Archive for the ‘Pork’ category

French pork and cabbage soup

April 25, 2011

This is hearty peasant food at its best. I like to put a piece of toasted French bread, rubbed with garlic, in each person’s bowl and ladle the soup on top.

1 lb (appx) pork shoulder (Boston butt) cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 lb bacon
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 coarsely chopped onions (about 2 cups worth).
2 c dry white wine
1 qt pork or beef stock
1 qt water
Boquet garni (a big one!)
1 head of cabbage, shredded.
1 c each cubed turnip, boiling potato, and carrot
1 lb Polish sausage (kielbasa)

For best flavor you want to cook a pork bone with this soup. I like to buy a pork shoulder (bone-in, obviously) and trim the meat, using the bone and 1 lb of the meat for this soup and freezing the remaining meat for other uses. But, even without a bone this is delicious!

Cut the bacon crossways into 1/2″ wide strips. Simmer in 1 qt of water for a few minutes (to remove excess smoky flavor) then drain.

In a large, heavy soup pot, cook the bacon until it is crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve, leaving the fat in the pan. Over high heat, brown the pork well in the bacon fat, and remove it from the pan. Add the onions and garlic over medium high heat and cook until softened, 5-10 min. Add the wine and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Return the pork and bacon to the pot, add the stock and water, the pork bone (if you have it), and the boquet garni. Cook at a very low simmer for 1-1/2 hours.

Add the cabbage and cook for an additional 30 min.

Add the turnips, carrots, potato, and sausage (whole) and cook for another 30 minutes.

Skim any excess fat and remove and discard the pork bone. Remove the sausage and slice into 1 inch pieces, and return to the pot. Add salt and pepper as desired and serve.

Pork chops with rosemary/mustard/cream sauce

April 25, 2011

This is one of my best inventions. If possible, use local pork from the farmer’s market. As part of the low-fat frenzy, commercial pork producers have bred low-fat hogs and the meat is not as tender or flavorful. If you want low-fat, eat celery, not pork chops!

This goes very well with marbled mashed potatoes.

Four 1-1/2 inch thick loin pork chops
6 TB kosher salt or 4 TB table salt (Why? See note)
3 TB dark brown sugar
3 TB chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and black pepper
1/2 c dry vermouth
1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 tsp Dijon mustard

Heat oven to 400f.

Dissolve the salt and brown sugar in 1 quart of water and soak the chops in this mixture, in the fridge, for 1 to 2 hours. Drain, rinse, and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with S&P and rub rosemary on both sides. Set aside. Discard the brine.

Heat 1 TB vegetable oil over medium medium-high heat in a heavy ovenproof skillet that is large enough to hold the chops in one layer. When the oil is hot enough add the chops and cook without moving until nicely browned, 2-3 minutes. Turn the chops and place the skillet in the oven for about 10 minutes until just cooked thru. If in doubt make a slit with a small knife – you want a bare hint of pink in the thickest part of the meat. Remove chops to a warmed platter and cover while making the sauce.

Put the skillet over medium heat and add the butter and, when it’s melted, the mustard. When bubbling add the vermouth and cook, stirring, until the vermouth is mostly evaporated. Add the cream and cook until slightly thickened. Add S&P to taste if needed. Put the chops on individual serving plates, pour the sauce over, and serve.

Note: Why do I specify different measures for kosher and table salt? Kosher salt has larger grains than table salt, so it does not pack as tightly. A cup of kosher salt weighs less than a cup of table salt. To get the same amount of salt—the same weight—you must use a larger volume of kosher salt. While all kosher salts are not the same, I have found a 50% increase to be close in all cases I have tried.

Posole (Mexican pork and hominy stew)

April 21, 2011

The authentic version uses a whole pig’s head, but when I asked for that at the local market I got a really weird look from the butcher. Even without the pig head, this one is pretty darned good, rich with the flavor or roasted peppers. Serves 4-6, may be doubled.


5-6 fresh poblano peppers
1 lb pork shoulder in 3/4 inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1 tsp, more or less, red pepper flakes
2-16 ounce cans hominy, drained


Sliced radishes
Chopped onion
Chopped cilantro
Baked tortilla strips

Roast the peppers over charcoal or a gas flame until charred, then let sweat in a paper bag for 15 min. Remove skin and seeds and chop coarsely. You should have a cup or so.

In a Dutch oven, brown the pork in a little vegetable oil or lard, doing it in 2 batches if necessary. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add water to just cover and simmer for 30 min. Add hominy and peppers and simmer, covered, for another 90 min. Add water as needed to keep the ingredients just covered. Salt to taste. Serve in soup bowls with garnishes.

Pork and fennel burgers

April 21, 2011

These make a tasty change from the traditional beef hamburger. If you are grinding your own pork, use Boston butt because it has the right level of fat for juicy burgers. This makes 6 generous burgers, or 8 for the less-hungry.

2 lbs ground  pork
1 fennel bulb, chopped fine (about 3/4 c).
2 large garlic cloves
1/4 c minced onion (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Grind the meat. Mince the fennel. Peel the garlic and put thru a press. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly by hand. Form into 6 patties and cook on a grill or in a fry pan until just cooked thru – a touch of pink in the center is perfectly safe. Serve on toasted buns with lettuce, tomato, onion, etc.

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