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    Pork Stew – Mexican style

    I rarely, if at all, have come up with a recipe using what might be considered Hispanic products. It’s not that I have thought about using them it’s just that nothing came to mind until this gem. My local grocery store had a sale on pork shoulder the price was too attractive to pass up. I pondered what to do with it dismissing my tried and true recipes. I walked around the produce department looking for something to use. I happened upon a large display of tomatillos also on sale. The die was cast.

    Using these two items as a basis point I began to consider what might work well to add to the stew. Browsing the international section of the store I found a tomatillo cooking sauce and white hominy. I added some pearl onions to my basket, went back to produce to pick up some cilantro. My creative juices started to flow. The pork shoulder I bought was around six and a half pounds so the recipe below is based on that size.

    You will need:

    Pork shoulder or butt approximately 6 pounds.
    Herdez mexican cooking sauce – Two 12 oz. jars.
    Bush’s White Hominy – Two 15 oz cans
    Tomatillo – approximately 4 cups medium dice
    Pearl onions – Two 10 oz packages ( they come frozen)
    Vidalia Onions – approximately two cups finely diced.
    Fresh Cilantro – optional and to taste.
    Flour – enough to coat pork.
    Vegetable oil – enough to brown the pork.

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the pork into bite size pieces and loosely coat with flour. Put oil into a large stock pot and heat to medium high. Put coated pork pieces into the hot oil, you will need to do this in batches so as to not crowd pork. Saute pork until brown on all sides remove to a large bowl until all the pork is cooked. In the same pot add the onion and sautë until translucent.
    Add the cooking sauce to the pot then put the pork pieces back into the pot. Drain the canned hominy and add to the pot along with the pearl onions Using a large spoon mix all the ingredients to coat. Cover the stock pot and place into the preheated oven and cook until pork is fork tender, should take two to three hours.
    Serve over cooked rice, enjoy!

    Asian Pork Belly

    If you’ve visited my site before you would have noticed that there aren’t many Asian inspired offerings. This one was developed when a gentleman I’ve known through my demonstration efforts happened to mention that he was going to prepare a pork belly and at that moment, or shortly thereafter, I decided to try my hand at coming up with my own version. One might think that this inexpensive protein would be too fatty and hard to prepare but with a little time and effort you can make this one of your standards. This version will take 8 hours to marinate the pork and about 5 hours to cook.

    You will need:

    Pork Belly — about 3 LBS.
    Mirin — ¾ cup.
    Soy Sauce — 2 TBSP
    Hoisin Sauce — 2 TBSP
    Garlic — 2 cloves, crushed.
    Habanero or Jalapeno Pepper — depending on your level of heat tolerance. I used ¾ a habanero.
    Ginger — 1 TBSP, fresh, crushed.

    With fat side up using a sharp knife score the fat cap. It’s best if your scoring is about a half inch apart in both directions this will allow the marinade to soak in. Mix all of the ingredients well and coat both sides of belly. Put it into a non-reactive dish such as a Pyres roasting vessel or a one gallon ziplock or similar bag. If using the Pyrex method you will need to turn the belly a few times during marination. If using the bag format massage it a few times to evenly distribute the marinade. Place belly in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

    Remove belly from marinade and with a spatula wipe off as much of the marinade as possible reserving the juices. Put belly, fat side down in a cold sauté pan which is large enough to hold the pork. Bring pay up to temperature and sear the belly until you get a nice, rich brown color. Put marinade into a roasting pan then place belly, fat side up into the pan. Cover tightly with foil wrap and roast at 300° for 5 hours. Cut into serving size portions then in a hot sauté pan sear on all sides and serve.

    Ragu alla Bolognese

    One of my all time favorite sauces for pasta is a rich bolognese. Originated in Bologna, Italy the traditional version incorporates beef with pancetta and according to Accademia Italiana della Cucina there is an official recipe that should be followed. My version however kicks it up a bit by mingling beef, veal and pork which to me creates a distinct taste and texture.

    One of basic items used is a basic battuto or you may have heard it called sofrito which is a simple combination of onion, carrot and celery, not unlike the French Mirepoix it’s used to give a sweet underlying flavor.

    As with some of my other recipes this one is great to make a large batch as it freezes well and can be used in a lasagna or as a gravy for pasta such as tagliatelle or rigatoni.

    You will need:

    Beef Chuck — One pound, ground to medium in a food processor, you can purchase pre-ground but I find the texture too smooth.
    Pork Shoulder — One pound, ground to medium in a food processor, again you can purchase pre-ground.
    Veal Shoulder — One pound, ground to medium or pre-ground. Alternatively you can use ground turkey
    Onion — One large sweet or about one cup, such as Walla Walla or Vidalia
    Carrot — Two large or about one cup
    Celery — three stalks or about one cup
    Garlic — Two cloves
    Tomato Paste — four TBSP
    White Wine — use a good dry such as Chardonnay, two cups
    Whole Milk &#151 Two cups
    Dried Oregano &#151 One TBSP
    Olive Oil &#151 Two TBSP
    Sea Salt/Pepper — Two tsp each

    Rough chop the onion, carrot and celery, place in a food processor and grind to a fine dice, set aside. In a large bowl place the beef, pork and veal/turkey and mix until well combined. Dice the pancetta to about ⅛” dice, set aside.

    Heat a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the protein to medium high add the olive oil. Sauté the meat(s) until most of the pink is gone. Remove the meat from the pan and strain out all of the juice left, set aside. In the same pan add the pancetta and sauté until crisp then add the battuto and sauté until translucent.

    If there isn’t enough fat left from the pancetta add a little olive oil. Make an opening in the center of the pan and add the crushed garlic, sauté until the garlic is just softened. Stir well to combine, make an opening in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste, sauté until it loosens up a bit and then stir all to combine. Return the meat to the pan, add the oregano and mix well, sauté until warmed through. Spread the meat out into a level layer and add the white wine. Cook through until the wine is dissipated add the milk and cook until most of the milk is gone. If there isn’t enough liquid in the sauce you can adjust with some pasta water.

    Serve immediately reserving some to cool and freeze for another day. Enjoy!

    Pistachio/Mustard Pork Cutlets

    Do you love pistachios? How about mustard? Well this quick meal should satisfy your taste for both. I know, you’re thinking mustard and pistachios together what’s up with that? As you know by now I look for interesting combinations when it comes to cooking. I try to use as many things as possible from my cupboards, things that might not be enough to make something else, that little bit of whatever that you might otherwise toss out or let spoil.

    I had purchased a pork tenderloin to use in one of my other recipes, it was on sale so I bought one that was larger than was needed for one meal. I had some pistachios left when I made a batch of Pistachio/Anise Truffles and although I ate a bunch decided to try them with a protein dish. I also love mustard, any type of mustard and that little light lit in my head to try them together. So try it you most likely will like it.

    You will need:

    Pork Tenderloin – approximately 6 ounces/serving
    Pistachios – approximately ten nuts/serving crushed using a small food processor or mortar and pestle
    Flour – enough to dust the cutlets
    Sea Salt/Pepper – to taste
    Dijon Style Mustard – approximately one TBSP/serving
    White Wine – approximately 1/8 cup/serving
    Olive Oil – approximately one TBSP/serving

    Cut the tenderloin into 1 1/2 to 2 inch thick pieces, place them, cut side up, between two pieces of plastic film. Pound the pork so that they are reduced to 1/2 inch thick. You can use a meat pounder although I find that the bottom of a small sauté pan works fine. Once all the tenderloin is turned into cutlets, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold them without crowding. While the oil heats up to temperature season cutlets with salt and pepper and then dredge in the flour patting off any excess. Carefully place cutlets into the pan and sear on both sides to a light golden color is formed. Remove from pan and set aside, covered. Remove any excess oil from pan and deglaze with the white wine. Add the mustard and swirl or whisk to combine completely. Place the cutlets back into the sauce pan and turn once. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes then add the pistachios. Stir to combine and serve. Enjoy!

    Cherry/Mustard Pork Tenderloin

    If you’ve been following my posts you will know that I like to mess around with different sauces. I had purchased a nice pork tenderloin the other day and, as usual, began to think of new ways to prepare it as soon as it was wrapped and handed to me by my favorite butcher. My brain went into hyper drive, sending messages bouncing back and forth. I wanted something unique using items already in my cooler.

    I like the taste of sweet/tart with many proteins. I have a bottle of Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves, you might remember I used them in my Duck Breast w/Cherry/Port Sauce recipe. You could use other brands however I find the taste here to be excellent, not too sweet, not to tart. So what to add to give this recipe a little punch? For some unknown reason mustard popped into my head. I have many different types of mustard and decided to use a Dijon style to see how it would fare. The outcome here was very pleasing I think you’ll like to try this one soon.

    You will need:

    Pork Tenderloin – Depending on how hungry you and your guest are one loin should feed two people.
    Cherry Preserves – approximately 1/3 cup per/serving.
    Dijon Mustard – approximately two TBSP/serving.
    Flour – enough for dusting the pork.
    Butter – approximately one TBSP/serving.
    Olive Oil – approximately 1 TBSP/serving.
    Apple Juice – approximately 1/4 cup/serving.
    Roux or cornstarch slurry – just enough to thicken final sauce.
    Sea Salt/Ground Pepper – to taste.

    You will need to remove any silver skin from the loin, it’s not hard but a tad time consuming if you haven’t done it before. Once the loin is cleaned of skin and excess fat but it into approximately 1 1/2 to 2″ pieces. Place the loin pieces cut side up between two pieces of cling film and press them down with your hand to about 1/2″ thick. Dust liberally with flour and pat off excess, let them rest until you notice that some of the flour has been absorbed, then repeat the dusting step. This will give you a nice crust when you sear the loins. In a sauté pan large enough to hold the pork without crowding sear on both sides until you develop a rich dark color. Remove from pan and hold. Remove any excess fat fro the pan and deglaze with the apple juice, I used apple juice because I had some extra but you can use water, it shouldn’t affect the taste too much.

    Once the apple juice has reduced by half add the cherry preserves whisking to incorporate. Add the mustard and continue whisking until completely incorporated. Add the butter and swirl the pan to emulsify the butter. Return the loin pieces to the sauce, cover reducing the heat to medium low and cook until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Remove loin pieces from sauce and hold, covered, if the sauce does not leave a clear trail on the back of a spoon you will need to thicken it. Using the slurry or roux add small amounts and test to see that the sauce thickens to your liking. Return the loin pieces to the sauce, turning once or twice to coat.

    Serve immediately. A nice side would be a Cherry/Rice Pilaf, the recipe will be added here soon.

    Apple Brined BBQ Pork

    On occasion I do some in-store marketing for a new(ish) retailer near me. My last effort was for the store brand apple juices and cider. It was a slow day so not too many customers stopped by for a taste. The end of he demo left me with three almost full bottles of juice and since it was a tad more than I would consume before the expiration date I started to consider options for it’s use. I was going to do some shopping afterward anyway so I decided to try something I had thought previously.

    I had a taste for barbecue and hadn’t had a good pulled pork for quite a while. My butcher had just put out some nice looking pork shoulder and that’s what I decided to use. I think you will like this one.

    You will Need:

    Bone In Pork Shoulder Roast – approximately 1/2 lb/serving
    BBQ Rub – approximately 1/2 cup – you can use your favorite recipe here I decided to purchase a bottle of McCormick Grill Mates Seasoning
    BBQ Sauce – approximately two cups – you can use your own favorite or home made – I decided to use Bulls Eye Kansas City Style
    Apple Juice – enough to submerse the entire pork shoulder.
    Salt – approximately 1/3 cup – use table salt here due to the fact that it will dissolve quicker.

    In a vessel large enough to hold the roast and sufficient room for the juice combine the apple juice and salt and stir until salt is completely dissolved. Since the roast is relatively thick you will need to make many deep punctures to let the brine get into the meat. I used a small sharp knife to make 15 or 20 deep openings in the roast. Place the roast in the brine and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour. If you don’t have room to fit the pot place it in a sink and surround with ice cubes.

    Pre heat the oven to 300 degrees F. After the roast has been in the brine for the allotted time remove and dry it thoroughly. Rub the spice mixture on all sides of the roast making sure that you get some of the rub into the openings. Place a rack in a pan large enough to hold the roast, put roast on the rack and roast, uncovered, for approximately 5 hours, cover roast with foil and cook for an additional hour, the amount of time will depend on the size of the roast you purchased. You will know it’s done when you can pull the pork easily with two forks.

    Remove the roast from the oven, place on a plate or cutting board, cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. While the roast is still warm pull the pork meat from the bone using two forks. Put an amount you want to serve in a large bowl, add some of the Barbecue sauce then combine and enjoy. You can add as much or as little BBQ sauce as you like.

    Spicey Ginger Pork Loin Chop

    Photobucket

    One way to get a juicy result with proteins that don’t have a lot or no fat content is to brine the item. I’ve brined pork and chicken before but wanted to do something different to add a tad more flavor to the final product. I recently saw a recipe on one of my favorite culinary shows that used hot sauce in the brine and away I went.

    I have a relatively high tolerance for heat so you might need to judge your own ability and adjust this recipe as you see fit. I used a loin chop for this recipe but it would work well with a tenderloin.

    You will need:

    Loin Pork Chop – One 6 oz./serving
    Fresh Ginger – One 1/4″ slice about the size of a quarter/serving
    Hot Sauce – 1/4 cup/serving – I used Sriracha Hot Sauce but any one of your favorite will do – adjust the amount as you see fit.
    Cold Water – enough to cover the chops
    Fresh Ground Pepper – to taste
    Table Salt (non-iodized) – 1/8 cup/serving

    In a container large enough to hold the loin chop(s) add cold water and salt. Stir together until salt dissolves, add hot sauce and stir again to combine, place chop into brine and refrigerate for at least one hour. Remove chop(s) from brine and pat dry and season with pepper. In a skillet large enough to hold the chop(s) without crowding sear on both sides until a nice brown caramelization is achieved. At this point you have two choices, either finish the cooking process over low heat until the internal temperature is at least 140 degrees F or place in a preheated 350 degree oven until cooked. Remove from pan/oven and let rest to let internal juices redistribute.

    Salsiccia (Sausage) Bolognese

    Johnsonville Bolognese

    I’ve always liked making a good bolognese and decided to change my basic recipe around a tad. I had some Italian sausage that wasn’t quite enough to serve on it’s own but enough to use for a great bolognese. It’s an easy recipe but does take a little TLC and time.

    You will need:

    Italian Sausage – 1 LB. Bulk or you can use link sausages and remove from the casings.
    Fire Roasted Tomatoes – 3 – 14.5 oz cans – You can use any tomato but the fire roasted adds a little extra. If you have the time you can fire roast your own for a truly homemade meal.
    Oregano – approx. 1 TBSP – I used fresh if you use dried cut the amount in half.
    White Wine – 1 cup
    Whole Milk – 1 cup

    In a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the sausage in one layer heat one or two TBSP olive oil until it shimmers. Add sausage and break it up, I use a potato masher, it’s quick that way. Once the sausage has lost all or most of it’s pink color drain off all fat. Add the wine to the pan and cook until it is all absorbed. Add the milk to the pan and cook until it too is all absorbed. Add the tomatoes along with the oregano and salt and pepper to taste.

    Bolognese is a thick sauce to begin with so watch the tomatoes to make sure it doesn’t get too thick. You can adjust the consistency by adding some of the water you used to cook the pasta. I recommend using a large pasta such as rigatoni or such due to the thickness of the sauce any smaller noodle with just be a waste.

    Lemon/Fennel Chicken

    If you like that tang of lemon and the sweet taste of fennel this one is for you. I used chicken, however this would work as well with a good white fish. It is a simple fast preparation and I think you will like it as well.

    You will need:
    Chicken Breast – boneless/skinned approx. 6 to 8 oz/serving
    Fresh Lemon Juice plus zest- One good sized/serving
    Fresh Fennel Frond – approx. 1 TBSP/serving – use the bulb as a veggie side.
    Sea Salt/Pepper – to taste.
    Olive Oil

    In a sauté pan large enough to hold the chicken heat one TBSP/serving of the olive oil until it shimmers add breast(s) to hot oil and sauté until a rich brown color is achieved, flip breast over and continue until second side has a rich color also. Place breast on an oven proof dish and place into a pre-heated (350 F) oven until internal temperature reaches 160 F.

    Meanwhile, pour any oil from sauté pan squeeze as much juice as you can get out of each lemon and scrape up the fond left from the chicken, add the lemon zest and reduce to about half, add the fresh fennel frond to the sauce and cook for a few minutes more. Remove the chicken from the oven and add back into the sauté pan turning to coat. Place chicken on a serving dish and pour the lemon/fennel sauce over the top. Enjoy!

    Apple Brined Pork Tenderloin

    It’s no secret that brining certain protein makes for a juicer final product. Leaner meats get added moisture if brined properly. I wanted to try something different this time and instead of my standard water based concoction I went with Apple Juice. Try this one for a great new brined pork tenderloin.

    You will need:

    Pork Tenderloin – approx. 6 oz./serving
    Cold Apple Juice – enough to completely cover loins (I used 2 liters or about 2 quarts.
    Juniper Berries – I used between 6 and 8 which I crushed slightly to allow the release of natural oils.
    Table Salt – try to use non-iodized but it’s OK if you can’t find it – approx. 30 grams/liter or quart.
    Four sprigs fresh thyme.
    Pepper Corns – approx. 12 – I used my personal mixture but any peppercorn will do.

    In a nonreactive vessel add all of the ingredients and mix well to make sure all of the salt is dissolved. Clean tenderloins of any excess fat and silver skin (you can have you butcher remove the silver skin if you haven’t done this before. Add cleaned tenderloin to the brine making sure it is completely submerged, if it wants to float a little weigh it down with a clean plate. Cover the vessel with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for two hours – you can follow the suggested links below from Rouxbe for times and measures.

    Remove the tenderloins from the brine and discard the brine, rinse off the loin and dry thoroughly. In a skillet large enough to hold the loins sear each until you get a good crust. Transfer loins to a roasting pan and roast until done. The internal temperature should be at least 145, remove them from the oven, cover with foil and rest for 15 or 20 minutes. The temperature will rise as the pork rests. Serve with your favorite side dish/dishes.


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