Posts Tagged 'pork'

Pumpkin, Pork, and Apple Cider Stew

The air has turned decidedly nippy, and there was snow on the ground this morning. Time to whine about unseasonable weather (when is it ever seasonable?)

This dish is quite seasonable and captures the essence of autumn – pumpkin, apples, cider – even pork seems like an autumnal selection. The original recipe, from Relish Magazine,  used Boston butt, a cut of pork that is rather fatty. Now I have been wanting to make a dish out of Boston butt (which is not the butt at all, but the upper part of the shoulder of the pig) in honor of the loss of my quite prodigious butt, but doing so would probably add to my butt, so I used pork tenderloin, my preferred cut of the pig. And by the way, it’s not as if the good people of Boston don’t know a shoulder from a butt. The name came about apparently because in pre-Revolutionary New England, less favored cuts of pork were packed into casks or barrels (also known as “butts”) for storage and shipment.

The original recipe also called for using cut up pumpkin or butternut squash, but suggested that if these were unavailable, a can of pumpkin would do. I liked the idea of a thick, rich pumpkin-y gravy, and it turned out well. It also reheats well, too, although I’ve had to add water to it when reheating..

Pumpkin, Pork and Apple Cider Stew

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds (see hint)

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

2 pounds of pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 medium onions, sliced

2¾ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided

1½ cups apple cider

¼ cup cider vinegar

1 cup carrots, cut into chunks (about 2 carrots)

1 15 ounce can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

6 cups red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 pounds) (I left mine unpeeled)

1¼ cups Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cut into wedges (2 apples)

Place flour, fennel seeds, salt, pepper and pork in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal bag and shake to coat pork. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven or other large heavy-bottomed pot. Add half the pork and the onions. Cook until pork is browned. Remove from pan. Heat remaining oil in pan. Add remaining pork, and cook until browned. Return cooked pork to pan and add 2 cups of the broth, cider and cider vinegar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour.

Add pumpkin, carrots and potatoes. Return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, since the canned pumpkin tends to make the mixture stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add apples. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. If sauce is too thick, add remaining 3/4 cup chicken broth. I needed to do this since the pumpkin is a good thickener. Makes 8 large servings at 6 grams of fat/serving.

Hint. It’s easy to crush fennel or other seeds in a mortar and pestle if you mix them with the salt before crushing them.

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Slow Cooker Pork Vindalooo

Vindaloo is a curry dish from the western coastal area of India known as Goa.  It is famously quite hot, and often somewhat sour or tangy. The dish was first brought to Goa by the Portuguese, and in its original format was a dish of pork with wine and garlic. The dish evolved into the vindaloo curry dish when it received the Goan treatment of adding plentiful amounts of spice. Potatoes were not usually common in vindaloo, but were added later as a means of stretching expensive meat (pork, lamb, or chicken) when the dish was served at celebrations.

I really did not eat Vindaloo dishes in my Mumbai neighbors’ homes. Meat dishes were a rarity, although many of my neighbors ate fish, and occasionally chicken. Rather, vindaloo was something to be eaten at one of the many Goan restaurants in Mumbai.

This pork vindaloo stretches a small amount of pork to make dinner for 4 when served with rice and perhaps vegetables.  Although many recipes I have looked at cook it more rapidly on the stovetop, it takes well to the slow cooker where the long cooking allows the meat to become tender and the spices to blend.  I did not make my vindaloo super hot, but use your discretion.  Add more chillies and you can have an incendiary dish worthy of a corner Goan restaurant in Mumbai.

Slow Cooker Pork Vindaloo

I large potato, peeled, and cut into large chunks
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced lengthwise
1-2 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
½ pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of all fat and cut into 1 inch cubes
½ cup malt vinegar (sometimes called fish and chips vinegar)
1½ teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1½ teaspoons chilli powder
¼ teaspoon ground tumeric
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons paprika
I Tablespoon tomato paste
¼ teaspoon fenugreek powder
2 cups of water

Place potato pieces and onions in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Sprinkle with chillies.
Mix next 12 ingredients (malt vinegar through water) in a medium bowl. Add pork cubes and mix well. Pour pork mixture over potatoes and onions in the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours, or until pork is tender. Makes 4 servings at 2 grams of fat/serving.

Serve over rice. I served this with yogurt to cut the heat (a traditional Indian accompaniment) and with chopped mangoes.

Caribbean Pork and Plantain Stew

This was my Christmas Eve dinner – it has a nice tropical taste to offset the frigid outdoor temperatures we are experiencing.  This stew also packs quite a bit of heat – I mean sinus-clearing, eye-watering heat, which was fine with me tonight. It really warmed me up. But if you want less of a punch, reduce the amount of pepper. It was also very quick to make, so that I could finish baking cookies and wrapping presents, since I am rather behind on my holiday tasks (at least I got the cards out before Christmas this year.)

The  recipe for this dish came from Cooking Light. It was originally a bit high in fat for me, since, as usual, I want to freeze the leftovers and take them for lunch.  One of my principles for low fat cooking is to eliminate the oil, especially if all it is doing is being used to brown onions or other ingredients (I steam fry them instead).  But in this case, I thought that the peanut oil probably was going to add to the complexity of flavors in the stew, so I just reduced the amount.

This is one of those dishes that comes together fast, so I prepared all the ingredients in advance in order to be able to add them in rapid sequence:

That’s the cut up pork and plantains, the green onion sliced, the ginger and peppers in the bowl, and the liquids combined in the measuring cup.

In this stew, the plantains take the place of a starch like potatoes.  I didn’t serve it over rice. Rather, I sopped up the juices with some slightly sweet rolls.

Caribbean Pork and Plantain Stew

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of all fat and membrane
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
3/4 cup sliced green onions
2 Tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon  Szechuan or pink peppercorns, crushed (I was out of Szechuan pepper so I used 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper)
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced (I used jalapeno)
3 plantains, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1-inch-thick pieces (about 3 cups) My plantains were yellow with brown spots, not fully ripe and black.
1 cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rum
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

Cut pork into 2 x 1/4-inch-wide strips. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add onions, ginger, peppercorns, and chile; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add pork; stir-fry 1 minute. Add plantains; stir-fry 30 seconds. Stir in broth, soy sauce, rum, and sugar; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, or until plantains soften.

Combine water and cornstarch, stirring well with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pork mixture, stirring well; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until somewhat thick, stirring constantly.  This makes 6 tummy-warming servings at about 7 grams of fat/serving.

HINT: Plantains, unlike bananas, are rather difficult to peel unless they are dead ripe and black. To peel them, I cut off the ends, and then run the tip of a sharp knife down the side twice, about an inch apart. Pull this thin strip off. You should now be able to use your fingers to lift the remaining skin off the plantain.

Hot and Sour Pork with Cabbage

The weather people have been hyperventilating about the season’s first snow. Oh, I just can’t wait!  Especially after last year.  And then I woke up this morning and it was snowing vigorously!  Mind you, it was only about a quarter of an inch, but it was still hanging around ominously when I get home this evening.

I have been wanting to make this dish for some time. I had the ingredients in my refrigerator, but somehow it always got too late when I came home from work to start chopping cabbage and trimming pork tenderloin.  I usually eat a bit later, but 10 p.m. is a little late to sit down with a substantial dinner dish.  Then I got a useful idea sparked by a memory of visiting China many years ago. I noticed that instead of buying prepared foods, people were stopping on their way home from work to buy fresh cut-up vegetables. The shops displayed various combinations of chopped vegetables in their windows. I suppose these were combinations that could be made into popular dishes. A person could buy these chopped fresh vegetables, pick up a small bit of meat, and go home to make a quick home-cooked meal that had their own spices and flavorings.  How practical.  So I trimmed and cut up the pork and chopped up the cabbage and green onions the night before, putting them in separate bags in the refrigerator. Ready to go when I got home the next day.

The preparation of this dish is quick once you get through the chopping, which actually didn’t take all that long.  It is one of those dishes where it is best to prepare all the ingredients in advance, so that you can add them quickly at the proper point as you cook. I combined the pork with the garlic since they were added at the same time, and had all the other ingredients mixed and at the ready.

hot and sour babbage ingrr

I warn you that this dish is quite hot – great for a chilly day with %#$!# snow on the ground  You are adding two sources of heat: white pepper which is actually very hot and Sriracha sauce wihich is even hotter.  I was a bit fearful of adding a tablespoon of Sriracha, a hot chile sauce, because I had a traumatic experience with Sriracha once, where I added too much and ruined an entire pot of chili. But I plunged ahead, and it was hot, but not inedible.  Also, I don’t really see how this was sour at all.  There was no sour element like lemon juice involved. It was quite tasty – and hot.

Hot and Sour Pork with Cabbage

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of all fat  and cut into strips
1 Tablespoon cornstarch, divided
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon water
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce); use less if you’re timid – you can always add more
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds coarsely chopped green cabbage
1/3 cup chopped green onions

Combine pork, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, white pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; set aside. (Whisk the dry ingredients well before you add the pork so you don’t get a piece of pork with a high concentration of white pepper, says the voice of experience) Put minced garlic in same bowl as pork, but don’t mix it in.

Combine remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl; set aside.

Combine ketchup and next 3 ingredients (through soy sauce) in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture and garlic; sauté 2 minutes or until pork is no longer pink on the outside. Remove pork from pan; set aside.

Add cabbage; sauté 2 minutes. Here is the point where the cooking became a bit frenetic. I cooked this (as I cook almost everything that isn’t soup) in a large flat-bottomed wok. Two pounds of chopped cabbage came to the very top of the wok. The heat was on medium high and I was stir-frying like mad trying to keep the bottom pieces from burning.  The cabbage was not cooking down, and pieces kept leaping out of the pan as I stirred. I was going to take a picture of the cabbage, but I was frantically trying to keep the flying cabbage pieces from landing in the flame below and setting the whole kitchen on fire. I finally added 2 tablespoons of water and stirred mightily. This had the salutary effect of loosening the browned bits of pork and garlic from the bottom of the pan and creating steam to soften the cabbage.  I heartily recommend this procedure.  Crisis averted and house fire prevented, I continued on with the recipe.

Add ketchup mixture; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in pork; sauté about 1 minute. Stir in cornstarch mixture; cook 30 seconds or until a bit thicker. Remove pan from heat; stir in onions. This made four tummy-warming servings at about 8 grams of fat/serving.  At first, I didn’t even make rice for it to go over. I ate it with a fat slice of French bread to sop up the juice.

hot and sour cabbage

The original recipe was from Cooking Light, and although the Sriracha sauce hinted at Asian origins, this did not seem to have that flavor orientation. Later, when talking to a friend, she thought that cabbage, pork, hot and sour sounded Russian, or at least Eastern European, so next time I served it over noodles.

hot cabbage on noodles

Curried Pork Kebabs with Mango Chutney

You may notice a mango theme recently.  This because the grocery store had a two-for-the-price-of-one mango sale.  Who can resist.  I love mangoes. I grew up where people had mango trees in their yards, and in season brought you bags of mangoes.

I recently learned that two-for-the-price-of-one is called a BOGO (for buy one, get one), so now I know that the email ads that tell me BOGO today are not asking me to play a game or dance, but are trying to get me to buy two pairs of shoes.

Back to my BOGO mangoes (that actually sounds like a good name for a recipe: pork with bogo mangoes.)  My problem with mangoes is that they are hard to peel, which is compounded by the fact that I tend to eat them while I peel them, leaving me less than I need of peeled mango.   I have seen photos where someone cuts the mango down its flat sides and neatly dices the flesh while it is still on the skin.  Allegedly, the diced mango comes off the skin neatly diced – but mine never does.  I just peel the whole mango first, slice off as much as I can to dice for whatever I am making – and eat whatever is still clinging to the pit, mango juice dripping down my chin.

This recipe started as a recipe for chicken breasts from Cooking Light, but I have turned it into pork kebabs, adding the vegetables to make it a more substantial meal..  A chutney is a variety of sweet and spicy condiment, usually involving a fresh, chopped vegetable or fruit with added seasonings. When I lived in Mumbai, fresh chutney, made of whatever fruit or vegetable was available in the open air market that day, accompanied most meals. It was often made with chili peppers and very spicy.  The piquant chutneys were thought to stimulate the appetite. Mango chutney in Mumbai was likely to be made from green mangoes.  This mango chutney, made with ripe mangoes, follows a more western interpretation of chutney: fruit, vinegar and sugar, cooked down to a reduction, and often preserved like jam, rather than eaten fresh. Leftover chutney of any kind is great on cream cheese or goat cheese sandwiches.

Curried Pork Kebabs with Mango Chutney

Mango chutney:

2 cups chopped peeled ripe mango
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup apple juice
1/3 cup diced dried apricots
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Pork Kebabs

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
1½ lbs pork tenderloin, trimmed of all fat and cut into 1” pieces
1 medium onion, peeled, quartered, and cut into 20 chunks
1 red or yellow bell pepper, de-veined and seeded, and cut into 16 chunks

To prepare chutney, combine all chutney ingredients in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring mixture occasionally.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

To prepare kebabs, combine the soy sauce, juice, curry, and pork cubes in a zip-top plastic bag; seal and shake. Marinate in refrigerator 10 minutes, turning once. (I actually marinated them while I prepared the chutney).  Pre-heat a grill and lower the heat to medium high.

Remove pork cubes from bag. String pork cubes on 4 large or 8 small skewers, alternating with onions and peppers. (If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least ½ hour prior to stringing them on the skewers).  Brush kebabs with marinade, and then discard remaining marinade.

pork kebabs 2

Place pork kebabs on grill.  I have a kebab rack, a nifty metal square with notches that suspends the kebabs above the grill rack. If you don’t have one of these devices, be sure to coat your grill rack with cooking oil so the kebabs don’t stick.  Cook for about 5 minutes, then turn kebabs over and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until pork is done. Serve with chutney on the side.  This makes 4 servings (one large or 2 small skewers) with about 4.5 grams of fat/serving.  I served the kebabs over couscous made with chicken broth.

pork kebab abnd couscous2

Pork and Wild Mushrooms, Hunter’s Style

I’m working my way through the wild mushrooms.  I used the Trumpet Royales (the ones with the fat stems) and Brown Clamshells in this, but you could use a mix of Shitake, Cremini, or other wild mushrooms.  A dish that is “Hunter’s Style” is a stew, supposedly made in the style that any game brought back from the hunt was cooked. Typically, it includes peppers, onions, tomatoes, herbs and sometimes carrots and peas.  Most commonly, recipes for  Hunter’s stew feature chicken, but I thought that pork tenderloin would be a nice complement to the mushrooms.  The sturdy trumpet mushrooms added another meaty texture to the stew, as well as a nice flavor.  I served this with a baguette to sop up the juices.  I’m thinking the leftovers will freeze quite well.

Pork and Wild Mushrooms, Hunter’s Style

1 pound of pork tenderloin, trimmed of all fat and cut into 1 inch cubes
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 large or two medium onions chopped fine
2 cups wild mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 cup green pepper, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 can (14 ½ ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 ½ cups fat free chicken broth
1 Tablespoon fresh (or ¾ teaspoon dried) thyme leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh (or ¾ teaspoon dried) marjoram leaves
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Coat pork with flour,  shake off excess. Heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven or heavy pan. Cook pork on in oil until browned on both sides. Remove pork from pan and set aside. Add one teaspoon oil to pan. Saute onion, mushrooms, peppers and garlic until soft and beginning to brown. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, thyme, and marjoram, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits. Return park to pan. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until pork is tender. Stir in tomato paste and water.  Cook for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Makes 4 servings with 6 grams of fat/serving.

pork:mushroom hunter's style

Cuban Pork and Plantain Stew

Okay, the cookie baking is over for a while. Platters went to the office and to my neighbor’s Christmas dinner. The remaining few are carefully closeted in the freezer, where their plaintive cries to be eaten are muffled.  I’ll take them out gradually, one by one, as late night snacks.

Now it’s time to turn to hearty dishes to help warm the winter night.  Yes, it’s still snowing. 63 inches and counting.  I need something to warm the cockles of my heart, and this somewhat unusual dish does the trick. It has a little peppery heat to it.  This is definitely something I will make again.

It began when I bought two plantains.  I love the plantains that you get at some Latin American restaurants, sweet and gently fried.  But apparently these are made from plantains that are soft and black.  Not knowing much about plantains, I passed over the black ones thinking they were past their prime, and bought two large green plantains.  When I began researching plantain recipes, it turned out that my sweet plantains were not to be, unless I was willing to wait weeks until they turned black.  I’m not all that patient.  I did let the one of the very green plantains turn yellow with black splotches.  I found that the very green plantain was hard to peel, and remained rather hard after cooking (although longer cooking might have softened them). So this recipe calls for yellow plantains with brown spots, which will stay firm, but not too hard during cooking.

The original recipe for this used chicken breasts, which would make it about one gram lower in fat/serving.  However, I thought the pork was a more traditional Cuban ingredient, and I have quite a bit of pork tenderloin to use up.

Cuban Pork and Plantain Stew

1 Tablespoon  canola oil
3/4 pound  pork tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup  coarsely chopped onion
1/2 cup  coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups  coarsely chopped plum tomato
1 cup  dry sherry
1 ½  teaspoons  paprika
1 teaspoon  ground cumin
1 teaspoon  dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1/4 teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14 -ounce) can low-salt beef broth
2 cups  sliced (about ½ inch slices) plantains (about 3/4 pound)
2 Tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pan over medium-high heat. Add pork, onion, and bell pepper; sauté for 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions soften. Stir in tomato and next 8 ingredients (tomato through broth). Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in plantains; cook 15 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with parsley if using.  This makes 4 servings at 7 grams of fat/serving.  I expect that this would be great over rice, and with Cuban black beans, but I have been eating it in a bowl like a hot soup. And it definitely warms the cockles of my heart.

cuban-pork-stew

Variation: If you like spicy food, this could take a bit more pepper, or you might even add a minced jalapeno pepper.


ABOUT KAREN

I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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