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Pasta Carbonara using Smoked Pork Roast So this weekend was a special occasion for Mrs. Smokehowze and the plans were to go out for dinner Saturday night. In the late afternoon, a consensus was reached by all to not go out, as it had been a busy day around the house and the family was tired. Hummm… what to fix for dinner… Well, coincidentally last night while rearranging the freezer, I found a vacuum sealed 1.5 lb portion of a Kamado smoked pork roast hat was getting along date-wise and placed it in fridge to thaw, figuring it needed to be used and that I would come up with something to do with it over the next few days. How fortuitous. Bingo… I got it. The smoked pork is like a bacon and similar to a pancetta so why not do a pasta carbonara? OK, what does the pantry have for pasta? WHAT? No normal pasta. Oh wait, we have a 1 ib box of ‘Campanelle’ style tubular shaped pasta. Hey, that will work - let's use it all. Here are the basic ingredients for this simple dish. The cubed pork was browned in the pan at medium high heat. I probably used almost a pound of the pork coarse cubed. Remove the hot al-dente cooked pasta from the water with a slotted scoop. Add to bowl with the browned pork. I used one of Mrs Smokehowze's favorite Mason Cash bowls - and yes I had permission. The pasta needs to be wet from the pot to help create the sauce. Wait for it to cool slightly (just enough to avoid curdling the eggs ) and slowly fold in the room temperature beaten eggs that have been mixed with about half the grated parmesan cheese. When incorporated, add the remaining parmesan (about a cup total for both that in the egg and that added later), some butter and some of the pasta water to adjust the thickness of the sauce. Adjust salt, finish with fresh ground black pepper and top with minced fresh parsley and a sprinkling of more cheese. Serve immediately with additional parsley sprinklings. The pasta carbonara was plated with a simple salad of red and orange tomatoes from the garden that are marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some basil and presented in a romaine leaf. Garnish with some shaved Finlandia ‘Keisarinna’ cheese (a creamy sweet gouda and sharp parmesean mix we got at Costco). Add a glass of white wine and we have dinner. The verdict - delicious. It all worked together and really met the expectations for a rich and flavorful carbonara. The smokiness of the pork was just right and browning it the carbon steel pan in olive oil with some butter and the chopped garlic added at the end did the trick – the aroma in the kitchen was wonderful. The round style pasta (the Campanelle is not a strict tube) with its shape and the fringed edge did well absorbing the beaten egg and parmesan sauce and the addition of a bit of the pasta water while folding the dish together helped the sauce get into the interior of the pasta shape. So I urge you in using your Kamado cooking leftovers that get stashed in the freezer to think creative and cook ‘out of the box’. I guarantee it will be good! And guess what - nobody missed going out to eat.
Pork Loin Roast Redux (Figs and Jalapeno Glazed) While prospecting the other day in the basement freezer for something to cook without having to go to the store, a couple of cryo-vac Costco pork roasts were discovered. Bingo! Since figs on the tree were ripe and I had a batch of fermented jalapenos finishing up, I cooked these using this recipe for the glaze. See: http://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/8274-fig-preserves-and-fermented-jalapeno-peppers-pork-roast-glaze/?p=82285 And the result - another check the box for a great stress free meal on the Kamado. The small white dish is some of the fig/jalapeno glaze reserved as an accompaniment for the pork. On Big(Red)Joe at 375 degrees indirect with Cherry Wood - wasn't timing it but probably about 1H20 for the cook. A Beautiful Picture of a Perfect Cook – to 145/150 degrees internal. Love lean but still juicy pork! Time to get slicing.
Pork Sirloin Tip Roast and Spicy Eggplant Cooked Kamado Style with Black Rice Side Dish This was an easy and quick cook done on Big(Red) Joe using the main cooking grid and the expansion rack. The Prep Two pork sirloin tip roasts (about 2.5 lbs each from a Costco 4 pack) were prepared by simply rinsing and drying, then rubbing with a light coat of a Mediterranean oil blend (olive, grapeseed, canola). I utilized a different seasoning approach -- I took about 8 garlic toes and minced then with a knife and then added a bit of salt and using a fork ground the garlic into a paste. Lightly scored the roasts in a wide spaced diagonal cross hatch all the way around and then rubbed the meat with the garlic paste working it into the scoring and coating the surface. Finished with a liberal sprinkling of some coarse ground black pepper. Let the seasoned meat sit out and come to room temperature while Big(Red)Joe got his act together. The accompanying main dish was a couple of nice large eggplants peeled and cut into medium sized pieces. Added to that was some Vidalia onion and yellow onions in medium pieces and some chopped green bell pepper and a handful of rough cut garlic. Tossed with some grapeseed oil. Poured over the eggplant and them mixed were 2 cans of San Marcos red chipotle salsa (the spicy secret here!). Foiled an 18 inch round low sided pizza pan for the eggplant cooking dish. Make sure to well oil the foil before adding the veggies to prevent sticking during the cook. Additionally, we had some leftover plain black rice. While the food was cooking in Joe, on the stove I added a bit of butter to a sauté pan and a few chopped green onions. Cook at low heat to soften the onions. Add some Better than Bouillon chicken base and a bit of water to make a very highly flavored sauce. Fold in the black rice and heated it through gently during the meat cook. Right before serving add chopped parsley. Makes a great dish! The Main Cook Big Joe was set up for indirect cooking at around 325 to 350 or so. Meat was put on main grid and the eggplant on the round tray on the top of the expansion rack. After a short while I realized the large round tray on the top of the expansion rack was restricting air flow and causing the temps on the main grill to rise significantly (like to 450 degrees) and the veggies to only be at 300 degrees . So I swapped the veggies to the main grid and put the roasts on the expansion rack. Readjusted the air vents and all was well. Cooked the roasts and veggies for about 1H20-1H30 minutes until the meat was at 150 internal. Make sure to gently stir the eggplant mix around on the tray as the extra heat coming around the deflector will cook them more on the outside of the pan than in the middle. Continue to cook the eggplant until soft while the roasts are resting a bit. You can even put the eggplant on ahead to ensure it is done at the same time as the meat. The Pictures Time to Eat! Seasoning the Pork Sirloin Tip Roasts – Garlic (lots!), Salt and Pepper Eggplant Dish Being Fixed Eggplant Mix and the Meat Ready for Big(Red)Joe Beginning the Cook in Big(Red)Joe (As noted in the text - I shortly swapped the meat to the expansion rack and the eggplant onto the main grate) One Roast is Ready and Sliced for Serving (Tender, and Juicy) One Roast Saved for a Later Meal The Finished Eggplant (it was really good tasting with the chipotle seasoning) The Black Rice Side Dish