For those of you reading this that are not from St. Louis, you might not understand the love this city has for baseball. For St. Louisans, baseball is our religion, and Opening Day is one of our High Holy Days. To celebrate the “holiday,” we cooked up a meal that revolves around our beloved St. Louis Cardinals and the delicious food you find, smell and eat at the ballpark.
Before we go any further, we have a disclaimer: in the last blog post, we declared that with swimsuit season rapidly approaching, we were hopping back on the wagon. Well, the only wagon we’re on this week is the Anhueser Busch wagon that pulls into Busch Stadium before the first Cards game of the season. Break out the cold ones and let’s get cooking!
We are honoring Opening Day by fixing some pulled pork nachos, bratzels (yes, that’s a word!) and an all-American apple pie. Batter Up!
Pulled Pork Nachos
One of our favorite foods at Busch Stadium is the pulled pork nachos. During the post-season last year, we were absolutely addicted to the sweet/smokey barbecued pork, the ooey-gooey cheese sauce and the spicy jalapeños that smothered our tortilla chips. In fact, at one game last season, Lindsey went on a 20-minute hunt to find a food stand that wasn’t completely sold out of BBQ pork nachos. When she bit into that first bite, it was absolute heaven.
But the cravings for this incredible dish didn’t stop after the Cardinals won the World Series. We had withdrawal from these heavenly nachos and decided to make our own at home, with the help of the Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Shredded Pork. We definitely hit a home run with this one!
Warning: we weren’t that crazy about the cheese sauce recipe we made – the taste was spot-on, but the texture was all wrong. Next time we make these we’re just going to do Velveeta and Rotel, so that’s what we’d suggest to you, too! Forgive us for not including the recipe – it just isn’t worth it.
Everything you need to get the spicy pulled pork going.
Cut up one onion and the garlic. Place it in a food processor.
Sweeten things up by adding brown sugar to the mix.
Add the chili powder.
And the cumin.
And some oil.
And some vinegar.
Process everything in the food processor until smooth.
Rub the sauce all over the pork, making sure to really massage it in and get it in every nook and cranny. You’ll want to take your rings off for this one, ladies. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!
Place the pork into a roasting pan or Dutch oven.
Add a few cups of water to the Dutch oven.
Cover tightly and roast pork at 300º for several hours, turning once every hour.
It will look something like this when it’s all done.
Take the pork out of the Dutch oven and remove the fatty parts – no one wants to bite into that when they’re devouring our pulled pork nachos!
Using two forks, shred the meat until it looks like this. Then get ready for the cheese sauce.
Ignore the monterey jack and cheddar cheeses – just go straight for the Velveeta/Rotel route and you’ll be golden.
Get your chips ready to go!
Pile the pork on top of the chips.
Scoop the cheese sauce on.
We could dig in already, but we’re not quite there yet!
Top the whole thing with a generous drizzle of BBQ sauce.
Get ready for the best nachos you’ll ever eat.
Here’s the recipe:
For the pork:
4 pounds (up To 7 Pounds) Pork Shoulder
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon (to 2 Tablespoons) Salt
Pepper To Taste
3 cloves (to 4 Cloves) Garlic
1 Tablespoon (to 2 Tablespoons) Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons (to 3 Tablespoons) White Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 whole Onion
1 block Velveeta
1 can Rotel
1/2 Cup barbecue sauce
Rinse and pat dry the pork shoulder.
To begin, just throw the dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar and brown sugar into a food processor or blender. (I happen to love brown sugar in my cooking, but you can decrease or omit it if you like.)
Cut one onion into quarters and put it in the food processor with the spices. Blend mixture until totally combined and then pour it over the pork shoulder.
Now rub it into every nook and cranny of the meat, tucking it under folds an in crevices. Let no stone go unturned.
Then place the pork into a roasting pan or Dutch oven and add a couple of cups of water. Cover tightly and roast pork at 300º for several hours, turning once every hour.
When it is fork tender, crank up the heat, remove the lid, and roast it, skin side up for another 15 to 20 minutes to get the skin crispy. When it’s done, let it rest for 15 minutes before shredding.
Shred the pork shoulder (two forks work well). When it’s all shredded be sure to pour the juices all over the meat.
Mix Velveeta and Rotel according to directions on the box/can.
Lay out a plate of tortilla chips and cover with pulled pork. Top with Velveeta mixture and a generous amount of barbecue sauce. Dig in!
Whenever we go to the baseball game, at least one of us gets a bratwurst. Or a pretzel. Or sometimes we get both. Together. At the same time. In the form of a bratzel – otherwise known as a bratwurst wrapped entirely in a pretzel.
Baking with yeast can be a little intimidating – trust us, we know! That’s why we searched high and low for a semi-homemade way to do the pretzel bread. Unfortunately, we found absolutely nothing, so we had to face the little package of yeast that was staring at us on the counter. In the end, Guy Fieri’s pretzel roll recipe made it totally painless and the house smelled absolutely incredible. Not to mention, we got the highest of all compliments from Nugget, who said, “This pretzel bread is better than the pretzel bread at Mastro’s!” which is our favorite steakhouse in Arizona (and we thought nothing could compete with their pretzel bread!) So, although the thought of making bread from scratch sounds scary, it’s really not. Especially since we’re here to guide you through it!
Pretzels from scratch? Not as scary as it seems.
Put 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F) in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm water and set aside to bloom for 5 minutes.
Your yeast should look like this once it has bloomed.
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture and mix with the dough hook on the lowest setting until the dough comes together.
Increase your mixer’s speed to medium and continue to mix until the dough is elastic and smooth, about 8 minutes. It should look like the photo above.
Form the dough into a ball and put it in a large, oiled bowl. Coat the dough ball with oil and cover with a damp towel, letting it rest in a warm place until the dough ball has doubled in size, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Punch down the dough.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, kneading until dough is smooth.
Divide the dough into 4 to 6 pieces and form the buns. Place the rolls on an oiled baking sheet and cut 4 diagonal slashes across the top of each. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, 15 to 20 minutes.
Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Stir the baking soda into the boiling water – it will foam up a little bit, so don’t be alarmed!
These are our rolls after they’ve doubled in size. We could have made them smaller.
Poach each bun 2 minutes per side.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the rolls, drain and place on the baking sheet, cut-side up. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining rolls.
Bake the rolls until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
Yeah, we couldn’t help but dig in.
While the pretzel buns are cooling, cook the brats according to the instructions on the package.
When the brats are nice and browned, place each brat on a bun and get ready to enjoy a piece of the ballpark at home.
This one’s a winner, folks!
Here’s the recipe:
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
Vegetable oil, for the bowl
1/3 cup baking soda
1 package Johnsonville bratwurst (1 package has 5 brats)
Put 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F) in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside to bloom, 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture and mix with the dough hook on the lowest setting until the dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix until the dough is elastic and smooth, about 8 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball, place in a large oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place until doubled in size, 30 to 35 minutes. Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat, coat generously with cooking spray and set aside.
Punch down the dough, then turn out onto a floured surface. Knead just until the dough is smooth and springs back when poked, about 1 minute. Divide into 4 pieces and form into 5-by-3-inch oblong rolls. Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet and cut four 2-inch diagonal slashes across the top of each. Cover with a damp towel or cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat.
Stir the baking soda into the boiling water (it will foam up slightly). Add 2 rolls and poach 2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, remove the rolls, drain and place on the baking sheet, cut-side up. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining rolls.
Bake the rolls until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheet.
While rolls are cooling, cook the brats according to the directions on the package. Put each brat on its own pretzel bun and dress it up with mustard, sauerkraut or whatever else you want.
All-American Mini Apple Pies AllRecipes.com
There’s nothing more American than baseball, right? Wrong. Apple pie trumps all. As usual, we’ve got a little twist on this dish for you – we’ve made them mini! That’s right – everyone gets their own personal pie. We found the mini pie pan at Sur La Table and we are so excited to use this in the future for summer fruit pies and delicious pot pies in the fall and winter. We highly suggest topping these puppies with a heaping scoop of classic vanilla ice cream. And maybe a drizzle of caramel. Okay, definitely a drizzle of caramel. With these cutie-pies, you’ll feel like you’ve won the World Series.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Does an apple pie count?
Measure out the flour and add to a small bowl.
Add the white sugar to the mix.
Measure out the brown sugar and add that as well.
Add the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Thinly slice your apples. To do this easily, we suggest using a mandolin.
Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a larger bowl.
Dump in the apples and make sure they’re coated with the lemon juice. We also chopped the apples into small pieces since the pan is so much smaller than an original pie pan. The apples just fit so much easier when they are smaller
Add the sugar mixture to the apples and coat evenly.
We love taking shortcuts, and that’s exactly what we did on the pie crust. Why not use the frozen kind? Our favorite are the Pillsbury Pie Crusts. We used two packages.
Our cute mini-pie maker came with a cutter that made our job easy. Cut the pie crust to fit into the pie pan.
Press the crust into the pan.
Fill the crusts with the sugar-coated apple mixture.
Cut the pie crust to go on top and seal the edges together.
You can do the tops of the pies however you like. We experimented and did a few different types. We thought the basket-weave was a classic!
Doesn’t get much cuter than this. Make sure to add sugar on top so that it will caramelize in the oven.
Bake the pies until golden brown – approximately 30 minutes but keep an eye on them as each oven can be different. Smaller pies cook faster than big pies
Serve warm with a big, heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Here’s the recipe:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
7 cups thinly sliced pared apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 packages premade pastry crust
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 egg white
In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and spices; set aside.
In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice.
Add sugar mixture; toss well to coat. Line the mini pie pans with the pastry.
Place apple filling into crust; dot with butter.
Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pies. Cut a few slits in top. Beat egg white until foamy and brush over pastry. Sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake at 375° F for 35 minutes. Increase temperature to 400° F and bake 10-15 minutes more or until golden.
Serve warm with ice cream on top. Mmm!
Nom. nom. nom.