Crispy Roasted Pig Tails

I may or may not have posted this recipe before.  But this one is a weeeee bit different, I swear, but still a fun riff on hot wings.  At least my photography skillz are moving beyond toddler-level.  You guys weren’t exactly loving the pig’s feet when I made posted my recipe, but pleasepleaseplease trust me that pig tails are a helluva lot better and less weird to eat.  Pinky swear.

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One thing I did differently this time was indulge my obsession with Tessemae’s and use this sauce instead of making my own.  I guess I was making up for the fact that I completely re-did the brine…but this batch was infinitely better and more tender and juicy.

Crispy Roasted Pig Tails
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs Pig Tails
  • 1 c Tessemae's Hot Wing Sauce (or hot sauce of choice)
  • For the Brine:
  • 6 c Water
  • 2 Lemons, Quartered
  • 2 Onions, Chopped
  • ¼ c Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 T Salt
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 2 T Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine the ingredients for the brine and pour over the pig tails. Allow to sit for 12-24 hours. This is an essential step to ensure the meat is tender.
  2. Drain the pig tails and marinate in the hot sauce for at lease one hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange pig tails on a greased baking sheet and brush with additional sauce. Bake for 30 minutes. With tongs, flip each pig tail and brush with more sauce. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes.

 

Tripe Sauteed w/ Bacon and Shallots

I probably already mentioned it like a hundred times but I got a new job.  Holy crap.  You GUYS!   I never ever realized how exhausting it is to pick out something different to wear every day.  I *almost* miss my potato sack of a uniform.  Almost.  No, that’s such a lie…sorry, guys.  I have neon pink nail polish on right now and it’s awesome!!

Buuuuuuuut with a new job comes some pretty hellish hours sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen.  And I don’t even have a nice comfy swivel chair to make it all better.  Pretty sure my brain is fried so forgive my crappy writing lately.  It’s all about the food anyway.  Duh.

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So I know there are a lot of you out there who don’t exactly like tripe (*cough* ROSS *cough*).  But I happen to love it…if for no other reason than the price tag and INSANE protein content.  The funky flavor doesn’t exactly lend itself to too much “dressing up,” so I think it’s best with simple seasoning or sauce (like this) and served with roasted veggies or something.  BUT!!  I realized, as I often do, that I should really try this stuff with bacon.  I mean, bacon not only makes everything better.  Bacon is life.

So, um.  You should make thisBACON!

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs Beef Tripe

4 Thick Slices of Bacon, cut into lardons

3 Shallots, thinly sliced

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 T dried Parsley

2 T Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Rinse the tripe in cold water.  Place in a large stockpot and cover with water and a little sat.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer for 2-3 hours.

Once cooked, remove the tripe from the water, strain, and let cool.  Cut into 1-2 inch pieces.

Over medium-high heat in a pot or large frying pan, heat the olive oil and brown the bacon.  Add the shallots and garlic.  When the shallots are nicely browned, add the parsley and turn the heat down to medium.  When the parsley is fragrant, add the tripe along with the salt and pepper.  Sautee until coated with the bacon grease, then cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until ready to serve.

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Bacon-Wrapped Sweetbreads on a Stick

I had to do some research for this one since I’ve never, ever made sweetbreads before…or even seen them for that matter until I went on an offal extravaganza.  So I had to do a little research for this one…thankfully prepping sweetbreads is a lot like cooking tongue or tripe in that they need to be soaked, boiled, and peeled before they’re even ready to be prepped into anything else.  Yeah, the whole process was a little tiring, and again, I had no idea what they’d even taste like so I was totally lost for what to do next…

So I put ‘em on a stick and wrapped them in bacon.  Bacon makes everything better, right?

Why yes.  Yes it does.

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs Beef Sweetbreads

6-8 Thick Slices Bacon

Salt and Pepper

Water for soaking and boiling

INSTRUCTIONS

Fill a bowl or pot with water and add some salt.  Soak the raw sweetbreads for 30 minutes.

Bring a separate pot (with fresh water and a bit of salt) to a rolling boil.  Add the sweetbreads and boil for 10 minutes.

Strain the sweetbreads and let cool.  Remove the outer skin /membrane.

Spear strips of the sweetbreads with wooden skewers.  Wrap each of them in bacon and arrange in a greased baking dish.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Buffalo Pig Tails

Look!  I updated my About Me and About My Food pages!  I actually added pictures and stuff!  Apparently people like that stuff…you know, so you know I’m a real person and all and not a robot or something.  Robots freak me the hell out…unless they’re cute like WALL-E.  Ross and I saw WALL-E on our first date, NBD.

So Food Network saved me again.  I think I mentioned earlier this week that I went a little overboard on some odd cuts of meat.  And I got pig tails.  How cute, right?

But holy crap, what was I going to do with pig tails?  Thank Krishna for Michael Symon and The Best Thing I Ever Ate – Halloween.  I mean, to be fair my Halloween wasn’t too much less uncool than it would have been.  Anyone daring to come near my door just encountered a lonely orange lady working her way through a case of wine.  And a face schmeared with Buffalo sauce.  And yes I am aware that these pig tails might look a little obscene, and I’m sorry, but there’s only so much plate rotation I can do before I call it a day.

**High Five!**

INGREDIENTS

1 lb Pig Tails, cut into 2-inch chunks

**Brine**

6 c Water

3 T Salt

3 T Coconut Aminos

1 T Olive Oil

1 T Apple Cider Vinegar

**Buffalo Sauce**

1 c Ghee, melted

1 c Hot Sauce

1 t Coconut Aminos

1 t Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine the ingredients for the brine and pour over the pig tails.  Allow to sit for 24 hours.  This is an essential step to ensure the meat is tender.

Whisk together the buffalo sauce.  Drain the pig tails and marinate in 3/4 of the sauce for at lease one hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange pig tails on a greased baking sheet and brush with additional sauce.  Bake for 30 minutes.  With tongs, flip each pig tail and brush with more sauce.  Bake an additional 15-20 minutes.

Serve with buffalo sauce for dipping.

Enjoy!

Oh, Hey, Offal

So I’m such a sucker for offal.  Especially when it’s on sale.  I popped into the commissary the other day to grab some oxtails (Ross loves them), and ‘lo and behold…they were fully stocked.  Complete with some CAH-RAYZEE stuff I’ve never even seen before.  OOOOOOOH BABY!

No worries, I won’t dedicate an entire week to offal again.  Not yet.  But my hiatus from food is over next week, so expect some fun new stuff strewn about in the near future ;-)

Don’t worry, there will also be lots of chocolate.  And baked goods.  And warm, cinnamon-y, Fall-inspired everything.  It’s been 3 months, you guys.  And I’m HUNGRY!

Day Five…Heart

HEART

First of all, if you’re still reading my blog after a week of me suggesting that yo dig into kidneys and stomachs and peel tongues like bananas, you should get a Gold Star.  Luckily, heart isn’t so much offal as it’s like a really rich cut of meat.  You might feel like you’re making a flesh sacrifice, but Aztec fantasies aside this is a really awesome bit of cuisine to work with.  Something that tastes as good as a ribeye at a sixth of the price is always fine by me.

Why Should I Eat It??

Whether you want a really fatty or really lean cut, beef heart is it.  There’s generally a good amount of fat on the outside that is easily removed if you want to–though I think you’re crazy if you do.

Because hearts are such dense muscles, their nutrient content is even higher than that of other skeletal muscles–beef heart, for example, has “all essential amino acids, zinc, selenium and phosphorus. It has more than double the elastin and collagen than other cuts of meat and a highly concentrated source of coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10″ (via Livestrong.com).  Yay!

Oh, and I’d be amiss if I didn’t remind you that this sh*t is CHEAP.

Flavor and Texture…What to Expect?

Hearts of all varieties are very similar to other muscular cuts of meat.  Beef heart (the most commonly available) tastes like…well, beef…just a little more pronounced.  For me at least, the shape is the only thing that makes it terribly distinguishable from any other chunk of beef.  When cooked, the texture resembles most cuts of beef as well and it can be cooked just like a good steak or roast–you can braise, grill, roast, or pan sear them and they’ll come out great.

Special Instructions…

Again, treat hearts like any other cut of meat.  Get fancy with them if you want, but I generally cut them into chunks or strips and discard any tubes or blood vessels you come across.  I’ve also just halved one and thrown it on the grill and ended up with what looked like two good steaks.  There’s often a good deal of fat on beef hearts that can be rendered and stored as well.

Today’s Recipe: Curried Beef Heart

For this recipe, I whipped up a nice curry marinade and sauce that adds a little kick but again, won’t overwhelm the natural flavor of the heart.

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs Beef Heart (or one large heart)

1 c Coconut Milk

1 t Salt

1 t Black Pepper

2 t Curry Powder

1/2 t Garam Masala

Coconut Oil for frying

INSTRUCTIONS

Whisk together the coconut milk and spices.  Slice the beef heart into thick strips and add to the coconut milk mixture.  Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Add the strips of beef heart and cook for a minute or two on each side.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the coconut milk mixture.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Day Four…Tongue

TONGUE

I’m a fan of tongue–it’s just delicious and pretty easy to work with.  It takes on other flavors well but tastes great on its own, too.  Unfortunately, it’s tough for some people because it looks…like a giant tongue that you have to peel like a banana.  I started eating the stuff when, back in Austin, I realized I could buy two for six dollars at Sam’s.  Colorado Springs isn’t as free-flowing with unconventional cuts, I’m finding, but the Ft Carson Commissary had my back again.

Why Should I Eat It??

Tongue is a pretty fatty piece of meat (hence why I love it so much).  Livestrong.com suggests “balancing your meal” if you’re eating tongue and to include veggies and “a bread roll or grain” like “millet, quinoa, and bulgur.”  F*ck that noise.  You know how I roll.  Beef tongue is really rich in all your B-vitamins, iron, and zinc.  And it’s cheap.

Flavor and Texture…What to Expect?

Tongue has a fairly mild flavor and (when cooked properly) a soft texture almost reminiscent of bologna.  Heavily seasoned or not, I can’t see any reason it would scare anyone off.  There are usually some big pockets of fat, especially towards the back piece of the muscle.  The outer skin is rough and chewy but will almost always be removed and discarded after cooking–the Huskies love it!  Of all the organ meats, tongue is probably the most inoffensive with regards to flavor and is really versatile.

Special Instructions…

You have-have-HAVE to stew or boil tongues for a while to make them edible.  I either boil mine fore 2 or 3 hours in water on the stove or toss them in the slow cooker all day.  Once they’re cooked, rinse and cool them.  Using a knife, carefully peel away the skin and taste buds (it’ll come off pretty easily if the tongue is cooked fully) and you’re ready to work with the meat however you like.

Today’s Recipe: Szechuan-Style Beef Tongue

You got me–I miss my Chinese take-out.  I chose this sauce because it’s a nice combinations of flavors that are familiar and tasty to many people but that won’t entirely overwhelm the tongue.  If you’re serving this for anyone who might be squeamish, cutting the tongue into strips makes it a lot nicer to look at, too :)

INGREDIENTS

1 Beef Tongue

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/4 c Rice Vinegar

1/4 c Coconut Aminos

1/4 c Sesame Oil

1 T Fresh Ginger

1 Garlic Clove, minced

1 T Arrowroot Powder, dissolved in 1 T Water

Salt and Pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Boil the beef tongue for at least 2 hours.  Remove from water, rinse, and allow to cool enough to handle.  Peel off the skin, cut the meat into long strips, and set aside.

Over medium heat, heat the sesame oil and add the garlic and ginger.  When garlic has browned slightly, whisk in the lemon juice, vinegar, coconut aminos, salt, and pepper.  When the mixture comes to a simmer, add the arrowroot powder and stir until the sauce thickens slightly.  Add the tongue strips and stir to coat the meat with the sauce.

Day Three…Tripe

TRIPE

OK, this one’s a doozie.  No getting around it–this sh*t just sounds awful.  Tripe.  Tripe.  TRIPE.  Just ew.  Tripe is the lining of a cow’s stomach.  Or one of its stomachs.  Apparently you can get a couple different varieties but I’m working with the plain old bleached tripe I got from my commissary.  As much as I knock on a lot of the on-post services, the Ft Carson Commissary is amazing and has a better offal selection than… every other grocery store in town.  In case you were wondering, I get all my offal over there.  Tax free.  OK I’m done.

Why Should I Eat It??

Tripe probably isn’t the most nutritious of the organ meats but it’s still pretty damn good for you.  Besides a nice hefty doses of protein and saturated fat, you get a decent amount of calcium, selenium, and zinc as well.  And tripe is CHEAP.

Flavor and Texture…What to Expect?

OK this was the weirdest on both fronts.  I can see why some people love it and why some people hate it.  Personally I really liked it but in that weird way that some people put mustard on fries or bacon with chocolate or Duncan Hines frosting on Teddy Grahams.  In all fairness I might have been able to get over the whole “cow’s stomach” dealio because I happen to love haggis.  Thank goodness for British friends…

Tripe is literally a sheet of meat.  It’s got a ribbed (or “honeycomb” texture–actually really nice as it soaks up the flavors of whatever seasoning or sauce you use–and is sort of chewy.  I had a really hard time describing the flavor as it’s almost bland with a sort of earthy undertone.  Tripe by itself probably wouldn’t be much to get excited about so the flavoring you use with it is really important.  Oh, and you’ll definitely want to cut it into strips or smaller pieces to make it feel less like a meat blanket.  Or to stop reminding yourself you’re eating a stomach.

Special Instructions…

Two things…you MUST rinse the stuff off before cooking (since most commercially available tripe has been bleached and has a funky odor) and you MUST boil or braise it for a while.  Otherwise you will have tripe that is smelly, tough, and just plain NASTY.  Most recipes will call for the tripe to be boiled a couple of hours before you do anything else with it.  I’d bet it does really well in a slow cooker, too.  It’s worth it, though–after boiling in both water and tomato sauce I got a lucious and rich product…two thing I never thought you could say about tripe.

Today’s Recipe: Tripe in Tomato Sauce

This recipe is painfully simple and (I think) an awesome way to introduce tripe into your culinary repertoire.  Minimal ingredients, easy, and delicious to eat.  Because tripe was very new to me, I really wanted to showcase the tripe itself but it is very often included in more complicated recipes.  If you’re a little shy to just get after a plate of tripe, I recommend cooking smaller pieces into a stew or casserole alongside more common ingredients, like I did with liver this week.

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs Beef Tripe

28 oz Prepared (or homemade!) Tomato Sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

Rinse the tripe in cold water.  Cut into strips about 2-3 inches wide.

Place in a large stockpot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly, and simmer for 2-3 hours.

Drain the tripe and place back in the stockpot.  Cover in tomato sauce.  Cover and simmer for another 1-2 hours (the longer, the better!).

Day Two…Liver

LIVER

Liver is probably the most common organ meat–at least for me.  Sooo maybe using liver as an Offal Week ingredient is kind’ve a kop-out.  I mean, who hasn’t heard old people talking about Liver n’ Onions their whole life?  And yeah, we all thought it just sounded nasty.  I only started eating liver this year after I literally guilted myself into it after reading so many articles championing its nutritional value.  But I actually liked it.  A lot.  And for several months liver has been a mainstay in our house–lucky for you I decided to get a little more creative with the recipe because, honestly, sometimes it doesn’t matter how healthy something is if it just grosses people out.

Why Should I Eat It??

Nature’s Multivitamin.  ‘Nuff said.  Plus it’s CHEAP.

Flavor and Texture…What to Expect?

Raw liver is tough to handle.  Its sliminess makes it both unappetizing to look at and hard to hold onto (that’s what she said).  It’s a pain in the ass to cut raw, too.  When cooked, it’s got a smooth, almost “creamy” texture–which is why it’s breaded in a lot of conventional recipes to get a nice textural contrast.  It’s a unique flavor that, for me, was surprisingly good–savory without being terribly “beefy,” and almost a hint of sweet.

Special Instructions…

Liver cooks pretty quickly.  I generally buy mine pre-sliced thin (because it’s all I can find), so if you’re putting it on the cooktop you only need a couple minutes per side on a moderate heat to make sure it’s cooked through.  Be careful not to burn it, either…at least in my experience, burnt liver tastes and feels like charcoal.

Today’s Recipe: Creamy Liver and Sausage Gravy

This is a bit of a different take on your run-of-the-mill sausage gravy or creamed chipped beef.  I wanted something that would be a versatile (and sneaky!) way to get some liver into one’s diet.  I made a ton of the stuff for myself and had it over zucchini pancakes one night, on sweet potato fries as a sort of poutin another, and over eggs for breakfast…all with delicious success!

INGREDIENTS

1 lb Ground Pork Sausage

2 Links Andouille Sausage, sliced

1 lb Liver

1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk

2 T Arrowroot Powder, dissolved in 2 T Water

1 t Rosemary

1 t Oregano

Salt and Pepper to taste

Chicken Stock, as needed

INSTRUCTIONS

Chop the liver until it is the consistency of ground meat (a food processor works well here).

In a large saucepan over medium heat, brown the sausages and liver in some oil.  Pour the coconut milk over the meat, scraping down the sides of the pan.  Add the seasonings and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

Whisk in the arrowroot powder and stir until the gravy is thickened.  If it gets too thick, thin it out a bit with some of the chicken stock.

Serve over eggs, starchy veggies, Paleo Biscuits, or any way you’d like!

Day One…Kidneys

KIDNEY

I’m kicking off Offal week with an item I’ve shied from my whole life (despite my severe obsession with English food).  I haven’t seen kidneys around as much as some organ meats, and I was a little hesitant just because…well…kidneys make pee and that just sounds gross.  But hang with me, now.  We can get through this together…

Why Should I Eat It??

Kidneys have a metric asston of all your B-Vitamins (“asston” is a real unit of measure, btw), selenium, iron, phosphorous, and zinc.  There’s also a good dose of calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.  Not to mention these babies are CHEAP.

Flavor and Texture…What to Expect?

If you’ve ever had liver, you’ll be fine.  Kidneys, at least to me, were extremely similar to liver in texture and consistency–soft with a sort of “creamy” mouth-feel.  There are small pockets of fat–never an issue for me–and the whole thing is made up of little bulbs of meat you have to separate before cooking.  There are also some tubes running through them and admittedly that weirded me out a bit but if you cut them up to cook you’ll never notice.  As far as taste goes, it definitely tasted more beef-y than liver, which should be a good thing.  The cooked texture is a little more firm than liver but shares that “creamy” quality.

Special Instructions…

As I mentioned before, kidneys are extremely similar to liver in texture and consistency, so I treat them the same when cooking.  Keep the cuts thin and make sure not to put them over heat that’t too high to avoid charring them.

Today’s Recipe:  Steak and Kidney Pie

INGREDIENTS

1 lb Beef Stew Meat

1 lb Beef Kidneys, cleaned and separated

1 Onion, chopped

2 c Sliced Mushrooms

4 Thick Slices Bacon, diced

2 c Beef Stock

2 T Coconut Aminos

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 T Arrowroot Powder

Crust:

1/2 Large Head Cauliflower

1/4 c Flax Meal

1/4 c Almond Meal

2 Eggs + 1 Egg Yolk

1 t Salt

1 t Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large skillet or pot, brown the stew meat and kidneys in some olive oil over medium-high heat.  Set Aside.

Add the bacon to the drippings and cook until browned, then add the onions and mushrooms.  Saute until onions are translucent.  Add the stock and coconut aminos, scraping down the sides of the pan.  Whisk in the arrowroot powder and reduce heat.  Continue to stir the gravy until thickened.

For the crust, grate the cauliflower and place in a microwave-safe dish.  Nuke for 4-6 minutes, or until soft.  Allow to cool, then add the eggs, flax, almond flour, and seasoning.

In a 3 QT dish, combine the stew meat, kidneys, gravy, and vegetables.  Stir to coat the meat with all the gravy, then spoon the crust on top to cover.

Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 35-45 minute, until crust is browned.