Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Smothered ALPACA chops: It's what's for dinner

Dinner? I have officially lived in Michigan longer than rural Iowa. I just used the term "dinner" instead of "supper".  We usually don't eat too exotically around here because like I just mentioned, I grew up in rural Iowa and meat and potatoes is my grub of choice.  Well, it still is. It's just that last night's meat happened to be slightly exotic - alpaca! I've always had great sources for meat so I don't have to buy it at the store.  My friend just down the road has alpacas and they had this curly haired dude.... and well he's now slowly going in to our tummies. Trust me.  I'm sad about it too.  I would have much rather had him in my yard greeting the Airbnb guests... but instead he's in my freezer.  We'll just leave it at that.

So what on earth does alpaca taste like?!  Here's my take on it:

I would compare it to pork, minus the fat.  Think venison compared to beef - super lean! This makes for a much dryer meat so you don't want to overcook it like I did the first time we tried it.  That being said, you can also substitute this recipe for pork chops if you don't have a source of alpaca readily available. ;)

RECIPE: Smothered Alpaca Chops


4 alpaca chops (steaks)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup ranch dressing (I used the olive oil ranch)
1 can cream of celery
4-8 ounces pepper jack cheese (or cheese of your choice)
rosemary and parsley

Coat thawed meat in salt, pepper, and ranch dressing and lay in a greased 9x13 dish. Cover chops in cream of celery soup, lifting each chop with a fork so that some seeps under the meat for flavor. Slice the cheese and lay it across the top of each chop, or if you're using shredded cheese, just dump it on top.  Garnish with rosemary and parsley.  Bake COVERED with foil for 1.5-2 hours at 350.  I uncovered mine the last 10 minutes.  The extra sauce in the pan makes awesome gravy for mashed potatoes!  Enjoy!

The recipe is for four chops, but I only used two.  Here's what it looks like before getting popped into the oven.

So.... have you ever tried alpaca??  What did you think??  My three kiddos range from ten to fourteen years old and they all gobbled it down.  Not sure if that's because I starve them before supper or because they loved it that much...

Just because they're hilarious looking, here's a couple pics of the alpacas at my friend's farm.  My son and I rode our bikes there one morning and had a great time with them.

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