Crown Roast of Pork

HAPPY EASTER!

Turkey at Thanksgiving. Prime rib at Christmas. Brisket at Hanukkah. Ham at Easter. Candy at Halloween. Holiday food pairings make each separate celebration special—and something special we look forward to each year.  One reason ham became the meat of choice for Easter dinner is because it was available. Historically, pigs were slaughtered in fall and cured over the winter. They were ready to eat once spring arrived and the Lenten fast ended. Today ham is available year-round and while Brion loves pork chops, ham is definitely not a meat he enjoys. Enter the pork crown roast ….

With its skyward-reaching ribs, a regal crown roast makes a stunning Easter dinner centerpiece.

Charred sticks of bone jutting from a wreath of fork-tender meat make this main seem medieval – as well as fit for a king and queen. There’s just something about a crown roast that makes it look like it belongs in the center of a long table in the dining room of a drafty castle filled with tapestries and enormous fireplaces.

The presentation is solely for appearance. If you can roast a turkey, you can prepare a majestic crown roast of pork.

Marinate the roast overnight or season it simply with salt and pepper, then tuck it into the oven. The interior space of the crown is a perfect spot for stuffing, making a beautiful presentation. Set it on a bed of greens or herbs, tuck in a few cranberries & persimmon slices around the rim and there you have it! Carving a crown roast is no more effort than slicing straight down between the rib bones.

Crown roast of pork is made from the rib portion of the loin. The meatiest part of the ribs forms the stable base of the crown. Common fears with making any roast are overcooking and drying it out or cooking it unevenly. If you roast a crown roast in a low & slow oven, you can get the entire roast pretty much exactly at the proper temperature from edge to center.

To enjoy with our meal, I’ve added some spiced cranberries. Now this is not just your basic cranberry sauce. Brion came home with a spiced cranberry liqueur to try so I couldn’t resist putting some in the cranberries. Wow, what an upgrade!

The distillery it comes from is located in the heart of Barrhead, Alberta. ‘West of the 5th’ was started by brothers Nathan and Caleb on their family farm in 2018. The family grows over 10-acres of fresh fruits to be used as flavoring in their award-winning moonshines. In just four short years of operating the distillery, the brotherly band have brought home five provincial recognition awards for their spirits.

With that being said, let’s enjoy & appreciate our Easter meals as we anticipate spring & the coming of a new season.

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Crown Roast of Pork
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Roast
  • 4-5 kg (13 Ribs) pork crown roast Frenched & prepped by butcher or yourself if you prefer.
Savory Stuffing
Fingerling Potatoes
Baby Carrots
Snow Peas
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Roast
  • 4-5 kg (13 Ribs) pork crown roast Frenched & prepped by butcher or yourself if you prefer.
Savory Stuffing
Fingerling Potatoes
Baby Carrots
Snow Peas
Votes: 1
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Instructions
Marinade
  1. The night before roasting meat, combine all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Spread marinade generously over entire roast, including bottom & between rib bones. Place roast in a large dish, cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate overnight.
Spiced Cranberries
  1. In a medium nonstick saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Lower heat & cook until reduced & slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, take out cinnamon sticks & cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Stuffing
  1. Peel & cook potatoes, drain & mash. Set aside. Chop veggies. In a saucepan, melt butter & sauté veggies with herbs, salt & pepper. Remove from heat; combine with bread cubes, mashed potatoes & chicken broth. Add only enough chicken broth until it is moist but not mushy or falling apart. Mine usually takes the whole 2 cups. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Cooking Crown Roast
  1. Remove marinated roast from refrigerator & allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 F. Adjust oven rack to a lower position. Place the roast on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking pan. Transfer to oven & roast until internal temperature reaches 160 F , about 8 hours. Remove from oven.
  3. Increase oven temperature to 350 F.
  4. Fill the center of the crown with prepared stuffing, mounding it slightly. Return roast to oven & roast until both roast & stuffing are browned & crispy on the exterior, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, tent with foil, allow to rest for 15 minutes as it reaches the internal temperature of 165 F.
  5. Remove strings & carve by slicing in between each rib & serve with pork gravy & spiced cranberries. If you have extra stuffing, bake for about 30 minutes in a buttered casserole dish for a future meal.
Roasting Veggies
  1. While the crown roast is cooking, prepare veggies. Since you are using a 'low & slow' cooking temperature it will be necessary to stove top 'roast' the potatoes & carrots.
Fingerling Potatoes
  1. Wash & place potatoes in a glass microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 8 minutes. Remove & allow to cool for a few minutes. Heat skillet to a medium heat & add butter. Sauté the potatoes & add seasonings to taste. Cook for about 6-8 minutes until the potatoes are softened & browned.
Baby Carrots
  1. Steam carrots in microwave for a few minutes to partially cook them. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add baby carrots, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are browned in spots & tender crisp, 6-8 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar & honey to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until liquid is syrupy & carrots are evenly coated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat & sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.
Snow Peas
  1. Rinse, drain & trim snow peas. Heat a skillet over medium high heat, about 2-3 minutes. Add the olive oil & trimmed pea pods. Move them around to coat in oil, let them sear for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid excessive browning. Add the minced garlic, stir again & let mixture become fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add the water & stir to move the snow peas around, Let the water evaporate & steam the pods, cooking them through, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Recipe Notes
  • Depending on the amount of people you are serving the roast to, the amounts of veggies may need to be increased.
  • Roasting at this low, slow temperature produces the most incredibly tender roast you could imagine. I always use this same theory when roasting baby back ribs & get super tender ribs as well.

Asiago Shrimp Risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that’s purely Italian in nature. Most traditionally made with Parmesan cheese, which is stirred in right at the very end of cooking to not only boost the rice’s creaminess but also lend its signature salty, nutty flavor to the dish. Don’t get caught up in tradition though, because risotto is one of the most flexible meals you can make.

While there is nothing wrong with Parmesan, the cheese possibilities for risotto are nearly endless and you quickly discover that the world of this comfort-food staple really has no boundaries.

Risotto is one of those gourmet meals that is really not difficult to make, and it doesn’t take long either. You can have it on the table in 30 minutes or less. It takes some work stirring — not the kind of stirring where you must stand at the stove and stir constantly. You can step away for brief moments, but you do want to do lots and lots of stirring. It’s the stirring that breaks up the starches in the rice and makes the risotto so incredibly wonderfully amazingly creamy.

This rich and creamy risotto with tender shrimp, uses Asiago over Parmesan cheese for a semisweet touch, plus tarragon and flat leaf parsley to give the dish some freshness.

Asiago is a whole milk cheese that originated in Northern Italy, around the Po River Valley where Italy borders Austria. Coming from the mountains, Asiago is similar to other mountain cheeses, such as Switzerland’s Gruyere or France’s Beaufort. Asiago is made in large wheels designed for long-term aging to get through tough winters. Dense and flavorful, Asiago’s flavor profile changes as time polishes the wheels over the course of several months or years. Taken from the milk of cows grazing on the grasses and wildflowers of the mountains, Asiago can have a fresh, fruity flavor or a savory, zesty taste on the palate.

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Asiago Shrimp Risotto
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Risotto
  1. Heat 1 tsp oil in a LARGE POT or DEEP SKILLET over high heat. Add bacon & cook until fairly crisp. Blot on paper towel & crumble. Transfer to a small microwave-proof bowl. Leave about 1 Tbsp bacon drippings in pot & discard the rest. Add mushrooms & cook until browned. Remove to a dish, set aside.
  2. Turn heat down to medium & return pot to the stove. Add butter & melt; then add garlic & onion. Sauté for 3 minutes or until softened. Turn up heat, add rice & stir until grains become partially translucent, about 1 minute (do NOT overcook).
  3. Add wine & cook, scraping the bottom of the pot to get any brown bits, about 2 minutes. Turn down heat to medium-low; add about 3 cups of chicken stock. Leave, uncovered, stirring just once or twice, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Check firmness of rice & add 1/2 cup of broth at a time, stirring in between until absorbed & rice is cooked to YOUR taste.
Spicy Shrimp
  1. While the risotto is cooking, combine spice mix in a plastic bag. Add shrimp & shake to coat well. In a skillet, heat butter & olive oil; add shrimp & sauté for 2-3 minutes, just until cooked. Keep warm.
  2. Add the mushrooms back into the risotto towards the end, just to heat through. Right at the end when the risotto is ready, add a 'splash' more chicken broth to make the risotto slightly soupy, then take it off the stove.
  3. Add butter & Asiago cheese, then stir vigorously (this will activate the starch & make it super creamy). Add shrimp & gently stir to incorporate them into the risotto.
  4. Serve immediately. Garnish with reheated bacon & extra Asiago if you wish.

Orecchiette w/ Cheesy Chicken Meatballs

One thing Italians share with the rest of the world is their love for pasta. Pasta remains part of a rich tradition that impacts every corner of Italy, meshing with regional cultures and influencing local cuisine.

Orecchiette is a pasta specialty from the beautiful southeastern region of Puglia, down in Italy’s southern ‘heel’. It’s one of the country’s flattest and most fertile regions, with wheat and olive oil produced in abundance.

Orecchiette translates to ‘small ears’—a fitting name for a dome-shaped pasta that looks like tiny ears. This pasta has a thin, concave center, chewy edges, and a rough surface texture. Orecchiette require only three ingredients: hard wheat flour, water and salt.

Their particular shape, combined with the rough surface, makes it perfect for any kind of sauce, especially vegetable sauces.

With its deep-rooted history in the region, use of simple ingredients, and its convenient versatility, orecchiette has become a defining part not only of Puglia’s cuisine, but its culture, as well. And its popularity extends far beyond the region of Puglia.

I absolutely love orecchiette with its chewiness and nice ‘cupping’ ability. Pared with some cheesy meatballs, this meal is so good!

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Orecchiette w/ Cheesy Chicken Meatballs
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Pasta Sauce
Servings
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Pasta Sauce
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Instructions
Pasta
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta & cook until tender but still firm to the bite., stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Transfer pasta to a bowl & add the parmesan. Toss to lightly coat orecchiette, adding reserved pasta water, if needed to loosen pasta.
Meatballs
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a large baking sheet with foil & rub with oil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, Parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, egg & garlic. Season with salt & pepper. Form into 30-40 meatballs, then place on prepared baking sheet & bake until browned & cooked through about 25 minutes.
Pasta Sauce
  1. In a large pot, add chicken broth & tomatoes & bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer until tomatoes are soft. Remove from heat & add meatballs & pasta/cheese mixture. Combine grated mozzarella cheese with basil paste.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter a 9-inch baking dish.
  3. Place meatball/pasta mixture in baking dish & top with mozzarella cheese/basil mixture. Bake only until cheese is melted.

Shrimp Zucchini Boats

Fresh garden veggies are what summer is made for. Eating fresh and in season not only tastes amazing but is so enjoyable.

I’m sure everyone is well acquainted with the zucchini ‘boat‘ idea. Basically zucchini sliced in half lengthwise, hollowed out and filled with whatever you choose. I think incorporating the zucchini you scoop out into the filling is a good idea. This versatile veggie takes on the flavor of whatever your cooking, so the possibilities are endless.

For this recipe, I’m keeping it simple and filled the zucchini boats with rice and succulent pieces of marinated shrimp then topped them with parmesan cheese. I find the best zucchini to use is a medium size, about 8-10 inches in length. Zucchini that is smaller than that really tastes the best but should be saved for other recipes because their not big or sturdy enough to hold the filling. Those super large zucchinis are best for grating to add to baked goods like bread and muffins.

It seems like just about the time you think you made everything possible with this veggie, one more idea pops up. Yay zucchini!

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Shrimp Zucchini Boats
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
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Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Marinade
  1. In a container with a lid, place cleaned shrimp & remaining marinade ingredients. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Rice
  1. Cook rice in chicken broth until tender.
Zucchini
  1. Slice zucchinis in half lengthwise; scoop out centers, leaving 1/8-inch thick shells. Place in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  2. Chop zucchini flesh that was scooped out of centers. In a large skillet, melt butter; add chopped zucchini & sauté until tender crisp. Remove from heat & add cooked rice, garlic powder & some of the parmesan.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  4. Fill hollowed shells with rice mixture. Drain shrimp & place on top of rice mixture. Drizzle marinade over top of shrimp boats. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until shrimp is cooked & zucchini is tender crisp.

Scalloped Potatoes w/ Mushrooms

Every person who makes a homemade version of scalloped potatoes usually has had that recipe passed down to them from their mother, their mother’s mother or even further in their history, so the emotional attachment to the recipe immediately precludes any other scalloped potatoes from contention.

At an early age, I remember my mother ‘teaching‘ me the art of making scalloped potatoes. It came down to very thinly sliced potatoes sprinkled with flour, salt & pepper then covered with scalded milk and baked. I think it was dotted with butter and quite possibly topped with bread crumbs. For that matter, there might have even been a few thinly sliced onions involved but I have to admit, I’m a bit fuzzy on that. As plain and simple as it was, it tasted glorious to us.

This scalloped potato recipe starts with Yukon Gold potatoes. They have loads of great flavor and are a beautiful color both when they are raw as well as when they are cooked. For this particular recipe, keep the skin on the potato as it will add loads of fiber to the dish.

Food trends come and go and nothing highlights this more than looking up old recipes. Still eaten today, scalloped potatoes were the prolific side dish of the 1920s. Dairy was no longer rationed and the rich casserole took full advantage of this.

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Scalloped Potatoes w/ Mushrooms
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Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, place potatoes & cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered until tender, 8-12 minutes. Drain.
  2. In another saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms & onion; cook & stir 6-8 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish; set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk flour, broth & seasonings until smooth; stir into mushroom mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook & stir until sauce is thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream.
  5. Thinly slice potatoes. Arrange half of the potatoes in baking dish. Spread half of the hot mushroom sauce over top; sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese. Layer remaining potatoes , sauce & cheese & sprinkle with French Fried Onion Toppers if using.
  6. Bake, uncovered, until heated through & cheese is melted, 12-15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving. Top with sliced green onions to garnish.

Stuffed Pasta Shells w/ Wild Salmon, Leeks & Mushrooms

Some years ago I started using leeks and have never looked back since. Brion & I have never tired of that subtle flavor. When a recipe calls for leeks, it usually indicates to use the white and light green parts only and to either discard the ‘tough dark green tops’ or save them for another use.

So what are these ‘other uses’? Usually it refers to using the green tops as add-ins for soups or stock, only to be removed once they have imparted their wonderful layer of flavor and discarded.

When you think about it, we cook up all kinds of vegetables that are ‘tough’ to start out with yet end up nice and tender when cooked or braised. I find, using the dark green tops presents no issues, just cook them a bit longer than the tender leaves.

On the other hand, you can braise the dark green tops with some butter/olive oil, chicken or veg stock, minced garlic, dried chili flakes, salt & pepper & some lemon juice and make a great side dish to serve with fish or pasta etc.

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Stuffed Pasta Shells w/ Wild Salmon, Leeks & Mushrooms
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Instructions
Pasta & Filling
  1. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add pasta shells & cook 3 minutes less than the cooking time indicated on the package instructions. Drain pasta
  2. In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, saute chopped bacon until cooked. Remove from saucepan with a slotted spoon to a paper towel. Add leeks, garlic & mushrooms to bacon drippings. Sauté until leeks are soft; season with salt & pepper. Add salmon, gently combine & set aside.
Garlic Sauce
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add butter & olive oil. Once melted, add garlic then sauté until light golden brown, about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn. Sprinkle in flour; whisk & sauté for 1 minute. Slowly pour in chicken broth and milk while whisking until mixture is smooth. Season with salt & pepper then switch to a wooden spoon & stir constantly until mixture is thick & bubbly, 4-5 minutes.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat & stir in mozzarella cheese, garlic powder & parsley flakes until smooth. Taste then adjust salt & pepper if necessary.
Topping
  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add olive oil. Add breadcrumbs & cook, stirring until toasted & golden in color. Remove from heat & place in a small bowl; combine with parmesan cheese.
Assembly & Baking
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a 13 X 9-inch baking dish, spread a small amount of garlic sauce over the bottom. To filling mixture, add reserved bacon & enough garlic sauce to help the filling stick together.
  3. Divide filling between the 16 cooked pasta shells & place in baking dish. Top with any remaining garlic sauce then sprinkle topping over all.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes making sure not to overcook the salmon. Serve.

Chicken Legs w/ Mushroom Cornbread Stuffing

We tend to believe that if something takes more work, it automatically means that it has more value. Of course, anyone that follows this blog knows that I, being a ‘food industry’ person, quick isn’t generally what I’m all about. But in a world that thrives on making things complicated, dare to be simple some times. Enter the Stove Top Stuffing universe….

These chicken leg ‘quarters’ make such a nice meal when paired with stuffing. The smoky bacon flavor, the earthiness of the mushrooms as well as the slight sweetness of the cornbread stuffing complement each other well.

In a society that gravitates towards labels stamped with terms like organic or GMO-free, sometimes the simplicity of quick fix food can be a treat.

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Chicken Legs w/ Mushroom Cornbread Stuffing
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Instructions
  1. In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon to paper towel. Drain, reserving 2 Tbsp of drippings.
  2. Sauté celery & onion in drippings until tender. Add mushrooms, herbs & seasoning; cook & stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in stuffing mix, celery leaves, parsley & bacon. Add broth & gently combine. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 13" x 9" baking pan or line with greased foil paper.
  4. Wash & trim any excess fat from chicken leg quarters. Loosen skin over thighs to form pockets for the stuffing.
  5. Fill thigh 'pockets' with stuffing & place in baking pan. Place any remaining stuffing around the 2 leg quarters to bake at the same time. Cover with foil for about 30 minutes then uncover & finish roasting until chicken is cooked through & stuffing is lightly browned.

Swiss Chard & Smoked Sardine Quiche

Quiche is a very flexible dish that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner and allow you to use whatever ingredients you have on hand. As a substitute for spinach, swiss chard adds a tartness and texture that spinach lacks. The ribs are very flavorful and hold their shape in soups, sautés and gratins. Chopped or whole, smoked sardines add something really unique to this egg dish.

Several thousand years ago, people discovered that exposing fish to intense amounts of salt and smoke was a great way of preserving the catch for later. Today, our smoking techniques are considerably more refined, and we do it more for the flavor than as a means of preservation. Its a shame that more people don’t think to reach for smoked fish as an effortless way to add loads of flavor to foods they love.

Let’s face it …. sardines, you either love them or hate them. The name ‘sardines’ is said to originate from Sardinia, a Mediterranean island known for sardine fishing. The canning of sardines started around the early 18th century in Europe. Through the centuries, the popularity of canned sardines spread around the world.

While sardines get a bad rap for being too salty, mixing it with the right ingredients allows these briny flavors to add a lot of depth and bite to other seemingly bland ingredients.

This quiche recipe is full of smoky bacon & sardines, swiss chard, mushrooms, leeks and creamy grated cheese. It definitely changes up the way to eat smoked sardines, but of course, you have to like them to begin with.

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Swiss Chard & Smoked Sardine Quiche
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Filling
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Instructions
Rice Crust
  1. Pre-cook rice in broth (can be prepared the day before).
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  3. Lightly butter a 9-inch quiche pan. In a small bowl, combine 30 gm smoked cheddar cheese with cooked rice. Mix well; pat into quiche pan, working it up the sides. Bake for about 5 minutes; remove from oven & set aside.
Filling
  1. In a skillet, sauté bacon until cooked; remove from pan & set aside reserving bacon drippings. Remove stems from chard leaves; chop. Place stems in skillet. Chop chard leaves & set aside. Wash & thinly slice leek using about 1/2 of a leek (both white & green parts). Slice mushrooms & mince garlic.
  2. Heat bacon drippings in skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat & add chopped chard stems, mushrooms, garlic & leeks to pan; sauté 5 minutes. Add chard leaves to skillet; sauté until chard is wilted & no moisture remains, about 10 minutes. Stir in thyme, parsley, pepper, crumbled bacon. Remove from heat & cool slightly.
Assembly
  1. Spread filling mixture evenly over rice crust. Sprinkle with about half of the grated cheeses. Top with drained, smoked sardines ( slice horizontally in 1/2-inch slices). Whisk eggs & milk to combine; carefully pour over quiche. Top with remaining grated cheese.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes or until set. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.
  3. Nice to serve with tartar & seafood sauce.

Roasted Garlic Chicken w/ Asiago Gravy

Tender, juicy roasted chicken leg quarters are easy to prepare and delicious. The leg quarter is made up of the thigh, drumstick and part of the back of the chicken. It’s named a quarter because it consists of about a quarter of the whole bird. The dark meat takes well to roasting and yields moist and flavorful chicken.

Asiago has long been a favorite cheese of Brion & I. It is a brilliant cheese to bake into bread for a cheesy treat or grate over soft pretzels before baking. It also works particularly well with chicken dishes.

Asiago is a whole milk cheese that originated in Northern Italy, around the Po River Valley where Italy borders Austria. Coming from the mountains, Asiago is similar to other mountain cheeses, such as Switzerland’s Gruyere or France’s Beaufort. Asiago is made in large wheels designed for long-term aging to get through tough winters. Dense and flavorful, Asiago’s flavor profile changes as time polishes the wheels over the course of several months or years. Taken from the milk of cows grazing on the grasses and wildflowers of the mountains, Asiago can have a fresh, fruity flavor or a savory, zesty taste on the palate.

This is a very simple recipe but has an amazing flavor and is well worth trying, especially if your an Asiago lover.

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Roasted Garlic Chicken w/ Asiago Gravy
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Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, fry bacon, blot on paper towel & set aside. Add the seasoned chicken & brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. Set aside.
  2. Add onion, mushrooms & garlic to saucepan; sauté until tender crisp & lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in the thyme & flour; cook for a minute.
  4. Add the broth & deglaze the pan by scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a spoon while the broth is sizzling.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix asiago cheese into the sauce & season with salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Add the chicken, cover with a lid or foil & roast for 15 minutes. Alternately, you can turn heat down to a medium-low & simmer on top the stove for 15 minutes.
  7. Add crumbled bacon to sauce after roasting. Serve.

Leeks Cordon Bleu

As my love affair with leeks continues, I just can’t imagine what took me so long to try them. It’s amazing how many ways there are to use these giant ‘onions’.

The ‘cordon bleu’ idea has been around forever and generally it features a specific cut of meat stuffed with ham and cheese. In this recipe, the leeks are wrapped in Swiss cheese & Canadian bacon, then baked in a béchamel sauce and served over steamed rice.

Though ham and Canadian bacon look and taste remarkably similar, they’re not the same thing. Ham comes from the back legs, specifically the thighs and rear end, while Canadian bacon comes from the center of the pig’s back otherwise known as the eye of the pork loin.

There are a few names for Canadian bacon which include back bacon and pea meal bacon. During the early part of the last century, yellow peas were ground up and used to coat and cure pork loin. This became known as pea meal bacon. Once cornmeal became more readily available, it was swapped out for the pea meal.

Probably the bacon most people are familiar with is American bacon, which comes from the belly of the pig and tends to be much fattier …. hence the name ‘streaky bacon’.

I have to be honest, I’ve never been a bacon lover (which probably stems back to my Dad’s home cured version !!) but I did find this meal light and tasty.

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Leeks Cordon Bleu
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Cuisine American
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Instructions
  1. Remove roots, outer leaves & tops from leeks; leave 6-inches of each leek. Cut each in half crosswise. Steam, covered 8 minutes or until tender. Wrap each leek half in 1 piece of cheese & top with 4 pieces of Canadian bacon. Place leeks in an 8-inch square baking dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  3. Place flour in a small saucepan; add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Stir in broth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook 6 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat & season with salt & pepper. Pour sauce over leeks & sprinkle with panko crumbs.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Serve over steamed rice.