cut along the side, stopping about an inch from going
all the way through. Repeat this cut along the opposite side of the loin.
Fill the loin with the stuffing and tie it up with the butcher's twine.
Place a roasting pan on the stove on high heat.
Add olive oil and sear the outside of the loin, turning frequently to sear all sides, until
Brush on the glaze and place the loin in the oven, seam side up.
Roast for 15 minutes.
Flip the loin in the pan and glaze the other side.
Return to the oven until the roast reaches 145`F. Remove from pan and allow to rest for
at least 20 minutes before slicing.
Top with the gastrique and serve - makes about 8 servings.
1/4 cup - Apricot preserves
1/4 cup - Apple Jack Brandy (note: you may need to add some brandy to your reserves
from hydrating the fruit, as some of that brandy stays with the fruit)
1/2 - TBLSP - Peppercorns, dried, black or green.
In a small sauce pan add the brandy and peppercorns and bring to a simmer; cook
until most of the alcohol is evaporated. Add the apricot preserves and heat until melted.
Remove from heat and pass through a mesh strainer. Set aside.
1/2 cup - sugar
1/4 cup - Apple Jack Brandy
1/3 cup - Cider Vinegar
1 - Apple, green, diced
3/4 cup - Apple Juice
2 cups - Chicken stock
2 TBLSP - Butter, unsalted, cold
1/4 tsp - Cinnamon
1/4 tsp - Nutmeg, fresh grated
Heat sugar on sauce pan over medium high heat,
stirring constantly until it starts to caramelize. Add
stock and reduce by 1/2.
Add vinegar and reduce by 1/2.
Add brandy, apples, apple juice, cinnamon, nutmeg
and reduce by 2/3
Remove from heat, melt in butter and season with
salt and pepper to taste.
You can thicken by adding 2 TBLSP of light corn
starch slurry and gently simmering if necessary.
12 oz Puff Pastry dough
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 lbs ground pork
1/4 cup Brandy
1 TBLSP Butter
2 TBLSP Vegetable Oil
2 Shallots, finely chopped
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
1 TBLSP Sage, fresh
1 TBLSP Parsley, chopped
1 TBLSP Chervil, fresh chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 TBLSP Corn Starch blended with 1 TBLSP
Put pork in large bowl and pour the brandy over
it. Let marinate for 1 hour.
Melt the butter with the oil in a large frying pan.
Add the shallots and garlic and saute until soft.
Add the pork and brandy and cook while stirring
frequently until pork is no longer pink. Stir in the
herbs, salt and pepper and cook for about 15
minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat
and stir in cornflour.
Preheat oven to 425`F. Divide the dough in half and roll out one half into a circle large enough to line a 9 inch pan. Press into the bottom and
sides of the pan and trim off any excess at the top. Spoon the filling into the center, making a small pile towards the middle.
Roll out the remaining dough and place it over the filling so that it covers it completely. Trim the excess and then crimp the edges together to
form a seal. Cut a large X in the center. Use the trimmed off dough to form decorations on the top of the pie. Brush the top of the dough with the
beaten egg yolk.
Put the pie in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350`F and bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown (see the
picture above!). Remove and serve right away!
A golden brown pork pie, ready to serve!