Categories
Pork

Sweet-Garlicky Clementine and Milk-Braised Carnitas

If you’re a carnitas fan like me, it’s highly unlikely that you ever really tire of eating those tender, yet crispy morsels of heaven. You probably have a favorite recipe you use, and if it ain’t broke you don’t want to fix it, right? I get it, I do. But why not expand your carnitas horizon just a little?

With this recipe for sweet-garlicky clementine and milk-braised carnitas, the amazing pork morsels you love are still front and center, but with a fun and different spin. The milk tenderizes the pork as it cooks, resulting in a lovely tenderness that just cannot be explained. The plentiful incorporation of clementines makes these carnitas shine with a citrusy, tropical flavor. And the presence of lots of garlic, well . . . no explanation needed. It’s just delicious.  

Ingredients:

3 lb. pork shoulder 

5 clementines, halved

8 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 c. chicken broth

2 c. whole milk

⅓ c. olive oil

1 Tbsp. fresh oregano

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours, or until the pork is tender and can easily be shredded with a fork. 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cook the pork for 5-10 minutes, or until it gets a caramelized, crispy layer on top. Don’t be tempted to skip this step! Remove the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Categories
Pork

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

‘Tis the season for big family and friend gatherings, and after that long year-plus of Covid times we are all ready to eat, drink, dance, and laugh together. And besides loved ones, what’s the most important thing about said gatherings? The food, of course!

This slow cooker pulled pork is perfect for big gatherings because it’s super easy and hands-off. All you do is toss everything together in a slow cooker in the morning and it’s magically delicious by evening. I serve my pulled pork on burger buns and topped with a very simple coleslaw. This is one of those meals that takes you back to your childhood summers. It certainly isn’t fancy or complicated; it’s just good food.

Ingredients:

1 3-4 lb. pork shoulder, trimmed

1 onion, finely diced

¾ c. ketchup

3 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

¼ c. apple cider vinegar 

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper

Burger buns, for serving

Coleslaw, for serving

Season the pork with salt and pepper. 

Combine the onion, ketchup, tomato paste, honey, brown sugar, vinegar, Dijon mustard, paprika, garlic powder, and cumin in a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Add the pork and cover with the mixture using your hands. 

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6 hours, or until the meat is very tender and can easily be shredded with a fork. Shred all of the pork and transfer to a serving bowl. 

Serve on buns with coleslaw. 

Categories
Breakfast Pork

Spinach, Bacon and Blue Cheese Crustless Quiche

I had a pretty hardcore pig-out fest this weekend, so I decided to make it up to my body by cutting some carbs for a couple of days. Usually cutting carbs really bums me out and is hard for me to do, but this oh-so-flavorful and very filling crustless quiche redeemed my faith in  low-carb meals that are actually really tasty AND leave me satisfied. 

Because this crustless quiche is full of some of the best flavors around (I mean, bacon, blue cheese, spinach? What’s not to like?), I didn’t even feel like cutting carbs was even the tiniest punishment. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed my meal . . . and guess what? I’m even looking forward to eating the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Win, win.

Ingredients:

6 large eggs

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 c. whole milk

2 oz. blue cheese

½ c. shredded mozzarella

3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled

2-3 c. spinach leaves

2 green onions, sliced

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook the spinach until it’s wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Coat a pie dish with non-stick spray. Place the spinach in the bottom of the dish. Top with green onions, blue cheese, bacon, and mozzarella. 

Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the spinach, cheese, and bacon. 

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the quiche is set and golden brown. 

Categories
Pork

Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Creamy Dijon Sauce

Pan-fried pork chops are always a yummy, quick, and healthy option for a weeknight dinner. They’re great with very little seasoning, but absolutely delicious with a mustard sauce on top. The best news is that the mustard sauce takes very little effort, and only minutes, to prepare. 

I like to cut my pork chops thin when I make them with a mustard sauce so that they can soak up all of the deliciousness in every nook and cranny. Mustard sauce is creamy and decadent, but is much lighter in fat and calories than a cream-based sauce. Serve with a side of steamed vegetables for a healthy dinner, or make some mashed potatoes and extra sauce, for a slightly naughtier option. The mustard sauce makes a delicious gravy-like topping, so a fresh baguette would be another excellent sauce-soaking up option. Whatever side you choose, you’ll definitely enjoy these pork chops.

Ingredients:

4 boneless pork chops, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. butter

2 shallots, sliced

¾ c. chicken broth

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

½ c. sour cream

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp. paprika 

Salt and pepper to taste

Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper.

Melt 1 Tbsp. of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pork chops and cook for about 5-6 minutes per side, until cooked though and lightly browned. Remove the pork chops from the heat and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. of butter until melted. Add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, mustard, paprika, and sour cream. Cook until the sauce is warmed through. Add the parsley and stir. Add the pork chops back into the skillet and heat through. Top with additional parsley, if desired, and enjoy immediately.

Categories
Pork

Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Rotkohl (German Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage)

The Germans really have the whole pork and cabbage pairing down. It’s like the American version of peanut butter and jelly or cheeseburgers and fries. Except it’s a lot healthier and frankly, a lot more tasty. Germans frequently eat pork and cabbage together in all sorts of amazing combinations and different flavor profiles, from red cabbage and Schweinshaxe or schnitzel, to bratwurst and sauerkraut. Pork and cabbage are definitely a match made in heaven. 

One particular combo I love is rotkohl with some very simple, pan fried pork chops cooked in butter and topped with garlic and shallots. Nothing fancy here – just a really yummy pork chop with slow, cooked sweet and sour German cabbage. I like serving this meal with some boiled or mashed potatoes on the side for a well-rounded and very satisfying dinner.

Ingredients:

Pork chops:

2 pork chops

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. butter

2 tsp. thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Rotkohl:

1 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. butter

1 green apple, thinly sliced

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

¼ c apple cider vinegar

1 c. apple cider

2 bay leaves

½ tsp. ground cloves (optional, but recommended)

Pinch of sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

To cook the red cabbage, heat the butter over medium high heat in a large skillet. Cook the shallots and apples for 3 minutes. Add the cabbage, vinegar, apple cider, bay leaves , sugar, and cloves (if you are including them). Turn the heat down to medium, cover, and cook the cabbage for 30 minutes or until it is tender (but not mushy). Season with salt and pepper. 

While the cabbage is cooking, prepare the pork chops. Pat them dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Then heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the pork chops for 4-5 minutes per side, or until they are cooked through. Set aside on a plate. 

In the same skillet, cook the shallots on medium for 8-10 minutes, or until they are slightly caramelized. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for one more minute. Add the pork chops back into the skillet and heat through, spooning the butter/oil mixture over them to enhance the flavor. 

Serve immediately!

Categories
Pork

Lechon Asado (Slow Cooker Cuban Pork)

I remember the first time I tried Cuban food. It was at least 20 years ago and I was visiting my friend in Florida. She took me to an amazing local Cuban restaurant, and as I devoured dish after dish all I could think was where have you been all my life? I really went crazy for the lechon asado. The citrusy, garlicky chunks of meat candy were just too much for me to handle. I knew then I must learn how to make it at home. And so I did. And the rest, as they say, is history. 

This recipe is one of the easiest recipes on my blog, but is also one of the tastiest. While it’s not totally the same as roasting an entire pig for lechon asado, the slow cooker method produces a truly delicious and tender lechon asado. In order to make it a bit more authentically browned and caramelized, it’s a must that you cook it in the oven for a few minutes before serving. Whatever you do, do not skip this step because it’s what makes this pork extra special. 

Ingredients:

2-3 lbs. pork shoulder or tenderloin 

8 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 c. orange juice

Juice from 2 limes

2 yellow onions, thinly sliced

2 tsp. oregano

2 bay leaves

⅓ c. olive oil

Salt and pepper

Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours, or until the pork is tender and can easily be shredded with a fork. 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cook the pork for 5-10 minutes, or until it gets a caramelized, crispy layer on top. Don’t be tempted to skip this step! Remove the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with rice and Cuban black beans.

Categories
Breakfast Pork

Breakfast-ish Burrito with Smoked Pulled Pork

The other day my brother-in-law (also known as the Master of All Meats) gave me some leftover smoked pork he made in his gigantic smoker. Obviously, I accepted, because there’s one thing you must never do: turn down anything created in Rob’s smoker. Heaven, I tell ya.

Anyway, it didn’t take me long to figure out what I was going to do with this precious meat candy. I had some leftover green chile in the fridge and all of the other good things that go into burritos, so I just needed to narrow down whether I was more in the mood for a breakfast burrito or a “standard” burrito with rice and beans. 

My mind spun for a while thinking of all of the possibilities, and I decided. I wanted a hybrid of the two: a breakfast-ish burrito with meat, eggs and cheese plumped up with a little limey, cilantro rice. And obviously, it needed to be smothered in green chile. The breakfast-ish burrito was a big winner, folks, so it’s here to stay.

Ingredients:

¾ c. pulled pork

2 large flour tortillas

4 eggs

1 Tbsp. butter

½ c. rice 

Juice from ½ lime

2 tsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

¼. c. shredded cheddar

1 c. green chile

Cook the rice according to package directions. Add lime, cilantro, salt and pepper. Set aside. 

Heat the pork in a skillet so that it gets a bit crispy, about 2-3 minutes. In the meantime heat the tortillas with shredded cheddar in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, or until the cheese is melted. 

In a separate skillet, heat butter and scramble the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. 

To assemble the burritos, divide equal amounts of rice and spoon over the melted cheese on the tortilla. Top with pork and scrambled eggs. Roll the burrito by folding the sides in and then rolling away from you. Place the burrito on a plate. Top with green chile. 

Serve with all of the extras, like guac, sour cream, more cheese, salsa, etc.

Categories
Breakfast Pork

Savory Oatmeal with Garlicky Arugula, Pancetta and Egg

Why is it that people often associate oatmeal with sweet flavors when it’s so absolutely amazing paired with savory ingredients? Many of our brains have been trained since childhood that oatmeal is a sweet breakfast, which is why I seldom enjoy eating it – until now. You see, I’m a savory, salty type of gal. Perhaps more on the salty side, if you ask most people who know me. Wink, wink.

This savory oatmeal is so nutritious, filling, and lip-smacking that you may begin to reconsider whether oatmeal should ever be served sweet again. I’m confident that even die-hard sugar fans would devour this and love it. And I’m feeling super happy because now I feel like I can finally LOVE oatmeal!

Ingredients:

1 c.steel-cut  oats

3 c. chicken broth

2 c. arugula

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. pancetta, chopped

2 eggs

Parmesan cheese, for topping

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan. Add the oats and a pinch of salt. Stir, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until oats are finished cooking. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook pancetta in a large skillet over medium high heat until slightly crispy. Remove and set aside. In the same skillet, add a bit of olive oil if needed (or just use the oil left from cooking the pancetta) in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the arugula and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant and the arugula is wilted. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To fry the eggs, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and cook until they are cooked to your liking.

To assemble the bowls, divide the oats into two bowls. Top with the arugula mixture, pancetta, fried eggs and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Categories
Pork Salads

Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Caramelized Pork and Nuoc Cham

Right now I’m on a fresh, spring food kick because the weather is warming up. All I can think about is bright green herbs and crunchy veggies. For this reason, I wanted to make a cold veggie-loaded Vietnamese noodle salad with a light, but tangy nuoc cham sauce. 

I am a big fan of noodle salads, no matter what protein I decide to add to it, but this caramelized pork version is definitely at the top of my list when it comes to a noodle salad protein. 

The pork marinade tenderizes and infuses so many delicious flavors into the meat. The key is to very thinly slice the pork before marinating so that the pieces can really soak up all of the good stuff. That way, when you cook the pork it gets caramelized on all sides. If you find yourself salivating as you’re cooking this pork, just wait until you taste it. You’ll crave this often, so you might want to add it to your meal rotation. 

Ingredients:

Pork/Marinade:

1 lb. pork tenderloin or chops

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1-2 Tbsp. fish sauce (your preference)

3 Tbsp. honey or agave

1 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari

Salt and pepper

Nuoc Cham Sauce:

⅔  c. water

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

2 Tbsp. fish sauce

3 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp lime juice 

½ tsp. Sambal Oelek chile paste

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Thai bird or serrano chiles, seeded and minced (optional)

Salt to taste

Noodle Salad:

12 oz. vermicelli noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained

6 c. mixed greens

2 carrots, julienned or thinly sliced

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

1 bunch mint leaves, chopped

Lime, for serving

Serrano peppers, if you’re a fan of spiciness

The night before making the noodle salad, place the pork into the freezer for about 30-45 minutes. This will make it easy to slice into really thin pieces. Slice the pork into really thin pieces and place into a glass container. Add all of the marinade ingredients and mixed thoroughly. Store in the refrigerator overnight. 

To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir until the sugar is dissolved and remove from heat. Set aside in a bowl and let it cool for 15 minutes prior to serving. 

To cook the pork, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add in the pork and marinade and cook until the pork is browned, caramelized and most of the liquid is mostly cooked off. 

To assemble the noodle salads, divide the noodles, vegetables and pork into 4 bowls. Serve with the sauce on the side.

Categories
Breakfast Pork

Tamales con Huevos y Chile Verde (Tamales with eggs and New Mexican green chile)

Move over, huevos rancheros. There’s a new sheriff in breakfast town: tamales con huevos y chile verde. This New Mexican Hatch green chile breakfast is so over-the-top scrumptious and is a new-and-improved way to get your green chile and egg fix in the morning. People don’t usually associate tamales with breakfast, but that seriously needs to change. We need to evolve, people! 

The other day I wondered if there was anything better than tamales covered with a really good green chile. Then I remembered my cooking tagline: everything is better with fried eggs on top. How could I have never thought of this glorious combo before? The eggs elevated the tamales and green chile to a crazy level of yumminess. Eat this, and breakfast will never be the same. 

Ingredients:

4 tamales

1 ½ c. New Mexican green chile

4 eggs

2 Tbsp. butter

½ c. shredded cheddar

Green onions and cilantro, for serving

Place the warm tamales on a plate. Cover with plenty of warmed green chile and cheese. Heat the butter over medium high heat and cook the eggs until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny. Place the eggs on top of the tamales and green chile, garnish with green onions and cilantro. Enjoy immediately.