Baked Potato Soup with BBQ Pork

This is one of those recipes I sorta pulled out of my, um, refrigerator.

We’ve been so very, very busy with work this week and I’d taken a small pork shoulder roast out of the freezer with the intention of putting in the crock pot Monday morning for barbecue pulled pork that evening.  Insomnia and our morning schedule conspired against me and I forgot all about the roast and the crock pot.  I was kicking myself over it when Beloved suggested I throw it in the pressure cooker.

That made sense, so I did.  Then I started a quick version of my Maple Barbecue Sauce and wondered what the heck I was going to serve it all with.  Well, The Young One would eat barbecue pork-stuffed baked potatoes every day of the week if I made them, but I was more in the mood for something like…soup.  So I compromised and made baked potato soup.  Then I piled the pork in the middle of the soup, topped it with bacon and cheese and called it good.

Actually, it was better than good – it was incredibly, amazingly delicious.  The Young One, who tends to be lukewarm about soup, and Beloved, who tends to be lukewarm about white potatoes, both inhaled this, then went back for seconds and inhaled those, too.  It was declared “the best thing you’ve ever made, Mom!” and Beloved didn’t really say anything because he was too busy eating it.

I have to admit – I really liked it too.  So much so that I ate the little that was left for breakfast the next morning.

The list of ingredients and instructions are long, but it really was simple and came together in just over an hour.  Of course, if you have leftover barbecue pulled pork, it will come together in about 20 minutes, since all you’d have to do is make the soup and the microwave really comes in handy in that regard; I’m of the opinion that if you have a tool, you should use it.  Mostly we use it to heat up leftovers, so it’s nice when I can use it for a more “legitimate” purpose.

This would be good with just about any meat that is chopped and mixed with a delicious barbecue sauce, so if you don’t do pork, try it with chicken thighs.

Baked Potato Soup with BBQ Pork.  All of the goodness of a BBQ pork stuffed baked potato in a comforting soup.

Baked Potato Soup with BBQ Pork
Serves: 8
  • Pork
  • 2 pounds pork shoulder or picnic roast
  • 3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • BBQ Sauce
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup dried onion
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Soup
  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces bacon, diced
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Cook the diced bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain and set aside. Reserve the bacon fat.
  2. Rub the pork shoulder with the salt, pepper and Chinese 5 spice. Heat the reserved bacon fat in a pressure cooker over medium-high heat and brown the pork shoulder on all sides. Add the chicken stock, tamari and onion to the shoulder.
  3. Lock the lid of the pressure cooker in place and increase the heat to high until the cooker reaches full pressure (15 psi). Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and allow the pressure to decrease naturally.
  4. Combine the sauce ingredients in a large, heavy sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened into a sauce, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Scrub the potatoes well and prick them all over with the tip of a knife. Microwave them for 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft and cooked through, turning the potatoes every 2 minutes.
  6. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh out of three of the halves into a large saucepan with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low; add the milk and simmer for 5 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree the soup mixture until smooth. Stir in the flesh from the remaining potato half; season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.
  7. Remove the pork shoulder from the pressure cooker and trim away any excess fat if necessary. Using two forks, shred the meat and transfer to a large bowl with the barbecue sauce, mixing it well.
  8. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and carefully mound the barbecue pork in the center of each. Top with the cheese and bacon and serve immediately.
  9. Nutrition (per serving): 504 calories, 20.6g total fat, 100.1mg cholesterol, 1404.3mg sodium, 1237.3mg potassium, 45.4g carbohydrates, 2.9g fiber, 25.8g sugar, 34.3g protein

Braised Barbecue Round Steak

There are a lot of recipes in my Real SAD section – all those dishes of a bygone era, at least for us.

Or most of them; while the majority are simply hopeless (I’m looking at you, Peanut Butter Fudge and Monkey Bread), there are a few that can be modified to fit our lifestyle now.

This is one of those recipes.  It personified “comfort food” when I was growing up, but when I look at the original recipe now, I just cringe.  Vegetable oil?  Canned cream of tomato soup?  Brown sugar?  No.  And no.  And no.

Fortunately, barbecue sauces are one of the easiest things to conform to “real food” parameters, and it was no problem at all to slightly tweak my Maple Barbecue Sauce recipe for this recipe (i.e. reduce the amount of maple syrup a little).  The addition of the beef bone broth (you DO have some homemade beef bone broth in your freezer or pantry, right?) not only punches up the nutritional value, but adds a depth of flavor that was entirely missing from the dish of my childhood.  And while it may not be as inexpensive or easy to make as the old recipe, it still is inexpensive and easy.

And comforting and delicious.

Note:  Bottom round is preferable for this recipe; top round tends to get a little tough and chewy when braised.

Braised Barbecue Round Steak
Braised Barbecue Round Steak
Serves: 8
  • 1 tablespoon tallow or other cooking fat
  • 2 pounds round steak, cut into 8 equal pieces
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lard or butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
  1. Melt the tallow in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Season the steak with the salt and pepper; place in the skillet and cook until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. Melt the lard in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and apple cider vinegar, then the beef stock.
  4. Return the steaks, along with any juices that collected on the plate, to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the steak is tender,uncovering for the last 20 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
  5. Serve over mashed cauliflower, mashed potatoes or steamed rice.
Calories: 289; Fat: 10.6 g; Saturated fat: 4.02 g; Carbohydrates: 19.93 g; Sugar: 15.8 g; Fiber: 1.32 g; Protein: 27.86 g; Cholesterol: 80.76 g


Grilled Chicken Wings with Maple Barbecue Sauce

Any time you ask The Young One what he wants for dinner, you’re likely to get one of two answers – Pad Thai or chicken wings.  The poor kid has been Pad Thai-less for over a year now, but every now and then I indulge him and make chicken wings.  I usually joint them, then dip the wing sections in butter, roll them in Parmesan cheese (the kind that comes in a green can) and then bake them in the oven.  They are nommed with much enthusiasm by everyone I’ve ever fed them too (right, Darling Daughter?).

However, when I found a deal on pastured chicken wings at the farmer’s market this last weekend, I realized that if I wanted to eat them there could be no Parmesan cheese.  So we decided to grill them and baste them with barbecue sauce.  Now, I haven’t purchased a bottled barbecue sauce in months and months so when I got home I started pulling out all the ingredients for my Spicy Honey Barbecue Sauce recipe.

And I had no honey.

Undaunted, I began searching for barbecue sauces that were made with maple syrup, which I had an abundance of.  However, most of them called for brown sugar and/or corn syrup in addition to the maple syrup.  Not gonna happen.  And in retrospect, it makes me wonder about how sweet those sauces must be because the one I came up with, which is an amalgam of several recipes I found online, is more than sweet enough.  It was also a huge hit here at the Sushi Bar; absolutely delicious.  In fact, it was received so well by both Beloved and The Young One that it will now be my “go to” sauce – and it has no “iffy” ingredients like Worcestershire sauce (which usually includes high fructose corn syrup) or liquid smoke (which usually includes MSG) as the honey barbecue sauce does.

Again, this is one of those recipes that is deceptive when you look at the macronutrient content – the recipe comes in at 34 grams of carbohydrate per serving.  However, slightly less than 1/3 of the entire recipe for the barbecue sauce is called for, so I figured the actual carbohydrate count per serving is closer to 9 grams.  Not too shabby at all; it definitely qualifies as “low carb.”  At any rate, I’ve included a link to a printable copy of both the recipe for the grilled chicken (which The Young One sucked up in about 3 seconds) and the sauce recipe alone.

Grilled Chicken Wings with Maple Barbecue Sauce

Grilled Chicken Wings with Maple Barbecue Sauce

serves 4 to 6, or The Young One

2 pounds chicken wings, not jointed
2 tablespoons Mrs. Dash for chicken or barbecue dry rub
2 tablespoons lard or other cooking fat
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomato sauce
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Melt the lard in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce and red pepper flakes; bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the vinegar; season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve about 3/4 of a cup for the chicken wings, and store the rest in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a later use.

While the sauce is simmering, prepare and heat your grill, depending on type – if using charcoal, make sure you have a bed of hot coals, covered in ash, spread evenly beneath the grate. Raise the grate to between 4 and 6 inches above the coals/heat.

Rinse the chicken wings and dry then with a paper towel. Place them in a large bowl and sprinkle them with the seasoning mixture/dry rub, tossing them frequently to coat them evenly. Place then over the coals/heat and cover. Cook, turning occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink near the bone. Baste with the barbecue sauce for the last 5 minutes.

Remove to a platter and allow the chicken to rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving.

Printable version (requires Adobe Reader)

Printable version for sauce alone