Four Meats and a Smile

Sorry for the odd title. I was trying to think of something to call the dish I made today, and “Meat, rice, and more” didn’t really do it for me. So I ended up with Four Meats and a Smile. I used the meats that I got from Bullock’s yesterday, and the smile came after I ate my food.

I started by cooking up the bacon. Six strips for the meal, one extra one for me. I had to resist the urge to continue eating them all. It was tough, but I was able to do it. I drained most of the grease from the pan, leaving just enough to coat the bottom.

I added in the ham ends (just under 2 pounds) that I cut into chunks, as well as one medium sized onion. I trimmed off the skin and most of the fat from the ham, but that was just my preference.

Once the onions were translucent, I turned off the heat and set them aside. I did not add any seasonings. The onions would be able to pick up the flavors of the bacon drippings and ham, and that would be more than enough flavor. I have a rice cooker, so I put in 4 cups of rice, 8 cups of water, and 2 tablespoons of butter and pushed start. Next, I started to cook 1/2 pound of loose sausage, just until the bottom started to brown, and then added in 2 pounds of ground chuck. Since the ground chuck was 90/10, the extra fat that came from the loose sausage would add a more potent boost of flavor.

Once the ground meats were completely cooked, I added in the ham and onions. I then broke apart the bacon and added that as well. I cooked the meats separately because I wanted to reduce the risk of any cross-contamination between the raw meat and the already cooked meat.

I turned the burner to medium low, and then added in one 15.5 ounce can of kidney beans that was drained, as well as one 15 ounce can of baby peas that was drained. I continued to mix these all together until the rice was ready. It was only a couple of minutes, since my timing worked out really well. At this point, I had the option of combining everything together in one pot, or only combining them on the plate. I went with combining them on the plate. I didn’t want the rice to absorb too much of the flavor after the first meal, which would happen if it got combined and then refrigerated when cooled.

When all of these things were put together, it had a really great flavor. I was pleased with the rice. It had a nice quality that helped to tone down the saltiness of the ham and bacon. The peas were a bit lost in it all, but the kidney beans provided a bit of a deeper flavor that helped to round out the dish. This didn’t need any seasonings or sauces, but I might need some on day 2 or 3 or 4. I was very happy with how this dish turned out, and I am looking forward to the next few days of leftovers.

My weekend started and ended with good food, which always makes me happy. I know I’ll be indoors most of the next few days, but at least I’ll be eating well. Stay safe. Stay positive!

Homemade Sourdough Bierocks

For the past few years, I’ve tried to make foods that have components of both teams in the Super Bowl. This year’s teams are San Francisco and Kansas City. I could have gone the easy way and had a steak sandwich on sourdough bread, but I wanted to try something a little bit different. Something that would let me test my cooking skills. I saw that the Kansas City regions (both Kansas and Missouri) have something called bierocks as a popular local dish. They are a yeast dough pastry pocket sandwich filled with savory foods.

Since this was a bread dish, I thought that sourdough would be a good match, since sourdough bread is one of those things I think about when it comes to San Francisco. I looked for raw sourdough bread, but was not able to find any in the grocery stores, so I decided to make my own sourdough starter, which I wrote about yesterday.

One of the tough things with sourdough bread is that it can have a very hard crust. I didn’t think a hard crust would be a good fit for the bierocks, so I had to make adjustments.

Last night, I mixed up 2 cups of my sourdough starter, 3 cups of flour, 1 1/4 cups of water and a pinch of salt. It was a better consistency than my first effort, and I covered it loosely and let it sit on a cookie sheet over night.

I thought about the timing of the food and how it would best be prepared. I had to make the filling and provide it with enough time to cool, so that was the next thing I worked on.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound ground beef

1/2 head cabbage

1/2 large white onion

dash of salt

dash of pepper

Step one was to chop 1/2 head of cabbage and 1/2 of a large white onion.

Next, I browned the ground beef. I used an 85/15 split, so there was some fat but not too much. I added the salt and pepper right before it was all browned.

Next, I added the chopped cabbage and onion and reduced the heat to medium low. I covered with a lid and cooked for 25 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.

I took off the lid, turned the heat up to medium, and cooked for another five minutes. I then set it aside to let it cool. I tried a couple of bites, and it tasted much better than expected.

While the mixture was cooling, it was time to turn my attention to the sourdough. After about 15 hours of sitting, it expanded and got flat. I put some flour on a wooden board and worked the dough a bit.

I could have stopped here and made a bread bowl, but I wanted to make those bierocks. I rolled the dough until it was about two inches around, and then took off two inch portions and made round balls.

They didn’t keep their shape, but that was okay. This batch made 19 dough balls. I let those sit for about 15 minutes, which also gave the filling more time to cool. I didn’t want the filling to be too hot, since it was going to be surrounded by dough.

It was now time to make these stuffed sandwiches. I flattened out the dough balls.

Next, I added in a spoonful of filling.

I sealed it up at the top, and then I rolled it around in my hands to be more rounded.

This is one of the trays. They didn’t keep a round shape, but they still looked good. There were a couple of spots where there was too much filling and it tore through the dough, but I wasn’t looking for perfection. The meat mixture was about twice as much as I needed. I don’t mind the leftovers, since I can use them in the next few days. I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. I did this to let the dough have some more time to rest before getting baked.

I cooked them for 15 minutes, rotated, and then another 16 minutes, and they were done.

It was now time to eat. I know that I made this well before the Super Bowl started, but there was no way I could wait until 6:30 PM to eat food. And prep time would take away from watching the game (and the commercials). Biting into this stuffed sandwich was pretty nice. The top was easy to bite through and was not crunchy like a normal sourdough bread. The bottom was a little more crisp, but still easy to bite through. I think this would be better with the traditional dough, which would be softer and a little more sweet, but this was still good.

The meat mixture had some good flavor to it. I’m not always a big fan of cabbage, but it had a nice consistency to it and it absorbed the flavors of the meat and onions really well. I had one bite that was just cabbage, and it had a velvety consistency and a smooth flavor that pleasantly surprised me. I really enjoyed this meal. It would have been better to have people to share it with, but at least I already have my lunch and dinners prepared for the next week. It’s easy to stay positive when the food you spend time to prepare works out. No matter what happens in the Super Bowl, this has been a great day. Enjoy!