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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!

    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.

    Apple/Cheddar Stuffed Pork Chop

    I’m not one to stock up on foodstuffs for the week, I shop daily, or at least every other day, for items I want to prepare for dinner. I hadn’t had pork in a while and thought that a good thick cut pork chop would suite my desire. I went to my favorite market whose butcher area is fantastic and purchased a couple of thick cut chops. By thick cut I mean at least 1 inch in thickness.

    At the time I was shopping one of their suppliers, Cabot® Cheese Coop had a display of their product. What caught my attention was the sales associate’s comment that their cheese products are lactose free and since I have a friend who recently learned that she was intolerant I thought to include them in my repertoire.

    So I thought, what goes good with pork and cheese, specifically Cheddar, the one I decided to purchase. Apples, of course. I took my groceries home and developed this recipe for all to enjoy. This recipe will feed two and multiplying is straight forward.

    You will need:

    2 Thick Cut Pork Chop – I used a bone in chop however a loin chop will work.
    2/3 cup diced Granny Smith apple – dice smaller than ¼”.
    1/3 cup diced Cabot White Cheddar Cheese – dice same size as apple.
    One tsp fresh Sage.
    One TBSP bread crumb – I used Panko.
    Ground Pepper to taste.

    Combine apple, cheese, pepper and bread crumbs in a bowl. Toss and let stand while you prepare the chop. Using a very sharp knife, I use a good quality boning knife, cut a slit approximately 1 1/2″ long in the center of the thickest part of the chop. Carefully work the blade of the knife into the flesh of the chop. Place your free hand on top of the chop so to feel the movement of the blade. Work the knife into the cavity you have created making sure to open enough room leaving at least a 1/4 inch of wall around the entire chop. Carefully stuff the apple/cheese mixture into the cavity pressing it tightly to compact.

    In a sauté pan large enough to hold the chops sear on both sides to get a good brown crust. Place the seared chops in a preheated, 350 degree, oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Remove from oven, place on clean plate, tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. I served mine with home made egg noodles and sweet corn kernels.

    Enjoy!

    White Bean/Corn Soup

    Sorry folks this isn’t a quick recipe, it’s going to take a day or two but the results will be great. The good thing about this one is that you actually get 2 for 1 deal. First the beans then the soup. The beans work well as a side dish or main meal and using them to create a this Bean/Corn Soup you can’t go wrong.

    You will need:

    One pound dry white beans (I used pinto).
    Two large bay leaves.
    Four sprigs fresh thyme
    Sea Salt/Fresh Pepper
    Two smoked ham hock/shanks (I used a Hungarian Style Shank).
    Two medium sized sweet onions – 1/4 inch dice.
    Two medium sized red bell pepper – 1/8 inch dice.
    One small habanero pepper, seeds removed – finely diced.
    One large package frozen corn kernels
    Low sodium chicken broth

    Start with the beans, in a container large enough to hold the entire package and enough water to cover soak beans for 12 hours or overnight.

    Once soaked drain them and place in a large stock pot with enough water to cover by at least two inches. Add all the remaining ingredients except the corn kernels and chicken stock. Bring pot to a slow boil and turn heat down to a low setting. It will take a while to cook but this slow method will help to thicken the final product without the need for a roux or other thickener.

    The beans should be done when the ham hock/shank meat separates from the bone. You can also tell by taking a few out of the pot and taste, they should be just at the al denté stage. At this point you have a great pot of beans. You can portion out several meals using some for a side and some for the soup.

    Now the soup part. Depending on how many servings you want to make remove a sufficient quantity of the beans and place in another stock pot. Add the packaged corn kernels and chicken stock. How much chicken stock to use is a personal choice. The more stock you use will produce a thinner soup. Some recipes might suggest that you blend a portion of the soup however I find that this is an unnecessary step.

    Enjoy!

    Pepper Crusted Pork Tenderloin

    I started making my own mix of peppercorns many years ago using both well known and little known items then added some other ingredients that enhances the mix. All told there are over 14 items in this mix and have used it on a regular basis. I had some pork tenderloin in the freezer and wanted to come up with something that I had not seen before. I’ve crusted beef tenderloin, made Steak Au Poivre and Pepper Gravy but never tried this before. Contrary to what one might think this recipe does not have a strong pepper bite. I served it with Roasted Garlic/Shallot Linguine.

    You will need:
    Pork Tenderloin – approx 6 oz/serving
    Peppercorns – approx. 1/4 cup/serving – either purchase a good quality mix or make your own combination. NB:You won’t get the same taste due to the limit of peppercorns in commercial products. You can contact me to purchase my Special Blend.
    Sea Salt – approx 1 TBSP/serving

    There really isn’t much that you need to do to prepare the pork. You will need to “crack” the peppercorns into small to medium size. There are several ways to do this – you can use a food processor and pulse until the peppercorns are the size you need (although this is efficient you won’t get good results unless you a very careful as some of the peppercorns will not fully crack.) Use a mortar and pestle – better results somewhat labor intensive. Place peppercorns in a gallon size freezer bag, seal bag then lay it flat on a work surface. Use either a meat tenderizer or heavy sauce pan and press the peppercorns until they are cracked to the size you need.

    Place cracked pepper and sea salt in a flat container large enough to hold the tenderloin. Press the pork into the pepper/salt combination on all sides. Place the crusted tenderloin in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes. Put enough olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold the pork – heat until oil shimmers. Sauté the tenderloin on all surfaces until golden brown. Place browned/seared tenderloin in a roasting pan large enough to hold pork in a heated 350 degree oven to finish.

    Serve immediately with your favorite vegetable, or one from this site. Your family or guest will enjoy this.

    Filetto di maiale Vino Cotto con Polenta

    We were given an opportunity to try a new product from Montillo Italian Foods. Vino Cotto di Montillo is a a semi-sweet reduction of premium wine grapes that has been used in Calabrian cooking for generations. We combined the Vino Cotto with raisens and pine nuts creating a sauce that is not only unique but very satisfying. Even your most demanding gourmand will appreciate this rather simple presentation. As with our other recipes we try to develop new ideas with the home cook in mind. We strive to create a meal that takes 30 minutes or less in cooking time. This pork tenderloin recipe turned out great. The earthy richness of the polenta is a perfect compliment to the fragrant sauce.

    You will need:
    Pork Tenderloin – approx. 4 oz/serving
    Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper
    Olive Oil
    Unsalted butter
    Pine nuts – approx. 1 oz/serving toasted
    Raisens – approx. 1 oz/serving (soak raisens in Vino Cotto – use enough to cover)
    Vino Cotto di Montillo – approx. 5 TBSP/serving
    Salt free chicken stock – approx. 2 TBSP/serving
    Polenta – approx. 1/4 cup dry/serving.

    Prepare the pork:
    Remove any excess fat and silver skin from tenderloin. Cut into tournedos at least one inch thick, season with sea salt and pepper. In a sauté pan large enough to hold the tournedos without crowding brown until a nice rich crust is formed (about 6 minutes/per side). Don’t walk away from this step as to negate the possibility of burning. If your pan is not large enough you can brown the pork in batches. Remove pork from pan and place in oven preheated to 350° F and cook until internal temperature reaches 140° F. Remove from oven and keep warm. Remember that the pork will continue to cook while it rests and will come to 145 – 150° F for serving.

    For the sauce:
    Pour off any excess fat from the sauté pan. Heat the pan on high for about a minute then off heat add the chicken stock, return to heat and deglaze. Reduce the stock by about 1/2 then add Vino Cotto and soaked raisens. Bring to a rapid simmer then add 1TBSP cold butter and swirl into sauce. Return pork tenderloins to sauce to warm through. Add pine nuts just before serving. Cook polenta according to package recipe. Spoon polenta onto serving plate, top with Pork Tenderloin tournedos and spoon sauce over all.

    You will get rave reviews with this one. Enjoy!

    To purchase an 8.5 oz. bottle of Vino Cotto di Montillo for the low price of $15.95/bottle just send us a note.

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