A few weeks ago, I spent a day helping a
friend traitor to the cause pack her kitchen for her move to Austin. Since I’m one winged, the most I could do was clean out her fridge. We started talking about all those parts of/left over items that you use a few times and they get shoved to the back. We both can, shop farmers markets and generally try to minimize our carbon foot print (her husband makes a wicked beer by the way). Fast forward to a get well soon gift from a college friend who knows of my love of canning and quirky gifts. The result ? 2 jars of beer jelly (you read that right, beer jelly) from a Brooklyn company called Anarchy In a Jar. I have to admit, I was a bit perplexed. I like beer, I like jam/jelly. But along the lines of I like chicken and I like peanut butter cups, I’m not seeing how they work together.
The only thing saving me at the moment is the Food Network. I’m sick of daytime television as I am recovering from this Bankart repair.
On a whim In a moment of insanity, I decided to do my very own Chopped challenge. Mostly to alleviate the fear of opening the jar of beer jelly. For the record, beer jelly has a heavy beer taste with a sweet undercurrent along the lines of apple juice (which makes sense since they are the top 2 ingredients). I didn’t know any of this before deciding to use what was in my fridge to make dinner using the beer jelly as the gotcha.
So there are my mandatory items: all selected before the opening of the jelly (or reading the label). Knowing that jelly can be a bit sweet, I went with something salty to try to balance it. I prefer a bit of a kick so went with the horseradish sauce. The meat is from the absolutely fantastic 8 O’clock Ranch (really, if you are in their delivery area and don’t buy from them?). The walnuts and spinach are from Wegman’s. The horseradish was rescued from my friend. I used the gluten-free soy in my fridge but needed the smaller one for the pic.
I created a marinade of the jelly, 2 tablespoons of horseradish and a tad too much soy (I had to cut it with 2 tablespoons of local honey). It probably should have been a jar of jelly and 2 tablespoons each of the horseradish and soy. I had to use the honey to kill a bit of the salt.
I seared the pork on both sides on a very hot grill pan turning 4 times (these were completely thawed boneless chops). In what would cause the Chopped judges to take off points for creativity, I opted for a variation of a spinach salad.
With the meat resting, I chopped the egg and added it to the spinach and walnuts. I cooked the pancetta (points off, it was a bit saltier than I expected). Then deglazed the pan with the vinegar (around 2T and 1T of Dijon mustard).
I tossed the warm pancetta into the salad to get a bit of a wilt, tossed in the dressing platted I’m sure I would have been axed (I forgot a starch; you know how those judges are). But a ton of fun when trying to figure out how to use beer jelly. And yup. I contacted Anarchy in a Jar to see where I could get a few more bottles. I’m really not in the mood to start making beer jelly. But it is a great base for fun cooking.
Really glad I was kicked off before the dessert round. :)