Pork Chopped 2015: Sweet and Savoury Flatbread with Maple Bacon and Cinnamon ApplesPosted: November 1, 2015
Guys! How cool is this? I got to participate in my first ever cooking competition!! I entered a contest on twitter to cook a dish in a Chopped-style competition and I was selected! #PorkChopped15 happened last weekend, and while I didn’t win, I had a BLAST!
I was competing against Russell Bird, a home chef who also took part in the Canadian Food Championships over the summer at Taste of Edmonton, and qualified for the World Food Championships coming up shortly. He was such a gracious competitor, who was really not out to “take me down”, which was nice, considering I was super nervous to begin with!
The way that the competition worked was that we would not be told the cut of pork we would be cooking ahead of time; rather, we would only find out once we got there. That made it especially challenging for me, since I do not cook a lot of pork at home. We would only be given 45 minutes to make and plate our dishes, so I picked up some cuts of pork from Irvings at the market that you could cook in 45 mins to practice.
Next, I made a pan-fried pork chop with a fresh apple salsa. This one was a huge hit in our house, with the salsa disappearing within a day from the fridge. It was quite the struggle at the competition to decide whether to make this dish or the flatbread.
Once they presented the ingredients, the choice was clear: Flatbread it was. Russell and I were both given a large pork loin and a pack of Irvings’ delicious thick cut hickory-smoked bacon. After conferring with Russell, we both decided that we would only use the bacon for our recipe. I was so thankful, because wow, that pork loin was HUGE and I was not looking forward to trying to cut it up on stage.
I was super nervous when the competition started. I am so use to being alone in the kitchen, cooking for my biggest fan, Hubby Justin. Here, I feared that my every move was going to be questioned and scrutinized. I’m so happy that it wasn’t; however, MCs Phil Wilson from BaconHound and Courtney Theriault from Dinner TV would periodically shove the microphone in our faces, asking us about our dishes.
After the first few minutes, I relaxed. There wasn’t too much pressure to get it right, and there wasn’t a huge and vocal countdown. Also, I had my own cheering section!
In the end, Russell won. And rightfully so! He made homemade Asian deep-fired dumplings, which were incredible. The judges said it came down to the use of the pork in the dish, and I found Russell’s bacon to be so flavourful and pronounced that he so deserved to win! Congratulations!
I had a blast competing in #PorkChopped15. It was a wonderful way of challenging myself to try new recipes while cooking quickly and under pressure. (A handy tool I am quickly putting into practice in my daily life. Anna doesn’t like to let me cook much during the week…)
So! Here’s my recipe!
Sweet and Savoury Flatbread with Maple Bacon and Cinnamon Apples
You will need:
4 fresh-baked na’an breads
1 cup flavoured goat cheese (I used pumpkin spice, but any sweet-flavoured goat cheese will do!)
1 pound bacon
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tart apple
1 red onion
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp honey
1/2 cup sharp aged cheese, like Gouda or aged cheddar
Begin by cutting up the bacon into small, bite-sized pieces. Toss them into a pan and cook until the bacon is soft but crispy. Drain the grease from the pan, and then throw in the maple syrup. Cook on low for a few more minutes, until the syrup begins to thicken. While you’re cooking your bacon, thinly slice your apples and onion and toss them into a pan. Cook on low until soft, but still firm. Add the honey and cinnamon and cook a little more. Turn the broiler on high. Begin assembling the flatbreads by spreading the goat cheese on the na’an breads, then add your maple bacon and apples and onions. Top with the sharp, aged cheese and pop onto a greased cookie sheet and broil on high for 5 mins. Garnish with fresh chopped basil. Enjoy!