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My muffin tins were too big so these aren't all that popoverish in their look.

After a brief medically (and Olympically) induced hiatus, I am back and feeling blogerrific!  I am marking my return with a classic, yet slightly modified, recipe after having scoured the internet trying to find a blueberry popover recipe and discovering weird things like large pseudo-popover cakes cut into wedges and other things with a lot of sugar that look like muffins – none of which, in my book, constitutes a popover.

A popover is basically an easier-to-make cousin of Yorkshire Pudding.  And when I say easier-to-make, what I mean is, if you will recall from my post on the YP topic, you don’t need to fill your tins with scalding hot fat.  No sirree. You can just grease them like you would for muffins. Far less risk of hot fat induced burns, or splattering fat spraying around in your oven causing a smoky cloud to erupt when you finally open the door and pollute your house with the stench of burning oil for days and days and days and da … but I digress.

After my lengthy and largely unsuccessful google search for a recipe for blueberry popover that was, in fact, a popover, I remembered that I have a whole giant cupboard of cookbooks in my house.  Within 1 minute of perusing my beautiful library, I determined that the best route to go would be to make a classic popover recipe and add blueberries.  So that is what I did.

I used the recipe from Bernard Clayton Jr.’s “The Complete Book of Breads” (Simon & Schuster, New York, ©1973). The book was written the year I was born, so it must be good (crap, I think I just told y’all how old I am).  Here’s the link to the New and Improved version which I’ve never seen and can’t vouch for. I really couldn’t improve on this recipe except that I had to modify it slightly by adding blueberries (to be true to the National Blueberry Popover Day) and to slightly increase the flour to adjust for the liquid from the berries.  The popovers were light and moist in texture, not too sweet and the blueberries were a really lovely addition.  I include Clayton Jr.’s writeup on popovers ’cause I can’t say it any better:

POPOVERS [a dozen or so]

Popovers are unpredictable. Popovers are good to eat. There isn’t very much to a popover. It is an ungainly-looking device for getting butter, jams, jellies and honey into the mouth. The popover owes it all to steam levitation. It is done without yeast or chemicals of any kind. Only steam raises it high, and then drops it into a clumsy shape. Popovers are good to eat. There should be at least one popover recipe in every home baker’s repertoire. This is a good one.

1 c. all-purpose flour (sift before measuring) [If making blueberry popovers, add 1/6 – 1/4 extra flour]

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. melted butter or salad oil

1 cup milk, room temperature

2 large eggs

[1 c. blueberries]

Preheat oven to 400°. Mix flour in a bowl with salt and sugar. Add butter or oil, milk and eggs, and beat … until very smooth [Ed. note: a lot of notes here about using blender, electric-mixer, etc. I just used my trustworthy and much-loved whisk.]

Fill well-greased cups [either muffin tins, popover tins, custard cups, etc.] half full with batter. [Sprinkle each one liberally with fresh blueberries.]

Bake in 400° oven 40 mins. for a dark brown shell with a moist interior. Bake in 375° oven 50-55 mins. for a light popover with a drier inside.  Keep door of oven closed during the bake period to prevent a collapse under a draft of cold air. [I went with the 400° option with good results].

Remove popovers from the oven. Turn from the pans and serve hot. Prick the popovers with a skewer if you like a dry interior. Leave them in the turned-off oven, door slightly ajar, for 8 to 10 minutes.

Bon appetit 🙂

B

p.s. We had B.L.T.s for dinner and here’s a picture for the shameless bacon-eaters!

Double-smoked bacon ends from Red Barn

It’s Bean Day, also National Shortbread Day (are you kidding?? In JANUARY???).  The problem is, I’m from Alberta.  And despite everything I’ve told you, about shameless bacon eaters and the like, I believe that beans are best served as baked beans.  With pork.  You heard me.

You know how I feel about pork, you shameless bacon eaters.  I think it’s disgusting.  But, but, I understand the porky allure of baked beans.  Just can’t eat ‘em.

I was sitting in a pub tonight, watching the tragic World Juniors 2010 game between Canada and U.S.

You know if I say “tragic,” we didn’t win.

* sigh*

I even wore my Team Canada jersey.

* sigh *

Jim says we (Canada) played a better game than the U.S.  Hint to husbands, boyfriends, and sports fans everywhere.  If I put on the jersey, leave work early, and meet you at the pub, do not, do not talk down to me, tell me how it is, use a condescending tone, or otherwise make me feel unworthy when I venture a comment about the game.  I may very well wipe the floor with your face.

Discuss

Nonetheless, Della was there too, and I proposed to her my idea that beans are best baked with pork.  And she said, “well, actually, with fat.”  And I was all, “hmmm, but really rich fat, so, like, chicken fat wouldn’t do.”  And then it dawned on me.

Duck fat baked beans. OH. MY. GOD.

Della has leftover duck fat from Champagne, Duck and Oyster day.  She has also taken this as a throwdown, and has resolved to prove to me that baked beans do not require pork to be tasty.

Me?  I’m all in.  Bring it on (please?)

In the meantime, for your dining pleasure:

“White” Navy Bean and Chicken Chili

  • 1 ½ C dried navy beans
  • 1 lb extra-lean ground chicken
  • 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 rib celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled & grated
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp (hot) smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 C chicken stock (approx)
  • 1 tsp dried epazote or oregano
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 28-oz can tomatillos, drained & chopped
  • ⅓ C pickled jalapenos, diced
  • 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, finely diced
  • cheddar, green onions, cilantro, lime wedges, Liberty yoghurt
  1. In a medium pot, cover the navy beans with 4 C cold water and bring to boil over high heat.  Remove from heat immediately, cover, and set aside for 1 hour.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic.  Sauté until the onions are translucent, then add the ground chicken, stirring rapidly to break it apart.

    Add the smoked paprika

  3. Season with smoked paprika and salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until browned.
  4. Deglaze with 1/2 C of the chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up all of those delicious browned bits on the bottom.  Pour into a slow cooker or a large stock pot.
  5. Drain the beans, and add them to the chicken.  Add enough chicken stock to cover the beans (approximately1 ½ cups more).  Add the epazote or oregano, coriander and cumin.
  6. I suggest using a slow cooker for this part; then you can just walk away.  If using a slow cooker, cook on high heat 2-3 hours or until beans are softened.  A stock pot will also work just fine; you just have to stir from time to time: cook on medium-low 1-2 hours or until beans are softened.
  7. Only when beans are the correct consistency, add tomatillos, pickled jalapenos and diced peppers.  Cook another 1-1 ½ hours or until thickened. (Here’s the deal: dried beans have much more texture than canned.  They should have a firm “bite”, without being crunchy. One step more than al dente. Here’s another deal: do not add anything acidy, like vinegar, molasses, lime juice, etc., OR salt, until the beans are cooked.  If you add acid or salt, the beans won’t soften. This means you can cook them for days and they’ll still be crunchy.  Uck. I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation for this, isn’t there Janelle?)
  8. Serve with shredded cheddar, green onions, cilantro, lime wedges, and Liberty yoghurt, if desired.

If you can't find tomatillos, use tomatoes. Tomatillos are tangy-er but really, it's all about the simmer (just don't add them too soon)!

No duck fat, but tasty nonetheless.  Jim and I had chili for dinner, then for lunch the next day.  I served it with a yummy beer oat bread (good use of leftover beer from book club “beer tasting” night).

xx Eva