Tag Archives: pork

This Little Piggy Stayed Home

As our weather starts warming up, my thoughts are full of ways to utilize our gas grill. I love virtually anything grilled, from veggies, to pizza, to skewers, to ribs. I recognize that this is my second post in a row using my Ras el Hanout spice blend, but it’s so extremely versatile. Here I use it in both the marinade and the basting sauce. I can’t stand over-cooked pork, and this treatment is fool-proof using the combination of boneless country-style ribs that are marinated and basted with a blend of marinade and honey. They are served over roasted sweet peppers and red onions.

The relish, really compliments the grilled skewers, with bold flavors of grilled onions, olives, capers, balsamic vinegar and parsley. I could easily see this relish on grilled flank steak as well. I was recently gifted with a bottle of 18 year balsamic vinegar, which put it over the top!

MARINATED PORK SKEWERS WITH ONION, CAPER RELISH

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, grated on micro planer
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Ras El Hanout
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons local honey
  • 2 onions, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 sweet peppers, seeded and cut into 6ths
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 cup red grape tomatoes

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, Ras el hanout, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Transfer 2 tablespoons of marinade to small bowl and set aside. Combine remaining marinade and cubed pork in 1-gallon zip lock bag and toss to coat. Press out as much air as possible and seal bag. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place peppers, red onions and grape cherry tomatoes on rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until soft and slightly charred. These will be served a room temperature.
  3. Preheat gas grill on high for 15 minutes. Skewer onion slices on metal skewer and baste with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Clean grates, turn down to medium and grill onions until soft and slightly charred. Bring in and set aside.
  4. Whisk reserved marinade with honey and microwave until fragrant, about 15-30 seconds. Remove pork from bag and thread tightly on 2-3 metal skewers.
  5. Place pork skewers on grill (it’s already heated at medium), cover and grill, turning every 2 minutes and basting pork with honey mixture; until pork in browned and registers 140 degrees. Remove and let rest while you finish the relish.
  6. Chop grilled onions, and combine with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, olives, capers, balsamic vinegar and parsley.
  7. Place roasted peppers, onions and tomatoes on platter, top with pork skewers. Pass relish.

Serves 4-6

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“Looks can be deceiving, it’s eating that’s believing!” –James Thurber

To Market, To Market

It’s been an interesting winter.  Powerful storms have dropped feet of snow, only to melt during the next cycle of upward temperatures.  Regardless of what goes on outside, I love this time of the year. We savor indoor activities like reading, contemplation, projects and weekend visitors.  We vacillate between soups or stews to gratins and roasts.

We eat differently in winter.  I tend to cook food that takes more time and intention.  Is there anything better than the aroma of Sunday dinner wafting through the kitchen?  One of my favorites is stuffing a pork loin with porcini mushrooms and dried apples.   So enjoyed by my family, it has replaced our traditional turkey at Thanksgiving.   It’s a perfect dinner for company, when you want to create something special.  Each spiral slice looks beautiful on a plate.

Fortunate for us, we have options for great grass-fed beef and milk-fed pork at the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan where we are seasonal vendors.  With high-quality meat, this is a entree worthy of the season.

Proscuitto-Wrapped Pork Loin with Roasted Apples

Filling:

  • 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup dried apples
  • 1 lb Tuscan kale, bottom stems removed
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp cognac (I use Hennessy)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb ground pork

Pork:

  • 1 trimmed and butterflied 2.5-3.0 lbs pork loin (have your butcher do it for you or follow directions below)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 medium apples (such as Granny Smith or Fuji), quartered
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup hard cider
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Filling:  

Place dried mushrooms and dried apples in separate bowls.  Add 1 cup boiling water to each bowl.  Let mushrooms and apples soak until very soft, about 30 minutes.  Strain mushrooms.  Cover and chill mushroom soaking liquid.  Drain apples, discarding liquid.  Finely chop mushrooms and apples, combine in a small bowl, and set aside.

Meanwhile, blanch kale in boiling salted water for 1 minute, until wilted.  Using tongs, transfer kale to a bowl of ice water.  Drain on paper towels, once cooled completely.  Remove any large ribs.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion; cook, stirring often, until soft and golden, about 8 minutes.  Add mushrooms and apples; cook, stirring occasionally until flavors meld, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic, thyme and rosemary; cook for 1 minutes.  Add cognac and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to bowl, let cool completely.  Add ground pork and combine well.

Pork:

Open butterflied pork loin, cover with plastic wrap. (If your pork loin in not butterflied, do the following:  Put pork loin on a work surface and beginning along one long side, cut 1/2 inch above the underside of the loin. Continue slicing slowly inward, pulling back the meat with your free hand and unrolling the loin like a carpet, until the entire loin is flat.)  Using a meat mallet, point to an even thickness.

Stuffing just before assembly

Stuffing just before assembly2.

Uncover pork, season with salt and pepper.  Place kale leaves on top of loin in an even layer, overlapping as needed and leaving a 1 inch border.  Spread filling on top of kale.  Roll pork into tight cylinder.  Wrap one layer of prosciutto around roast.  Tie roast securely with kitchen twine in 1 inch intervals.  Tuck rosemary sprigs under twine, spacing apart.  Roast can be made 1 day ahead.  If making ahead, cover and chill., then let stand at room temperature for one hour before continuing.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place apples in a roasting pan.  Melt 1 Tbsp butter with oil in a large skillet on medium-high.  Brown pork roast on all sides, about 5 minutes total, then set on top of apples in roasting pan. Add hard cider and 1/2 cup of water to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits in pan.  Pour mixture into roasting pan.  Roast pork until an instant-read thermometer reaches 140 degrees, about 1 hour and 40 minutes.  Let roast rest for at least 20-30 minutes.

Pork loin stuffed, tied and ready for searing

Pork loin stuffed, tied and ready for searing

Place roast on platter.  Reserve apples from roasting pan; spoon off fat from juices in pan.  Place pan on top of stove over medium-high heat.  Add chicken stock and reserved mushroom liquid, leaving any sediment behind, and cook, scraping bottom of pan to release any browned bits, until slightly thickened; about 5 minutes.  Whisk in remaining 2 Tbsp butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Strain sauce; slice pork.  Serve apples and sauce along side pork.

Serves: 6-8

 “As long as you have food in your mouth, you have  solved all questions for the time being.”  –Frank Kafka