Sunday, October 14, 2012

Product Review: Sorry, Porky, but you're going on the dinner plate

Time to put on my Kitchen Science Lab hat and think up a tasty recipe using pork and Chipotle Apple Butter from FireFood. Pork and apples have been paired together forever, but I want to do something a little bit non-traditional and stir up the tastebuds.

So here's my idea- in Iowa we have a local restaurant that claims to have invented something called Chicken Spiedini. I have no idea if they really did or not, but I'm going to borrow their idea and switch it up quite a bit. My first course of action was to find the right hunk of pork so a lean boneless sirloin roast was what I went with.

Next I have to to cook it, incorporating these flavors and still keep the textural contrasts I'm looking for. Assess the heat level in the apple butter. We like it HOT at our house so I may need to bump up the heat if it's more on the mild side. Side dishes......I can't just plunk a pile of meat down on the table and call it dinner...... Then there is the unexpected secret ingredient, which is where the spiedini idea came into play- the Panko with Habanero and Onion.

Spicy Apple Pork Skewers with Habanero Crust

lean boneless pork - I used sirloin roast
Chipotle Apple Butter
cooking oil
salt, pepper
big pinch crushed thyme
big pinch crushed oregano leaves
good olive oil
package Panko with Habanero and Onion (from FireFood)

Cube the pork into 2 inch cubes, season with salt and pepper and set aside in a large resealable bag.
In small bowl combine 1/4 cup apple butter, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3-4 cloves finely minced garlic and herbs and mix well, reserve half the marinade for later and pour rest over pork in the bag, press out as much air as possible, marinate in fridge at least an hour.

Drain pork from marinade and discard. Thread onto skewers. Place pork on lightly oiled sheet pan, brush liberally with reserved marinade.

Broil until marinade is starting to caramelize and pork is browning nicely (watch carefully !!) Turn skewers over, again brush liberally with marinade and broil until ALMOST done. Remove from oven sprinkle the Panko with Habanero and Onion over the skewers, drizzle with a little olive oil or melted butter (NOT margarine) and return to broiler until crust is golden brown and meat is cooked thoroughly.

Sides....... I went with oven roasted potatoes with onions and herbs. Simple, homey and didn't take away from the boldness of the meat skewers.

Now, let's talk about the chipotle apple butter and the panko.  As you know, we've already made pizza from FireFood's habanero pizza sauce and tested the chipotle cranberry jam on a turkey panini. When I opened the apple butter it looked just like every other jar of apple butter, but when I tasted it to check heat level and see if I might wanna boost it up a little- holy cow, that chipotle brought more heat to the party than I was expecting. No more heat needed there. And the panko, again, they look like harmless little bread crumbs and I expected the onion to be overpowered by the habanero but that was not the case. The crunchy, nutty little nuggets carry a nice pop of pepper and a very forward onion taste- absolutely delish. This is Shake and Bake for grownups ! This would make a great breading for hot chicken nuggets or maybe crunchy boneless wings with some Franks added to an egg wash. I see lots of possibilities for this yummy product, and hope to try more varieties soon !!

Seriously, if you like spicy foods, you really need to check out FireFood. They have so many awesome products to choose from. I'd love to hear from you guys after you've tried them !

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