Posts tagged ‘bacon’

Grilled Steaks with Bacon-Wrapped Corn

Its springtime, and you know what that means. Fire up the grill and get cooking outdoors with fire. Whether you grill over charcoal or love the convenience of your gas grill, there are thousands of different combinations of spice rubs, marinades, seasonings, salts and sauces for just about any cut of steak that is on sale during any given week. Before you head out to the back yard though, take a few minutes to consider which cuts you plan to toss on the fire. Although we all like lean meat, a bit of marbling is absolutely necessary for a truly tasty steak. You want to look for meat that has a bit of fat marbled all the way through it. A steak that has no fat or concentrated blobs of fat breaking up long stretches of pure red will be tough after it takes a turn on the grill. Be selective and ask your local grocery store butcher for advice.

In this recipe, the steak gets a simple but tasty treatment; the side dish is really the star. When you cook corn this way, people won’t feel the need to slather it with butter.

Recipe: Grilled Steaks with Bacon Wrapped Corn


  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6-10 minutes for steaks; 15-20 for corn


  • 4 ears of corn, shucked and silk removed
  • 4 slices of thick cut bacon (preferably not a ‘sweet’ or ‘smoky’ flavor)
  • 4 New York strip, porterhouse, or T-bone steaks, cut at least ¾ in thick
  • Salt and/or garlic salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Fire up your grill and bring it to a medium high heat (if gas) or wait until the coals are mostly white but still have a good red core (if charcoal).
  2. Wrap each ear of corn with the bacon in a spiral pattern, making sure not to overlap the bacon too much.You can either tuck the bacon into itself to secure it or use a toothpick at either end to secure it.
  3. Place the wrapped corn around the outer edge of the grill and rotate every couple of minutes. Grill for about 10 minutes before adding the steaks to the grill.
  4. Liberally season your trimmed steaks with salt and freshly ground black pepper and lay them out on the grill with at least an inch of space between them.
  5. Steaks cook relatively quickly at high heat and there are dozens of methods to tell doneness. If you need a time, the best rule of thumb for an inch thick steak is 3 minutes per side for medium rare, 4 for medium, 5 for medium well and 6 minutes on each side for well done. Only flip the steaks once during cooking.
  6. Remove the steak when it reaches its desired doneness and let it rest on a warm plate for at least 5 minutes before serving. This allows all the boiling juices inside of the steak to redistribute through the meat so they won’t escape all over your plate.
  7. Remove the corn when the bacon is done and its outside is crispy. Remove the bacon from the corn and served it alongside the corn or even chopped up and added to any salad, green beans, baked potatoes or any other dish that could benefit from it. Or, you could just eat it as the cook’s treat while the steaks rest.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks

  • One the steaks it the grill, leave them alone for at least 2 minutes. Don’t mess with it. The sear time helps create the steakhouse-style crust we all like.
  • If you want those nifty grill marks on your steak, rotate the meat a quarter turn onto a section of the grill that hasn’t had anything on it. The bars that have been under your steak for two minutes aren’t going to be hot enough to sear a dark char into already partially cooked meat.
  • The corn takes on the salty goodness and the fat from the bacon, and will also absorb the ‘flavorings’ used on the bacon. So if you don’t want smoky maple corn, don’t use smoked or maple bacon.

April 28, 2010 at 8:00 am 1 comment

Mardi Gras Inspirations: Mock Turtle Soup & Red Beans and Rice

Between the Saints winning the Super Bowl and recent Mardi Gras celebrations, I’ve had New Orleans on my mind. My family visited NOLA a year or so ago and was truly inspired by the people and the food, and I’ve enjoyed trying to recreate some of our favorite food experiences from that trip. Two that we’ve particularly enjoyed are Mock Turtle Soup and Red Beans and Rice. Turtle soup was new to me when we visited New Orleans, but it was very tasty. However, turtle meat isn’t really a common staple here in Austin, Texas, so this recipe substitutes lean beef of stew meat in place of the turtle. The beef-based dish is a little more kid-friendly too. Red Beans and Rice is one of those dishes that is so simple in concept that can go so wrong in execution. Every restaurant in New Orleans has it on the menu, and the subject of who has the best is one of the most fiercely debated things in the Crescent City. After playing with the dish I’ve found one has the right balance of flavor for me and mine. Give both of these recipes a try and laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

Recipe: Mock Turtle Soup


  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 12 oz, lean stew meat, cut into ½ in cubes
  • ½ stick butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • ½ c. onion, medium diced
  • 1 stalk celery, medium diced
  • 1 bell pepper, medium diced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 c. beef stock
  • 1 cup dry sherry (not cooking sherry), divided
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ¾ c. canned chopped tomatoes
  • 3 oz. chopped spinach, fresh or frozen
  • 2 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
  • 3 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 or 3 dashes of hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Dredge the meat in the flour and add to the pot along with the rest of the flour. Brown the meat, moving it around in the pot to avoid burning the flour.
  3. Add the onions, celery, and peppers, stirring constantly. Once the onions are slightly translucent (after about 5 minutes) add the garlic, thyme, oregano and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the stock and stir to combine, making sure you scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan up and integrate them into the soup.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil and add ¾ of the cup of sherry. Stir to combine and bring the soup back to a boil.
  6. Reduce the temperature to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Skim any fat or foam that comes to the top of the soup. Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, tomatoes, spinach and egg. Bring to a simmer, taste, and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
  8. Divide the soup among four bowls. Serve with a light splash of the reserved sherry for the adults.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks

  • Don’t be afraid to caramelize the vegetables and meat, but remember that brown is good, black is bitter and bad.
  • The soup should thicken nicely from the flour you added to the meat, but won’t reach its full thickness until it has been boiled. Don’t panic if it stays slightly thinner than a stew, you can always simmer it longer than the 20 minutes before adding the additional ingredients to thicken.
  • Serve crusty French bread and a spinach salad to make a full meal.

Recipe: Red Beans and Rice


  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 cans red kidney beans
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into ¼ inch thick strips
  • ½ lb. smoked sausage, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2/3 Tbsp. Cajun mixed seasoning
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 c. cooked white rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the bacon in a skillet on medium heat until brown and crispy. Remove the cooked bacon from the pan, drain on paper towels, and reserve.
  2. Add the sausage to the pan, searing until crispy and brown. Remove, drain, and reserve.
  3. Pour off all but one tablespoon of the grease from the pan. Add the onions, celery and bell pepper to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the cayenne, garlic, bay leaf, and Cajun seasoning to the vegetables and stir.
  5. Pour both cans of beans into the pan and mix vigorously to make sure that all of the vegetables are evenly distributed into the beans. Break up enough of the beans to thicken the entire mix.
  6. Lower the heat, add the liquid smoke and the cooked meat back to them pan, and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
  7. Serve over cooked white rice with hot sauce and crusty French bread.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks

  • Almost any meat or sausage can be used when making this dish, so go crazy! Try smoked turkey, drumsticks, salt pork, jalapeno sausage, or any family favorite. Experiment with your own blends to personalize this dish.

February 18, 2010 at 11:42 am Leave a comment

Elegant and Easy Valentine’s Day Dinner: Beef Bourguignon

One of the scariest words in the culinary world is “Beef Bourguignon”. Julia Child made her career when she showed people how to make this dish, demystifying it back then, even if the name itself is still as intimidating as ever. My take on Julia’s famous recipe is not just an amazing combination of rich, hearty flavors to warm you up on these cold February nights; it’s a window to romance. Who wouldn’t feel extra-special when served this delicious dish, with its romantic connections to France, fine dining, and fantastically snobby unpronouncableness?

Served over lightly seasoned egg noodles, this dish is something even the kids will eat. Rather than getting a sitter on Valentine’s Day and spending money on fancy restaurant, I like to cook up this dish and have two dinner seatings: the first for the younger generation and a later seating for just the grown-ups. The long cooking time on this dish is necessary to produce a tender meat, but your patience will be rewarded. The good news is this dish is “set it and forget it” meal once it goes into the oven. You need only check on it to make sure it isn’t going dry. In the mean time, set a romantic table, and treat yourself to a nice glass of wine.

Recipe: Beef Bourguignon


  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 ½ hours +


  • 1 lb beef stew meat, cubed into 1″ cubes
  • 2 slices bacon, cut into very small pieces
  • 4 oz. fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced large
  • 5 baby carrots, cut into thirds
  • 1 rib celery, diced large
  • 10 pearl onions, parboiled and peeled (frozen will work too)
  • 2 oz. tomato paste
  • 4 oz. red wine
  • 3 c. beef stock
  • 8 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups of cooked egg noodles tossed with 2 Tbsp. butter and ¼ c. fresh parsley


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Fry the small bits of bacon in a large, deep skillet on medium heat until they are fully cooked and crispy. Remove them from the pan, leaving the bacon great behind, and drain on paper towels. Reserve the drained bacon in a medium bowl.
  3. Sauté the mushrooms in the bacon grease until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, and add them to the bowl with the bacon.
  4. Lightly season the beef cubes on all sides with salt and pepper. Sear them in the bacon fat on medium-high, just until they are browned. Remove them from the pan and set them aside on a plate.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the skillet. Sauté the vegetable until the onions are golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  6. Put the meat back in the pan with the vegetables. Add the tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  7. Raise the heat to medium-high. Pour the red wine into the skillet to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the wine come to a boil and cook until the liquid in the pan is thick and syrupy.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme sprig, and reserved bacon to the pan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil.
  9. Once the mixture is boiling, add the garlic and cover the skillet with aluminum foil or a tight-fitting lid. Transfer the pot to the oven.
  10. Cook in the oven for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours. The longer it goes, the more tender and flavorful the meat will be and the thicker the sauce. Just keep an eye on the liquid levels, and add more beef stock if needed.
  11. 15 minutes before serving, stir in the reserved mushrooms.
  12. Just before serving, remove the bay leaf and thyme sprig. Serve over hot egg noodles.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks

  • Use a deep skillet with a fitted lid if you have one so the liquids will stay in the pan and evaporate more slowly.
  • Be sure to choose a red wine for this dish that you wouldn’t mind drinking. While you don’t have to have an expensive
  • Buy dry egg noodles or a refrigerated egg fettuccini if you can. Nothing goes better with this dish than rich egg pasta, some crusty bread and the same red wine that you used in the meal.
  • Chocolate and red wine are really good friends, so a chocolate dessert can’t go wrong after this rich, satisfying dish.

February 10, 2010 at 6:41 pm Leave a comment


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