For those of you who’ve stopped by here a time or two, or have seen me clog your Twitter feed on a non-bye-week Sunday, you know I’m a big Texans fan. So it’s always a bit awkward and confusing when I have to launch into the “I’ve actually been a Colts fan for the last 15 years” story.
But that magical division realignment pitted my new Texans and my old-ish Colts against each other twice a year (and maybe 3!) in one of the happiest football-related things to ever happen to me. I always (try) to root for the home team.
With the abundance of winter citrus, we picked up a mountain of 5/$1 tangerines and turned several of those into a fun, seasonal twist on the classic pulled pork to christen the new Crock-Pot. A pork roast is slow cooked with tangerine juice, soy sauce, and spices and then the cooking liquid is reduced with more tangerine juice for a citrusy glaze. It’s sweet meets savory meets easy gameday eats.
The Crock-Pot isn’t just a lifesaver during the week, but it’s perfect for tailgating – pulled pork, chili, queso, and fancy meatballs go from counter-to-tent super easily. You can snag a Crock-Pot with your favorite NFL logo and impress the heck out of your tailgate-mates. Or upload a custom design and create a one-of-a-kind Crock-Pot!
Tangerine Pulled Pork with Thai Plum Barbecue Sauce
Pulled pork gets a seasonal gameday makeover with fresh tangerines.
For the roast:
1 large pork shoulder or roast (~7-8 lbs for a crowd)
1/2 cup tangerine juice (3-4 tangerines, 1 rind reserved and sliced thinly)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 garlic clove, smashed
Pinch of crushed red pepper
For the glaze:
2 cups of cooking liquid
1/2 cup tangerine juice
1/2 tangerine rind, sliced thinly
Brown sugar (optional)
For the barbecue sauce:
1/4 cup purchased Thai Plum Sauce
1/2 cup purchased barbecue sauce
Place the roast in the crockpot with the tangerine juice, rind, soy sauce, brown sugar, red pepper, and garlic.
Cook on low 8-10 hours, until the meat is fall-apart tender.
Transfer 2 cups of cooking liquid (fat skimmed from top) to a medium saucepan and add the orange juice and tangerine rind.
Reduce for ~20 minutes over high heat until down to ~3/4 cup and then remove the rind.
Shred the pork roast and place in a large bowl or serving dish and pour the reduction over top, tossing to coat.
In a small bowl, mix the plum and barbecue sauces together and warm in the microwave.
For sandwiches, pile a generous scoop of pulled pork on top of a split roll and top with a spoonful of barbecue sauce.
Hey, look. It’s another super easy way to use up leftover cranberry sauce. And it only involves a little math:
1 part barbecue sauce
1 part cranberry sauce
3. Watch your husband dip a tester sweet potato fry in it and complain about it being too cranberry-y.
4. Add another part barbecue sauce.
7. Get approval from the barbecue sauce snob in the house.
8. Spoon it over pulled pork sandwiches. Or turkey sandwiches! And use the rest as a dipper for sweet potato fries.
9. Eat too much.
10. Declare the entire house a carb-free, lean-protein-only zone ’til Christmas.
11. Forget and eat a brownie for dessert.
Last week, we dug out a trusty old favorite for dinner, back from the early days of the blog: the croque monsieur. If you’re not familiar, it’s a hot ham & cheese sandwich topped with a cheesy cream sauce. It’s a total fork & knife sandwich.
And it’s faaaabulous.
While there are exactly zero things wrong with the classic, I wanted to put a seasonal spin on the croque monsieur with hatch chiles. A hatch chile croque monsieur.
We simmered chopped peppers to make a hatch-infused cream sauce and replaced the stinky gruyere with unstinky Monterrey Jack cheese. And then we added more chiles to the sandwich. After a short stint in the oven, our hot ham & cheese sandwich now had plenty of chile flavor and just a hint of warmth from the mild-to-medium peppers.
And it was time to grab a fork.
Hatch Chile Croque Monsieur
The classic French sandwich gets a makeover for hatch chile season.
If we are what we eat, my stellar eating habits over the last two months would produce some sort of cherry-Sauza-Cool Ranch Doritos hybrid. But mostly cherries.
We took advantage of cherries being so plentiful and affordable this summer. Was it like that everywhere else? I swear that this was the first summer they virtually begged us to buy them.
With the end of cherry season approaching, I hoarded a few pounds for the freezer and then spotted a terrific idea in Food & Wine for the very last pound of cherries I had on hand: pickling in balsamic vinegar.
The balsamic vinegar takes on the sweet cherry flavor and made a tasty vinaigrette to drizzle over grilled pork tenderloin. And the sweet & sour cherries are perfect for snacking, eating in a salad, over toasted baguette slices topped with goat cheese (my favorite!), and piled on top of brined & grilled pork chops.
The original recipe (for Pickled Figs) noted that the figs would be good on the shelf for 6 months. Cherries are more delicate than the slightly under-ripe figs recommended and I wanted them to retain as much of their texture as possible. I was certain that they wouldn’t survive a 15-minute canning bath so I chose to skip the “official” canning procedures and stored them in the fridge instead.
Stretch out the cherry season with these balsamic pickled cherries.
4-5 1/2-pint canning jars with lids and rings
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 pounds cherries, stems and pits removed
In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and balsamic vinegar until the sugar has dissolved.
Bring to a boil and then add the cherries, simmering over low heat for 10 minutes.
Spoon the cherries equally between the jars (I ended up with 4 full jars of cherries and a 5th jar that was just over half full of cherry-balsamic vinegar).
Turn up the heat to high and cook the balsamic mixture for another 5 minutes.
Ladle the syrup over the cherries, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top.
Screw the lids and rings on top and try to wait a few days before opening the first jar.
The cherries will keep a couple of months in the fridge.
If you wish to store the cherries at room temperature, you'll need to follow appropriate canning procedures: sterilizing the jar components first and then boiling the closed jars for 15 minutes in a hot water bath.