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Archive for the ‘pork’ Category

As I have said before, I rarely use a crockpot. When I find a crockpot recipe that works for me, I am always surprised. Sometimes one can pitch all the ingredients in the pot, turn it on, leave it alone for 8, 9 or 10 hours. No worries, mate. Of course, your meal may be less than gourmet, but, it’s a meal. The obvious benefits of crockpot cookery aside, the results are usually less than stellar. 

This recipe was a pleasant surprise. It does require some packaged food items, but they are some that might be found in many homes. However, it is not one that can be ignored for 8 hours or more. It’s ready to eat in 5 to 6 hours, tops. So, it’s not one you can fix in the morning and have that evening for dinner. For working folks, it would be a good one for a weekend meal. Start it after lunch, run errands, take a nap, watch the big game, work in the yard. Then you’ll have a good pork chop dinner waiting for you. 

FRUITY PORK CHOPS AND STUFFING

1 c. diced dried fruit, apples, apricots, raisins, cranberries (I use a mixture)

1 c. chicken broth

1/2 c. apple juice (1 small box)

3 T. butter

1/4 t. cinnamon

1/8 t. nutmeg

1 – 6 oz. package Stovetop Stuffing mix (pork or chicken flavor)

4 pork chops, 1/2 to 3/4″ thick

1/8 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper

 

1. Combine in a small saucepan: 1/4 c. apple juice, dried fruit, broth, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.

2. Bring to a boil. Stir in the stuffing mix. Remove from heat. Cover and set aside.

3. Arrange pork chops in the bottom of a crockpot. Pour the rest of the apple juice over the pork. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Top with stuffing.

4. Cover and cook on low setting for 5 to 6 hours.


 



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If you have been reading my posts, you have discovered that I am a huge fan of pork tenderloin. It is lean and tender, cooks relatively quickly, is readily accessible, not too expensive, and mingles well with lots of different flavors. It can be a plain, down-home entree, or perfect to serve to your grandest guests. I love pork.

And, it’s not chicken.  Oh, I eat chicken once, maybe twice a week, but that’s just for variety. I could eat pork more often than chicken, easily.  Throw in an occasional steak, pizza, or spaghetti dinner, and I’m a happy camper.

Here is an example of a quick entree that uses balsamic vinegar for a pan sauce.

PORK MEDALLIONS WITH BALSAMIC VINEGAR

pork tenderloin, sliced 1″ thick, pounded slightly to flatten

flour, 1/4-1/3 cup

salt and pepper

1 T. butter

1 T. olive oil

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar

1/4-1/3 c. chicken broth

1 T. fresh sage, chopped

1. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish; dredge pork in the flour.

2. Heat oil and butter in a large saute pan or skillet to medium high.  Saute pork, in batches if necessary, a few minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove pork from pan and set aside, covered with foil.

3. Deglaze pan with the vinegar, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Cook, stirring, to reduce the vinegar a little.

4. Add the chicken broth to the vinegar and return the pork to the pan, along with any  juices that may have escaped from the meat.

5. Add the sage and continue cooking, turning the pork over, for a few minutes until the reduced sauce is dark and shiny.

6. Serve the tenderloin slices with the sauce.

(The tenderloin can also be left in one piece, browned in a skillet, and then roasted in the oven to finish cooking. This would be best with the skinny end folded under and tied in place to make the pork even in thickness. After roasting, let the pork rest, covered with foil while you make the sauce in the roasting pan. Slice the pork, and serve with the sauce.)

This pork dish would be great served with potatoes gratin, mashed potatoes, or even baked ones. I would probably not serve broccoli, or Brussels sprouts, or any other strong tasting vegetable with this. The balsamic vinegar sauce is strong enough. I might even serve the following dish instead of potatoes. It is rich and creamy, featuring the subtle taste of fennel, one of my favorite flavors. It can be prepared ahead of time, up to the baking, and then cooked while you are fixing the pork.

FENNEL GRATIN

2 lbs. fennel

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

1 1/2 c. cream, half and half, or milk

1/4 – 1/3 c. bread crumbs or panko

1/4 c. parmesan, grated

1 T. butter

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a gratin dish or other shallow baking pan. 
Trim the fronds from the fennel; remove any brown spots from the outer layer of the bulb.  Quarter the bulb and slice 
thinly. Lay the slices in the gratin dish.

2. Mix salt, pepper and cream and pour over the fennel.

3. Mix the crumbs and parmesan and sprinkle over the sauce. Dot with butter. (If preparing ahead, cover with foil and set aside until ready to bake.)

4. Bake 25 minutes covered, and 20 more minutes uncovered. (If stored in the refrigerator, add 10 minutes to the first 25 minutes in the oven.)

This would be beautiful with glazed carrots and the pork. I may have to make this next week.

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Lee Bailey is the author of several cookbooks that I have read. Every recipe of his that I have tried, we have enjoyed very much. I furnished one of his recently, Honey Custard with Gingersnap Crumbs. Here is a tasty entree that would go well with that dessert. I would probably serve some type of potato casserole and broccoli with this.

This is a quick-fix dish, probably only takes fifteen to twenty minutes, if you practice “mis en place”, and have everything pre-cut and measured before actually starting to cook.

Pan-Fried Pork Medallions with Rosemary Scallion Sauce

Serves 6

1/2 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper, white or black

2 lb. boneless pork loin, sliced in 1/4″ slices, and pounded slightly
2 T. olive oil, maybe a little more
1 1/4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. white wine
1 T. white wine vinegar
2-3 med. scallions, thinly sliced
1 T. each, minced fresh parsley and rosemary
2 T. butter
1/2 t. pepper

1. Heat oil in large skillet. Mix the flour, salt and 1/4 t. pepper together in a shallow plate. Dredge the pork in the flour mixture. Fry meat in batches, 3 minutes per side, until the bottom edges begin to brown. Don’t overcrowd the skillet. Add oil by the teaspoon if necessary. Transfer pork to a platter.

2. Deglaze the pan with wine, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add the broth and vinegar. Add scallions and herbs. Boil to reduce the sauce and thicken it slightly, about 5 minutes. Return the pork to the skillet to rewarm, about 3-5 minutes on medium heat.

3. Swirl the 2 T. butter into the sauce and stir in the remaining pepper.

4. Serve the pork with the sauce.

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Of all the canned goods I buy, I’ll wager that I buy more cans of chicken broth than any other. I sometimes make my own broth, if I am cooking lots of chicken parts for chicken salad, or another recipe calling for cooked chicken pieces. If I roast a chicken, which I do more in the winter than the summer, I will boil the carcass for broth. When I do, I usually make something that uses it all within the next day or two and rarely have any left to freeze. Therefore, I seldom have good homemade broth on hand when a recipe calls for a half-cup or more.

I usually buy Swansons, low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth, both in the 14 oz. can and the quart box. I have found, however, a brand called Pacific Natural Foods that makes a 4-pack of one cup packages, just right for those “add one cup broth” recipes. Although not particularly low in sodium, I can usually adjust for that by reducing the amount of salt called for in the rest of the ingredients. It is much better than using as 14-oz can and wasting the leftovers, usually by forgetting the remainder hiding in the back of the refrigerator. Somehow, I seldom remember to freeze that little bit of broth, or, if I do freeze it, it gets lost in the depths of the freezer, only to be confused later with that little baggie of lemon or lime juice I wanted to save. If I was a wise cook, and I never thought I was, I would roast an inexpensive chicken, once a week, get two meals from it right away, then make good broth with the remains, freeze or use it during the week in other recipes. sounds like a New Year’s resolution to me.

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