Category Archives: Pork

Italian Sausages with Bell Peppers and Polenta

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This dish  offers the classic Italian-American combination of sausage and peppers on a bed of polenta enriched with Parmesan cheese. By putting the emphasis on the peppers and onions, it makes an indulgent meal a healthy one, as well, with 34 grams of protein and just 31 grams of fat.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
½ cup polenta
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 mild pork sausages
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2-3 Italian frying peppers, sliced, seeds discarded
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
2-3 springs fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves, torn

Directions:
To cook the polenta,  add 4 cups of water to a 2-quart sauce pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and let the water return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta thickens and absorbs most of the water, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
While the polenta cooks, prepare the sausage and peppers.

In a 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil until hot but not smoking. Add the sausages and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate. Do not wipe out the pan.

In the same pan used to cook the sausage, warm 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onions, season with salt, and cook until the onions begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the peppers, garlic, and rosemary, and continue cooking until the peppers start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup wine, if using and cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Stir in the tomato paste and 1½ cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until the liquid has thickened, about 5 minutes. Slice the sausages and add them to the pan, turning once or twice until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, transfer the polenta to serving bowls and top with the sausage and peppers. Garnish with torn fresh basil.

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Lotus Root and Pork Rib Soup

 

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Sesame Shrimp and Pork Meatballs with Noodles

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Shrimp and Pork Meatballs combined with bok choy, and lo mein makes for a fun twist on an old classic, and an awesome dinner for 4 in less than 30 minutes!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
¾ pounds ground pork
1/2 pound large (16-20 count) shrimp, devined, shelled and minced
1 egg white
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6  tablespoons soy sauce divided
¼ cup sesame seeds
4 tablespoons olive oil
One 8-ounce package lo mein noodles
1 bunch scallions
1/2 pound baby bok choy
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 medium red sweet bell pepper, sliced

Directions:
Mix the ground pork,  minced shrimp, and egg white with 2 tablespoons of the  soy sauce. With wet hands, form meat into 16 equal balls. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on a plate and roll the balls through, so they are completely coated with sesame seeds.

Heat half the oil in a large skillet and cook the meatballs over medium heat for 2 minutes. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Steam for 7 minutes., or until cooked through.

While meatballs steam, prepare the noodles according to package directions until al dente. Slice the scallions and bok choy. Heat remaining oil in a wok or skillet and stir-fry the ginger, garlic, and peppers for 2 minutes. Add the bok choy and the remaining soy sauce. Sauté for 3 minutes, or until peppers are tender. Stir in the noodles and green onions. Divide the noodles onto 4 plates and top with the meatballs.

Serve with extra soy sauce to taste, on the side.

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Spaghetti Squash alla Amatrciana

 

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Sugo all’amatriciana or Amatriciana Sauce, originathWUU97UI6.jpgting in a small town of Amatrice, located  in northern Lazio, a region of central Italy near the Adriatic Sea coast . The area is also known as the center of the food-agricultural area of Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park.

Sadly, the town was devastated by a powerful earthquake in August 2016.

1024px-amatrice_-_corsoView of Corso Umberto I in Amatrice before the 2016 earthquake.
Photo credit: Mario1952, August 2008.

This type of pasta sauce is known for its meaty contents. The traditional Amarticiana Sauce will typically include tomatoes combined with pork meat sautéed in olive oil, and seasonings and aromatics, which generally are minced onions, garlic if desired, a small amount of ground chile pepper, and a pinch of black pepper. The recipe when made in the manner of a true Amatrice sauce, is served with cured pork meat from the cheek of the pig, which is referred to as guanciale.

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Guanciale. Photo Credit: Food52.com

According to popular tradition, numerous cooks of the Popes down the centuries came from Amatrice. In the Amatrice style of cooking, this sauce goes particularly well as a topping for strand pasta such as spaghetti, bucatini, perciatelli, vermicelli or fresh ravioli.

In this version of the recipe, spaghetti squash offers a hearty twist with its noodle-like strands.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 large spaghetti squash*
Olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
7 ounces guanciale (cured pork jowl)*
One 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes*
1/2 cup tomato purée
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup  grated pecorino cheese, plus more for garnish
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat the over to 450º F.

Half the squash lengthwise (See Cook’s Notes).

Dice tthe guanciale into 1/2-inch cubes.

Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the squash on top of the foil lined baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the cut surfaces of the squash and season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the squash cut side done and roast the squash until tender, 25 to 35 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven or sauce pan, add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and spear in an even layer. Heat the pan to medium high heat. Fry the guanciale until crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the guanciale to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Add the onion to the sauce pan and sauté, stirring until soft and slightly caramelized, 6 to 7 minutes.

Add the crushed red pepper and garlic to the pan with the onion and cook until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and the tomato puree. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until sauce is warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as needed. Remove from the heat.

Using a fork, rake the roasted squash flesh to create spaghetti like strands and add the sauce in the pan. Stir in half pecorino cheese and half the guanciale into the sauce.

Divide the spaghetti squash Amatrciana between four serving bowls. Garnish with basil and the remaining pecorino cheese and serve with a good crusty bread.

Enjoy!

*Cook’s Notes: 
Spaghetti squash is a group of cultivars of Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo. It is actually a fruit that ranges from ivory to yellow/orange in color. The orange varieties have a higher carotene content. Its center contains many large seeds. Its flesh is bright yellow or orange.Starr_070730-7822_Cucurbita_pepo.jpg

Tip: When raw, the flesh is solid and similar to other raw squash. The thickness of rawsquash2.jpg squash can make it vey difficult to cut into. It may be helpful to prick the squash all over with a fork and place it on microwaveable dish and warm the squash up in 30-second intervals to soften the squash before attempting to cut it in half. It may take up to 5-10 minutes to achieve the desired softness.

Spaghetti squash can vary in size as well. When cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in ribbons or strands like spaghetti. Taking this aspect into consideration a wider time range for roasting.

Guanciale is an Italian cured meat prepared from pork jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from “guancia”, which is Italian for cheek. The pork cheeks are rubbed with salt, sugar, and spices, such as ground black pepper or red pepper and thyme or fennel and sometimes garlic, and cured for three weeks or until it loses approximately 30% of its original weight. A well prepared guanciale is full-flavored, balanced between being well-seasoned and sweet. It’s flavor is stronger than other pork products, such as pancetta, and its texture is more delicate. Upon cooking, the fat typically melts away giving great depth of flavor to the dishes and sauces it is used in. Usually found in specialty markets and italian grocers and deli shops, it is what gives the sauce its characteristic flavor. If guanicale is not available, you can used bacon or pancetta as a substitute. The flavor will not be the same, but it will give the essence of a good Amatriciana sauce, but you will have to adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

San Marzano tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) is a variety of plum tomatoes that 450px-TomateSanMarzano.jpg originated from the small town of San Marzano sul Sarno, near Naples, Italy, and were first grown in volcanic soil in the shadow of Mount  Vesuvius.Legend has it that the first seed of this tomato came to Campania in 1770, as a gift from the Viceroyalty of Peru to the Kingdom of Naples, and that it was planted in the area of San Marzano sul Sarno.

San Marzano tomatoes work well in this dish, mainly because  the taste is stronger, sweeter and less acidic than Roma tomatoes. The most common brands of canned San Marzano tomatoes available in  local supermarkets and these include Cento, Nina, La Bella, Solania, Vantia, La Valle and Strianese.

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Pork Noodle Bowls

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Fragrant Pork Noodle Bowls are light enough for warm weather but substantial enough for dinner. Assemble the noodle bowls stove side, ladling the piping-hot broth into the bowls to coax the flavors of the individual ingredients into perfect harmony.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon kosher salt
One 8-ouncepackage thin rice noodles
4 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces red cabbage , finely shredded
4 scallion,  sliced diagonally
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
6 cups chicken broth
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Lime wedges, for serving
Dried crushed red pepper, for garnish
Chopped dry-roasted peanuts,  for garnish

Directions:

Bring 8 cups of salted water to a boil in a large pot.Remove from heat and submerge the noodles; let stand 20 minutes or until tender. Using a colander, drain the noodles. Divide noodles among 4 soup bowls.

Sauté mushrooms in hot oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat  for 5 minutes or until tender. Spoon over noodles. Add pork to skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until hot; spoon over mushrooms. Divide cabbage and add the scallions and cilantro leaves  among the soup bowls.

Bring the broth and ginger to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, and divide among bowls. Garnish with crushed red pepper and roasted peanuts.Serve with lime wedges and a dash of soy sauce, if desired.

 

Hello Friends!

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TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Croquetas de jamón Cubano

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Photo Credit: The Heart of Homemade, 2014

These Cuban-style ham croquetas are everything a croquette should be: smooth, flavorful, and delightfully crispy. Croquetas are found at Cuban food stands as well as birthday parties, weddings and quinceñeras. Croquetas are also very popular at restaurants, walk-up counters and bakeries all over Miami, Florida, where I first discovered them. There are countless versions  where you can also use chicken, fish, potato or cheese as a filling,  so feel free to adapt to your own tastes.

 

Makes 12 to 24 Croquettes

Ingredients:
For the filling (masa):
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, minced fine
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1   1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon dry sherry
1 Tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
1 pound smoked ham, ground
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground  black pepper, or  to taste

For the breading:
2  large eggs, beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
1 cup dry bread crumbs, mixed with 1/4 cup  all purpose flour*
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying

 

Directions:
Melt the butter in a 3-quart saucepan, add the onions, and sauté until translucent.

Whisk in 1/3 cup flour to make a roux ;  add more butter if necessary to make a smooth roux. Gradually whisk in the milk to form a smooth sauce. Continue cooking until the sauce thickens. Whisk in nutmeg, sherry, and parsley. Fold in the ground ham and one cup bread crumbs.

Let the filling mixture simmer for five minutes on low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. NOTE: The ham probably has enough salt already.

Spoon the mixture into a baking pan and refrigerate until well chilled for at least one hour. NOTE: The mixture needs to be firm enough to form into rolled “logs”. If your mixture is too soft or sticky, add some additional bread crumbs.

Shape the ham mixture into logs about 3/4-inch thick and three inches long.

To set up the breading station:
Make an egg wash by beating the eggs with water until frothy in a small bowl.

Combine the bread crumbs and flour in a second bowl; add salt and pepper.

Dip the logs in the egg wash and roll the logs in the seasoned bread crumbs. Dip a second time and re-roll in bread crumbs.

Place the croquettes in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper and cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. NOTE: You may also freeze for the croquettes for later use.

In a Dutch oven, or a deep fat fryer, add enough oil so that it will cover the croquettes. Heat the oil to the frying stage at about 360 to 375º F. Fry the croquettes in small batches,for about three to four minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Always let the oil come back to 375ºF between batches. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

Cook’s Notes:

* For a lighter crispier breading, you can use about 1  1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers,finely ground in food processor or blender. Another option is to use 12 ounces of  cracker meal in place  of the bread crumbs when making the breading.

For a variation, an equal amount of  COOKED chicken, can be substituted for the ham. Grind the cooked chicken in a food processor. Add a dash of fresh lime juice to the ground chicken. In omitting the parsley, add a handful of chopped cilantro to the ground chicken for a nice flavor twist.

The breaded croquettes can be frozen in plastic wrap or aluminum foil indefinitely. Just thaw them before frying.

The traditional way to serve croquettes is without any sauce, but some restaurants serve them with a cilantro garlic sauce for dipping. They are also good dipped in ketchup!

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Pork Tonkatsu with Ponzu Cherry Compote

 

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Tonkatsu is one of the most beloved “western style” Japanese foods in Japan. A pork cutlet is dredged in flour, egg, panko and then fried. “Ton” is Japanese for pork, and “katsu” is derived from the word for cutlet. The best thing about tonkatsu is that it’s super easy to make.

The highlight of this dish is the ponzu flavored cherry compote. Ponzu (ポン酢?) is a citrus-based sauce commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It is tart, with a thin, watery consistency and a dark brown color. Ponzushōyu or ponzu jōyu (ポン酢醤油) is ponzu sauce with soy sauce (shōyu) added, and the mixed product is widely referred to as simply ponzu.The element pon arrived in the Japanese language from the English word punchSu () is Japanese for vinegar, and hence the name literally means vinegar punch.

To make the dish even more Asian in flavor, mizuna would have been used in the salad.
Mizuna (ミズナ(水菜)which loosely translated into English as  “water greens” is also known as , shui cai, kyona, Japanese mustard, potherb mustard, Japanese greens, California peppergrass, or spider mustard is a cultivatedvariety of Brassica rapa nipposinica. The name is also used for Brassica juncea var. japonica. The taste of mizuna has been described as a “piquant, mild peppery flavor…slightly spicy, but less so than arugula. A vigorous grower producing numerous stalks bearing dark green, deeply cut and fringed leaves. They have a fresh, crisp taste and can be used on their own or cooked with meat. I Japanese cuisine, you will find them pickled. Highly resistant to cold and grown extensively during the winter months in Japan.

This dish is easy to make and takes less than thirty minutes to complete, from start to finish. The finish plate for each serving is a pork cutlet topped laying on a bed of dressed arugula and  with a cherry compote and a sprinkling of lemon zest.

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh  dark cherries*
2 cloves garlic
1  package of fresh argula
4 pork cutlets
2 Tablespoons ponzu sauce
3 Tablespoons honey
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground Black pepper, to taste
1 Teaspoons mustard powder
1 cup  Japanese panko bread crumbs
1 egg
Zest of 1 lemon

Directions:
Wash produce. Roughly chop cherries, discarding pits. Peel and mince garlic. Place the pork between to sheets of plastic wrap; using a meat mallet, rolling pin or small heavy pan, pound to about an  ½ inch thickness. Remove pork from the plastic and  pat dry with a paper towel.

Prepare Ingredients:

 

To make the cherry ponzu compote: In a small bowl, combine the honey and ponzu sauce. Add  the cherries and stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.

 

To bread the pork: In a large shallow bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. In a second large shallow bowl, whisk together the egg with mustard powder. In a third large shallow bowl, add panko bread crumbs. Season pork on both sides with salt and pepper. Add to flour, turn to coat, then shake off excess. Add to egg, turn to coat, then allow excess to drip off. Add to panko bread crumbs, pressing to adhere.

Bread Pork:

 

 

 

To cook the tonkatsu: Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add pork and cook until browned on outside, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Cook Pork Tonkatsu:

 

While pork cooks, in a large bowl, combine  garlic, and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Add the arugula and toss to coat.

 

To serve, divide the  pork tonkatsu and salad evenly between plates. Spoon the ponzu cherry compote over pork; garnish with the lemon zest  and serve.

Enjoy!

Cook’s Notes:
If fresh cherries are not available, frozen dark cherries can be used in this recipe. Just be sure to thaw and drain any excess water before using.

Canned cherries can also be used, just omit the honey, if the cherries are packed in a heavy syrup or glaze

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Sausage Stuffed Potato Skins

These potato skins are stuffed with savory  breakfast sausage and shredded cheddar cheese, ingredients that makes for the perfect finger food to serve at a football tailgate, a Super Bowl party, brunch, or for an any time snack.  To top them off, garnish with sour cream and chives.


Serves 4 to 6
 
Ingredients:

One 12-ounce  Pork Sausage Roll *
8  baby Yukon gold potatoes
4 Tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 Tablespoons  unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded *
2 Tablespoons chives, diced
1/2 cup sour cream *

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

Prepare sausage according to package directions. Clean and dry potatoes. Rub skin of potatoes with 2 tablespoons canola oil. Place potatoes on rimmed baking sheet and bake 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Remove the potatoes from pan and let cool. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out insides, leaving thin layer of potato on the inside.

In small bowl, combine remaining canola oil and melted butter. Brush on inside and out of potatoes; sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Place potato halves on baking sheet and bake 5 to 7 minutes.

Using tongs, turn the potatoes over and continue baking until potatoes turn golden brown.

Remove potatoes from oven. Top inside of each skin with prepared sausage, sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Return potato skins to oven and bake 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Top skins with chives and sour cream; serve warm.

*Cook’s Notes:
To make these stuffed potato skins a bit more healthy, substitute the pork sausage with 1 pound of turkey sausage links and remove the casings. Also substitute the cheese with shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese. In the place of  the sour cream use a good quality Greek yogurt.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Bacon Pimento Cheese Dip

Pimento cheese is a staple in the Southern United States, but in the last few years, it has been  gaining popularity outside the South.  Here is an easy recipe where you can make your own pimento cheese spread with a bacony twist. Served with Ritz crackers, this is the perfect dip to be served as a appetizer for any given party.Enjoy!

 

Serves 8

Ingredients:
8 slices hickory smoked bacon
1 cup gluten-free mayonnaise
4 ounces cream cheese
One 4 -ounce jar diced pimentos, drained
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
2-3 scallions, diced
2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
Kosher salt, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook bacon in a large deep skillet or sauté pan over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towel; allow to cool and crumble.

In medium bowl, stir together bacon, mayonnaise, cream cheese, pimentos, jalapeño peppers, scallions and shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Evenly spread the mixture in an ovenproof 2-quart casserole dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and bubbly.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

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