Pork Shoulder with Potato & Butternut Bake

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INGREDIENTS

5 LB shoulder of pork 1 small onion, peeled 1 TBSP flour 10 OZ dry cider 10 OZ vegetable stock 3 large potatoes 1 Butternut squash Butter Parmesan cheese sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475ºF.  Score the skin of the pork.  Place pork in a roasting pan skin-side up.  Cut the onion into wedges and place slightly underneath the pork.  Season pork with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven for 25 minutes.  Reduce oven to 375ºF and cook for 2 hours.  Remove from oven and let stand for 30 minutes.  Remove pork from roasting pan, place roasting pan over burners on low and sprinkle flour in mixing with a wooden spoon.  Turn heat up to medium and gradually add cider and stock.  Mix together until you have a smooth gravy.  Salt and pepper to taste. FOR THE BAKE: Pell and thinly slice potatoes, peel and seed butternut squash.  Put a layer of potatoes in a buttered ovenproof dish then layer with butternut.  Layer 2 more times.  Place 2 or 3 knobs of butter on top, pour in 275ml of stock.  Cover generously with parm cheese.  Bake at 170ºF for 1 hour.

What wine to pair?

Do yourself a favor and get a really good pork shoulder for this recipe.  You can see the recipe list and preparation isn't too complicated, so it does well with a nice cut of pork.  Read through the ingredients and preparation and imagine where you're going to taste the sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami flavors.

Pork is cooked with vegetable stock can get pretty salty, but you'll offset that with the sweet cider.  I find this recipe can be adjusted so there's a good balance of flavors, and sometimes I'll add a TBSP of rosemary just for a little more.

Some of the grapes that tend to compliment this dish well are domestic Pinot Noirs or some lighter Syrahs.  Cabs and Merlots from new world regions aren't ideal, but 1995 Chateau Musar Cuvee Rouge went well.  That's a Cabernet blend made with some Cinsault.  It didn't overpower the flavors of the pork.  One of these days we'll try pairing it with the Chateau Musar Blanc, which, according to Serge Hochar is his "red wine".  The whites are sublime and might stand up nicely to this dish.

Tonight's pairing will feature 2005 Maison Bouachon La Tiare du Pape from Southern Rhone.  The blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from Chateauneuf du Pape vineyards are influenced by Mistral winds, and are grown in in clay and limestone soils, covered with quartz round stones.  I don't believe there's a "perfect" wine and food pairing, but I have fun experimenting and trying new combinations with the hope that one day I'll experience that one life-altering experience that is "the perfect pairing".  Please leave suggested pairings of what you think would be good with this dish in the comments below.  Cheers!

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Presidential Rack of Lamb a la Richelieu

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When President and Mrs Reagan visited Paris in the mid 1980's they did have many official functions including a diplomatic dinner with President and Madame Francoise Mitterand at the Elysee Palace (the White House of France) Naturally, the diplomatic decorum demanded that the American guests of honor should return the invitation. The Reagans were staying at the US Embassy and decided to honor the French President and first lady with non American food. The chefs at the US Embassy were French chefs. The Lamb recipe is very fancy in terms of prestige. It was put together by chef Auguste Esccoffier at the turn of the 20th century. It was named in honor of Cardinal Armand de Richelieu, who was chief minister to King Louis XIII in the 17th century.

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INGREDIENTS 2 racks, 6 chops each., have the butcher cut the chine bone for easy serving of chops.

Marinade: 1/2 bottle of white wine 1/2 cup of quality olive oil 1 medium onion sliced 1 whole bay leaf crumbled 1/2 teaspoon of dried marjoram, or 2 TBSP of fresh if available 8 black peppercorns, coarsly crushed 1/2 TSP of dried thyme, or 2 TSP of fresh salt to taste

Marination needs to be a minimum of 4 hr. Overnight would be good. Keep turning and spoon over the rack.

Place in the oven and grill at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes depending on cooking level preferred. Keep to lamb warm in the oven while the sauce is being made.

Sauce: Place the drippings in a fry pan. Remove some of the fat. Add a cup of port or madeira. Reduce under high heat. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of butter one at a time. Serve the sauce in a gravy boat at the table.

marinate AT LEAST 4 Hrs.

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Top 10 Bacon Recipes of 2009

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Here it is loyal bacon fans, this year's list of crisp, savory delectables that are sure to light up your taste buds like a pinball machine.  A year ago I provided a list of the top 10 bacon recipes for 2008 that you can see updated here.  This year, bacon became the cosmic glue that wove social media sites together.  There were highlights, and there were lowlights...well, the lowlights were most likely everyone's lipid profile at the doctor.

I selected this year's recipes based on a combination of pushing the boundaries of how bacon should be used and ease of making the recipes.  So here you go in no particular order:

1. Bacon Wrapped Mashed Potatoes

That's right, I said it.  Bacon wrapped around mashed potatoes.  You may want to mow down some Lipitor and fish oil pills before taking on this dish.  It's really quite simple—make the mash potatoes, and if you're like my Mom or Paula Deen, you put a stick of butter in your potatoes.  Because I'm a real health nut, I only put a half stick of butter.  Keep the milk to a minimum because you want the potatoes to have the consistency of spackle.

Once you make the potatoes, slow cook some bacon in a pan half way.  You want to cook the bacon just enough that it starts to crisp, but you can still bend it without breaking.  Let the bacon cool on a paper towel, then weave the bacon together like fabric.  Put the bacon on a cookie sheet then put a dollop of mash potatoes in on the woven pig products.  Wrap the bacon around said potatoes, then bake until the bacon gets crispy.

If you really want to throw caution to the wind, put some cheese in there just to give your arteries the finger.

2. Bacon Candy

I didn't have to look too far for this gem.  As it turns out, this recipe was the catalyst that led to my being hired at St. Supéry winery.  Back in March, Lisa DeBruin aka winedivergirl and I were talking about bacon.  She mentioned she had a friend who had been experimenting with this recipe.  That person turned out to be LesleyKeffer who is now my boss at the winery.  See what happens when you follow your love of bacon?

The recipe is simple: Crisp, savory bacon with BBQ rub, caramel, semisweet chocolate and crystallized ginger.  Check it here.

How lucky am I to work for someone who loves bacon as much as I do?  I freakin' scored!

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3. The Bacon Smootie

My wife was none to pleased when she saw what I was putting in our blender.  I'm not going to lie, it's kinda weird. But it works.  The reason why is the chocolate, which goes with bacon quite nicely.  And chocolate also goes with raspberries, so together, the chocolate, raspberries and bacon are like the Voltron of savory flavor.  The recipe was very tasty, but gasey.  Go here to get the original recipe that started it all.

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4. Bacon Wrapped French Toast Sticks

Contrary to popular belief, this masterpiece is NOT made with Twinkies, it's made with french toast sticks.  Of course if you really had no concern for your own well being you could substitute Twinkies, but I think the creme filling would be gross.  By using french toast sticks this actually qualifies as breakfast rather than a late night snack put together after too many bong rips.  The judges have awarded the Stonehenge concept with high marks, but the execution was lazy, so the judges had to dock them a few points because it wasn't to scale.

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5. The Lowrider Pizza

This recipe is based on a pie served at Proto's in Colorado.  We took something good and made it orgasmic!  How? you might ask.  By adding more crisp, savory bacon.

Get yourself an unbaked pizza crust (we like the Pilsbury pizza dough at most grocery stores).  In a bowl, mix together tomato sauce with about a TSP of chipotle Tabasco sauce or some other chipotle sauce.  Add a little more to give the sauce a little Jackie Chan kick to your tongue if you'd like.  Cover the pizza with shredded mozzarella, crisp bacon bits, small red onion slice and pineapple chunks.  Don't hate on the pineapple going on the pizza, it serves a purpose which is to counter the spice of the chipotle.  Bake the pizza as fast as you can, then cover the pie with chopped cilantro.

Of course, when in doubt, add some more crisp savory bacon bits.  It's a simple pizza to make, but a good twist to feature the bacon.

lowrider baby, yeah!

6. Bouef a la Bourguignonne

This might be one of my favorite recipes of all time for winter.  It has two of my favorite things in life— bacon and wine.  Yum!  This is a hearty dish that you slow cook all day before serving.  It requires a little foresight and preparation the day before, but when you do it right it'll all be worth it.

The recipe calls for 4OZ. of bacon, but by all means don't let that stop you from adding more :D  The meat you select is important, don't get the cheap stew meat, even though it'll be tender, get something that's tender to start with.  Tri tip is a good choice.

Get the recipe here

7. Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

I nearly blew my 'O' ring when I first tried this breakfast item.  I mean, come on, it's bacon wrapped or sprinkled onto or into cinnamon rolls.  Now is probably a good time to make a public service announcement about not eating all these recipes in the same week.  Space it out.  Your doctor will thank you for it.

The recipe is available from Delicious Coma and can be found here.

photo via Delicious Coma

8. Emeril's Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (Video)

Emeril made last year's Top 10 bacon list too.  Hmmm, this guy might be onto something.  This recipe was selected because you need vegetables from time to time, and what makes vegetables better?  Yep.  You got it.

Get it here

photo via Food Network

9. Heirloom Grilled Cheese Sammich w/ Tomato Bacon Soup

Comfort food plain and simple.  It's quick and easy to make and when you think about it, what else do you need in life?  Many of the essential food groups are represented here, which is nice.  Anytime you can get vegetables in with your bacon it's a good thing.

When I saw this recipe from Rick Massa on the Food Network site, I was hooked.  You will be too which is why it's on the top ten list.

10. You Call It!

There are so many great bacon recipes, and throughout the year I've talked to many creative people online who have great uses for bacon, so we're going to crowd source the final pick of the list.  Leave a comment below and let me know which bacon recipe YOU think should be on the top ten.  See you in 2010!

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Colorado Baby Back Ribs

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MARINADE: 2 cups chicken stock 1/4 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup dry sherry 2 TBSP brown sugar 1 TSP fennel seeds, crushed 8 black peppercorns OTHER INGREDIENTS: 1 rack of baby back ribs 3 green onions, chopped

In a saucepan, Bring marinade ingredients to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes, then cool. Place ribs in a shallow pan, cover with marinade. Refrigerate over night, or at least for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350ºF as ribs come to room temp. Bake ribbs for 45 minutes, basting occasionallly. Heat grill to medium. Cook ribs for 5-7 minutes each side basting with marinade. Serve garnished with green onions and marinade on the side.

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Top 10 Bacon Recipes of 2008

Uncooked streaky bacon.

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1. Slow-cooked Bacon - that's it, just bacon. The reason plain old bacon makes it to the top 10 is the "slow-cooked" part. This year I discovered a new cooking technique that changed everything. Cooking bacon on, say, medium-low for longer results in a better finished product. Try it and see the difference!

2. Chicken with Rosemary, Bacon and Balsamic - The recipe calls for pancetta, but I use bacon...sweet savory bacon. The bacon laid across the chicken keeps it moist while baking. Towards the end when you are reducing the pan drippings, I like to finish cooking the bacon separately, then dice it up and sauté with some fresh green beans. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chicken-with-Rosemary-Pancetta-and-Balsamic-Vinegar-4296

3. Bacon-Wrapped Dates - So simple, yet so tasty. Technically you'd want to wrap dates in Prosciutto, but it costs more and we're in a recession. So wrap some dates with bacon, stuff some manchego cheese in the date, then bake it until that sweet, savory bacon is crisp.

4. Roasted Beef Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon - Do I need to say anything about this? I think it speaks for itself, and it's perfect for a nice bottle of your favorite red wine. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Beef-Tenderloin-Wrapped-in-Bacon-107705

5. Curly Endive and Apple Smoked Bacon Salad - If you're like me, you're trying to lose some pounds, so eat a salad. A salad with bacon in it. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Curly-Endive-and-Apple-Smoked-Bacon-Salad-105099

6. Grill-Roasted Whole Fish Stuff with Fresh Herbs and Wrapped in Bacon - I have to admit, I haven't made this recipe yet so it doesn't have the Bakas Stamp of Approval. But we wanted to have a fish recipe on the list making good use of slow-cooked, crispy, savory bacon. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grill-Roasted-Whole-Fish-Stuffed-with-Fresh-Herbs-and-Wrapped-in-Pancetta

7. Penne Pasta with Spinach and Bacon - One of those simple, yet tasty recipes perfect for after work when you don't have the time to make a sick meal. allrecipes.com/Recipe/Penne-Pasta-with-Spinach-and-Bacon/Detail.aspx

8. Bacon and Potato Soup - What could be better to warm your spirits than a soup made with my favorite friend: savory, yummy bacon. allrecipes.com/Recipe/Bacon-and-Potato-Soup/Detail.aspx

9. Bacon-Wrapped Scallops - Emeril is to bacon what Gary Vaynerchuk is to wine 2.0. In other words, he makes good use of it. planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/emeril-bacon-wrapped-scallops.html

10. Bacon Brownies - Oh God! I think I've found the meaning of it all. Are you kidding me? Brownies with frickin bacon in them!! thehungryengineer.com/cooking/bacon-brownies/

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BBQ Pork Ribs

Barbecue sauce
Image via Wikipedia

1 rack pork ribs, defrosted 12 OZ BBQ sauce 1 TBSP olive oil 1 white onion, finely chopped 1/2 TSP celery salt 1 TSP chili powder 1/2 TSP onion powder 2 TBSP Old Bay Seasoning 1 TSP Paprika 10 OZ. honey 1/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Brush ribs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. While ribs are cooking, combine remaining ingredients together. After ribs have roasted for 30 minutes, pour/brush half of mixture over ribs and roast for another 30 minutes. Preheat grill for finishing. Remove ribs from oven and place face down on grill. Cook 5 minutes, turn over and brush remaining mixture all over ribs. Cook on grill 5-10 minutes until desired doneness. You can also use the broiler for finishing instead of the grill. Clean the grill by putting aluminum foil over the grates and turn the heat to high after you remove the ribs. It'll cook off all that sticky sauciness.

Alright, so it's not bacon, but it's close. It's pork, baby! Pork ribs cooked on a grill...what could be better than that? Well, actually, lots of things. But I'm not gonna lie, these ribs are mighty tasty. There's so many different ways to do ribs, but what I was going for here was a BBQ sauce with just the right amount of attitude with a little Bruce Lee roundhouse. If you want more cowbell, dial up the chili powder as this is more of a doctored BBQ sauce than one from scratch. Depending on which sauce you use as your base, it might have quite a bit of sugar in it already. So to offset sweetness, add more bitter flavors like garlic. Zinfandel-based wines seem to pair well with this recipe. Tonight I'll be popping open a bottle of 2006 Spann Vineyard MoZin from Sonoma. It's a blend of Zinfandel, Mourvédre and Petite Sirah. This is one of those wines where someone at the table will verbally exclaim something like, "OMIGOD that's good!" or some descriptor using four letter words to impress how good the wine is. It's well made, and in true Spann style, it's has impeccable balance. If some red wines are like a wool sweater on your tongue, this is a cashmere sweater. Silky, aromatic and enough flavor intensity from the Petite Sirah to stand up to the BBQ sauce on the ribs. Cheers!

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