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Archive for the ‘Pork’ Category

No picture on this one… I KNOW!! Sorry ūüė¶

BOTH camera batteries died and are currently charging on the kitchen counter.

However, that won’t stop me from telling you how easy and delicious this pork is. Of course I still highly recommend you try the Carolina BBQ if you haven’t already, but this recipe is a good one for people who aren’t as vinegar-crazy as us native Carolinians. It’s got a nice mix of spices, in quantities that aren’t overpowering. It could be eaten on its own, in tacos, over rice, whatever you want. PLUS it’s made in the crockpot, and how can I argue with that? It’s just really great.

The original recipe was Pioneer Woman’s, but Kitchenbelle adapted it for the crockpot, and that’s where I found it. I did a few things differently, which made it super duper easy, and I will write it as I made it.

Crockpot Pulled Pork

  • One 4-7 pound pork shoulder
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic (I used 2 tsp of the jarred minced garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

Rinse pork and pat dry.  Trim any large pieces of fat. Place in large crockpot.

In a bowl, add onions, chili powder, brown sugar, garlic, oregano,  cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar. Stir until thoroughly combined.

Pour mixture over pork and rub into every fold and ever nook.  Add two cups of water to the crockpot and cover with lid. (I may reduce the amount of water in the future Рthere was a lot of liquid!)

Cook on low for 8 hours, or longer if you have time. The longer you cook it, the more tender it will be.

When it is done turn pork over in juice and let sit for 15-20 minutes.  Place pork on a platter and shred with two forks.  Pour some juice over the top and serve.

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Can I just begin by saying that I love winter in Houston? Especially when “winter” is synonymous with “75 degrees and sunny” ūüôā

JW and I much prefer pork tenderloin to pork loin, which tends to be drier and makes a whole lot more food than the two of us can eat. Pork tenderloin on the other hand, retains a bit more moisture and is still a good lean meat – plus we can *almost* finish the whole thing in a couple of meals.

What worked in this particular recipe was the cook time. What didn’t work, in my opinion, was the onions. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups minced onions. I’m not sure exactly what was intended here, but I discovered that “chopped” onions aren’t the same, even if you try to chop very finely. What would have worked a little better would have been to throw my onions in the food processor with all the other ingredients and puree it all until it was closer to a “rub” consistency. That said, I will probably just use a different rub/spice mixture next time so I don’t have to break out the food processor.

The cook time and method was great. The tenderloin was cooked to perfection, at least by JW’s standards (if there is any pink whatsoever in his pork, he freaks out, even though pork has been declared safe to eat now at 150 degrees), and still very moist and tender.

Now… I have to say here that although JW liked the pork, he raved about the couscous I served alongside it. The couscous which I dumped out of a box and took little to no effort on my part. I guess I’m glad he’s easy to please.

Herbed Pork Tenderloin (Original recipe here)

  • 1 1/2¬†cups minced¬†onions
  • 2¬†tablespoons oil
  • 1¬†tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/4¬†teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4¬†teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4¬†teaspoon basil
  • 1/4¬†teaspoon paprika
  • 1¬†tablespoon minced¬†garlic
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon salt
  • 1/4¬†teaspoon pepper
  • 1¬†(1¬†lb)¬† pork tenderloin
Mix the first 11 ingredients and rub over the pork. Put on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
Bake, uncovered, at 400* for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven, cover with foil and let set for 10 minutes. Slice into servings.

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So because my pictures were pretty horrendous on this one, I’ll send you over to the original site, Cooking Weblog, for better pictures and the recipe. David does a fantastic job of showing you step-by-step pictures and explains everything perfectly, so even if you’ve never cooked with tomatillos and frankly aren’t sure what the heck to do with them, you’ll feel right at ease.

Chili verde is essentially chunks of pork in a roasted tomatillo sauce. As for my own attempt, it turned out pretty good! I admit that I kind of screwed up a couple of steps (I put the 2 1/2 cups of water in with the marinate, not realizing I was supposed to add that after I’d seared the pork), but I forged ahead and ended up loving the result. The pork was really tender, and JW and I both loved the tomatillo sauce.

The only downside to this recipe was that it was a little time consuming. If you have three hours to prepare dinner, it’s perfectly fine and really pretty easy, but in the future I would like to try it in a slow cooker after making the tomatillo sauce, and cook it during the day while I’m at work. We will see.

All in all, tomatillos and I are getting along just fine!

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CIMG1986

I am not a native Texan. I love Texas, and I have no intention of leaving, but I spent the first 20 years of my life in North Carolina, and there is a part of me that will always be a Carolina girl. There are many things I miss about North Carolina.

Namely…

  • Four distinct seasons (as opposed to Hot, Less Hot, and More Hot)
  • The ability to drive from one end of the state to the other in 7 hours
  • Cheerwine
  • Mountains
  • The idea that a few other sports may possibly be able to compete with the popularity of football
  • Autumn leaf colors

Near the top, however, is eastern North Carolina barbecue. Which is not synonymous with brisket, and is also not a verb.

I miss barbecue that means pulled pork and vinegar, barbecue that is served with boiled potatoes and corn sticks or hushpuppies, and barbecue that means we’ll take our turn pulling our own meat off the hog at a pig pickin’.

I didn’t often eat barbecue when I lived there, but when I wanted some, it was easily accessible. Now, however, if I want some Carolina barbecue, I have to resort to other options. Which is how I came across this recipe that, although really can’t compare to B’s or Parker’s, sufficiently satisfies my craving and is close enough that my fellow Texans who have never been to NC won’t know the difference.

Plus it’s made in the crockpot. How’s that for simplicity?

If you’ve never had Carolina barbecue, I know this recipe will look ridiculously weird. You’ll wonder how in the world this could ever be good, and you’ll wonder if I really meant to say 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar, or if that’s a typo.

It’s not a typo. Trust me. If you’ve never had this, you owe it to yourself to try it. It won’t be quite the same as the “real” thing, but if you just don’t live where the real thing can be had, it’s pretty darn close.

Crockpot Carolina Barbecue (original recipe here)

  • 4-6 lbs boneless pork butt or boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 onions, quartered (optional)

Rub:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

Quarter onions and place in the bottom of crockpot, or if not using onions, proceed to next step.

Combine brown sugar, paprika, salt and pepper and rub on pork roast. Place roast on top of onions in crockpot. Alternately, you can forego the rubbing, and just sprinkle the rub ingredients on top of the roast after placing in the crockpot. I know, I’m lazy.

Combine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic salt, and cayenne (I mix in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, it makes pouring easier). Mix until flavors are well blended.

Drizzle about 1/3 of vinegar mixture over roast, and refrigerate remaining vinegar mixture.

Cook pork roast on low 8 to 10 hours or on high for to 4-6 hours.

Drizzle 1/3 more of the refrigerated vinegar mixture over pork roast during the last 1/2 hour of coking.

Remove meat when fully cooked and drain. Chop or shred meat and chop up onions.

Serve with remaining vinegar sauce, and a few sides. Or, if desired, serve with hamburger buns and coleslaw.

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CIMG1335

No matter how you serve this, whether you use it as a taco/burrito filling, add it to a Mexican casserole, or serve it with rice, chips and guacamole in stack-up style like we did, this salsa verde pork is fantastic.

We made it as originally designed by Joe of Culinary in the Desert – as a “naked burrito” with rice and guacamole, and a side of tortilla chips. We loved it all.

I was intrigued by the rice recipe. Basically you whir a quick fresh salsa together in the food processor with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and salt, and add it to the toasted rice grains along with some chicken or vegetable broth, then finish cooking as you ordinarily would. It turned out good – definitely garlicky, which was probably the most prominent flavor. It complimented the pork nicely.

CIMG1337

The pork… I can’t say enough about the pork. Something about the spices, the browned meat, the pinto beans, and the salsa verde coming together just made for an excellent dish. I’d love to try it in real (non-“naked”) burritos, or in other dishes in which we might otherwise use taco meat.

[Note: The original recipe calls for cilantro to be added to the pork at the end. I bought it, I had it, and I forgot it. But it was so good we probably will just leave it out next time too. So if you like cilantro, add it. If not, you won’t miss a thing.]

I also love that everything in this meal is homemade – no “packets of taco seasoning” called for here! But it isn’t difficult either. Just the right amount of effort. We served this all with tortilla chips and homemade guacamole, which I mixed up from one large avocado, a squeeze of half a lemon, a chopped tomato, and a bit of salt and garlic powder. So fresh, and delicious!

CIMG1339

Salsa Verde Pork and Salsa Roja Rice (Original recipe here)

For the rice:

  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups basmati rice (I used jasmine, it’s what I had)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

For the pork:

  • 16 ounces ground pork
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup salsa verde (I used a 7-oz. can, probably not quite a full cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

To prepare the rice:

In food processor, add tomatoes, onion and garlic – process until very smooth.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Stir in rice and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato mixture and salt – cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add broth and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed, about 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

To prepare the pork:

Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook pork over medium-high heat, stirring to crumble, until cooked through. Stir in onion, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt – cook until the onion has softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add beans and salsa – bring back to a simmer and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro (optional).

To serve, spoon pork mixture over rice and top each serving with guacamole.

Makes about 6 servings.

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Pork Lo Mein

This is the single most popular dish in our house. JW requests it any time I give him input on meals. Unfortunately he ate it so quickly tonight I didn’t take any time for pictures, so you’ll have to wait until it comes around again in the meal rotation ūüôā

Pork Lo Mein (Original recipe here)

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 lb boneless pork loin (any thick pork chops work fine), fat removed and very thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces [Note: Slightly frozen meat is easier to slice thinly. I usually don’t remember in time though.]
  • 1 Tbsp dry white wine
  • 1/4-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, adjust amount to your heat preferences (I’m a huge wimp so I use just under 1/4 tsp)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • Fresh or frozen green beans (not canned), couple handfuls
  • 8 oz. spaghetti or linguine noodles

Begin cooking noodles according to package directions.
Steam or boil green beans. Set aside when cooked.
Meanwhile, blend cornstarch and 2 Tbsp soy sauce in medium bowl; add pork and coat well.
Blend remaining soy sauce (1 Tbsp) and wine in small bowl and set aside.
Cook and stir crushed red pepper in butter in large skillet until pepper turns golden brown.
Add pork mixture, cooking and stirring until no longer pink.
[At this point I used to remove the pork and saute the fresh green beans in the skillet – but that took more time and effort than I usually like to spend, so I’ve started just boiling the frozen beans.]
Add green onions and ginger, along with cooked green beans and wine mixture, and stir for a few minutes (keep scraping the bits off the bottom, it improves the flavor) until pork is completely cooked through.
Add cooked noodles to skillet and mix well (tongs work great for this).

You can use any vegetables you like, or none at all. We like the green beans, but I think the original recipe called for red bell pepper, or you could use broccoli (*shudder* – sorry, not a broccoli fan) or snow peas. Also, a word of advice – this does not taste nearly as good with whole wheat, or whole grain blend, pastas. Even that Barilla plus pasta, which we really like, just doesn’t have quite the same consistency. If you’re a super health nut maybe you wouldn’t mind, but if not, I highly suggest the plain ol’ cheap carb-filled noodles.

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