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Bless Your Spoon: Pucker up with recipes with pickles

Today’s featured pickle recipes are for tried and true pickle lovers.

The recipes don’t call for pickling cucumbers but instead for store-bought pickles. These are some of the easiest and tastiest entrees to make at home – and add the popular tastes of pickles.

The taste of beef, pork, fish, and veal as entrees is enhanced by adding sour, dill, and sweet gherkins – and then cooked in or covered with creamy pickle sauces. And by using your grocer’s already prepared pickles – you’ll save time.

Full of flavor, the recipes are a great way to dress up store-bought pickles, making them a special treat – and creating a meal any honest pickle lover will savor.

The sweet pickle recipe is a favorite – and calls for store-bought sour pickles instead of fresh cucumbers. Be sure to save every drop of brine from the jar to use as a marinade in the future. According to Mt Olive Pickle’s website – the closest grocer to Davie County that carries the gallon jars of Sour Pickles was IGA in Cleveland, NC. Call to check availability.

While there, check out the chicken and ribs establishment that’s to the left of the grocery. Linda and her brother, Benjamin, have been in business for more than 30 years, serving up some of the most delicious southern cookin’ around these parts. There’s a steady drizzle of folks from surrounding counties, coming and going, all day long. Open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Road trip worthy – snag a booth, eat, and chat awhile.

BRAISED PORK CHOPS

IN SOUR CREAM PICKLE SAUCE

6 pork loin chops, ¾-inch thick (2 ½ lbs.)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 Tbsp. Crisco shortening

Flour

1 cup chopped onions

1 chopped garlic clove

1 Tbsp. paprika

1 cup chicken broth

¼ tsp. tomato puree

1 tsp. flour

1 cup sour cream

6 oz. boiled ham, julienne strips

6 oz. gherkin pickles, julienne strips

Salt and pepper pork chops. Dip them in flour, shaking off any excess. In an iron skillet, melt Crisco. Add chops a few at a time. Cook 4 minutes on each side until browned. Remove to a platter and set aside. Pour off excess oil, leaving enough to saute onions. Saute onions and garlic for 10 minutes or until translucent. Remove from heat and stir in paprika. Increase heat and add chicken broth and tomato puree. Bring to a boil while stirring, add chops, and reduce heat. Cover skillet tightly and simmer 40 minutes or until tender, turning once while simmering.  Remove chops from skillet and keep warm.

Sour Cream Pickle Sauce

For sauce, in a saucepan, add sour cream. Beat flour into cream with a wire whisk. Whisk mixture into the skillet while stirring. Cook for 3 minutes over low heat until sauce is thick and smooth. Stir in ham and pickle strips. Simmer 3 additional minutes until heated through.  Serve chops with sauce on the side.

BEEF ROAST WITH SOUR PICKLE SAUCE

3 lb. chuck roast

3 lbs. chicken wings

2 quarts water

1 tsp. salt

3 Tbsp. salted butter

2 cups quartered onions

1 parsnip, sliced ½-inch

3 carrots, sliced 1-inch

4 celery ribs, cut 2-inch lengths

¼ cup parsley sprigs

1 bay leaf

6 peppercorns

In a large soup pot, combine beef and chicken. Cover with water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Add more water to cover if necessary. In a skillet, heat butter. Add chopped vegetables and parsley. Cook on high heat for 5 minutes or browned. Add to soup pot. Bring liquid to a boil. Add bay leaf and peppercorns. Lower heat, cover pot and simmer for 2 hours until meat is tender. Remove beef and keep heated. Drain the stock and save for making soup. Drain vegetables. Roast them in the oven at high temperature until charred. Serve around the roast or use in a soup.

Sour Pickle Sauce for Beef Roast

2 Tbsp. salted butter

¼ cup finely chopped onions

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups beef broth

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. white vinegar

½ cup peeled, chopped dill pickle

½ cup heavy cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes until transparent Add flour while constantly stirring until browned. Add stock, sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook on medium for 15 minutes or until sauce thickens. Strain sauce, return to pan and add the pickles. Stir in the cream. Season to taste. Serve in a gravy boat.

VINEGAR AND SOUR PICKLE POTATOES

1 lb. boiling potatoes

2 slices cooked, drained, diced bacon

¼ cup chopped onions

1 ½ Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 ¼ cups beef broth

1 tsp. drained, chopped capers

1 tsp. grated lemon peel

1/8 tsp. marjoram

½ tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbsp. finely chopped sour pickles

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

1 tsp. chopped parsley

In a deep pot, boil potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender. Cool and peel. Cut lengthwise into ½-inch slices. Set aside. In a skillet, cook bacon until browned and crispy. Drain and cut into 1-inch pieces. Leaving about 2 Tbsp. bacon fat, add onions, and cook 8 minutes on medium heat or until translucent. Stir in bacon and flour, mixing well. Reduce heat and whisk in beef broth until thickened. Add capers, lemon peel, marjoram, salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf, and pickles. Bring sauce to a boil. Add potatoes and vinegar. Cover tightly, and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving. Top with chopped parsley.

PICKLE STUFFED CUCUMBERS

2 8-inch fresh cucumbers

¼ tsp. salt per cucumber

2 boneless sardines

¼ lb. diced ham

2 chopped hard-boiled eggs

2 tsp. finely chopped onions

2 Tbsp. minced sour pickles

1 tsp. prepared Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. premium mayonnaise

Season to taste

Cut tops of each cucumber. Peel and cut seeds and center pulp out with a long spoon or knife. Leave shell intact about ¼-inch thick. Pour ¼ tsp. salt down each cucumber. Allow to stand 15 minutes. Then dry with a paper towel. In a mixer bowl, mash sardines to a paste. Add diced ham, chopped eggs, onions, pickles, mustard, and mayonnaise. Stir together until mixture holds shape on a spoon. Add more mayonnaise if needed. Season to taste. Stand cucumbers up on end and spoon filling in while tamping down with a spoon. When tightly packed, wrap separately in aluminum foil and refrigerate for 3 hours. To serve, slice the cucumbers crosswise in slices about 1/2 –inch thick.

BRAISED SPARERIBS IN TOMATO DILL SAUCE

2 lbs. spareribs, cut in serving pieces

1 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. bacon grease or Crisco shortening

Sprinkle spareribs entirely with salt and black pepper. In a skillet, melt bacon grease or Crisco. Add spareribs and brown them on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Tomato-Dill Sauce for Spareribs

1 cup chopped onions

2 crushed whole allspice

1 crushed clove

1 bay leaf

1 ½ Tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. tomato puree

1 cup finely diced dill pickle

2 cups water

To the fat in skillet, add chopped onions, crushed allspice, clove, and bay leaf. Stir in flour and add tomato puree. Blend well. Add chopped pickles and mix well. Bring to a boil while stirring until sauce thickens. Reduce to low and place spareribs in the sauce, basting and covering them with sauce. Cover tightly, and simmer for 1 hour until ribs are tender. Remove bay leaf and serve ribs with sauce poured over them.

VEAL SHANKS

WITH BUTTER DILL PICKLE SAUCE

4-5 lbs. veal shanks (3 pieces)

1 medium onion, ¼-inch sliced

1 carrot, cut 1/4-inch pieces

1 leek, cut 1/8-inch pieces

¼ cup chopped parsley

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

1 whole clove

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. of each- salt and freshly ground black pepper

water

In a deep pot, combine meat, onion, carrot, leaks, parsley, vinegar, clove, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Add enough water to cover the meat. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender. Set aside the meat. Strain the stock to a bowl and set aside for the sauce. Trim veal shanks of any fat. Cut meat away from bone and into 1-inch pieces and discard bones. Keep warm.

Butter Dill Pickle Sauce for Veal

4 Tbsp. salted butter

½ cup chopped onions

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

3 cups of reserved broth

1 cup finely chopped dill pickle

½ tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a skillet, melt butter. Add chopped onion, and cook 5 minutes until soft and transparent. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually pour in 3 cups of reserved broth while constantly stirring until thickened and smooth. Add chopped pickle, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked veal and simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through.

FLOUNDER BAKED

IN HORSERADISH PICKLE SAUCE

1 Tbsp. salted butter

2 lbs. fresh flounder fillets

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

½ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. melted salted butter

2 medium onions, thinly sliced in rings

3 Tbsp. tomato puree

1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

1 tsp. bottled horseradish

2 medium dill pickles, cut thin, 2-inch strips

2 Tbsp. salted butter

In a baking dish, coat bottom with butter. Sprinkle fish fillets with lemon juice and salt, allowing them to sit for 10 minutes. In a heavy skillet, melt butter. Cook onion rings for 5 minutes until transparent and soft. Arrange fish in baking dish. In a bowl, beat tomato puree, vinegar, and horseradish together. Spread mixture evenly over fish.  Scatter onion rings and thin pickle wedges over the fish. Dot fish with small pieces of butter.  Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 15 minutes or until fish is opaque and firm to touch. Serve immediately.

BEEF STEW WITH PICKLES

3 Tbsp. bacon grease or Crisco shortening

2 cups finely chopped onions

1 Tbsp. paprika

3 lbs. boneless, cubed, lean chuck

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup beef broth

½ tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. fresh broth

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

½ cup sweet gherkins, cut in thin strips

Season to taste

In an oven-proof dish, heat bacon fat. Add onions and cook stovetop for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in paprika, and stir until onions are coated. Add beef, wine, and beef broth. Stir in salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover tightly, and place in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour.  When meat is done, remove 2 tbsp. of fresh broth to a bowl and combine it with 2 Tbsp. of flour.  Stir flour mixture back into beef casserole. Cook for additional 40 minutes or until meat is done. Remove meat and arrange meat on a platter. Add pickles to broth and heat through for 5 minutes. Season to taste. Pour sauce over beef and serve.

QUINT’S 7-DAY SWEET PICKLES

1 gallon, sliced ¾ inches, sour pickles (Mt. Olive)

4 lbs. sugar

2 Tbsp. powder alum

2 jars McCormick’s pickling spice

1 cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup Tarragon vinegar

In a clean sink, soak pickles in ice water with dissolved alum for 2 hours while continuing to replace the melted ice. Then layer back in the gallon jar – a 1-inch layer of sugar, 1-inch layer of sliced pickles, and ½ pickling spice. Repeat. Pour vinegars over the top. Let sit for 36 hours and don’t turn. Then, turn jar every day for 7 days. These are my favorite pickles.