11.21 – Not-Thanksgiving Competitive Feast

Just in time for the holidays –

My little brother is in town for the weekend, and we thought a little Resch Family competition would be fun.

After hours of deliberation, the only inspiration we could come up with for a competition theme was “the holidays.”  Thanksgiving is, of course, our favorite meal of the year, and it seems the promise of Turkey to come was just too distracting for us.

On the other hand, we did not want to cook the same things we’ll eat all over again on Thursday, so we settled on Opposite Thanksgiving:

~Appetizers~
Dueling holiday spreads, one cranberry sauce and one green pepper jelly over cream cheese
Cranberry sauce was made by our guest Chef, Jamie.

~Main~
Southern braised kale and collards (to avoid our desire to roast brussel sprouts)
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with brown butter and sage (to avoid making mashed potatoes)
Dueling stuffed pork loins (it is the other white meat)
> Katie’s Pork with sausage, sourdough and cranberry stuffing
> Will’s Pork with goat cheese and apple stuffing
Milk Gravy

~Dessert~
Homemade biscuits (also courtesy of our guest Chef, Jamie)
With strawberries and honey ice cream

Katie’s Pork
—————
For the stuffing –
6 slices stale sourdough bread, torn into 1/4″ pieces (you can toast if bread is not stale enough)
1 small white onion, finely diced
1 rib celery, finely minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2lb hot pork sausage, casing removed
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
3 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup (1 handful) dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste

To be stuffed –
2lb pork loin, butterflied
garlic powder and paprika
salt and pepper
kitchen twine

In a skillet, saute onion and celery in oil about 5 minutes until translucent.  Add sausage and brown using a fork to break up the pieces.  Add sage and rosemary and breadcrumbs and toss a few minutes to toast bread.  Add chicken stock and stir until all stock is adsorbed.  Add cranberries, salt and pepper and turn off heat.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Let stuffing cool to room temperature before stuffing pork.

Unroll pork loin and season with salt and pepper on the inside.  Add a 1/2″ layer of stuffing on top of pork, leaving a little space at the edges to avoid over-flow.  Roll up pork and secure with twine.  Place is a shallow baking dish and season the top with garlic powder and paprika.

Bake at 300 degrees until the center reaches 155.  It should take a little over an hour.  Cover and let stand for 20 minutes before carving.

Will’s Pork
—————
For the stuffing –
1 8oz block of herb-ed goat cheese (we like herbs and garlic), at room temperature
1 honey crisp apple,finely diced
1 shallot finely minced

To be stuffed –
2lb pork loin, butterflied
Paprika
salt and pepper
kitchen twine

Unroll pork and season with salt and pepper on the inside. Spread an even coat of goat cheese on the inside of the pork, leaving a little space at the edges.  Add apple and shallot, roll up and secure with kitchen twine.

Place in a shallow baking dish and season the outside with paprika.

Bake at 300 degrees until the center reaches 155 degrees.  It should take a little over an hour.  Cover and let stand for 20 minutes before carving.

Milk Gravy
—————
This is a very simple gravy for meats that do not let off much drippings.
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup milk
Splash of dry vermouth (I used Calvados for a fall kick)
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Add chicken stock to a medium sauce an.  In a bottle with a tight-fitting lid, combine all other ingredients and shake to combine.

Whisk flour solution into chicken stock and turn on heat to medium high.

Continue to whisk until gravy just starts to boil and is thickened.  Turn off heat and adjust seasoning as needed.

Results
—————
Tonight’s guest, Adam, introduced a new strategy, and completed his first helping while waiting in line at the buffet for #2.  He completed a solid 4th helping for the win as I finished the dishes.  A huge success.

Will’s pork won by one vote (mine), so the jury is nearly out on which cuisine reigns supreme.  I recommend you cook both yourself and decide.

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