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When you think of a true Carolina holiday season, you think of three things … delicious Thanksgiving turkey, comforting Christmas ham, and the Belk Bowl. Much will be said about the great seasons that Arkansas and Virginia Tech had, and there will be plenty of comments about how it’s an honor to have two prestigious programs in Charlotte for the big game, but make no mistake that this game is about the coming together of two essential holiday proteins. Turkey vs. pork in a winner take all battle.
Hokies’ head coach Justin Fuente did the unthinkable by seamlessly replacing the legendary Frank Beamer and winning the Coastal Division in his first year. By retaining Bud Foster, the Virginia Tech defense had that familiar bite, but add in the complementary benefit of Fuente’s sleek offense and the overall program just had a healthier feel to it than it did in the past. Sort of like substituting turkey for fattier white meats like pork and chicken.
Turkey is the perfect lunch meat, but with the Belk Bowl kicking off at 5:30, this is a dinner game. And one of my all-time favorite dinner dishes is chicken piccata, which we’ll substitute in some turkey in honor of the Virginia Tech Hokies.
- Full turkey breast
- Olive oil
- White wine
- Lemon juice
You’ll slice your turkey breast into half-inch strips and then pound them until their about 1/8 inches thick. Season the meat with simple salt and pepper, and then dredge them through a bowl with about a half of a cup of all purpose flour to coat them.
Then pour two tablespoons of olive oil and add four tablespoons of butter into a pan and warm over medium-high heat until it’s hot enough to quickly sear your turkey. Brown the cutlets for about a minute on each side, and then keep in the oven at 200 degrees so they stay warm. Prep-work, stove top, and oven. You’re dominating all three phases of the game, which is the true definition of Beamerball.
Now, turn the burner to low and sauté the shallots for about two minutes, and then add in a third of a cup of lemon juice and a half of a cup of white whine, and let it reduce. If you’re out of white wine, I’m sure you can borrow some from your UVA grad neighbors. Add in two more tablespoons of butter, stir it all together for a couple of minutes, and then pour your sauce over your turkey cutlets and add parsley for some color.
Fig Jam Pork Tenderloin
When you think of Arkansas football, you think of a shirtless Bert Bielema:
So what better way to honor the Razorbacks than to put together a dish that combines pork tenderloin AND bacon? It’s also a slow cooker recipe which means you can put it in and just forget about it for a while, sort of like SEC fans do with basketball season.
- Pork tenderloin (3 pounds)
- Brown sugar
- Dried rosemary
- Rosemary sprig
- Vegetable oil
- Fig jam
- Stone ground mustard
- Dijon mustard
To start off, mix together 1/4 cup of fig jam, 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of stone ground mustard, and orange zest in a bowl.
In a large bowl, mix together your dry rub which is made of 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary, salt and pepper. Massage the rub into your pork tenderloin and then sear in a skillet with vegetable oil until all sides are golden brown. Now the fun part …
Take the bacon and wrap it around the tenderloin one strip at a time so the pieces overlap each other, making sure to cover the entire piece of meat. Put the bacon-wrapped loin in the slow cooker, add in the fig jam-mustard glaze, and cook until the pork is medium-well, or about 150 degrees. The fig jam glaze gives this dish a holiday feel, which is the perfect balance for the Razorbacks who typically play their best football in August when the pre-season polls come out.
Our official pick for the 2016 Belk Bowl:
Turkey Piccata 31, Fig Jam Pork 23