Sunday, January 6, 2013

Braised Pork Shoulder with Parmesan Polenta

Braised Pork Shoulder with Parmesan Polenta

4 T 16 spice rub*
One 4-pound boneless pork shoulder**
1 fennel bulb, diced
1 onion, diced
Pinch, crushed red pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 t ground ginger
2 C dry white wine
1/4 C dijon mustard
3 bay leaves
1 bundle thyme
3-4 C chicken stock
Olive Oil
1/8-1/4 C flour
1 T unsalted butter
Parmesan Polenta

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a cast iron pan over high heat. Coat bottom with olive oil. In the meantime, cut the shoulder in half; against the grain. Rub the spices into the shoulder, on all sides. Brown all sides of the pork in the pan (1-2 minutes each side). Set aside.

Remove fat from pan. Add a little more olive oil and cook fennel and onion until aromatic (7-8 minutes). Add a pinch of salt, red pepper, garlic, and ginger and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add white wine and cook down until it's about half (7-9 minutes). Transfer to a stock pot or Dutch oven. Add the bay leaves and thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Fit the pork shoulder in the pan and pour in enough chicken stock to nearly cover the meat.

Put lid on the plan and put in oven for one hour. After an hour, turn pork over and cook another hour with the lid still on. Then remove the lid, turn the pork one more time, and cook for another 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and transfer to cutting board and tent with tin foil. Let rest for 15 minutes.

While the meat is resting, pour some of the liquid from the pot into your cast iron pan. Heat on medium high until it begins to bubble. Add 1/8-1/4 C of flour and 1 T of unsalted butter. Whisk the flour in so there are no lumps and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with parmesan polenta on the bottom, the gravy on top, and then the pork on top of that. The pork will be so tender, it falls off so you won't need a knife to serve - or eat - it!

* I make this and keep in my spice cupboard. One recipe lasts five or six uses.
** The butcher at the grocery store can remove the bone for you.

Parmesan Polenta

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  • 1 cup long cooking polenta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
In a medium size saucepan, bring the milk, water, and bay leaf to a boil. Season generously with salt, almost to the point of over seasoning. When it has reached a boil, slowly whisk in the polenta in small sprinkles. Once all of the polenta has been incorporated, reduce heat to medium and immediately switch over to stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook the polenta for 30 to 40 minutes, adding water if the polenta becomes too thick to loosen it up.
Remove it from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano and sour cream. Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Black Bean Puffy Tacos

1 C frozen corn
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1 15-oz can of black beans
1 envelope taco seasoning
1/4 bunch of cilantro or 1 T cilantro paste
Flour or corn tortillas

Taco toppings such as guacamole, cheese (I like the Kraft with the hint of Philly cream cheese), sour cream, salsa, lettuce, and tomato

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the corn and cook until it's brown and begins to pop. Add the onion and cook another five to seven minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook another two minutes. Open the can of beans and drain the liquid into a bowl. Using a fork, smash the beans, while still in the can, so you have some whole and some smashed beans. Add the beans and the liquid to the pan. Add the taco seasoning and cilantro. Cook until the liquid has simmered down.

Meanwhile, heat two inches of vegetable oil in a pan (I use my cast iron pan) until a drop of water skittles in the pan. Add a tortilla and cook, until brown. Flip over and create a bend in the tortilla to make a shell. Remove and let drain on paper towels. Cook the remaining tortillas.

Build your tacos with the black bean filling, cheese, and other toppings.

The shells will stay good for a couple of days so be sure to eat all your leftovers!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pulled Pork Sammiches

I'm a vegetarian, but I'll taste meat if we're in a restaurant to see if I can replicate it or when I cook it at home to make sure it's perfect. I don't like the taste after 11 years of not's, um, grissly. 

That said, this is the most delicious pork I have ever had. And it's so easy!

1 T butter
1 can French onion soup
1 C ketchup
1/4 C brown sugar
2 T garlic
1 pork shoulder or rump roast (I like the rump roast; it's more tender)
Hamburger buns (I use the homemade ones I keep in my freezer; they're worth the time to make)

Melt the butter in a heavy pan (I use a cast iron). Salt and pepper and then brown every side of the pork.

Combine the soup, ketchup, sugar, and garlic in a crockpot. Add the pork on top. Cook on low for eight to nine hours or high for four to six hours.

Remove the pork from the crockpot and let sit on a cutting board for 10 minutes. Using two forks, shred the pork. Return to the crockpot and mix with the juices and sauce.

Divide the pork between the buns.

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Holy cow these are good. And so easy to make. You just need some time and patience. I like to make them and then freeze. They'll keep for three months in the freezer.

3 T warm milk
1 C warm water
2 t instant yeast (I buy a jar and keep it in the fridge; or one package will work, too)
2 1/2 t sugar
1 1/2 t salt
1 egg
3 C bread flour
1/3 C flour
2 1/2 t unsalted butter, softened

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment , combine the milk, water, yeast, sugar, salt and egg.  Mix briefly to combine.  

Add both flours to the bowl, and mix until incorporated.  

Mix in the butter.  

Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for about 6-8 minutes.  The dough will be somewhat tacky, but you want to avoid adding too much extra flour which will create tough buns.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours.

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or a silicone baking mat.  

Divide the dough into eight equal parts.  Gently roll each portion of dough into a ball and place on the baking sheet, two to three inches apart.  Cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise again, one to two hours, until puffed up and nearly doubled.

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F

Set a large metal pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven.   

Beat together one egg and one tablespoon of water.

Brush the tops of the buns lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  

Bake the buns about 15 minutes rotating halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown.  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Crock Pot Pork Chops

3 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick
1 packet dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning
10 oz can Cream of Chicken Soup

4 lbs peeled, cubed potatoes
5 Tablespoons real butter
1- 1 1/2 Cups warm skim milk (any milk will do, I used skim)
1 Tablespoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, or to taste

Place pork chops, Ranch seasoning, and soup into a medium sized crock pot over high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 6 hours.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add chopped potatoes and boil until tender. Mash slightly with a fork or hand mixer. Add butter, milk, salt, and pepper.

Pile potatoes on to a plate, top with pork chop and the gravy that is at the bottom of the crock pot. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Homemade Lollipops

It is so ridiculously easy to make your own candy that you should never buy any again.

You need a candy thermometer, a lollipop mold, flavoring, and hard candy coloring (different than regular food coloring). And then you're good to go!

2 C sugar
3/4 C water
2/3 C light corn syrup
1 t flavoring
1/2 t coloring

Mix together and cook, over medium heat, until the sugar is dissolved (about four minutes). Increase heat to high and boil until it reaches 300 degrees (about eight minutes). Add the flavoring and coloring. Pour into the molds (I like to put mine in the fridge for 15-20 minutes beforehand), add lollipop sticks, and let set (30-45 minutes).