Sunday, July 8, 2012

Black Bean, Bacon Drippins, and Avocado Muffins, Take One

My mom was the Queen of Nothing Wasted. This was most evident when it came to bacon drippins.  And, yes. Drippins.  No final "g", no final apostrophe to show you believe in final "g".  Mom was an educated and articulate enough lady that she knew about final "g" and could pronounce it just fine when needed.

But, bacon drippins were... drippins.  And drippins they shall always be.

Bacon drippins were stored in coffee cans, back in the days when people drank coffee that came pre-ground in cans. You just added to them every time you made bacon or sausage, and subtracted from them every time you fried something or greased a pan.

Once mom made zucchini bread, and she greased the pans with bacon drippins.  Unbeknownst to her, the drippins had gone rancid (something that rarely happens in hillbilly households).  Worst zucchini bread ever, at least around the edges.  It was still pretty good in the middle.

Anyway, true child of Mom that I am, when I fry bacon, I save the drippins.  In little ramekins, because I don't fry bacon that often.  Unlike Mom, I let it sit in the fridge until I'm pretty sure it's rancid, then I throw it out.

But lately, the idea of using the bacon fat to make something flavorful has been calling to me.

And, using black beans in muffins has been calling to me.

And using GF beer in muffins has been calling to me.

And, I had some avocados left over from the salad I'd made on the 4th.

So, what if I made blue cornmeal muffins, with black beans and bacon fat and avocados?  And, what if I topped them with the cracklins leftover from last week's posole?

Sounds like something you'd serve for Halloween, doesn't it? 

Black Bean, Bacon Drippins, and Avocado Muffins

Vegetable Ingredients:
3/4 to 1/2 C leftover black beans, chilled
1/2 C finely chopped onion
1 TBSP minced jalapeño
1 garlic clove or cube, or equivalent powder
1 TBSP minced cilantro (opt.)
Chunks of avocado, splashed with lime juice

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/4 C GF flour blend
1/4 C tapioca starch
1/2 C blue cornmeal (yellow or white would be prettier)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
Ground pepper to taste

Wet ingredients:
1 egg
1/3 cup melted and partially cooled bacon drippins
About 3/4 cup GF beer, room temperature

Topping (Opt.)
Small bits of cracklins or bacon.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 (f).
  2. Place liners in 12 to 15 muffin cups, then spray with canola oil.
  3. Saute onion, jalapeño, and garlic in about 1 tsp bacon drippings in a non-stick skillet. Remove from heat.
  4. Add black beans and cilantro.
  5. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  6. Mix wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
  7. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  8. Gently fold in all vegie ingredients, except the avocado chunks.
  9. Divide batter among the muffin cups, then smooth tops a bit with dampened fingers.
  10. Push one avocado chunk deep into the center of each muffin, then smooth batter over with dampened fingers.
  11. Sprinkle tops with cracklins or bacon bits, if desired.
  12. Bake about 13 to 15 minutes, until toothpick inserted off-center comes out clean.

Results: Well, indeed, they weren't pretty. Spouse 1.0 thinks they had too much avocado, not enough jalapeno, and maybe didn't need the cilantro. Other than that, he liked them.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Blue Corn Posole

In my quest for a decent blue corn posole, I'm trying something a little different this time. Well, a couple of things.

Blue corn posole, dry
First, I'm crocking it.  When I've made the posole on top of the stove, I've not been happy with how the blue corn hominy cooks up.  Some pieces are solid and very chewy.  Others split apart and are... very chewy. 

I think the chewiness is just part of blue corn, but am hoping that crocking will at least help it cook more evenly.

The second thing I'm doing is roasting the pork, onions, garlic, and chilis before adding them to the stew.  The hope is for a little more depth of flavor.

Blue corn posole is a two-day process.

Day one is easy. Take the dried hominy, and soak in water to cover.  This time around, I started the soaking mid afternoon. 

Day 2 is a little more involved.

First, trim the pork of extra fat, and render it in an iron skillet.

Rendered pork fat
This provides something like unfiltered lard to use in the skillet when roasting everything. 

It also provides cracklins, which can later be used in corn bread. 

Cracklins are like unflavored bacon.  They're a hillbilly delicacy.

After rendering the fat, drain some of it off, and use the rest to sear the pork. 

Rub some of the fat on the seared pork, 1 quartered onion, 2 halved and seeded jalapenos, and 4 cloves of garlic.

Put everything in the oven to roast.  I'm roasting at 350 (f). 

Pork and vegs, ready for the oven
Next, wash and quarter 6-8 tomatillos.  Drain the soaking water from the posole.  Add tomatillos and posole to the crock pot, and add a couple of quarts of water.  Add salt to taste and about 1/2 tsp or so dried oregano.  Set the crock pot on low, and let the hominy and tomatillos cook while the pork and vegs roast.

Tomatillos and posole in the crock pot
Cool the pork and vegs. Cube or shred the pork and chop the vegs.  Add to the crock pot and cook about 4 hours, until the hominy is tender and the broth is tasty.  Add additional seasoning to taste.


1 12 oz. package dry blue corn posole
2.25 lbs thick cut pork loin steaks
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 jalapeño chili peppers, cut in half and seeded
4 small cloves garlic
6-8 tomatillos, quartered
About5 1/2 tsp oregano
1 frozen garlic cube, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
Freshly ground salt and pepper

  1. Day one: Soak the posole in a covered glass bowl for at 12-18 hours.
  2. Day two: Rinse pork, pat dry, and trim fat.
  3. Cut fat into small pieces, then render in an iron skillet.
  4. Remove cracklins from the skillet and drain and reserve most of the fat. Leave about 1 Tbsp fat in the skillet.
  5. Sear the pork on all sides.
  6. Rub onions, garlic, and jalapeños with some of the reserved fat, then place in skillet with the pork.
  7. Roast pork and vegs in 350 (f) oven for about an hour or so, until pork is done. Let cool.
  8. While pork is roasting, drain and rinse the posole, then put in crock pot with about 2-3 quarts water.
  9. Add tomatillos and oregano, and start cooking on low.
  10. Remove vegs, cut onions, remove skins from jalapeños, and add to crock pot.
  11. Shred or cube pork and rub it around in the skillet to get some of the skillet liquor mixed into the meat.  Add to crock pot.
  12. Cook on low for about 6 hours, adding remaining seasonings to taste after a couple of hours.
  13. Serve garnished with cilantro.
The finished product