All posts by David Farrell

Peppered Salmon

This is a special occasion dinner for She Who Must Be Obeyed and me. It is like smoked salmon but sweet and peppery. I knock most of the peppercorns off before eating. They give a nice flavour to the salmon but that much pepper is hard on a fat old guy’s constitution.

The missus leaves them on but she is tougher than me.

I have posted how I prepared the dish in my smoker at Smoking Meat Forums. The link is:

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/150684/peppered-salmon-for-canadian-thanksgiving

You can also make it in your barbecue by cooking it over indirect heat with wood chips in a smoker box or soaked and sprinkled over the coals or burners. If you use a barbecue, it will take a lot less time and won’t be as smoky.

You can also make it in the oven by matching the temperatures I used in the smoker. It will still have a nice flavour from the brine, honey and peppers but the lovely smokiness will be missing.

The Old Fat Guy

Pork Roast and Roast Potatoes, How Long Does a Good Meal Take?

We found a 750 gram (2 pound) boneless pork rib roast on sale at our local supermarket. She Who Must Be Obeyed said she wanted roast potatoes with gravy. This raised several problems:

• A pork rib roast has very little fat.
• Roast potatoes require fat to brown up.
• Gravy requires drippings to make a great gravy flavour.

However, considering how much the missus has done for me, the least I could do was fulfill her wishes. Continue reading Pork Roast and Roast Potatoes, How Long Does a Good Meal Take?

Bacon on a Stick

This is a recipe that was inspired by several postings on Smoking Meat Forums. It is spareribs  cured like bacon and glazed like ham to make Bacon On A Stick. It has the great texture of ribs, the wonderful taste of bacon and the sweet crust of ham. Who could ask for more! Well, actually, everyone asks for more of these.

It uses regular spareribs and cures them like you would ham or bacon. The ribs are cured by putting them in a brine recipe that includes curing salts. These are also known as pink salt, Instacure 1, Prague Powder 1 and several other names. The main thing is to make sure it is 93.75% salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite. Too much or too little is bad for your health so use the exact amount in the recipe.

I posted a detailed process of how I prepared these in Smoking Meat Forums and the link is:

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/151369/first-bacon-on-a-stick

I used a smoker but you could make this in the oven and get almost as good a result. Just put the ribs in the oven at the temperatures noted in the recipe instead of the smoker.

The Verdict

You have to try these. They are sweet, salty, tender and just so good. Make sure you let your guests know they are pink like ham because they are cured and not because they are under cooked and enjoy!

The Old Fat Guy

Gumbo from Canada

It is cold here. There is snow on the ground. I made andouille the other day. Conditions were perfect for making gumbo!

This Cajun dish is delicious. A touch of spice, a deep dark texture and a mixture of shellfish, chicken and andouille. While I love this version, I apologize to all of Louisiana for my corruption of their recipe.

A video of me cooking this dish is embedded at the bottom of the post.

The ingredients required are:

  • 3/8 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cups diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/8 cup (1 ounce) soy sauce
  • 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 1/4 pound Andouille sausage, diced (may substitute garlic sausage)
  • 1/3 pound prawns, shelled, deveined
  • 1 /2 pound scallops

Cook the flour in a heavy pot (a thin one will burn the flour) over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is a light tan colour. Remove from the heat and stir in the oil. Cover the pot and put it on the lowest rack of a 350 F oven for 35 minutes to darken the roux (the mixture of oil and flour).

Stir the roux and put over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper and celery and stir frequently until the vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic, thyme, cayenne and 1/2 tablespoon flour. Stir until you can smell the garlic and thyme. Add tomatoes and cook for a minute or two.

Slowly add chicken broth while stirring thoroughly. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Add the soy sauce. Add the chicken and simmer for 30 minutes.

At this point, I allow it to cool and put it in the fridge so I can finish it quickly later. You don’t have to let it cool and can continue to finish the gumbo.

Stir the andouille into the gumbo and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the prawns and scallops and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve it over cooked rice and bow to the south to thank the Cajuns who invented this great dish!

The Old Fat Guy

Canadian Andouille

I love smoked cured sausage but it is so high in fat. At least the stuff I make myself is a little lower in salt and fat.

Andouille is made in different ways in countries around the world. My recipe is based on a Cajun style adjusted for my mild Canadian taste buds. It is moderately spicy with a nice onion, garlic finish.
If you would like to see more details on how I made it, you can seem my post on the Smoking Meat Forums. The link is:

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/152882/canadian-andouille#post_1095056

It looks complicated but all you really do is cube some pork, season it, grind it, stuff it and smoke it. If you don’t have a smoker, you can make it by putting it in a 180 F oven instead of the smoker. It will be good but that smoke flavour really adds to it.

The Old Fat Guy

Scalloped Potatoes, My Way

I had to make scalloped potatoes when I made the smoked pork picnic shoulder last night.

Scalloped potatoes were always served as a special occasion dish when I was growing up. They still seem like a real treat.

A word on peeling potatoes. I am against it if at all possible. Potato skins taste great, have a lot of nutrients and add colour to the dish. Scrub your potatoes well and you don’t need to peel them.

You will need the following to make scalloped potatoes for four.

For the Cheese Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 dashes hot pepper sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

For the Casserole:

  • 3 cups potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes), thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 cup onion, coarsely chopped

Start by making the Cheese sauce. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. When it is melted, add the flour and stir until well blended. Gradually add the milk and stir until the mixture thickens. Add the cheeses and stir until melted. Add the salt, dry mustard, hot pepper sauce and black pepper. Stir until blended. Remove from heat and set aside.

Now, start putting the casserole together. Put 1/3 of the potatoes in a greased 10 inch casserole. Put 1/3 of the cheese sauce over the potatoes. Sprinkle 1/3 of the onions over the sauce and dot the surface with one tablespoon of the butter.

Repeat with two more layers in the same order.

Cover the casserole and put it in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for another hour.

The Verdict

While I loved my mother’s scalloped potatoes, these are way better. Hers were more liquid and weren’t as seasoned. These are just a bit more flavourful without overpowering the potatoes. However, when I eat them, I stil I think of family dinners.

The Old Fat Guy