Center Loin Pork with Buttermilk Sauce

Pork with Buttermilk Sauce

The trick to making a good pork loin is really pretty simple. First, keep the preparations as easy as you can. Second, just don’t overcook the pork. And that’s what this pork with buttermilk sauce does exceedingly well. 

No kidding guys, this turns out extraordinarily beautiful, with just a little bit of chicken stock and buttermilk at the end. It doesn’t require much in the way of spices or other things going on. The pork is just coated with some flour with garlic and onion salt and baked until just done (start checking it around 15 minutes or so). Then make the sauce, coat the pork and add a little parsley at the end.

It’s fairly quick and so easy just about anyone can do it, but the taste is perfect.

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Effortless Pork Chop Braise

effortless pork chop braise

I’ve never been a big fan of pork chops, as a general rule. In fact, there really is only one other pork chop recipe on Discovery Cooking in the two-plus years I’ve been writing here. Part of that is that it’s really a difficult task to get a chop that’s  not too dry or just unfit to eat, really. But I came across a really simple pork chop recipe that, for some reason, I just had to try, in part because it was a simple evening meal that for some reason just seemed like I had to give it a shot. The results were very good. Even excellent, in fact.

This recipe uses  chops that are very thick. If all you can find at the grocery are thin, under an inch thick, stop by the meat counter and ask for something at least an inch and a half or maybe two inches or more. You’ll be glad you did. The rest of the recipe is fairly simple, with mainly tomatoes and a bit of anchovies, and some polenta, rice or noodles to soak up the juices. 

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Smoked Pork and Pineapple (“Swineapple”)

smoked pork and pineapple

There are occasions when someone or something brings something that’s so new (at least to you) that you just simply have to try it out. And that’s where this smoked pork and pineapple dish came from. My understanding of this dish is that it was “born” by a guy named Josh Bush, who isn’t a chef, but an apparently very good griller and smoker. Since then, of course, it’s now been posted and improvised and made into a dozen similar and different variations, so why  not? I think I’ll give it a try.

To start with, this recipe involves just three main components: Some pork (generally pork butt or something similar to that), a pineapple, and a bunch of bacon. What you do with the pork (and maybe the bacon) is what brings this thing to life and there is a long list of things that could work. In my case, I decided to use a bit of the barbecue sauce that my wife often uses for our pulled pork dish, smeared inside and out. After that, it’s mainly finding a great way to smoke the meat. I used an old fashioned barbecue bowl with smoke on one side and the meat on the other. Use what works for you and go as slowly as you can. I’ve actually seen these things smoked for up to five hours. Mine didn’t take quite so  long.

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Awesome Pork Chops in Lime/Garlic Marinade

pork chops

As I said last week, there are quite a few ways to grill without involving beef or chicken, and here is yet another: a lime and garlic marinated rib-on pork chops. These are amazing, thick sliced pork chops and somehow, keeping the ribs on them really adds some special flavor to them. The one’s I get come from Niman’s, but I’m relatively sure you can find them or ask for them at a butcher shop.

And like a lot of great grilling recipes, these pork chops come with just a little bit of lime and garlic dressing that gives them some zing but without over-powering them. A little garlic, cumin, some smoked paprika and a little lime is all that’s really needed for this, and it goes very well with some beans baked with bacon, brown sugar and a little honey. It could also go well with a Mexican flair, by adding some rice and avocados or maybe a great salad. The key here, however, is to keep things relatively mild so the pork chops stand out.

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Pad See Ew (Pork, Seafood, BBQ)

Pad See Ew

It took me a good long time to come up with my own Pad See Ew. Not that the recipe was too easy, but I tried for a year or more to get the recipe perfectly, and that really drove me about half nuts. And that, my friends, is where the trouble was. Too understand how that happened, here’s the story:

The story begins with a small little restaurant nearby that sold the best Pad See Ew I’d ever had. I loved the stuff. It was juicy, had these big broad noodles, and had an amazing smoky taste I have never had anywhere. So, of course, the lovely restaurant wasn’t about to let  this little secret out, so for better than a year I went looking for that smoky flavor, only to find myself right back to where I started (and don’t start on the those amazing broad noodles, which can be found but not easily). 

In the end, it was apparent: I wasn’t going to figure out the amazing flavorings from the restaurant, so the next step was to figure out my own little taste and give that a try. This one is a little different in the taste, of course, but it’s easy and very straight forward to make. And as soon as I can find those damn broad noodles, I’ll include those as well, but for now the thinner noodles will have to do.

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Pork Neck Stew

pork neck stew

It seems there is a movement afoot among very good restaurants to use as much of an animal as possible in creating new dishes. Some of these dishes go by euphemistic names that disguise what you’re actually eating, others are pretty up-front about it. Either way, I’m a fan of these dishes, if for no other reason than they reduce food waste and in that same spirit, harken back to a time and place where not wasting food was a matter of survival. This pork-neck stew was created in just that spirit.

When I was a child, I lived in a part of my small town that was predominantly African-American families. My neighbor was a lovely woman whose family came from the deep South by way of Kansas City (where I suspect pork necks were easy to come by and cheap). Her house sat on a big double lot, so that there  was a large grassy area separating our house from hers. She gave my grandfather permission to plant a garden there, adjacent to her own garden. When my grandmother would make something special, she would often make extra to send over to Mrs. Wilson. And when Mrs. Wilson cooked up one of her Southern dishes, she would send that our way. That was my first introduction to pork-neck stew. 

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Japanese Style Grilled Pork with Sesame Udon Noodles

Japanese Style Grilled Pork with Sesame Noodles

I don’t generally think of pork when I think of Japanese food, so when I came across a recipe featuring grilled pork as it’s done in Japan, I wanted to give it a shot. Many of the pork recipes I came across involved hot broth and noodles, and given that it is now high summer — in the mid-Atlantic region that means hot and humid — that didn’t seem like a good idea. Japanese grilled pork, on the other hand, seemed like a fine idea. A little more research and I had a general idea where I was headed, and it involved lots of toasty sesame flavor, miso, and slightly chilled udon noodles.

Japanese style grilling, yakiniku, is typically done with meat sliced thinly for quick indoor grilling at the table. I opted for cubed pork loin, grilled outside over  hardwood charcoal. Pork likes a long marinade, so that was done overnight. For the noodles, I went for my favorite Japanese noodle style, udon, but honestly, just about any Japanese noodle (or even pasta) would do just fine. I just happen to love the texture of udon noodles. And of course, I just had to top everything with a perfect sous vide egg, cooked to 64.5 degrees for 45 minutes. As my Midwestern mother would often say, that’s just showing off.

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