Mu Shu Pork

23 01 2013

Stir-fry seems to be healthful because there tends to be a good amount of veggies, but calories and sodium from the oil and soy sauce can sneak up on you. I found this recipe from Cuisine at Home, which called for tofu to make this a vegetarian meal, but I went with traditional pork. I also switched up some of the ingredients, so the below is my take on this one-pot meal…

Mu Shu Pork

Mu Shu Pork

The following makes 4 servings (compliments of This Girl and Cuisine at Home):

  • 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dry sherry
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 4 tsp peanut oil, divided (I used olive oil instead)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Pork, cubed
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • Half a large bag of baby spinach (you could also use shredded napa cabbage as the recipe originally called for)
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium chicken stock

Whisk together soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil and cayenne pepper.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over high until it shimmers. Stir-fry eggs just until cooked through; transfer to a plate. Add 2 tsp oil to wok; heat until it shimmers. Fry the pork until lightly browned, a few minutes, then transfer to a plate. Add remaining 1 tsp oil to wok.

Stir-fry garlic and ginger until fragrant, 30 seconds. If you like it spicy, add some cayenne here as well. Add carrot, bell pepper, green beans and chicken stock; cook vegetables until crisp-tender, 2-5 minutes.

Add spinach (or cabbage), sauce mixture, eggs and pork; stir until spinach wilts and pork reheats, 2-3 minutes.

Garlic-Lemon Pork With Mushrooms and Onion

20 12 2012

I originally saw this pork recipe in Everyday Food….and then I was cruising Pinterest and saw it pinned with a twist of adding mushrooms and onions. It just so happened that this was the twist I was planning to put on this meal myself! Great foodie minds 🙂

Garlic-Lemon Pork With Mushrooms and Onion

Garlic-Lemon Pork With Mushrooms and Onion

The following serves 4 (

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 lemons, 1 zested and juiced, 1 very thinly sliced
  • 1 pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch slices and pounded 1/4 inch thick (or just use 4 large pre-sliced pork chops)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms
  • Half an onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp sliced fresh chives

Place flour in a shallow dish and stir in 1 tsp lemon zest. Season pork with salt and pepper, then coat with flour, shaking off excess.

In a large skillet, heat oil and 1 Tbsp butter over medium-high. In batches, cook pork until browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent loosely with foil.

Reduce heat to medium, add the onions and let them start to brown. Next add the mushrooms and garlic. Add a little more oil if needed and continue cooking until mushrooms are browned.

Add broth and cook, stirring, until reduced by half, 4 minutes. Return pork to pan along with any accumulated juices and lemon slices; cook until sauce has thickened slightly, 2 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with chives.

This Girl’s Extras:

  • I omitted the flour altogether, and replaced olive oil for butter and the pork turned out great!
  • In place of the flour I seasoned the pork with lemon zest, salt and dried herbs such as parsley and basil.
  • Serve with roasted veggies such as zucchini and squash topped with asiago cheese and walnuts for a well-rounded meal 🙂

Smoky Pork Pappardelle

29 04 2012

I hosted a supper and wine tasting evening for my girlies this weekend, and this pork pappardelle was the main dish of the night. It’s rich and luxurious, and while it appears fancy which is great to serve guests, it doesn’t take too much hard work which is great for the host. The trick is in the braising of the meat, and the oven does that for you!

Smoky Pork Pappardelle

The following serves 6 (compliments of Food & Wine):

  • One 2-pound piece of boneless pork shoulder
  • Smoked sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/3 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound pappardelle
  • 1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 300. Season the pork with 1 1/2 tablespoons of smoked salt. In a medium, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the pork and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned on all sides, 15 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate. I didn’t have smoked salt, so I seasoned the pork liberally with kosher salt and pepper and grilled until nicely marked all around.
Add the apple, onion, carrot, celery, garlic and thyme to the casserole and cook over moderate heat until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it deepens in color, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the chicken stock, vinegar and honey and bring to a simmer. Add the pork, cover and transfer the casserole to the oven. Braise the pork for about 3 hours, turning once halfway through, until very tender.
Using 2 forks, shred the pork; discard any large pieces of fat. Transfer the shredded pork to the sauce and stir in the mascarpone. Cover and keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pappardelle until al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer to the casserole with the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce and the parsley over moderate heat until well coated, about 1 minute. Transfer the pasta to warm bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with grated cheese.
I paired this dish with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a dry red wine that pairs well with a meat-based ragu and won’t be overwhelmed by food with luxurious flavors.

Pork Milanese With Sautéed Spinach and Herb Acorn Squash Puree

26 03 2012

Pork, Chicken or Veal Milanese is an Italian breaded meat cutlet which is pan-fried in butter, oil or a combination of both. The panko and parm breading for tonight’s milanese was inspired by a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, although I like to play around with the seasoning and make it my own.

I had a beautiful organic acorn squash just waiting to be turned into something great.  I thought a herb squash puree would be a perfect complement to this supper….and I was right!

Pork Milanese With Sautéed Spinach and Herb Acorn Squash Puree

The following serves 2:

  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 small boneless pork loin chops
  • Salt, black pepper and garlic powder
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • Fresh parsley and chives
  • Half a bag fresh baby spinach
  • 1 acorn squash, split in half and seeds scooped out
  • Water
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Tbsp light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place cut squash, flesh side down in a baking dish and top with water, about half way up the squash. Bake for one hour or until tender. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add a handful of parsley, some chopped chives and a little lemon zest and cook over medium heat for a few minutes or so. When the squash is done, remove from oven and scoop out squash flesh into the saucepan with the melted herb butter. Puree squash with the butter, sugar, good pinch of salt and a few more fresh parsley sprigs. I used an emulsion blender to get a nice puree, but you could also mash with a potato masher. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Coarsely crush the panko into a large shallow bowl. Mix the cheese into the panko. Lightly beat the egg in another large shallow bowl. Sprinkle the pork generously with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder. Next, zest some lemon right over the chops on one side. Dip the pork, 1 piece at a time, in the egg, allowing the excess to drip off, then dredge the pork in the crumb mixture, coating completely.

Heat about 3 Tbsp of oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork to the hot oil and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.

In a small pan, heat a little bit of oil and add about a clove of minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook for about a minute to flavor the oil. Next, wilt in the spinach and season with salt. When the spinach starts to wilt, toss in some lemon juice and cook for another minute or so.

Transfer the pork to plates,  finish with lemon juice, then top with spinach and serve along with the squash puree.

Deconstructed Pork/Veggie Kabobs with Brown Rice Pilaf

15 03 2012

My grocery store recently had a BOGO on pork, and I wasn’t passing up free meat! Buying pork in bulk though can get a little overwhelming when you’re generally only cooking for two on a regular basis. When I got home, I split the pork loin chops up into meal portions and stored in zip lock freezer bags, this way it’ll be easier to thaw for individual dinners. Of course making 5 or 6 pork chop meals within a short period of time can get boring, so I cubed a few of the chops up to make deconstructed kabobs (not on the skewers) and served along with a brown rice pilaf.

Deconstructed Pork/Veggie Kabobs with Brown Rice Pilaf

The following serves 2:

  • 3-4 pork loin chops, cut into cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into large chunks  (same size as pork cubes)
  • 1 small red onion, cut into large chunks (same size as pork cubes and pepper chunks)
  • Citrus-Herb Seasoning Salt (see my post from 1/23/12)
  • Olive oil
  • Brown rice (I used 1 and 1/2 cups dry rice and 1 and 1/2 cups chicken stock in place of water for 2 servings)
  • Half of a medium size yellow onion, diced
  • Minced garlic
  • Dried rosemary
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the pork with a little olive oil and sprinkle with the citrus-herb seasoning (you only need a little seasoning, it goes a long way). Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toss the red pepper and onion cubes in a bowl with olive oil and a little of the citrus-herb seasoning and set aside.

While the pork is roasting, start the rice by sauteing the onion in a little olive oil over medium heat. Add a pinch of dried rosemary, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a bay leaf and saute until onions are soft. Add some minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add the rice and toast it for a few minutes to bring out it’s nutty flavor. Once the rice is toasted, following the cooking instructions.

After the pork has been roasting for about 10 minutes, turn it over and then add the pepper and onion cubes to the baking sheet and roast together for another 15 minutes.

Finish the rice when the pork and veggies are just about done. Toss the cooked rice with about a Tbsp of butter, juice of about a quarter of a lemon and fresh parsley.

Remove the pork and veggies from the oven and divide among plates along with the rice. Finish the pork and veggies with a little olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice.

Pork Ragu Over Creamy Parmesan Polenta

1 03 2012

This is a knock out meal kids….Rachel Ray’s luscious pork ragu paired with my go-to creamy parm polenta, make for a must try 🙂

Pork Ragu Over Creamy Parmesan Polenta

The following serves 4 (courtesy of Rachel Ray):

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb pork (I used ground pork, Rachel uses pork shoulder)
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • Polenta (see recipe below)
  • Handful chopped parsley leaves
  • Shredded parmigiano cheese

Heat large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil and the pork, breaking up in pieces. Saute over medium-high heat until it starts to get a golden brown color. Add 2 more Tbsp olive oil along with the carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Stir in the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the veggies until soft, about 5 – 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute, then add the wine and cook for another minute. Next stir in the stock and bring sauce to a simmer. Next add a pinch of ground cloves (this really gives a nice depth of flavor).

When the sauce returns to a simmer add the milk and reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce mellow for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After about 30 minutes, start the polenta.

Creamy Parmesan Polenta:

  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
  • Salt to taste

Bring milk and broth to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in cornmeal, reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Off heat finish with parmesan and a little salt.

You can make the pork ragu ahead of time and reheat over medium-low heat. You may need to add a splash of water or stock when you’re reheating the sauce to thin it out a bit.

Serve the sauce atop the creamy polenta and garnish with lots of cheese and parsley.

Two-for-One Pork Dinners

3 01 2012

Pork roast with sauerkraut and kielbasa on New Years Day is a German tradition I grew up with thanks to my Grandparents, and continues in my own home today. Of course I didn’t always enjoy eating the sauerkraut, but my “Grammy” forced us to eat at least a strand or 2 for good luck….guess it just grows on you over the years. She would melt if she saw me making it on my own these days!

Anyways, I made this lucky dish on New Years Day just like tradition, but decided to reserve some of the pork to make an additional meal later in the week. I got my luck and saved a buck at the same time! Check out how I did it below…

Pork, Sauerkraut and Kielbasa

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Here’s everything you’ll need for two meals:

  • Pork Roast (about 2.5 pounds or so)
  • Chicken broth, enough to cover the pork in the crock pot plus extra for the second meal
  • 1 onion, halved
  • Sauerkraut (1 bag or jar)
  • Kielbasa
  • Brown sugar
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce, use as much as you like
  • Hamburger buns
  • Cheese such as provolone (if you want)

For the pork, sauerkraut and kielbasa dish (serves 4):

Add the pork roast to a crock pot and cover the pork with chicken broth. Next add 2 onions, halved. Cook covered on low for 6-8 hours. You want the pork to be tender and to easily fall apart, that’s how you’ll know it’s done. Remove the meat, tent with foil on a plate or cutting board and rest for 10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. At the same time, cut your kielbasa into 1-2 inch pieces and saute in a skillet until slight brown on both sides.

Add your sauerkraut to a medium-sized casserole dish, sprinkle with brown sugar and mix together. The brown sugar will help cut the acidity. Next add your sautéed kielbasa. By this time your pork should have had enough time to rest. Start to pull the pork in pieces using two forks, adding it to the kraut. Reserve some of the pork for the following BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, store in an air tight container in the fridge until ready to use.

Cover the kruat, pork and kielbasa with foil and bake for about 30-45 minutes. This will cook the sauerkraut and help the flavors to combine.

For the BBQ pulled pork sandwiches (serves 2):

Add your reserved pulled pork to a medium saucepan along with some chicken broth (enough to re-moisten the pork, about 1/2 – 3/4 cup), cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until nearly all the chicken broth is gone. This is my trick for keeping the pork tender and juicy.

Next add the BBQ sauce to the pork and cook until headed through, about 5 minutes or so.

Serve on buns with extra BBQ sauce and a slice of cheese like provolone if you’d like…it’s that simple! I served this with a side of corn and a small salad to round out the meal.

Gremolata Pork Chops

28 12 2011

Cuisine for Two tells me this technique is usually applied to rack of lamb, where you coat it with mustard and breadcrumbs.  But using it on a pork chop is even better because the sauteing process turns the coating brown and crisp.  I’ve made this recipe for Alex and I to enjoy on special occasions or for no occasion at all….serve it with a starch like rice or smashed potatoes and a green like spinach, and you can’t go wrong!

Gremolata Pork Chops

The following serves 2:

  • 2 boneless center-cut pork chops (if you use something smaller you may want to double the recipe)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (I like to use the Italian kind)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine bread crumbs, parsley, lemon zest, garlic and salt in a bowl. Brush both sides of the pork chops with mustard and dredge in bread crumb mixture. For best results, chill breaded chops for at least 30 minutes before sauteing.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high, add chops, and saute on one side until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Turn chops over (be careful not to scrape the breading off as you flip) and cook 3-4 more minutes, then transfer to oven.

Roast until chops are cooked through and reach an internal temp of 145 degrees, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and rest for 5 minutes before serving.