I don’t know about you, but I thought that this third episode of Chopped Canada didn't necessarily feature strange ingredients in each round, but rather ingredients whose flavours were difficult to bring together on a plate. Razor clams, artichokes and hickory sticks are not foreign to me in the least, but if someone put them in front of me and said “Cook something right now!” I’m not sure how it would turn out.
When you think about it, cooking with beef jerky is not really that much of a stretch from cooking with any other type of cured or aged meat. In the dessert round, the winning chef, Ryan Reed, candied the beef jerky for his chocolate dessert. If you’re a fan of sweet-meets-savoury (i.e. treats like salted caramel or bacon and peanut butter sandwiches) then I guarantee you would fall in love with chocolate covered beef jerky. Trust me! Try it out and if I’m wrong, I’ll give you $10,000. How’s that?
I decided to thinly slice the beef jerky and use it in a carrot soup. Beef is a great match with carrots in the dinner world, so why not its dried counterpart as well? As the jerky slowly cooked in the soup, it became more and more tender (dry things absorb wet things - that’s science, I think) and imparted a subtle smokiness. It’s always nice to have a bit of brightness when you’re playing around with sweet, rich flavours, and adding the goat cheese really brought everything all together.
Next time I have some extra beef jerky laying around, I’m going to try throwing it into a seafood chowder!
Roasted Carrot and Jerky Soup
Total cook time: 1 hour
3 large carrots (ends trimmed, quartered)
2 yellow onions (halved, ½” sliced)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
5 cups vegetable stock
1 cup good quality beef jerky (thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons beef jerky (thinly sliced)
⅓ cup goat cheese
salt and pepper (to taste)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place carrots and onions on a large baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and let roast in the oven until slightly caramelized and tender, about 25 minutes.
3. Once finished roasting, let vegetables cool slightly and place into a blender with garlic and vegetable stock and puree until very smooth.
4. Pour mixture into a medium pot, along with the next 5 ingredients (up to the ground cloves) and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat.
5. Once simmering, reduce to medium and let cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. While soup is cooking, heat the canola oil in a small pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, fry the beef jerky until it is crisp, about 1 minute.
7. Place onto some paper towel to absorb any excess grease and set aside.
8. Stir the goat cheese into the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.
9. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with some fried jerky and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Perfect Beef Jerky Recipe
Watch Chopped Canada Episode 3: Food, Sweat and Tears
by Dan Clapson