Ground Pork and Beef Whole Wheat Wrap

Minced meat is one of the quickest and easiest ingredients to work with when you are pressed for time. It’s also very versatile as it lends to an array of dishes: it can transformed into a scrumptious batch of meatballs, a juicy platter of burger patties, a succulent meatloaf, or a delectable filling for pot pies, wraps, etc. Truth be told, I had originally planned to try my hands at making homemade pork and beef burgers, but then I realized I forgot to pick up hamburger rolls. The next best bet was meatballs, but I didn’t have any tomato sauce. Then it popped in my head to make a sort of wrap.

I can’t recall working with minced meat in the past so I was a little sceptical of how things would turn out. In the end, the dish was a great success and the medley of flavours and textures worked well. I must say that I used a bunch of different spices and herbs. If you’re not into spicy foods for whatever reason, I advise cutting back on some of the spices, especially those that would cause some heat (cloves, black pepper, ginger, cumin).

Ground beef & pork – Ingredients

  • ¾ lb. ground beef
  • ¾ lb. ground pork
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. celery salt
  • ½ tsp. regular salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ¾ tsp. paprika
  • ½ ground pimento
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp. rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried cilantro
  • Zest of one lime
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. olive oil for sauteeing

Method

  1. Ensure ground pork and beef is fully defrosted.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat and sauté onion, garlic and sage leaves for 1 minute.
  3. Combine remaining herbs and spices with ground meat and add to hot skillet. Stir to combine and allow to cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until meat is fully brown and liquid evaporated.
  4. Add fresh lime juice and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2 minutes or until liquid had evaporated.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.

Serves 6.

Fillings - beef and pork wrap

Fillings – Ingredients

  • carrot, finely shredded
  • olives
  • sushi ginger
  • bell pepper, julienned
  • banana peppers, roughly chopped
  • tomatoes, quartered
  • cheese, shredded [I used mild cheddar, but you can use your choice of favourite cheese(s)]
  • cucumbers, cut into half moons

plated ground beef and pork

Method for assembling wraps

(I used whole wheat 6″ wraps)

  1. Warm the wraps in an oven for 1-2 minutes. (Ensure to not overheat as the wraps will dry out and get crispy, and will tear while rolling)
  2. Add your fillings of choice to wrap and roll, ensuring not to overfill the wrap.
  3. Insert toothpicks at either ends of the rolled wrap and cut on the diagonal in the centre.
  4. Enjoy immediately.
ground pork and beef plated in a glass

What do you guys think of this plating of the ground pork and beef?

The dish made a pretty tasty Monday night, post-gym dinner. You can have fun with whatever fresh veggies you have available.

finished dish - ground beef and pork whole wheat wrap

I love to squeeze a few drops of fresh lime juice just before I eat them, for an added brightness and to help cut the richness of the meat.

Live. Love. Eat.

SC

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Honey BBQ Chicken with Herb-Infused Baked Potatoes

Honey-BBQ Chicken w/ Herb-Infused Baked Potatoes, Blanched String Beans and Carrots

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, when most people are preoccupied with  trying to figure out what they’re going to give up for 40 long days. Me? I am home, cooking. Not for any particular reason, but just because I’m in one of those moods that require total tranquility and what better way to do that than cooking?

I opened my freezer, saw some chicken and decided to go with that. Then to my fridge and discovered some veggies that mother dearest had brought me a few days ago. Other than the fact that I am trying to incorporate more veggies into my diet, I thought that it would do me well to use these up before they go bad. (I can hear mom’s voice in my head scolding me for wasting food.)

And off we go.

Chicken (Cook time: 50 minutes)

I started with marinating the chicken. If you know me, this is usually a mental battle to decide on what spices I should use. (I have a barrage of herbs and spices in my kitchen; I’ll do a post on this some time hereafter.) This is what I decided on:

Ingredients:

six pieces of your favourite cuts of chicken (about 3 lbs)

one medium potato, cut in 1/2 inch medallions

two cloves of garlic, finely chopped

one small onion, finely chopped

1/2 scotch bonnet pepper, to taste (I recommend de-seeding these if you’re not into scorching your tongue)

1/2 tsp each of dried herbs: oregano, basil, thyme

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp sea salt

Sandburst brand annatto with pimento 

Camera 360Method:

Rinse chicken with water and pat dry. Add rest of ingredients and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. Overnight is better. Remove from fridge 10 minutes prior to cooking time and preheat oven to 400°F.

Cover with aluminium foil and cook for 30 minutes  at 400°F then remove foil and lower heat to 350°F and cook for 20 minutes more, or until juices run clear (not pink) when a sharp knife is inserted.

I’ll explain the sauce separately (see below). After chicken is finished baking, add sauce to coat chicken and return uncovered to broiler for 3 minutes.

Serves 3.

Honey BBQ Sauce

Ingredients:

3/4 cup red wine (If it’s not good enough to drink, it’s not good enough to cook with)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup tomato paste (ketchup will do)

2 tbsp honey

1/4 tbsp dried basil

1/2 tbsp mushroom-flavoured dark soy sauce

Method:

In a saucepan add olive oil and allow to heat for a minute on medium heat. Combine tomato paste,  honey, basil and soy sauce and stir to combine. Then add red wine, stir, and allow to reduce to a third, stirring constantly to ensure sauce doesn’t burn. Reduce heat if necessary.

Herb-Infused Baked Potatoes

I love potatoes, and even more so when they’re still in their skin. I almost never remove the skins as they add colour, flavour and texture to the dish. These aromatic, tasty, soft-to-the-centre potatoes make a perfect side dish.

potatoIngredients:

3 medium-sized potatoes

3 sprigs of thyme

additional dried herbs: rosemary, basil

S&P to taste

olive oil

aluminium foil

Method:

Cut down the middle of the potato without cutting it in half. Insert sprig of thyme, sprinkle with olive oil, and add dried herbs and S&P. Wrap in foil and bake for 30-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender to the touch. (Of course, this is done simultaneously with the chicken).

Blanched String Beans and Carrots

This is one of my fave veggie combos; it’s really yummy and simple to prepare. The hardest part is prepping string beans and carrots.

Ingredients:

1 lb string beans, de-stemmed

2-3 medium-sized carrots, peeled, cut to 1/4 inch thickness and 3 inches in length

1 tbsp olive oil

Dried herbs: basil, thyme, rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp lime juice

Large bowl with ice cubes and water to shock veggies after blanching

string beans and carrot

(Blanching: A cooking process wherein the food substance is plunged into boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval, and usually shocked in an ice bath.

ShockingA preparation technique  that “shocks” the food item by exposing it to ice water after the food item has been blanched. The process  is undertaken to immediately stop the food from cooking and to preserve the flavor, the food color and the texture at the point when the shocking occurs.

End result: bright-green, crisp string beans as opposed to nasty, soggy, dark grey green; and bright-orange carrots that crunch to the bite).

Method:

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add carrots and blanch for 1 1/2 minutes. Add string beans and blanch for an additional two minutes. Remove, drain, and IMMEDIATELY add to ice bath to stop cooking.

Remove after about 2-3 minutes and set aside. Coat with olive oil and add salt, dried herbs, S&P, and lime juice. Mix to coat. Serve as a side.

The finished product looked a little like this:

Of course, what better way to wash this down than with a nice glass of Merlot. No, it is not too late to send in your Valentine’s request. I’m still open.

Looking forward to those requests 🙂

Love,

Steve.