Tomorrow is the big day, and while we are not rooting for any team in particular, we do celebrate any big event with food. Actually, we celebrate everything with food, no matter how big or small. And why not?
Since we are not having a big crowd this year, and Son the Butcher took off for Chico to party in a town that seems to know how to party, I am off the hook for cheesy appetizers. Originally, thinking that hordes of twenty-something males would invade, I had asked Son what he wanted. He mentioned beer, chili-cheese dip and wings. I shudder at the thought of mixing a pre-made can of chili with Velveeta, heating it up into a gooey yellowish-brown mass, so am thankful I could take that off the menu. We’ll do something simple like guacamole.
For the main meal, I wanted something different than the usual chili, barbecued pork, ribs, etc. Thankfully, the Wednesday food section of the SF Chronicle came through. They had a recipe for Chipotle Roast Pork that sounds really good. While it takes a bit of planning, due to the overnight brining, it really is a very simple, easy to prepare dish. I’ll serve it along with black beans and some fried plantains.
And for dessert, a recipe I have been saving for just such an occasion. The November/December issue of Imbibe had a great recipe for Chocolate-Guinness Cupcakes. Football being a beer-related sport, I think these cupcakes, invented by Dave Lieberman of Food Network fame, will be the perfect ending to the day. You might want to get his new cookbook, Dave’s Dinners: A Fresh Approach to Home-Cooked Meals.
And now for the recipes. Do beware, I have not made the pork or cupcakes yet, so I cannot attest to their taste, but I have faith.
Chipotle Roast Pork
If you happen to have any leftover meat, you can whip up some Cuban sandwiches.
2 ½ pound boneless pork butt, tied
4 cups water, divided
3 T kosher salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1 T pureed chipotle en adobo
1 T Dijon mustard
2 chipotles in adobe
6 garlic cloves
1 t cumin seed, crushed
1 T olive oil + 2 T for browning
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup orange juice
Instructions: Heat 2 cups water in glass measuring cup in microwave until hot. Stir in the salt and brown sugar until dissolved and then add the pureed chipotle and mustard. Add 4 ice cubes and the remaining 2 cups unheated water. The ice cubes just cool down the brine so it can be used immediately. Place the meat into a gallon size Ziploc plastic bag. Pour cooled brine on top and seal. Refrigerate for 12 to 16 hours.
When ready to cook, take meat out of refrigerator. Make up the rub by mincing chipotles and garlic together. Place in bowl. Add a little of the adobo sauce from can along with the cumin, oregano and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Remove the meat from the brine (discard the brine), dry it off and rub all surfaces with the chipotle rub.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Heat a heavy Dutch oven like a Le Creuset pot and add the 2 teaspoons olive oil. Brown the meat on both sides over medium heat. Allow the meat to brown for 5 to 8 minutes before turning over. If you turn too soon, the spices tend to stick to the pot. Turn gently by sliding a spatula underneath.
Mix the lime juice and orange juice together and pour over the roast. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 155 °.
Remove the roast from the oven and let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing. The temperature will climb another 5 degrees.
I have to say that I use a shortcut on these beans, but they are as good as the original recipe I have since lost. They take next to no effort and are great served with white rice as a main dish. Or do not drain the water off and serve as a soup.
1 package black beans
1can Trader Joe’s Garlic Salsa
Cover dried beans with twice as much water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn to very low. Stir occasionally, cooking until beans are tender (an hour or so). When tender, drain most of water from beans, leaving some for moisture. Add the whole jar of salsa and salt to taste. Return to heat and cook for 20-30 minutes. Sprinkle with half bunch chopped cilantro, stir, and serve with a dollop of sour cream.
If you want, you can skip the water bath. But you will need to fry the plantains twice, smashing them after the first fry.
2 cups water
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
2 green plantains
Combine water, garlic and salt in medium size glass bowl and set aside.
In a large (12-inch) saute pan, heat oil to 325 degrees F. Peel plantains and slice crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Carefully add plantains to oil and fry until golden yellow in color, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. (The oil should come halfway up the side of the plantain). With a spider or slotted spoon, remove the plantains from the pan and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, standing them on their ends. With the back of a wide, wooden spatula, press each piece of plantain down to half its original size. Then place the plantains in the water and let soak for 1 minute. Remove and pat dry with a tea towel to remove excess water.
Bring oil back up to 325 degrees F and return plantains to pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to a dish lined with paper towels, and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Serve immediately.
Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
1 12oz. bottle Guinness stout
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 T pure vanilla estract
3 large eggs
¾ cuo sourcream
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa (for a richer chocolate taste, use up to ½ cup additional cocoa)
2 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1.2 t baking soda
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ pounds confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, melted butter and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream. In another large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients in to the wet Guinness mixture. Butter 24 muffin tins and divide batter among them. Bake 25 minutes until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of the tins.
To make frosting, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the heavy cream. Slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar. Top each cupcake with a heap of frosting and dust with cocoa.
Enjoy the game!