All this time, I’ve been saying to friends and family (even strangers) that Rice Kernel is his father’s son. They look alike, they act similarly, share an uncanny sense of humor, and enjoy so many of the foods I don’t! And then, one day, I discovered Rice Kernel is mine – he is picky with meat. So picky. Especially with chicken.
As a child, I disliked most meat, particularly dark meat chicken. There was a smell and taste I could never get over. Unless my meat was covered in sauce and baked in a pot pie from a diner or fried to a golden crisp (hello, Roy Rogers chicken sandwich!), chances are I would gag and reluctantly swallow any chicken my poor Mom would lovingly prepare.
As it turns out, Rice Kernel is the same. My in-laws insist he is being picky and simply “testing” our limits, but I think this may be genetic. I mean, the boy doesn’t even like fried chicken, unless it’s made with chicken tenders or breasts. Fortunately, though, he has found a love of pork – Italian bulk sausage, chicken apple sausage, Chinese roast pork, Momofuku-inspired bo-ssam, apple-spice pork, and this carnitas-style-preparation (sans salsa). You may doubt the mixture of Italian gnocchi and carmelized roast pork, but it is undeniable fusion. It is simple and savory perfection for my 4-year-old and the rest of the family.
Carmelized Roast Pork
This is the basic recipe for the pork Rice Kernel loves. Once prepared, you can use it in tacos, fried rice, omelets, whatever you wish. Today, I cooked up gnocchi separately (per package instructions), drained the pasta, and then toasted it lightly in olive oil and 2 tbsp butter. In the same pan, I then browned the chopped up pork, added in swiss chard, onion and garlic, and cooked until the vegetables were softened. Combine in the gnocchi and some chicken stock, if necessary, and serve! You can garnish with some cheese or toasted breadcrumbs.
2 pounds boned pork shoulder, cut into large cubes (remove as much fat as possible)
1 quart beef or chicken broth
- In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine pork and broth. Add enough water (or use more broth) to completely cover the meat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 3 to 4 hours (or longer) until meat pulls apart easily. Add salt to taste if needed.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove meat from liquid in pot (discard the liquid) and spread the meat out in a roasting pan. Break the meat into small chunks. Roast meat for 15 to 20 minutes until brown and crispy.
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