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Monday, October 28, 2013

Mexican Shepherds Pie

Does this photo look familiar? Yes! It is from last weeks blog post! You may have wondered what was going to happen to all of the delicious pork that Geoff and Tim smoked.  Well, not to worry, it was all gobbled up, by the lucky guests at the party and some other very grateful diners as well. Here is Bev's sister, Nancy, guest blogging this week, about " Bev! What did you do with all of that pork?"

Wait a minute. I read the blog entry “Pig Roast” and thought to myself: “Looked like Geoff invited about 5 guys.” Combined with reduced numbers in both the Seegmiller, Witzel and Schumacher families, I thought “what will they do with all that food?” In the tradition of Oktoberfest, the feast was shared, beer was consumed, and the party started. And it continued at a local beer hall. Leaving the question of what to do with the leftovers to Bev.
There are only so many pulled-pork sandwiches that you can eat. And freezer space is limited. And there are so many other people in need. Bev contacted Mary's Place , an emergency shelter in Ktichener, for women and children. They gratefully accepted her offer of a hot meal for their residents. She also phoned her poor dear sister (me) and asked if she could bring a meal to me and my family.
No, I am not in dire straights. I have teen-aged kids, and a husband who works from home, and they are all handy in the kitchen. They each have their busy lives to attend to, and I have recently injured my back and have been told to take it easy. For 12 weeks. No small task. Yes. Someone else thinking about dinner was more than appreciated.
Bev arrived at the door with dinner for, ok, about 10. She gave me a full dose of sympathy, and offered to pour the wine (No go with my meds.). Her “Former-Pork-Roast-now-Shepherd’s-Pie” was a hit with everyone. Her recipe follows: it’s a great combination of delish roasted pork, locally available produce (sweet potatoes, apples) and a dash of spice. My friends at Plan BOrganics Farm would be proud. Bev had a bit of a challenge with my food sensitivities (no tomato), but she came out with a winner by channeling her years of cooking for food lovers, and perhaps a bit of Michael Smith.
Whenever I catch up with my friends at Gathering Around the Grill, I am impressed by their love of family, their sense of adventure (catering a wedding out on a Georgian Bay rock, you say?) and their joy in bringing food to others. Thanks Bev. And thanks Kris for offering further inspiration by saying “just wing it.”

So, here it is: Bev's recipe for Mexican Shepherds Pies!

Mexican shepherds pie

As much leftover pork as you can find that has been sitting in pork BBQ sauce for a few days
(see last weeks blog post!)
Red pepper


Sweet potatoes

Roast sweet potatoes, carrots and garlic in the oven until tender. Mash with butter. Set aside.

Sauté onion until soft. Add red pepper, jalapeno, corn, garlic, salt pepper and cumin.

Add leftover pork to sautéed vegetables. Dump into aluminum lasagna pan. Top veg/pork mix with mashed sweet potatoes

Deliver to sister who is flat on her back with bulging disk.
Heat in oven until warmed through.

Good Luck!!

Monday, October 21, 2013


Thanksgiving was 2 weeks ago, and it was everything that we had hoped for! We devoted a good part of that weekend enjoying time with our families, gathering around the table laden with smoked turkey and all that goes along with it.  The typical Norman Rockwell experience! But wait......
That was not to be repeated 2 weekends in a row in the Seegmiller household! All of the calm and tranquility flew out the window, when Geoff returned home with his buddies, for his annual pig roast!  We had to remind Bev that when your son owns his own pig roaster, you have to expect this. With Tim and Nora on board, Bev decided that she had to embrace the pig roast and proceeded to prepare for a fabulous party!

A pig roast is a marathon event, which begins the day before with a multi-stage prep session. The brine has to be prepared, the stuffing cooked, the chickens roasted and so on.

The night before the party, the pig and the chickens are injected with brine, then the stuffing is placed in the chickens, the chickens are roasted, then stuffed into the cavity of the pig........

On Saturday morning (does anyone actually consider 4 am. to be 'morning"?) Geoff and Tim rose under the full moon and headed out to the roaster.
They filled the roaster with hardwood charcoal, armed themselves with basting butter and a spray bottle of apple cider, chunks of hickory wood and proceeded to monitor the progress of the roasting, cooking the pig on the rotisserie at 250°F.
 Fifteen hours later and dinner is served! For more detailed advice on how to roast a pig, follow this link for our previous pig roast blog.

TIm and Geoff agreed to share the recipe for the brine with us. They found it, and a lot of other tips in Adam Perry Lang's book, Serious Barbecue, 2009. This brine can be used for any pork roast, since the apple juice is a wonderful compliment to the pork. Brining creates moist, juicy and tender meat.

2 gallons water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup white sugar
30 unpeeled garlic cloves
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 gallon apple juice

Combine and let sit of 24 hours. Use an injection needle, which can be found at most kitchen supply stores.
 4 pounds unsalted butter
1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
5 heads garlic, cut in half horizontally
6 thyme sprigs
4 sage sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs

Combine everything in a baking dish and place in the centre of the barbecue under the roast to catch the drippings.Towards the end of the cooking time,(at least 6 hours), brush with the butter every 3o minutes. 

Spray with apple cider for extra moisture when you feel that it is needed.

It takes a village to roast a pig!
With a big basket of beautiful apples from Cornelia's trees sitting on the kitchen counter, we decided that they would have a major role to play in the feast. Here is the recipe for the stuffing that we created.

Apple- Sausage Stuffing

1 pound spicy pork sausuge, cooked and crumbled
4 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
4 medium russet apples, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
3 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
3 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 loaf sliced bread, torn into 3/4 inch chunks
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock

Remove sausages from casings.  In a large skillet, fry over medium heat, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until crumbled and brown, about 5 minutes.  Remove and set aside.  In the same skillet, heat olive oil on medium and add diced onion, apple, celery, garlic and chopped, fresh herbs. Saute over medium-high heat, until  translucent. Add bread chunks, cooked sausage, salt and pepper and saute another 4-5 minutes. Add chicken stock and combine well.  Spoon into a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Almost time to feast!

Let the dancing begin!
And the dancing went on all night!

Ready to head out to the festhall, after all, it is Oktoberfest!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Apple Roasted Chicken with Apple Cider Reduction with Mushrooms

We were looking forward to a weekend up north with a gang of our kids and their friends, so headed to the St. Jacobs Farmers Market to pick up some produce. We were struck by the beauty of the many multi-coloured heritage varieties of carrots and tomatoes and potatoes and squash - so we bought just about everything on offer. Since we have no running water at our cottage at this time of year, the meal  planning and preparation has to be simple. We decided that along with some salads, including a big chopped Kale Salad with Lemon, Serrano and Mint , everything else could be grilled. We also picked up some steak, a few beautiful 6 pound roasting chickens and some pork back ribs. 

 Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad:

The beautiful tomato salad above was simply heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese, which we tore into chunks and arranged on a platter. We clipped some fresh basil from the garden and drizzled extra virgin olive oil and sea salt on top. It was wonderful!


 When the sun peeked out on Saturday afternoon, we knew that we had to head over to Peggy's apple orchard, to pick apples and press them for cider. It would be a wonderful family activity - or not! It is hard work turning the press, so many hands make light work.   When all of the work was done, by yours truly and husband, we headed down to the beach to see what happened to our helpers.  I guess the attraction of the sun out-weighed the benefits of hard work.


Leslie promised that they would help out with the dishes.....later!
 Dinner that night involved grilling the vegetables, ribs and chicken.  We thought about how to use the apple cider in the meal and decided to make a sauce for the chicken. It was rich, sweet and tart, a perfect compliment to the chicken.


Apple Roasted Rotisserie Chicken:

2- 6 lb. roasting chickens
8 cloves garlic, sliced
2 spy apples, cut into quarters
6 sprigs thyme
Stuff each chicken with apples, and place garlic and thyme underneath the skin. Follow the link for instructions on how to cook the chickens on the rotisserie - Rotisserie Chicken . Let the chickens rest in a shallow pan for 20 minutes after removing them from the grill. Collect the juices for use in the Apple Cider Reduction.

Apple Cider Reduction with Mushrooms 

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cremini mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups fresh apple cider
2 cups chicken stock, including juices from the chicken(collected while resting)

A delicious meal to warm up a COLD evening!