Hambone Soup

We interrupt the continuation of the campfire cooking series for this little tidbit of love.  While visiting my mother recently I was greeted with a fresh country ham.  Woo-wee.  It’s one of my favorite ways to get my nitrates in.  And while the ham was great and still keeps on giving (down to the last couple pounds of it as of this post), the inedible parts are what yielded perhaps the tastiest eats. 

Since many of you will by slaying hams for Thanksgiving, and many will have  a large hambone that you won’t have any idea what to do with, I had to notify you of this before it was too late.

I don’t have a video for you regrettably, but this is how I made this truly outstanding and incredibly flavorful soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 hambone, preferably with at least a little meat left on it
  • 4 cans of white Northern beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 4 cups mirepoix – that’s carrots, celery, and onions
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Salt and Tabasco to season (unless using country ham, in which case it will already be as salty as seawater)
  • Bundle of thyme sprigs tied together with a little kitchen twine
  • Lots of water

Directions:

  1. In a pot big enough to handle your hambone (ideally you would hack it into reasonable-sized pieces with a cleaver, but not every0ne has such a complete kitchen arsenal) sweat the mirepoix for a half hour in the butter until nice and soft and maybe a little brown color on it.
  2. Add hambone and thyme sprigs
  3. Cover with water until everything is totally submerged
  4. Add white beans
  5. Bring to a boil, skim some of the scum and fat off of the surface, and simmer for at least 2 hours uncovered
  6. Season if necessary with salt and Tabasco sauce
  7. A little splash of vinegar at the end may be needed to brighten up the flavors a bit, particularly if you are using very salty country ham

*This soup would also take kindly to some fresh, chopped, bitter greens being added a half hour before the soup is done – like turnip greens, kale, or collards. 

All things considered though, not much can compare to the rich, flavorful, gelatinous goodness of hambone soup.  Yee-haw!

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Proscuitto and Pave D’Affinois Sandwich

I call this badboy the glorified ham n’ cheese.  This was a tasty breakfast of mine while on a recent trip to New York City. 

During this trip, I kinda fell in love with food all over again.  I realized just how much good stuff I’ve been missing out on living in the middle of nowhere in Colorado.  In fact, this video features what is my all-time favorite rind-ripened soft cheese – Pave D’Affinois.  As you can see in the video, the texture is amazing.  So soft.  It makes Velveeta seem dry. 

Anyway, look forward to a lot more action coming up in the next couple of months at the 180 Kitchen blog.  I’m pumped about making good food right now and am filming several videos a week that will be coming out very soon – including some great photos of food I had in New York…

Published in: on September 28, 2010 at 2:16 pm  Comments (7)  
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Homemade Sausage

If you like MSG, nitrates, refined sugar, and “natural flavors,” well then hey, just buy some sausage at the store! 

Unfortunately, even most local farmers and ranchers that have the local meat processing plant make sausage out of their meat have these nasty ingredients added to it.  I find any sausage or processed meat to be a one-way ticket to indigestion and that headachy, sluggish feeling of having consumed way too many additives.

This homemade sausage, which takes all of 5 minutes and just a few dollars to make, will divorce you from the bad habit of buying pre-made sausages forever.  There are very few things you can make in your home kitchen that are more versatile, cheap, easy to make, and popular amongst friends and family members than this simple homemade sausage.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part ground pork to 1 part ground fatty beef (73% lean used in the video below) – a pound of each makes a big batch. 2 pounds of each like I do in the video makes a monster batch!
  • Fat wad of fresh-chopped oregano (dried will do, but is not even close to as tasty)
  • Several minced garlic cloves or 2T of garlic powder
  • Spicy Italian chile flakes or cayenne pepper to desired spiciness
  • Pinch of cumin or fennel seeds (optional)
  • Pinch of chili powder or mild dried red chiles (optional)
  • Lots of salt

Directions:

  1. Mix it all up
  2. Cook a small piece to make sure the sausage is both spicy and salty enough to taste Juuusssst right. 

Cook with eggs for breakfast, eat patties as a full-on meat portion, make “dirty rice,” and whatever else you have to do to enjoy this sausage.  Most of this sausage batch made it on top of 2 nasty-good homemade pizzas covered with all kinds of junk for a small Toy Story party we hosted the other night.  Yeah, I’m really that lame in real life.  Sausage video below:

Money Spice

I hated to keep glossing over this easy seasoning mix, because it is amazing and I abuse it – including in an upcoming video/post for blackened filet later this month. 

I did a quick version of it in my ribs video a while back, but here is a quick post dedicated exclusively to this magical blend.

Ingredients:

1) Sea salt (roughly 40%)

2) Paprika (roughly 30%)

3) Cayenne pepper (roughly 15%)

4) Garlic powder (roughly10%)

5) Dried oregano leaf (roughly 5%) 

Mix ’em all together and use on:

Homemade french fries, air-popped popcorn, seafood, steamed and sauteed vegetables, meats – for both seasoning and blackening and as a dry rub for broiled meats like ribs. 

Using it as a blackening spice for blackened filet mignon is coming up next!

Baby Back Ribs

There is little in life that I enjoy more than ribs. Yes, I admit, much has to do with the sweetness of the sauce – which takes an otherwise good chunk of tasty, fatty meat and makes it like sheer crack cocaine.  But I have some good remedies for that: make your own sauce and make it REALLY spicy.

Here is a short video on how I prepare the ribs. Note: in the video I do make an error – the time and temperature required for making perfect ribs. In the video I mention that the ribs will be done in a few hours at 275F. Even at sea level, it would probably still take 4 hours at 275F. To make sure your ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, in hindsight I would have recommended to cook them for at least 4 hours at 300 degrees F.

Anyway, really, really tasty stuff – especially during American Football playoff season. I will shred at least a half dozen slabs of ribs, this batch included, by the time the Super Bowl rolls around. Give these a try someday when you need to heat your house and you’re in need of an air-freshener that makes you salivate. Share them with friends, or people that you would like to be your friends. Works every time. It’s like giving bacon to a dog, or chocolate to your grandkids.

Homemade barbecue sauce recipe follows:

Chipotle barbecue sauce (monster batch)

Ingredients:

1 can chipotle peppers en adobo sauce

2 regular-sized cans of tomato paste

½ cup honey

½ cup molasses

½ yellow onion, peeled and cut into 2 or 3 chunks

6T mild chili powder and/or Hungarian paprika

6 whole garlic cloves, peeled

6 Bay leaves (optional)

¼ cup apple cider, balsamic, or rice wine vinegar

Sea salt to taste

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together well and simmer on low heat for at least an hour – preferably longer. Add water if consistency if too thick. Remove lid to allow excess water vapor to escape if too soupy.

When it’s finished I don’t even bother straining it or attempting to fish out bay leaves before pureeing it, but you can if you want to. I just scoop around the whole chunks of onion, garlic, and chipotles.

Note that these amounts are not set in stone, they are just ballpark estimates. Tweak the flavors to your liking. A good barbecue sauce is smoky, spicy, and has a sweet n’ sour tang to it – a synergy of tomato, vinegar, and the added sweeteners.

This is sauce is very high in sugar, so don’t abuse it. It’s damn good though and beats sauces with too many chemical flavor enhancers and enough HFCS to ruin your day.

Bacon-Wrapped Tenderloin

I hated to torment you guys with this impressive display of yumminess, but the urge to do so overwhelmed any and every moral I may possess. 

Unfortunately, the video I filmed last night came out sideways.  Bummer.  It was good (I’ll update this post if I can figure out how to fix it).  No matter, the process of wrapping some cow with some pig  just ain’t that difficult of a concept to understand. 

First you get yourself a whole tenderloin, trimming it up by removing some of the hard, exterior fat and removing sinews.   This takes practice, but isn’t rocket science.  It’s not unlike whittling a stick really.   

Next, you cut off the thin tail and trim up the bulky ‘head’ so that the whole tenderloin is close to uniform in size.

From there you:

1) Season tenderloin with plenty of salt and pepper, or in my case, paprika, cayenne, sea salt, and garlic powder mixed together in a “blackening spice.”

2) Lay out enough bacon strips to span the length of the tenderloin.

3) Place the tenderloin on top of the bacon strips.

4) Wrap the bacon strips snugly around the beef, not too tight or too loose, and pin each bacon strip with a toothpick or metal pin such as the kind I have in the pics.

5) Throw the whole beast on a barbecue grill, browning all the bacon on the exterior (you could bake this at very high heat if you prefer). 

6) Cook very slowly on a rack above the grill or in the oven until the meat just begins to tighten.

7) Let sit, away from the heat, for 30 minutes (called “resting,” it allows the center of the meat to get nice and warm, cooking it evenly, without the exterior getting overcooked).

8 ) Reheat for 10 minutes in the oven at say, 400 degrees F. 

9) Remove toothpicks.

10) Slice into nice portions and serve. 

Here are the photos of this amazing concoction, served with a Yukon Gold potato and Yam gratin and Caesar salad with homemade croutons and dressing. 

As always, click on the photos to enlarge.