Stir Crazy: What does David Leite eat?

On the April 30, 2015 episode of Stir Crazy with Patty Gay, David Leite, author of The New Portuguese Table, and founder of the James Beard award-winning food website, Leite's Culinaria, shared his recipes for Homemade Maple Espresso Bacon (pictured above) and Smoked Pickled Potatoes with Anchovy Aioli. Jeff Schlesinger of served up recipes for melt-in your mouth Red Wine Braised Short Ribs and French Onion Soup.

Stir Crazy is broadcast Thursdays at noon on and is on Twitter @StirCrazyCT.
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Homemade Maple-Espresso Bacon
By David Leite
Yes, you really can make your own bacon! It’s delicious and pretty darn easy. 

5 to 6 pounds skinless pork belly (make sure the pork belly is trimmed to an even thickness and doesn’t taper at the ends)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons Insta-Cure Salt #1 also known as Prague Powder #1 or Curing Salt #1
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
Hickory or applewood sawdust, chips, chunks, or bisquettes

Full cooking and smoking instructions can be found on Leite’s Culinaria, here: Homemade Maple-Espresso Bacon

Smoked Pickled Potatoes with Anchovy Aioli
By David Leite
Editor’s Note: These little potatoes have no right to be so darn addictive!

For the anchovy aioli:
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
6 anchovy fillets, minced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 1/2 cup grapeseed oil

For the smoked pickled potatoes:
2 pounds small red new potatoes, 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, scrubbed
4 cups (32 ounces) malt vinegar
Peanut oil, for frying
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Full cooking instructions can be found on Leite’s Culinaria, here: Smoked Pickled Potatoes with Anchovy Aioli

Jfood's Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
By Jeff Schlesinger

This recipe is made over the course of three days so it needs planning. But these short ribs are melt in your mouth delicious and so worth it. Jfood normally serves on a Sunday night. So he marinates the ribs on Friday night and prepares during the day on Saturday. Then around 5 p.m. he starts Sunday dinner and these are ready to go. This recipe should feed six with sides.

4-5 pounds beef short ribs, boneless or on the bone
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 cups red wine
½ cup sugar (Editor’s note. Sugar is optional. I omit it and the ribs are delicious without it)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
3 sprigs fresh or one heaping tablespoon dry thyme
3 ounces oil
2 cups small-diced onion
½ cup small-diced celery
½ cup small-diced carrots
6 ounces canned chopped tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
2-4 pounds cremini mushrooms
2 bay leaves

Day 1
1.  Generously season the short ribs with salt and pepper. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the red wine, (sugar if using it), garlic, thyme and a pinch of salt. Marinate the short ribs in the wine mixture for 12 hours in the refrigerator.
2.  Slice mushrooms and sauté slowly until all of the liquid is evaporated and they just begin to brown. Remove to a separate bowl. This can be done day before and refrigerate.

Day 2
1.   Remove the short ribs from the wine and allow the beef to rest for several minutes and come to room temperature. Reserve marinade.
2.  Pour 3 ounces oil into a Dutch oven over high heat.
3.  Place the meat in the hot pan. This may take two batches. Stir and turn the meat often, carefully allowing each piece to brown on each side before removing from the pan. When browned (will take several minutes per side), remove the beef from the pan.
4.  Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir constantly and allow the onions to cook until mahogany in color, about 10 minutes; if onions are browning too quickly, reduce to medium heat.
5.  Add the short ribs back to the pot along with the reserved wine marinade. Allow the wine to come to a boil before reducing the heat to a simmer.
6.  After several minutes, add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
7.  Cover the Dutch oven and place in a 275 degree oven for about 4 hours.
8.  Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.

Day 3
Take the Dutch oven from the fridge and skim off the congealed fat. Place the Dutch oven on the stove and bring the ribs to temperature. Transfer short ribs to a dish and cover. Season the short ribs and braising liquid with salt and pepper to taste.

Jfood's Onion Soup
By Jeff Schlesinger

¼ cup unsalted butter
6 large sweet onions (about 5 pounds) Cut into quarter-circle slices
3 clove garlic
1 cup red cooking wine
1 T all purpose flour
6 cups beef broth (homemade or best you can get)
Salt and pepper
12 slices French bread, cut into cubes and toasted
Gruyere cheese, cut into ¼” thick slices

1.  Heat butter in a large soup pot over moderate heat.
2.  Add onions and cook slowly until caramelized (Here is where many will disagree, but Jfood takes about 2 hours, yup. Others will say 40 minutes but that’s not really long enough. Low and slow is the way to go)
3.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute.
4.  Add the red wine.
5.  Return the pot to the heat and cook, stirring occasionally until almost dry
6.  Sprinkle with flour and cook for 3 minutes
7.  While stirring, slowly add the broth
8.  Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat and simmer with cover slightly ajar for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble:
Arrange a rack about 4 inches from broiler. Ladle soup into 6 crocks, place a handful of crouton in each and lay a few slices of cheese on top. Broil until bubbly.