Tag Archives: pork

Pork Tenderloin Four Ways

If you have a chance to buy pork tenderloin fresh, it’s quite a versatile protein for a singleton, and you can take your time making various dishes.

Unfortunately, I bought mine frozen, so when I thawed it, I had to prepare (trim off fat and remove the silver skin) and use it in as soon as possible.

Pork tenderloin souvlaki – marinated (Kraft Zesty Italian dressing), threaded onto skewers with chunks of onion and sweet pepper (red, yellow and orange), and then broiled on the bbq or in the oven under the grill. Serve with starch of your choice. In this case, I had leftover Mexican rice in the freezer so that’s what I used.

 

Korean pork tenderloin roast – marinated in a Korean paste and served over plain rice. I boiled and served the marinade over the slightly charred pork.

 

Korean (Gochujang) Pork Tenderloin Marinade – serves 3-4

1 large piece of pork tenderloin (1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lbs)

1/2 cup gochujang
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey or brown sugar*
1-6 cloves of garlic, minced*
2 tbsp fish sauce (optional)
pinch of salt

* I used honey and only 1 clove of garlic

Pesto pork tenderloin roast – marinated in home made pesto and served with pesto fettuccine

 

Honey mustard pork tenderloin – Pan fried pork cutlet served with honey mustard dressing … it turned out I hadn’t taken a picture of the honey mustard over the pork itself, just over the raw broccoli so you’ll have to imagine. The protein was served with skin on, smashed potatoes.

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One Pot – Creamy Ham, Pea and Egg Noodles

Cooking for one (or two) means you often have leftovers from things you’ve thawed. In this case, I had a cup or so of diced ham from a 2 cup bag I’d frozen for soup. (I used the other cup for a broccoli, cheddar cheese and ham quiche.)

I found an online ‘one dish’ recipe and scaled it down to suit the amounts I had. Although I halved all the other ingredients, I used the full 2 cups of chicken stock (1 1/2 cups of stock and 1/2 cup of water, works too) because I needed to have enough liquid to cover the noodles. The noodles were cooked in the pan and didn’t suffer taste-wise from the substitution. I also omitted the lemon juice because I was saving my lone lemon for something else. Instead of using half and half, I used 1/4 cup of whipping cream.

Creamy Ham, Pea and Egg Noodles Pot

The dish was quick to assemble and delicious and the leftover portion could be taken to work the next day for lunch or enjoyed for a repeat supper.

Boneless Pork Loin

This is another reason that my freezer keeps filling up, in spite of my attempts to clean it out.

A local grocery store tempted me with a meat display refrigerator filled with vacuum packed boneless pork loins at a crazy cheap price. For $11 I brought home this vacuum packed beauty and stood there looking at it with a chef’s knife in hand. Oh, the possibilities.

In this picture, the ‘fatty’ end is on the right.

After cutting off and discarding the fat cap and removing as much silver skin as I could from the loin, I started at the ‘not so pretty’ fatty end and cut it off. I bagged and weighed it at about three pounds before freezing. I haven’t decided if I’m going to cut this piece into 2 1/2 inch wide strips to marinate for Chinese barbecued pork or turn it into pulled pork. Still, this left about two thirds of the loin to play with. I also removed the streaky ‘rib portion’ of the loin, about three finger widths in size, that you can see at the top of the picture above. It was set aside until I got to the end.

I moved to the other end of the loin and cut off two 1 1/4 inch portions for butterflying and then continued cutting until I got to a portion of the loin that transitioned in appearance between the pretty loin and the fatty end that I had already cut off. I ended up with a baker’s dozen (that’s thirteen, if you don’t know) 1/2 inch pork chops.

The rest of the pork, between the fatty end and the pretty loin end in appearance, along with the streaky ‘rib portion’ that I had set aside earlier, was cubed, bagged and frozen for pork stew. I ended up with a bit over one pound (500 gm) of meat.

Butterflied pork chops before and after pounding and after seasoning

Delicious meal of pan fried butterflied pork chops with mashed potatoes, pan gravy and raw broccoli florettes with ranch dressing

Pan-Seared Butterflied Pork Chops – serves 4

1 pound pork loin boneless center cut butterfly chops, fat trimmed and pounded to about 1/4 inch thick
3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
3/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp paprika
2 tbsp olive oil

Mix together 3/4 tsp each salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika, set aside.

Trim off any excess fat from the chops and rub the spice mix on each side.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron frying pan until it’s hot, then reduce heat to a bit under medium.

Carefully place the chops in the hot oil. Cook and brown approximately 1 minute per side.

When both sides are evenly browned, cut into the thickest part to make sure they are cooked thoroughly. Allow them to rest a minute or two then serve.

I used one of the boneless loin chops (about 2 oz each) to make two huge pork and shrimp udon noodle bowls.

Pork and Shrimp Udon Noodle Bowl – serves 2

2 x 2 oz pkgs uncooked udon noodles, or 100 gm dry spaghetti noodles
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups pork, ham, chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sake, dry sherry or dry white wine*
1 tsp honey
cooking spray or 1 tsp vegetable oil
1 cup sliced mushroom (~5-6 medium mushrooms)
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot (~1 small/medium carrot)
2 oz lean pork loin, thinly sliced
2-3 oz shrimp**
salt and white pepper, as needed
1/4 cup broccoli florettes, and a half dozen or so leaves for garnish
1 green onion, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish

* I used the wine as I had an opened bottle in the fridge
** I used 6 large raw peeled shrimp

Cook noodles per package directions; drain and set aside.

Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and broth to a large saucepan; bring the broth to a boil. Lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes to flavour the broth.

Combine soy sauce, sake, and honey in a small bowl; stir and set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray or a tsp of vegetable oil over med-high heat. Add in broccoli, mushrooms and carrots, stir/saute 2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce mixture; cook 2 minutes stirring constantly.

Add vegetable mixture to broth mixture. Stir in sliced pork, raw shrimp and broccoli leaves. Cook for 2 minutes or until the pork turns white and the shrimp turn pink. Taste the broth for seasoning level adding a bit more salt and some white pepper, if needed.

Divide cooked noodles among two bowls. Add half the soup mixture over each bowl of noodles.

Serve immediately.

NOTE: If, like me, you forgot to add the red pepper flakes to the broth, add some Sriracha sauce to your bowl of soup, stirring it into the broth.

Sesame Semolina Bread and Soup (Two versions)

NOTE: The potato gnocchi soup below is a tomato based adaptation of the kale and sausage soup posted here.

After an indulgent last dim sum outing with my nephew, on Friday, I used the afternoon to make another bread that I had added to my ‘to do’ list, while I was flourless.

The recipe came from the King Arthur Flour web site and is called a “Sesame Semolina Lunetta”. I have NO idea where the term lunetta comes from … lunetta means ‘little moon’ in Italian but this S-shaped bread doesn’t fit. In French, lunette refers to ‘eyeglasses’ … I guess you can vaguely picture two circles of glass in the S-shape. Sometimes, names have no clear explanation.

The dough turned out very wet but I suspect that my measuring cup didn’t allow me to be precise enough. (Next time, I’d try using the weight option for ingredients. ) Since it was too wet to hand knead, and I didn’t want to dig out my stand mixer, I decided to use a ‘stretch and fold’ process (every 15 minutes for an hour, for a total of 5 S&F’s) letting it rest for a further 30 minutes. I shaped the dough into an 18 inch rope and then coiled it into the S-shape and let it proof until it got very puffy, about 50 minutes.

Since it was still such a wet dough, I increased the baking temp to 400 deg F, rather than the 350 deg F in the recipe and baked the loaf until it got golden brown, 35-40 min (NOTE: 37 1/2 min).

The crust was crispy and the crumb was relatively open. The taste was good and there was a faint scent of sesame from the toasted sesame seed oil used in place of olive oil.

To accompany the bread, I made a pot of kale, hot Italian sausage and potato gnocchi soup. For a change of pace, I divided half the soup and added whipping cream to one portion.

Creamy version served with sliced and toasted sesame semolina bread, spread with pesto and grilled long enough to melt the Parmesan cheese in the pesto.

BBQ’ing for the Week Ahead – Beef and Pork

Meal planning at my house usually involves starting with the protein and figuring out what sides (starches and vegetables) are available and will take the least amount of preparation time. If feeling energetic/creative, I’ll pick a cuisine or flavour based on whatever jars of sauce or spices I’ve got. And I’ve got a good assortment of sauces and bottles of spices and spice blends.

If barbecuing, I let the smokey flavour of the grilled meats star and keep the sides plain.

I went into a bit of a carnivore frenzy on my last visit to the grocery store and came home with a large tray of hot Italian sausages and a family pack tray of lean ground beef.

Since I already had sausages in the freezer (for making a fast meat sauce), I skewered and bbq’d the entire tray. The ground beef were turned into mini meat loaves and four 1/3rd pounder hamburgers, since that’s the size needed to fit into those giant sweet potato hamburger buns I made. I also dug a steak and a package of two pork chops out of the freezer.

Vegetables … well, I picked up a bundle of fresh asparagus since they were on sale. A bit of salt, a drizzle of oil (vegetable or olive) and a few minutes on each side and you’ve got tender but still crisp stalks of delicious asparagus to nibble on.

BBQ: Before and After

Beef

Pork

Most of the meat loaves and burgers went into the freezer for quick future meals. The main portion of the steak was reserved for a steak and mushroom sandwich so supper was the bits trimmed off and some of the grilled asparagus.

One of the mini meat loaves was turned into a wrap with creamy guacamole and a home made flour tortilla

Hammy Yellow Split Pea Soup

A meaty ham bone, flavourful ham stock from boiling a large smoked picnic shoulder ham, a pound of split yellow (or green) split peas, and you’ve got a delicious and filling soup for not a lot of money.

Hammy Yellow Split Pea Soup – serves 6-8

2 cups (~450 gm) dry yellow split peas
6 cups (1.5 L) ham broth, from cooking a smoked, picnic shoulder ham
1-2 cups water or chicken stock, as needed
1 ham bone with some meat on it
1-2 tsp vegetable oil
1-2 tsp dry thyme
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped*
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped*
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped*
1 tsp salt, start with 1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp celery salt**
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2-1 cup diced ham (optional)

* If you’re going to leave your soup chunky, dice your onion, carrots and celery finely.
** It turned out that I was out of celery, so I added the celery salt. Soup recipes are usually adjustable depending on what’s in your pantry or veggie drawer.

The night before you make the soup, pick through the dry split peas for any impurities, place the peas into a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Rinse a few times, rubbing the split peas between the palms of your hand to help any dry skins come off, and then let sit covered with fresh cold water overnight. You’ll see some foam produced during this process (from the starch in the split peas) which is visually unattractive but not actually harmful.

The next day, drain the split peas and reserve.

In a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, saute the onion in the vegetable oil until the onion is translucent and tender. Add the diced carrots and celery and saute for a few more minutes.

Add the bay leaf and thyme, ham bone, drained soaked split peas, and ham broth. Add half a teaspoon of the salt, celery salt and the ground black pepper and bring to a boil. You may need to add another cup or so of water or chicken stock to cover the ham bone. Cover, reduce to simmer and cook for 1-2 hrs until the split peas are very tender.

Check after 5-10 minutes and skim off any foam or other impurities that have come to the surface.

Remove the ham bone, trim any meat from the bone, dice into bite sized pieces and return to the saute pan of soup. Discard the bone and gristle.

If a smooth texture is desired for the soup, puree the soup before returning any meat to the soup. For a more meaty soup, add additional diced ham to the pot after the soup has been pureed and re-heat before serving.

Taste again before serving and adjust as necessary by adding more salt, or water, if the texture of the soup is too thick.

BBQ and Mint Chimichurri

I’ve had a beef/steak craving for a while and picked up a couple of rib steaks (cap off), as well as a tray of pork chops, also on sale this week, with a plan to barbecue. Unfortunately, with Friday and Saturday’s rain and thunderstorms, it took a post-supper lull on Saturday before I could finally throw a few things on the grill.

There’s nothing like chimichurri to dress a bbq’d steak or pork chops. I’ve used cilantro, mint and parsley to make it, in the past, but this batch just used mint and parsley. And for a veggie side … steamed artichokes with a chipotle yum yum sauce (leftovers) to dip into. I’ll share the pictures in a separate post

Mint Chimichurri – makes about 2/3 of a cup

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
1 cup fresh mint (spearmint) leaves, packed
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, packed
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Kosher or coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
6 tbsp olive oil**

** I used extra virgin olive oil since that’s all I had.

Place garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until finely chopped. Add the mint and parsley leaves and pulse until finely chopped.

In a medium sized bowl, add the vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes and stir until the salt has dissolved. Add the mint-parsley mixture and stir until well mixed. Stir in the olive oil.

Transfer to a glass jar, seal and refrigerate. The chimichurri will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Perfect to serve over steak, lamb or even roasted potatoes!

Steak, potatoes and mint chimichurri – I put the chimichurri on the potatoes for visual contrast though it’s generally served on top of your grilled meat.

Dessert was a couple of large cream puffs filled with chocolate Chantilly cream

Mixed bbq grill – Rib steak, Yukon gold potatoes, a package of hot dogs and a couple of pork chops

Boneless Pork Loin Roast

A simple recipe that will give you a moist and tender pork roast with minimal hands on time.

Pork Loin Roast with pan juices, quinoa, roast carrots and salad

Perfectly Moist Pork Loin Roast – serves 4-6

3 lb boneless pork loin roast
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp pepper
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/4 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, combine one tablespoon of the oil, the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. Stir together until you get a somewhat runny paste than can be brushed on the roast with a silicone brush. You may need to add some more oil.

Trim off as much of the fat as you wish from the pork. Cut slashes about 1/2 inch deep, and cross-hatches 1 inch apart into the pork. Brush the seasoning mixture on the bottom, ends, and top of the roast. Place in roasting pan fat side up.

Cook at 400 degrees for 10 min.

Lower the heat to 350 degrees and cook for 20 minutes per pound, or  until internal temperature reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

NOTE: If you wish, you may add 1 inch cubes of potatoes and/or carrots to the roasting pan. Lightly sprinkle with some salt. The pork juices will further flavour the vegetables.

Remove the pork roast and put a piece of foil loosely on top. Let the meat rest for 10 min before slicing to serve.

A couple of half inch thick slices will be plenty per person. If the vegetables need more time to become tender, return the roasting pan to the oven.

Fasirt (Breaded Hungarian Hamburgers)

When I was growing up my mom would sometimes refer to something called fasirt. I don’t remember ever equating them with ‘regular’ hamburgers that she would make and bbq in the back yard, but there are many similarities between the two. I recently learned that there is a German/Austrian term, ‘faschiertes’, which refers to minced meat. Since we lived in Germany briefly before we came to Canada, it is possible that she conflated the two words. In any case, the term was vaguely familiar to me, but I didn’t know much more than the word itself.

Since joining a Hungarian food FB group, my memory has been jogged by references to this dish, among others, and I am discovering (or rediscovering) Hungarian cuisine. Note that I have yet to find a Romanian food FB group.

Today’s post shares one of the several versions of fasirt that I’ve run across. Pork is used exclusively in some recipes while a combination of pork and beef is used in others. I had one pound of lean ground beef and one pound of lean ground pork in my freezer. So that’s what I used. For a first effort, I was quite pleased with the results. I would recommend frying the patties just before serving, so you can enjoy the crispy outside and the moist, tender interior. Standing doesn’t affect the taste just the texture.

Fasirt Version # 1 – 1 lb 14 oz meat mixture, makes 15 2 oz patties

For the meat patties

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb lean ground pork
3/4 tsp salt (1/2 tsp per pound)
1 tbsp sauteed diced onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Hungarian paprika
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 oz bread (pulsed in food processor) plus 4 tbsp milk

For coating
~1 cup dried unseasoned bread crumbs

In a small bowl, place the fresh bread crumbs and pour the milk over the top. Let the bread soak for about 15 min. Squeeze out any excess milk. (No excess milk found.)

Mix the patty ingredients together, divide into 2 oz portions, shape into balls and pat out into ~ 2 1/2 inch diameter patties. (NOTE: I didn’t over handle the meat mixture but the patties still rounded up a bit more than I wanted. You may want to pat the meat out to a 3 4 inch diameter.)

 

Lightly coat patties with breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess crumbs.

 

In a large cast iron frying pan, heat vegetable oil to medium and then fry the patties about 2 min per side, or until the juices run clear and, if cut open, the center is no longer pink but still moist.

Serve the patties with mashed potatoes, creamed spinach or peas and pickles. Or just dip them in some yogurt based tzatziki.

Happy New Year (2018) … Plain and Fancy

My last post of 2017 is a testament to the diversity of cooking … plain home style cooking made with basic ingredients and fancy dishes that you’ll find in elegant restaurants or serve to special guests at your table.

Paprika Potatoes – a PLAIN Hungarian inspired potato dish commonly served in the home kitchen and often meatless. If you want something more meaty, add the pork sausage of your choice, smoked or cured. Hungarian kolbasz (sausages) are delicious but you can use Polish sausages (kielbasa) or Romanian carnati afumati (smoked sausages).

The dish is not a stew but you may leave it more ‘soupy’ if you want to have something to dip into with fresh, crusty bread.

Paprika Potatoes (Paprikas Krumpli) – serves 2 or 3

1 tbsp bacon fat or vegetable oil
1/4 onion, finely diced
1 pound (500 gm) potatoes, peeled and sliced into wedges
1/2 pound (~250 gm) cubed or thinly sliced sausages, cut in half if too big
1/4 -1/2 (1/4 cup) sweet pepper (yellow, orange or red), cubed
1/2 cup diced tomatoes with juice or one medium sized tomato, peeled and diced
1 cup ham broth, or water or chicken stock
1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, more to taste
1 1/2-2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, saute the onion in the bacon fat until it starts to pick up some colour, 5-7 minutes.

Add the diced sausage and continue sauteing until it renders out some of the fat and picks up some colour as well, 5-7 minutes.

Add the diced pepper and continue sauteing for a few more minutes.

Push the contents to one side and if the pan seems dry, add a teaspoon of vegetable oil in the cleared area. Add the paprika and toast for a minute or so. Add the potatoes and tomatoes and stir through to coat with the paprika.

Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the contents and then pour the broth over everything. The broth should almost cover the potatoes and sausages. Bring the contents of the saute pan to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Stir gently after 5-10 minutes to make sure that all the potatoes are in contact with the broth.

Test to see if the potatoes are tender. Remove the lid and continue simmering if the contents are too soupy. If they’re too dry, add a bit more water and cook for another minute or so.

Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve.

This is actually a very simple dessert, even though it looks FANCYpuff pastry split and filled with pastry cream. It’s the presentation that makes it special. The French version (millefeuille or Napoleons) uses an icing sugar glaze and a decorative drizzle of melted chocolate. The Hungarian version (kremes) has a very thick custard cream filling, often with gelatin added to give it a firmer texture. I chose a simple Romanian version (cemsnit, krempita or placinta cu crema de vanilie ) with a light dusting of icing sugar on top.

Custard Squares

Puff Pastry Squares – Roll out the puff pastry to 1/8th of an inch thick, cut into desired size (2 1/2 inches by 4 inches) and bake in a preheated 400 deg F oven for 20 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown in colour.

Cool and split in half. Fill as desired.

Tester vanilla custard square

I’m sure I posted the pastry cream filling before but this is a thicker version.

Thick Pastry Cream Filling

2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (or 2 cups if you don’t want it TOO thick) milk, warmed slightly
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into smaller pieces

Beat whole eggs and yolks slightly in a separate bowl.

Mix sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt in a 2 quart saucepan. Stir in the beaten eggs.

Gradually whisk in the warm milk.

Place the sauce pan on the stove and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils; boil and stir 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Whisk in the butter a bit at a time. (NOTE: If your mixture is a bit lumpy, strain through a fine metal sieve.)

Place a sheet of saran wrap over the filling so that it touches the surface, preventing the formation of a skin.

Cool to room temperature.