Tag Archives: pork

Slow-Cooked Hungarian Pork Loin (serves 8-10)

Here was the situation the other night; I was without a car and the pantry was down to the dregs. When I say dregs, I am talking about what I call the last bits and pieces of what I think one would need to scrounge up some sort of dinner. I am pretty sick of hearing myself say this, but here we go again: if you have what you consider the bare necessities on hand in your kitchen you can always come up with something to put an evening meal together.

a dish that cooks itself!

A dish that cooks itself!

Well, what did I have on hand in my pantry? What I didn’t have was anything green save for the rosemary plant I was nursing through the winter freeze on a sill in the kitchen, or anything quick cooking like eggs or a piece of chicken, fish or even any canned sardines (which I almost always have hidden somewhere – they are great with a bit of red sauce and pasta and pepper flakes in a pinch!).

Essential to this dish

Essential to this dish was another staple in my pantry, Paprika!

What I did have was a big hunk of pork (which I found in the freezer and set out to defrost; Lesson 1 – have a hunk of meat in the freezer at all times) along with three ingredients I deem essential  if you want to build something from nothing; garlic, onions and olive oil. These are things that last forever and even the saddest looking onion is worth saving. The other thing that comes to my rescue is a modest stash of spices, salts and a few select dried herbs and greens like good bay leaves and maybe a jar of Herbs de Provence, (I am not a fan of large collections of dried herbs and spices sitting on the counter in a big carousel, or neat jars in rows over the stove – most of this stuff shrivels up and looses flavor before you have a chance to use it – a few keys things stored in a dark cupboard is a much better idea and less wasteful).

Cook capers with seasonings

Good dried bay leaves go a long way in a pinch (these are from the Laxmi company based in Mumbai, India – I love this company. They have great varieties of bulk spices and herbs, as well as oil seeds like sesame, and dried fruits, namely raisins)

The only thing in this ingredient list that wasn’t something that I normally have on hand in the winter were the plum tomatoes. They had been sitting in the kitchen for several days, leftover from a salsa that I didn’t end up making. I threw them into the dish just to use them up and they were perfect (and sort of substituted for my lack of a vegetable!). So, if you get a pantry in order filled with the things that appeal to you, there will be no panic if you find yourself a prisoner in your own home!

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You will need:

3 tbs olive oil

3 1/2 lbs pork loin, cut into big chunks

3 medium sweet onions, halved and sliced

4 to 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 celery ribs, sliced

4 or so sprigs fresh thyme

1 small spring fresh rosemary

1 tbs hot Hungarian paprika OR 1/2 smoked 1/2 hot OR 1/2 sweet 1/2 hot paprika (any combo will work)

4 or 5 Roma tomatoes, halved

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (OR good quality stock cube and 6 cups water – *If your stock cube is very mild, use two for full flavor)

Method:

Preheat oven 300*

1 – Season pork with good quality salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put saute pan on high heat and add the oil. When it is very hot sear the meat in batches on all sides. transfer to a deep casserole or straight-sided pan as you go.

sear pork loin

sear pork loin

2 – Turn heat down to medium/low and add a little more oil if you need to. Add the onions, garlic and celery and saute for about 3 minutes before adding the fresh herbs. Continue to cook, stirring frequently for another 3 or so minutes.

Saute onions, celery and garlic

Saute onions, celery and garlic

3 – Add the paprika and stir into the veggies. If you are using a stock cube add it now. Stir lightly for about a minute.

add spices

add spices

4 – Add the liquid (stock or water) and turn heat up to high. Add the meat and when the mixture comes to a boil add the halved tomatoes, halved side down (this helps keep the skin in tact!). taste a little of the juices and adjust salt and pepper to your taste .

Add broth, then pork loin

Add broth, then pork loin

5 – Place in oven and cook for 3 hours or until meat is very tender.

cook for 3 hours or so and serve with whatever your heart desires!

cook for 3 hours or so and serve with whatever your heart desires!

Serve with whatever you like; rice, spaghetti, pici pasta, fresh crusty bread, and sautéed greens. The sauce is great with any of the above.

Quick Pork Ragu (serves 6 with Pasta)

Okay, this is a crazy weekend with far too many things on my plate to wax on about how great this easy-peasy (lemon-squeezy!) pork dish tasted. As is pretty obvious I love to cook, but sometimes the pressure of time makes it an activity that is squeezed in between all the other things that are part of my life.

A great speedy ragu

A great speedy ragu

The same goes for the writing. I have only time enough to give the recipe before zooming off to do the million things that very inconveniently came crashing down on me all at one time! I don’t like when my weekend is taken up with things that are not so important to me but still need to be done.

On the bright side, if you only came to my blog for a recipe then it will be convenient as you to not have to scroll through a lots of extra stuff to get to it!

This is a great dish if you too find yourself short on time this weekend. You can also double up and feed a crowd!

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You will need:

1 lb pork tenderloin, thinly sliced

3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

2 stripes bacon, roughly chopped or sliced

1 medium sweet or yellow onion, small dice

1 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (chili flakes)

1/2 cup white wine

28 oz can tomato puree

1 tbs tomato paste (regular or smoked)

1 tsp salt

several grinds of black pepper

Method:

1 – Put sauce pot or deep saute pan on medium heat and add oil. When it warms add the onions and cook for 2 minutes before adding the chopped bacon. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally before adding the rosemary. Cook for another minute.

saute onions, bacon & rosemary

Saute onions, bacon & rosemary

2 – Season the pork with the sea-salt and pepper and turn up heat. Add the pork and cook for 5 minutes until it takes on a light brown color. Add the wine and turn the heat up to high. Let it bubble for about 1 minute.

add pork

Add pork

3 – Add the tomato puree, paste, and chili flakes and bring to a boil. Turn heat down, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

et voila!

et voila!

Serve with spaghetti, ridged penne or pasta shells. A salad on the side would also be a nice addition.

The BEST Recipe for Pork Tenderloin (serves 6-8)

If you are sick of roasting pork tenderloin the same old way, you have to try this! It is not only fast but is the most delicious use of this tender meat imaginable.

a great dish in lightening speed!

A great dish in lightening speed!

This dinner was invented out of necessity as it was getting late and I wanted to get this pork tenderloin (that was still a little frozen), cooked as quickly as possible! The easiest way to cook meat quickly is to slice it and fry it fast. This is what I did and I have to say that sometimes when you spend less time thinking and more time doing, it can lead to glorious dishes like this one.

Somehow the proportions were exactly right and we were all eating ravenously within thirty minutes (a sharp knife helps here too!)

I will most definitely make this again and again.

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You will need:

3 (or more) tbs olive oil (or grapeseed or veggie oil)

2 lbs pork tenderloin (usually come in around 1lb pieces), thinly sliced (see instructions below)

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup mirin

2 tsp finely granulated sugar

1 tsp sesame oil (if you don’t have this, don’t worry)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)

1 lrg sweet onion, small dice

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 or 3 celery ribs, diced

1 cup finely chopped carrots

*We had rice with this, so if you want rice too, cook it before you begin!*

Method:

1 – Prep everything first!

The trick to thin slices is to cut the meat when it is slightly frozen

The trick to thin slices is to cut the meat when it is slightly frozen

2 – Slice meat and place in bowl with soy, mirin, sugar and sesame oil mixture. mix well and set aside in fridge while prepping and cooking the veggies.

Cook veggies first

Cook veggies first

3 – Put large saute pan on high heat and when it is hot add 2 tbs of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, celery and carrots and cook for about 4 or 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove to a bowl to be added to the dish later.

fry pork on high heat in batches

fry pork on high heat in batches fast!

4 – Add 2 more tbs of oil to the pan and add 1/4 or 1/3 of the pork and cook  on high heat for about 4 minutes. Continue to cook in batches, transferring to a bowl as you go until it is all done. Add more oil if you need to, and do not crowd the pan or the pork will end up steaming rather than quick frying.

luciously freid pork tenderloin

lusciously fried pork tenderloin

5 – As the last batch of pork finishes cooking, add the spinach and stir in quickly. Cook for about 1 minute, then turn off heat and add the rest of the veggies and stir everything together. If there is any marinade left, add to the pan and stir.

add spinach adn all other ingrediets back into pan

Add spinach and all other ingredients back into pan

Serve this with a mound of basmati rice (or other favorite rice) or with anything you like: rice noodles, on its own, with big leaves of romaine lettuce etc etc

We had this with basmati rice

We had this with basmati rice

Roasted Pork Chops With Fennel – Dead Easy To Make (serves 6)

There is nothing easier than throwing a few chops in the oven for dinner, which is what I did last night. When you have the time to wait, there is nothing more succulent than slow-cooked meat with a few key flavors.

Roasted Pork Chops With Fennel (with basmati rice)

Roasted Pork Chops With Fennel (with basmati rice)

My inspiration was my sister June who called me the other day while she was rummaging in her cupboards for dinner ideas. We have these conversations a lot (even though she is in Ireland) and as she was listing what she had in her fridge she announced she had 2 fennel bulbs languishing in the vegetable drawer….(She text me later from her supermarket saying she had decided on Caribbean Style Chicken!”)

Anyway, that made me think of the lovely flavor of fennel with its liquorish-y sweetness, so I grabbed one when at the supermarket yesterday and it was the highlight of my pork chop dinner. This dinner is easy, inexpensive and a major crowd-pleaser. It tasted especially comforting last night as the snow came down in quiet torrents.

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You will need:

3 large pork loin Chops (loin end, sirloin) (medium thickness)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 to 6 tbs olive oil

1 medium/large sweet onion, large dice

2 celery ribs, including leaves, sliced

2 carrots, peeled & thickly sliced

1 large fennel bulb, thickly sliced

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

1 tbs ground coriander

1 veggie or chicken stock cube

1 cup white or red wine

7 cups water

1 cup freshly chopped cilantro (if you don’t have this ingredient, don’t worry)

*If you are serving this with rice: use 2 cups raw rice for stove top method and 3 cups with rice cup measure if using rice cooker*

Method:

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Generously season chops on both sides with sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put big casserole pot or deep saute pan on high heat and add 3 tbs of oil. When it is very hot, add 2 or 3 of the chops (depending on the size of your pan) in an even, un-crowded layer. Sear on both side until browned. Transfer to a plate as you go. Continue adding oil and chops until all six have been browned.

sear chops

Sear chops

2 – Turn heat down and add the onion, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally for two minutes before adding the sliced fennel bulb and carrots. Continue to saute for another 5 or so minutes.

saute veggies

Saute veggies

3 – Add the coriander, broken bouillon cube and chipotle pepper with adobo sauce and mix into the veggies.

Add seasonings

Add seasonings

4 – Add the wine and turn up heat and bring to a slight bubble. Cook for about 2 or 3 minutes before adding the rest of the liquid (7 cups water). Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil.

Add liquids

Add liquids

5 – Add the chops, cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Add chops

Add chops

6 – Remove from oven and stir in the chopped cilantro. Cover with lid and let pot sit for five minutes before serving.

Roasted Pork Chops With Fennel

Roasted Pork Chops With Fennel

Serve on its own with a salad, or with a starch such as rice, pasta, bread or boiled and buttered potatoes.

Salmon (or Pork) With Lemony Spaghetti (serves 4)

This was a night where I was salivating for fish but my kids were in the mood for something else. I am a very indulgent mother when it comes to food, probably because cooking is not a chore, but a pleasure for me. I have learned how to please both sides of the aisle by making one dish that will work with both of the other main ingredients (usually the protein).

Salmon with Lemony spaghetti

Salmon with Lemony spaghetti

The other night I was able to make this one pasta dish, which could easily be eaten as a meal in itself (with a little parm cheese) and it worked equally well with fried salmon and fried slices of pork tenderloin.

I know it seems like work but both the pork and salmon took no time at all to cook and I had a very happy dinner table. Believe me I did this as much to please myself as everyone else.

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You will need:

4  salmon fillets (around 6oz each) ( OR 1lb pork tenderloin, thinly sliced)

2 tbs olive oil

1 rib of celery including leaves, finely diced

1 small onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 good quality bouillon cube

1 cup water

1/3 cup white wine

1/2 cup (maybe a little more) heavy cream

2 tbs cold unsalted butter

1 tbs freshly chopped rosemary leaves

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 head escarole, chopped

Method:

1 – Put large saute pan (large enough to hold complete finished dish) on high heat and add the oil. When it is hot, add the seasoned salmon fillets (or pork) to the pan and cook until done. salmon will take about 4 minutes on the first side and a little less on the second. Pork will take about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and keep warm until dish is complete.

cook salmon

cook salmon

*Put the water on for the pasta and when it boils, add a couple of teaspoons of salt and a little oil to the water. Cook spaghetti according to instructions. Time it to be ready when cream is added to pan (# 5 in method)*

2 – Turn heat down to medium and add onions, garlic and celery. Cook for about 6 minutes before adding the rosemary. Continue to cook for another couple of minutes, stirring frequently.

saute onions, celery, garlic, then add rosemary

saute onions, celery, garlic, then add rosemary

3 – Next add the bouillon cube and stir until it turns to a paste and is fully incorporated.

add bouillon cube

add bouillon cube

4 – Add the wine and water and turn up the heat and let the mixture come to a boil. Add the escarole and turn heat down again. Cover and simmer for about 3 minutes.

add liquid

add liquid

5 – Add the cream to the pan and when it is nice and warm add 1 tablespoon of the cold butter. Stir.

add escarole, then cream, then butter

add escarole, then cream, then butter

6 – Add the pasta the moment it is drained (do not rinse pasta in cold water), and stir in the last tablespoon of butter.

add cooked spaghetti, then more butter

add cooked spaghetti, then more butter

Divide pasta between 4 warmed plates or shallow bowls along with a piece of fish…

Salmon With Lemony Spaghetti

Salmon With Lemony Spaghetti

…or pork.

this can also be made with pork tenderloin slices using exactly the same method

This can also be made with pork tenderloin slices using exactly the same method

Easy Pork & Chicken in Red Sauce (serves 6)

This turned into something Oh So Good! (which was a relief). I had people over to dinner unexpectedly and I had to make dinner in a hurry out of a mish-mash of ingredients. I know that some people would hate to be put under pressure in the kitchen for a last-minute dinner for six, but I am the opposite, and that probably means I was destined to work in a busy, stressful restaurant kitchen! There is still time for that career, but for now I am content drumming up food for my family each evening, while making sure to have lots of dinner parties and impromptu guests!

Easy Pork & Chicken Dinner

Easy Pork & Chicken Dinner

This was dead simple to put together and the whole things was ready in no time. The addition of the tomatoes in combination with the rosemary made the meat so flavorful and warmed the cockles of each diner’s hungry heart.

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You will need:

3 to 4 tbs olive oil

3 chicken breast fillets

2 lbs country-style pork ribs (no bones, just rib meat strips)

coarse sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning meat

2 onions, sliced into 8 wedges each

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 1/2 cups tomato puree

1 cup red wine

1 1/2 cups chicken stock OR 1 bouillon cube and 1 1/2 cups water

2 tbs tomato paste (I used a sun-dried tomato paste)

1 stem of rosemary, cut into 3 or 4 pieces

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (chili flakes)

Method:

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Season both the pork and chicken with a sprinkle of sea-salt and black pepper. Put a large saute pan or casserole pot on high heat and add 2 tbs of oil. When the oil is hot, sear the meat in batches in a single until browned on both sides. Try not to disturb the meat as it cooks or it may stick to the pan. Place meat on plate as you go and continue until all of the meat has been browned, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

brown chicken in hot pan..

brown chicken & pork in hot pan.

2 – Turn heat down to medium and add the carrots and onions (if the pan is dry, add more oil). Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rosemary and pepper flakes and continue to cook for another couple of minutes. Next add the tomato paste, tomato puree and wine, and let the mixture come to a boil.

saute veggies, add seasonngs

saute veggies, add seasonings

3 – Add the stock (or water and bouillon) to the pan, and also add he meat. Bring to a boil and then turn off heat. Cover with lid and place in preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until meat s very tender.

add liquids

add liquids

4 – Remove from the oven and let the dish rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Place in oven

Place in oven

This is great with rice, pasta or fresh bread. Of course you also had better serve something green on the side!

Crispy Fried Pork (or tofu!) Medallions with Escarole Rice (serves 4)

Crispy Fried Pork Medallions with Escarole Rice

Crispy Fried Pork Medallions with Escarole Rice

Sometimes I am in the mood to make dinner as quickly as possible, and others, like last night, there is nothing I enjoy more than standing in my kitchen lazily chopping and stirring, in the company of whomever wants to watch the movie I may have playing and perhaps share my bottle of wine.

frying pork to lovely crispiness

frying pork to lovely crispy-ness

I am always trying to come up with interesting ways to cook pork tenderloin. It is such a delicate cut of meat with a tenderness that needs to be preserved for it to taste its very best. I sliced the pork and with a crowded counter filled with bowls of flour, an Asian egg mixture and another of panko crumbs I coated each piece of meat before frying to perfection. This was so good, and such a hit, I was sorry I hadn’t double the recipe!

Fresh herbs will always make your food taste better

Fresh herbs will always make your food taste better

I thought it would be perfect with a very aromatic rice, and since I was hell-bent on using up every last herb I had purchased for recipes over the Christmas break, I added chopped pungent rosemary and liquorice-y tarragon to the rice with a couple of mushrooms and sweet onions to make the best accompaniment ever. It was hard not to eat and say “mmmmm” the whole time we were eating!

By all means these two dishes can be made as part of other dishes. I think the pork with be great on a buffet table and the rice could go with so many other meat dishes, (and in the case of my dinner, crispy fried tofu).

Happy New Year’s Eve – Cook something memorable!

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You will need:

1 pork tenderloin, (try to find one that is about 1 1/4 lbs) cut into 3/8″ or 1 cm slices

OR tofu (instead of pork)about two packages of extra-firm, sliced into triangles or big squares (prepared as instructed below ingredient list)

2 large eggs

2 tbs hoisin sauce

2 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs mirin

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups panko crumbs (have more on hand)

1/3 cup olive oil

3 medium sweet or yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

1 medium head escarole, washed and roughly chopped

2 large mushrooms, diced

10 (or so) fresh tarragon leaves, chopped

1 stem of rosemary leaves, pulled off stem and chopped (about 1 tbs)

1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)

sea-salt to taste

6 cups cooked basmati rice

Dipping sauce: 6 tbls soy sauce mixed with 6 tbs mirin. Divide between 2 or 3 bowls for the table.

*This can easily be a vegetarian/vegan or Blood Type A Diet recipe. Use extra firm tofu which you should squeeze of excess moisture (enough for 4 to 6 servings) and follow method below or follow method here.

Method:

1 – If you are going to cook rice, put it on right away and let it be cooling until you need it. If you already have leftover rice, take it out of the fridge and stir to loosen.

2 – Mix the eggs in a shallow bowl with the hoisin, soy and mirin. Place flour in a shallow bowl or a dinner plate. Put panko crumbs on a dinner plate. Place a big platter or plate on the counter beside the other plates and bowls.

3 – Make sure the pork is dry and then dip each piece in flour, then coat with egg mixture (by dipping), and finish by pressing each side into the panko crumbs. Place on the waiting platter or plate. When they are all dipped and rolled, place in the fridge. * I find they cook so much better when they are cold*

Prep pork and store in fridge until ready to fry

Prep pork and store in fridge until ready to fry

4 – Next make your dipping sauce (see method in ingredient list).

make dipping sauce

make dipping sauce

5 – Put big saute pan on medium heat and add 2 tbs of oil. Add onions and cook for about 7 minutes.

saute onions

saute onions

6 – Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for another 5 or so minutes. You may have to add more oil. Add the chopped herbs and some sea-salt (about 1/2 to 1 tsp) and stir into veggies.

add herbs

Add mushrooms, then herbs

7 – Cook until onions are nice and soft.

cook for several minutes

Cook for several minutes

8 – Add the chopped escarole and cayenne flakes (if using) and cook until the greens wilt (about 4 or 5 minutes).

add escarole

Add escarole & pepper flakes

9 – Add the rice and stir until it has completely warmed through. Cover with lid and keep warm on lowest heat (or turn off and reheat right before serving)

add rice

Add rice

10 – Put large saute pan on medium/high heat and add about 3 tbs oil. When it is hot add the pork in a single un-crowded layer. Cook until crispy on both sides (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Remove to a plate and keep warm in low temperature oven until you have fried all of the batches. You will need to add more oil as you go.

fry pork

fry pork

Serve pork alongside the rice and drizzle a little of the dipping sauce over the pork before serving. Each person may add more dipping sauce or hot sauce as they please.

serve with a drizzle of dipping sauce

serve with a drizzle of dipping sauce

The pork can be easily substituted for tofu (I did) and prepared exactly the same way. (Check above for further instructions)

I had exactly the same thing only with tofu

I had exactly the same thing only with tofu