The Firelands Kitchen

The Firelands Kitchen by Erin Howarth

National Pickle Month Is A Home Run Hit!



Our city-league softball season wrapped up this past week. The full schedule sure makes June a whirlwind with most of our evenings being spent at the ballfields, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I love to watch the girls play.

This season dill pickles became a running joke between Courtney and her coach: He hates them and Courtney loves them. It just so happens the softball concession stand sells huge dill pickles and Courtney thoroughly delighted in grossing out her coach with each purchase. (Her grandpa even helped her cause by bringing her a couple extra to a game one evening!).

Wouldn’t you know that the month of July also happens to be National Pickle Month?!  I thought a round of pickle recipes would be the perfect way to celebrate the holiday (ha!) and acknowledge the end of the softball season (my apologies to Coach Lindsey if he’s reading this).

Dill Pickle Soup

2 Tbsp. butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

7 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup finely chopped dill pickles

2 Tbsp. dill pickle juice

2 Tbsp. white sugar

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. minced garlic

4 tsp. onion salt

1 tsp. dill weed

1 tsp. curry powder

1/2 tsp. white pepper

2 bay leaves

2 cups warm milk

Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and cook until the flour just begins to turn from white to a pale beige, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth until thickened and smooth. Increase heat to medium high, add dill pickles, pickle juice, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion salt, dill weed, curry powder, white pepper, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in milk. Remove bay leaves before serving.


Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich

1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed

1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. dill pickles, finely chopped

1/4 cup purple onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 an onion)

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

2 1/2 tsp. stone ground mustard

1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. salt

2 tsp. dill weed, fresh-chopped

1/8 tsp. turmeric, optional

8-10 grinds of fresh black pepper

Using a potato masher, rough-mash the chickpeas until most is smashed but there are still some whole chickpeas left. Add the pickles, onion, mayo, mustard, vinegar, salt, dill, optional turmeric and black pepper. Mix well. Taste for seasoning adjustment. Store in a covered container for up to two days. Delicious alone or piled high on multigrain with accompanying vegetables such as lettuce, tomato, kale, sprouts, shredded carrots

Dill Pickle Butter

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 Tbsp. dill pickle brine, room temperature

3/4 tsp. dried dill

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. coarsely ground pepper

1/8 tsp. celery salt

1/8 tsp. ground coriander

1/8 tsp. ground mustard seed

1 Tbsp. finely chopped dill pickle

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and blend together with a hand-mixer. Keep flavored butter in a small container in the fridge. Serve on toast or sandwiches. Makes 1/2-cup.

Stuffed Dill Pickles

1 (48 ounce) jar dill pickles (homemade preferred) or 1 (48 ounce) jar kosher dill pickles

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, regular

1 medium onion, very finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped

3/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce or 3⁄4 teaspoon a hot sauce

Cut off both ends of the dill pickles to create a flat surface. Using a thin potato peeler or a sharp knife and core out each dill pickle. (You can save the core for another use). Stand the pickles on end on paper towelling and let drain until all liquid is drained, about 30 minutes. In addition, run some rolled paper towelling through the core to remove any liquid that did not drain. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, cream the cheese, add onion and garlic and mix until well blended. Add Tabasco sauce and mix well to blend. Using a cake decorator or a small spoon, stuff each pickle. Wrap the stuffed pickles in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cheese is firm, about 2 hours. Before serving, slice pickles into 3/4 inch slices and place slices on a serving plate. (Cover and refrigerate any unused pickles). These pickles are also good for lunches. You may also add some finely chopped Smoked Salmon to the filling, or some finely chopped black olives, or finely chopped cooked ham. Try mixing equal amounts of Cheese-Whiz and cream cheese, or use the different cream cheese that are available.

Dill Pickle Dip

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 1⁄2 cups chopped dill pickles

1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion

2- 4 Tbsp. pickle juice, use less for thicker dip or more for thinner dip

1 tsp. dried dill weed

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Use a wooden spoon to press into the cream cheese then stir until loosened up and smooth. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients until evenly distributed. Transfer to a serving dish and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve as a dip for chips, pretzels, vegetable sticks, crackers, or even as a spread on your hamburger. This dip is good for up to a week when stored tightly covered in the refrigerator. Note: The dip may become thinner as the week draws to an end.

Pickle Rollups

1/2 lb. thinly sliced ham or 1/2 lb. salami or 1/2 lb. dried beef

1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, or more to taste

4 large kosher dill pickles, whole

Pat dill pickle dry with paper towel.

Take 2-3 pieces of meat (depending on size of pickle), and place them on a cutting board overlapping half of each with the next. Spread cream cheese over meat.Wrap pickle around in blanket fashion. Chill for an hour or two, then slice pickle in 1/2-inch pieces and lay flat on tray. If using dried beef, you can also put meat in blender and pulverize. Spread cream cheese on dried pickle then roll in pulverized beef. Again, allow to refrigerate 1-2 hours and slice as above.

Dill Pickle Pot Roast

1 3-4 lb. chuck or blade roast, stings removed

1 package dry ranch dressing mix

2 packages dry brown gravy mix

1 liter jar of your favorite garlic dill pickles

Place the roast in the bottom of your crockpot. Sprinkle the ranch dressing and the brown gravy mixes over the roast. Pour the jar of pickles over top. Arrange the pickles around the roast. Cook on low all day, for 8-10 hours ( to break down the roast). Remove and serve. The gravy can be strained ( or not if you like it with the pickle bits) and served over the roast and mashed potatoes.

Dill Pickle Potato Salad

3 lbs. baby red potatoes (halved or quartered if large)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 c. chopped dill pickles, plus 5 Tbsp. brine

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

3 celery ribs, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

3/4 cup mayonnaise

Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain. Gently toss hot potatoes with pickle brine and vinegar in a bowl. Let cool 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir together celery, parsley, mayonnaise, and pickles in a separate bowl. Add potatoes and any remaining brine mixture and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or chill up to 2 days.

Dill Pickle Bites

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. grated onion

1/2 tsp. dried dill weed

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

12 baby dill pickles

12 slices white or whole wheat bread

Hard salami slices, optional

In a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, grated onion, dill weed, and pepper. Mix until well combined. Cut crusts from bread slices and roll each slice flat with a rolling pin. Spread cream cheese mixture thinly on the bread slices, using approximately one tablespoon mixture per bread slice. Place a baby dill pickle on each and roll up.* Place seam side down in a glass baking dish. Cover and chill in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight. To serve, cut each pickle roll into three pieces.Makes 36 bites.

*If using hard salami slices, spread about 1/2 Tbsp. cream cheese mixture on a bread slice, top with a slice of hard salami, and spread with remaining 1/2 Tbsp. cream cheese mixture.  Place the baby dill pickle on top of the second layer of cream cheese mixture, and roll up.

Fried Dill Pickles

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

3/4 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. ground black pepper

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 (32 ounce) jar sliced dill pickles, drained

1 quart vegetable oil for deep-frying

In a small bowl, mix together the egg, milk, 1 tablespoon of flour, and Worcestershire sauce. In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining flour, salt, and pepper. Heat oil to 350 degrees in a deep-fryer or heavy deep skillet. Dip pickle slices into the milk mixture, then into the flour mixture. Repeat dipping. Place the pickles carefully into the hot oil. Avoid overcrowding by frying in several batches. Fry until pickles float to the surface, and are golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.

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