Archive for the ‘Pork’ Category

Pork and Tomatillo Stew

Over the last year or so, I’ve discovered Rice Kernel loves pork.  Shredded, fried, grilled, pounded-thin chops and, of course, cured pork products… you name it, my son will eat pork any which way and prefer it to other varieties of meat.  Having successfully started off stew season with a rich, earthy beef stew, I laid eyes on this Mexican-inspired, peppery, warm stew.  With a mild amount of heat, we added a cup of fresh corn kernels and half a head of roughly chopped cabbage for some vegetables and sweetness.  I also added a cup of dark beef to the broth, which fortifies the flavor of the stew.

We served the stew with rice, but I think some cornbread would be even better.

Pork and Tomatillo Stew, recipe from Food & Wine

(Picture courtesy of Rice Kernel himself, minus cabbage, as he requested.)



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Beer-Braised Carnitas

Four-and-a-half has been a rough age for Rice Kernel.  Forced to abandon his nap on many (busy) days, my son can be sweet, courteous, energetic, and affable one minute (or one day) and lethargic, nasty, and negative the next.  I know he’s tired but I also know he is testing his limits.  I’m sure many of you who are parents can sympathize, regardless of what age your child(ren) are.  As firm (and mean) as I am at times, one of the ways I always show him care and love is with dinner – regardless of how much we’ve butted heads that day.  This is his favorite protein recipe…. one I’ve made a few more times than I intended to these last few weeks. 

The recipe takes a bit of time to prepare but you can easily prepare it ahead of time and leftovers reheat beautifully.  Tonight we’ve prepared it with sauteed onions and red cabbage, black rice, and a jalapeno corn and cucumber relish.

Recipe here.


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Italian Shredded Roast Pork

Perfectly seasoned and roasted pork – for pasta, in wraps / sloppy sandwiches, or filled in calzones.  The ideal on-the-go snack or meal.

Italian Shredded Roast Pork


2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 6 large chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
1 bunch parsley stems, tied with string
2 bay leaves
1 cup water


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Pat the pork dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, and working in batches brown the meat on all sides until a golden crust forms. Transfer the pork to a plate.
  3. To the pan add the onion, celery, and carrot and sweat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes to cook off the raw flavor and caramelize it. Sprinkle with the flour and cook another 2 minutes to cook off its raw flavor. Whisk in the wine and reduce it by half.
  4. Return the pork to the Dutch oven, then stir in the beef stock, parsley stems, and bay leaves. Add the water if liquid does not come up to the top of the pork. Do not cover the pork with liquid.
  5. Cover the pan and place it in the oven to braise until the meat is fork tender, about 3 hours. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.

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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

  1. 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.
  2. 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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This is my idea of Fall comfort.  The type that conjures up images of leaves changing colors, apple-picking, and children sipping apple cider while bundled in hats and gloves.  Pork, slow-roasted until fork-tender, infused with garlic, ginger beer, apples, cider, and stock.  The recipe does take some time (mostly in the oven), but it can be done ahead and serves a crowd handsomely (or a family for more than one meal).  Leftovers are delicious in a hash for breakfast or a sandwich or quesadilla for lunch.  I heartily recommend it – with a slice of pumpkin pie for the ideal Fall feast.

Recipe (and drool-worthy picture) here.

Our not-as-drool-worthy picture, but plenty mouth-watering:


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