Knob Creek Bourbon Dinner at Meritage

Last night I had the pleasure of attending an invite-only Bourbon Dinner at Meritage (500 South 20th Street, Philadelphia).  As part of Knob Creek’s new “The Standard” Dinner Series, the world’s best small batch bourbon partners with a local city’s best restaurant to raise some glasses (and the standard for good dining).  We got to learn the rich history of this quintessentially American spirit.  We got to savor the bold, signature flavor of Knob Creek through the signature cocktail and custom bourbon-infused dinner pairing created by Chef Anne Coll.

I have a long list of restaurants in Philadelphia that I want to try, and Meritage has been one of them. So I was very excited to hear that this dinner was going to be held there; I’ve heard wonderful things about Chef Anne Coll.

The Distillery Specialist that dined with us was Theo Rutherford and he did a great job at teaching us about Bourbon. I loved hearing some of his stories! He was very personable and you could just tell that he loves his job!

Bourbon is a type of American Whiskey that is a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. Most brands are produced in Kentucky, but it may be produced anywhere in the United States.

Once it goes through the production process the clear spirit is placed in charred-oak barrels (which can only been used once!) for aging, during which it gains color and flavor from the caramelized sugars in the charred wood. Bourbons gain more color and flavor the longer they mature.

Let’s get to the Food and Bourbon Pairings! The food was absolutely amazing and the flavors were right on  point.

First – let me apologize for the photo quality – the lighting wasn’t that great in the restaurant and I only have my iPhone – so the picture quality isn’t that great. My apologies! [Read more...]

5 Ingredient Friday: The 3 B’s Beans (Bacon, Brown Sugar and Bourbon)

This week’s 5 Ingredient Friday recipe is something totally new for me. It’s my first time ever attempting to make beans that weren’t in a can! I came across Claire Robinson’s recipe for The 3 B’s – Beans (Bacon, Brown Sugar and Bourbon). I love baked beans and honestly all I’ve ever had were Campbell’s Beans. I usually open the can, doctor them up, heat and serve! But I wanted to try something new and I saw this recipe so I figured it would be perfect to try.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried navy beans, soaked overnight in a large bowl of water
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground or spicy Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2/3 cup bourbon
  • 4 ounces slab bacon, rind removed and diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Put dry beans in a bowl


Soak the beans overnight

Cook bacon in dutch oven; drain and set aside

Drain beans and add to the Dutch Oven


Whisk together brown sugar, mustard, water and bourbon

Add the liquid mixture to the beans

Directions

Drain the beans and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, mustard, water, and bourbon until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Cook the bacon until crisp in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Remove the bacon and all but a couple of tablespoons of the bacon grease. Add the drained beans to the pot and stir in the bourbon sauce mixture. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook the beans, stirring every 20 minutes, until the beans are soft and the sauce is very thick, about 4 hours. Once the beans are cooked, season them with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the cooked bacon and cook, covered, an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the beans to a serving bowl and serve warm.


Notes

If the beans get too dry, add water, 1/4 cup at a time. If the beans are too wet and runny, remove the lid and cook, stirring often, until desired consistency is reached.

My thoughts…

Eh. I was kind of disappointed with how these turned out. Not that I was expecting that much. They weren’t horrible, but they weren’t great. I was hoping these would be out of this world so that I had something new and exciting to take to picnics this summer…but this will not be that recipe.

As others said in the review, the beans were not done in the 4 – 4 1/2 hours that the recipe says. They weren’t even close to being done. I soaked those bad boys for 24 hours as well. After 4 hours, I knew that we were going to be going somewhere, so I transferred everything to a small crockpot and let them continue to cook in there for another 3 hours.  I tasted them and they just kind of bland. I added a little bit of ketchup and a little more brown sugar hoping to help them out a bit.  I added in the bacon and stirred and let those flavors mingle for a bit. I think the recipe was a bit heavy on the mustard. If I were to make this again, I’d knock that down a bit and add in some ketchup. I know, it won’t be 5 ingredients anymore, but I think it would definitely help the dish.

Recipe courtesy Claire Robinson, 2010
Show: 5 Ingredient Fix
Episode: Big State BBQ