Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

>> Saturday, February 06, 2016

I likes me some Buffalo chicken wings. This recipe for Buffalo chicken meatballs as every bit as good, especially if you know someone that shies away from eating meat off the bone. I made these last year for Super Bowl Sunday and they were a huge hit. Ground chicken isn't the easiest meat to work with; it's a sticky mess when forming the meatballs. The final result is worth the mess if you ask me. Here's the recipe as I made them.

2.0 # Ground Chicken
4 Cloves Minced Garlic
2 Eggs
1 C Italian Bread Crumbs
2 T Ranch Dip Mix
0.5 C Blue Cheese
4 T Butter
2 C Buffalo Wing Sauce (your favorite)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
  2. Form blue cheese into marble-sized pieces.
  3. Combine chicken, garlic, eggs, bread crumbs, and dip mix. It will be sticky and messy.
  4. Use a scoop or your hands to measure out the meatballs.
  5. Press a blue cheese ball into the center and form the meatball around it.
  6. Bake meatballs on a non-stick cookie sheet for 16 minutes, or until cooked through.
  7. Transfer cooked meatballs to a slow cooker and add wing sauce and butter. Set to high for 20 minutes, then switch to warm.
Tip: I've found that latex gloves help a lot. The ground chicken doesn't seem to stick to the latex nearly as much as it does to your hands. The blue cheese marbles were also much easier to form with gloves. 

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Al Pastor

There's a local Mexican restaurant named El Morelense that makes amazing Al Pastor tacos. It's so amazing that I figured I needed to figure out a way to try to make them at home. I made this recipe a couple weeks ago for my family and some of my kids' friends. It went over really well (zero leftovers) and was requested for Super Bowl Sunday.


This recipe and process comes from Serious Eats. It's not an exact clone of El Morelense, but it's close. The recipe isn't difficult, but it requires some prep time...as in you can't just decide to have it for dinner and whip things up in an hour. Just a tip, some of these ingredients will be easier to find at a Latino grocery store. Here's the recipe as I made it.

2 Disposable foil loaf pans
Corn Tortillas
4.0 # Thin cut pork sirloin roast (~ 1/4" thick)
1.0 # Bacon
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4 Dried Ancho Chilies, seeds and stems removed
4 Dried Pasilla Chilies, seeds and stems removed
1 c Chicken Stock
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4 t Vegetable oil
2 t Dried Mexican Oregano
2 t Ground Cumin
2 T Ground Achiote
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2 Chipotle Chilies in Adobo Sauce, + 4 t Adobo Sauce
1/2 c White Vinegar
5 t Kosher Salt
4 t Sugar
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9 - Cloves Garlic, Minced

Directions:
  1. Place chilies in a medium saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir regularly to avoid burning.
  2. Add chicken stock then kill heat and transfer chilies and chicken stock to a small bowl. Cover and set aside. 
  3. Add oil to pan and heat over medium/medium high heat.
  4. Add oregano, cumin, and achiote, stirring for 30 seconds.
  5. Add chipotle, adobo sauce, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Stir until mixed then remove from heat.
  6. Transfer contents of pan plus chilies, and chicken stock to a blender. Add garlic and blend until marinade is smooth.
  7. Combine pork and marinade in a bag or bowl. Coat pork thoroughly.
  8. Layer the loaf pans with alternating layers of bacon and pork. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
  9. Pre-heat oven to 250F and bake on a foil-lined cookie sheet for 4 hours.
  10. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least a few hours.
To serve:
  1. Remove meat from loaf pans, reserving fat and some of the drippings.
  2. Slice loaves as thin as possible and transfer to bowl.
  3. Add 2T rendered fat to cast iron skillet, and heat over medium high heat. 
  4. Add sliced pork. Stir occasionally and cook until it browns and crisps a bit.
  5. Add drippings to create a glaze. 
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Serve in corn tortillas with chopped onions, cilantro, and your favorite hot sauce.

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2016 Munich Helles - Small Batch

>> Friday, February 05, 2016

For the second half of my double-header brew day I'm brewing a Munich Helles. This is also a 2.5 gallon batch. Per the 2015 BJCP Guidelines, here are some of the vital stats for the style:

History: Created in Munich in 1894 at the Spaten brewery to compete with pale Pilsner-type beers. Currently the most a popular style in Southern Germany.
Overall Impression: A clean, malty, gold-colored German lager with a smooth grainy-sweet malty flavor and a soft, dry finish. Subtle spicy, floral, or herbal hops and restrained bitterness help keep the balance malty but not sweet, which helps make this beer a refreshing, everyday drink.
Comments: A fully-attenuated Pils malt showcase, Helles is a malt-accentuated beer that is not overly sweet, but rather focuses on malt flavor with underlying hop bitterness in a supporting role. Export examples can quickly lose some of the rich malt character that often suggests sweetness. Helles in Munich tends to be lighter in all aspects than those outside the city, which can be more assertive with more body, flavor, and hop character.
And the recipe as I'm brewing it today:

5.0# German Pilsner
6.0 oz German Munich
2.0 oz Melanoiden
1.0 oz Carapils
4.53g Hallertauer (FWH)
9.07g Hallertauer (45 min)
0.25 Whirlfloc
0.25t Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
WLP838 Southern German Lager

To 6 gallons RO water:
2.9g Gypsum
4.4g Calcium Chloride
2.4g Chalk

Mash at 145F for 10 min, 150F for 50 min, 168F for 10 min, 90 min boil, chill to 50F, raise to 55F over 5 days

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