Manchego-stuffed Lamb Burgers

So after finishing the last of those deliciously braised lamb shanks, I found myself with a good bit of leftover sherry blackberry sauce. To some, this would be a sad waste, but to me, this is yet another opportunity to try something new using leftovers. So in the ongoing love of all things lamb: lamb burgers!

Manchego-stuffed Lamb Burgers

The weather is warm here and it just screams for cooking outside. I had a craving for burgers, but I wanted to try something different from what I normally make. So to keep going with lamb and to not let any of that delicious sherry blackberry sauce go to waste, I picked up some ground lamb and decided to make a rich and tender burger. These are easy to prepare and some of the juiciest burgers I’ve ever… click to read more…

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Chili con Carne

Chili is one of those dishes that can incite some passionate arguments, because when it comes to opinions on what should/shouldn’t be in a chili recipe, like ass holes, everybody has one (as the saying goes). Should it include beans? Meat? Tomato? Pasta (the answer to that, of course, is no and I don’t care where you come from 😉 )? These are life or death decisions in the chili world. So given that, here’s my take on a good and hearty bowl of chili.

Chili con Carne

While this chili has a lot of familiar flavors, it does nonetheless include one very special ingredient. I’ve been hanging on to this item for a few weeks now, keeping it near and dear until the right dish came along and beckoned for it as I only had one handy. See, if I like anything in my chili, its some punch–chili is a dish that simply should (must!) have some heat to it. I’ve… click to read more…

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Stewed Creole Barbecue Chicken

This is a favorite of mine–a chicken dish that’s hearty, savory, rich, and spicy, blending creole flavors with barbecue for a match made in heaven.

Stewed Creole Barbecue Chicken

I’ve prepared variants of this dish for a long time, but it never had a name beyond “barbecue chicken.” Let’s face it, that evokes a mental image of just throwing a bare piece of chicken on the grill which I’m sure you’ll agree is a far cry from the above photo. So now that I’m writing about what I cook, I am faced with some of the really difficult life changing decisions. I tried to seek out dishes that seemed similar so I could have an interesting name. I was tempted to call this a gumbo, but it really isn’t. Same goes for jambalaya and étouffée…but they’re so close. The flavors at play are definitely similar, but there’s no roux, andouille, or celery, and let’s face it, those kinds of ingredients are key to… click to read more…

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Michael Burgers!

This is what started it all. The one thing that I got good at before I could really cook.

For me, cooking started as a college-time exploration of marinate it in some storebought sauce, throw it (and all of the sauce) on the George Foreman grill, and then see what happens–yikes! But this dish wasn’t in that category: burgers. They were easy to prepare, cheap, and fed a crowd with ease. And what a crowd-pleaser! People asked for these–and not “hey, could you make burgers?” but “hey, I could really go for some Michael Burgers!” This made it seem like I was on to something…

Burger time

I’m going to wax philosophical here, but I think a big part of it is simply that people have really grown accustomed to flavorless, flat, dull burgers with a slice of (to quote Gordon Ramsay) plastic cheese on top. Nobody really expects anything from a burger, so this is a dish where you can… click to read more…

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Smoked drumsticks in Tarragon Citrus Honey Mustard sauce

Sure we’re kind of late into summer, but sloppy fingerfood fresh off the grill is always welcome in my book. This dish is about dark chicken meat, smoke, and most importantly, a complicated mustard sauce with a complicated name to match (tarragon citrus honey mustard…maybe it wasn’t that complicated). This zesty sauce is my entry in “Weekend Herb Blogging,” hosted this week by Thyme for Cooking.

Drumsticks, sauced and plated (overhead shot)

  • Grill-friendly pieces of chicken. I use drumsticks, roughly 3-4 per person
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Creole seasoning
  • A handful of wood chips for smoking (apple-wood is ideal, but I had none and used mesquite)
  • Sauce:
    • Leaves from 4-5 sprigs of tarragon
    • 5 or so sage leaves
    • 5 basil leaves
    • 1 cup Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 cup of white wine
    • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1/4 cup of honey
    • 1 tsp of soy sauce
    • juice from one lemon
    • black pepper
    • celery

click to read more…

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