Category Archives: Pork Recipes

Rainbow Chard with Italian Sausage

I have never bought any kind of chard in my life.  So, when I got a bunch of beautiful rainbow chard in my Bountiful Basket, I had to do a little research.  I’d seen it used on cooking shows before.  And everything I read said that you could use it pretty much anywhere you would use kale.  I knew that I wanted to use those beautifully colored stalks.  I decided the best use would be to pair it with a protein and make it a main dish.  I make a soup with Italian sausage and kale, so I figured that would be a good bet.  I started chopping stuff up, tossed it in the skillet and what came out was delicious.  I served it with butter and garlic whole wheat spaghetti.  My 3 year old called it leaves and worms and gobbled it up.  My 6 year old had seconds (and maybe thirds).  In my book, that’s a major win.  I diced a couple of small red potatoes in this recipe.  Honestly, this would be just as good (and maybe even better) without them, but I had some I needed to use.

Start by browning a pound of Italian sausage in a hot skillet.  I use mild Italian sausage because my kids prefer it.  This dish would be great with either mild or hot.  I don’t use any oil in the skillet.  The sausage cooks out enough oil for the entire dish.  Don’t be afraid to let it get nice and brown.  Crumble it into the hot pan and walk away for a minute or two.  If you stir it around too much, your sausage will be all grey and, honestly, missing a flavor that only a good browning can give. I tried to take a picture of this, but all of the shots I took were too close up and looked decidedly unappealing.

When the sausage is nice and brown, add onion, garlic, bell pepper and potatoes (if you’re using them) and sautee until onions are translucent and potatoes start to soften.  Use a little white wine or chicken stock (or even water) to deglaze the pan.  Once you’ve loosened all the little brown bits off the bottom of the pan, add the chard to the top of the pan, cover with a lid and reduce heat to low.  Let this cook with the lid on for about 5 minutes.  Remove lid and stir. Season with a dash or two of nutmeg and some salt and pepper to taste before serving.

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Recipe:

1 pound Italian sausage

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

1 small bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 small red potatoes, diced (optional)

1/4 cup chicken stock or white wine

1 bunch rainbow chard, chopped

dash nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

Place a large, heavy bottomed skillet over high heat.  Crumble Italian sausage into skillet and brown, stirring occasionally.  When sausage is brown, add garlic, onion, bell pepper and red potato.  Saute over high heat until onion is translucent and potatoes are almost cooked through.  Deglaze pan with stock or wine, stirring to release brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add chopped chard on top of meat mixture, cover with lid, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove lit, stir, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Lasagna

My kids love to help in the kitchen.  Laying noodles and spreading cheese and sauce layers are the perfect ways for them to help me make lasagna.  And, since they get to help so much, they always seem to eat more.  In fact, my daughter asked me to pack lasagna in her lunch 3 days in a row after we made it  for dinner.  I take a little help by using jarred sauce.  Also, I don’t pre-cook my noodles (and I don’t buy those “special” no-cook noodles either).

I start by browning hamburger and Italian sausage together.  Make sure you crumble it pretty fine as it is cooking so you don’t get big chunks of meat in your lasagna (unless you like big chunks, then, go for it).

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Drain off any extra fat and add sauce to meat in pan.  Use 3/4 cup of water to rinse out your jar and add it to the pan too.  This extra water will help your noodles soften up in the pan.  Then I mix up my ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese with an egg and some seasoning.  The egg helps your cheese layer stay put instead of squishing everywhere when you try to eat it. And I use part-skim ricotta.  I’ve tried the regular.  The part-skim seems to give a creamier texture – less grainy than the regular.  Maybe it’s just me.

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Next, spread a very thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your baking dish to keep the pasta from sticking.

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I build three sets of layers – noodles, cheese, sauce.  Then, top the whole thing with some more mozzarella cheese.

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Put the whole pan in a preheated oven and bake it for about thirty minutes – until the cheese is melted and golden and the edges are bubbling.

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Let this stand for at least 10 minutes before you try to serve it.  If you don’t, you’re going to burn yourself and your layers are going to fall apart.  If you wait, you’ll be able to serve beautiful slices of deliciousness.

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Recipe:

1 pound hamburger

1/2 pound Italian sausage

24 ounce jar of prepared pasta sauce

3/4 cup water

15 ounce container part skim ricotta cheese

3 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (divided)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

12-15 dry lasagna noodles (depending on your baking dish)

Preheat oven to 350*.

Brown hamburger and Italian sausage in skillet together.  Drain.  Return to pan and add pasta sauce.  Pour 3/4 cup water into empty jar.  Swirl jar to rinse down all the extra sauce and add water to pan.  Leave sauce simmering on stove.

Add ricotta, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, egg, pepper, Italian seasoning and basil to a bowl.  Stir to mix thoroughly.

Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. Cover with 4-5 dry noodles, depending on the size of your baking dish.  Top dry noodles with 1/3 of cheese mixture. Spread to distribute evenly.  Top with 1/3 of your sauce and spread to distribute evenly.  Repeat the layering process 2 more times.  Top with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.  Cheese will be melted and golden and sauce will be bubbling at the edges.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

More Than Microwaving – Green Chile Stew

Remember when we made Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas and I told you to freeze that extra sauce? Well, this recipe is why.  It is perfect for a rainy day.  Especially one where you have limited time.  You can make it even faster by using leftover chicken or pork chops.  I didn’t have any leftover, so I started with a pound of uncooked chicken breast.  If you have time, I really recommend this because you get the extra flavor from cooking the chicken in your soup pan.  If you’re using leftover chicken, I recommend swapping out the water in this recipe for broth.

So, start by heating some oil in the bottom of a big soup pot.  Sprinkle both sides of your chicken with salt and pepper.  When the pan is hot, add the chicken.  Let it cook for about 5 minutes on each side.  The chicken will be brown on the outside.  It might not be cooked through, that’s ok, it will finish cooking in the soup later.  You see all that brown in the bottom of the pan? That’s flavor right there.

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Add about 2 cups of water to the hot pan.  As the water heats, those brown and stuck bits will loosen up.  When you’ve got most everything pulled up from the bottom of the pan, add 4 cups of leftover green chile sauce.  Turn the heat down to low and let that simmer away (or thaw if you added it frozen like I did).  Dice your chicken and add it to the pot.

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Wash, peel and dice your potatoes.  Try to get the potato chunks about the same size as the chicken chunks.  Add potatoes to the soup.  If it seems too thick to you, add some water. I added about another cup of water to mine.

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Simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are done.  Taste for seasoning.  You’re probably going to need to add a little salt since potatoes absorb a lot of salt flavor.  When you’re happy, warm up some flour tortillas and ladle out bowlfuls of this hearty stew.

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Recipe:

1 pound chicken or pork

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt and pepper

2-3 cups water

4 cups green chile sauce

2 potatoes

Heat oil over medium high heat in a large soup pot.  Sprinkle both sides of your chicken (or pork) with salt and pepper.  Place chicken in hot pan and brown on both sides (approximately 5 minutes per side).  You don’t have to cook the chicken through, but it is ok if you do too.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Add 2 cups water to pan and stir to loosen all the brown bits in the bottom of the pan.  Add green chile sauce and reduce heat to low.

Cube chicken and add to pot.

Wash, peel and dice potatoes.  Add to pot.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Add more salt if necessary.

Serve with warm flour tortillas and desired toppings (cheese, onion, tomatoes, sour cream – really, whatever sounds good to you).

Pork Roulade with Green Chile and Bacon

I’m sure by now you all realize I have a slight obsession with green chile.  I live in New Mexico in the fall.  The air is thick with the smell of chiles roasting over a propane flame.  Sure, I can buy diced chile frozen all year long and it’s pretty good.  In fact, I can freeze my own and it’s even better.  But, there is nothing quite like using fresh roasted green chile before it ever even sees a freezer.  Just saying.  And, I promise, this is not the last green chile recipe you will see from me.  Maybe not even the last one this week.  And I’m not sorry.  Not even a little bit.

This recipe sounds a lot more complicated than it is – which makes it fantastic for entertaining.  Impress your friends with a fancy name and keep the simplicity of the recipe as your own satisfying little secret.

First, you’ve got to open that pork roast up flat.  Take a sharp knife, hold the blade parallel with the edge touching the long side of the roast about 1″ below the top.  Carefully cut almost all the way through.  Flip this top layer open and cut a second layer this time starting on the inside.  Your roast should open flat and have three sections like this.

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Layer whole, peeled, seeded green chiles and bacon over two thirds of your butterflied pork roast (the middle section and the top section.

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Fold the third of the pork that has no bacon or green chile over the center.  Then roll those two layers over the rest of the exposed bacon.  If you’ve got kitchen twine. go ahead and tie this in a couple of spots to secure.  I didn’t so I had to be careful.  I scored the fat on top of my roast with diagonal cuts just to make it look pretty and to release some of the fat. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Then, sear all 4 sides in a hot cast iron (or other oven safe) pan.

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Transfer the pan and roast to a 350* oven and cook for 30-45 minutes or until your desired doneness.  My kids (and my husband) still freak a bit if the pork is pink in the middle, so mine is well done.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes and then slice.

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Recipe:

1 pork sirloin roast (approx. 2 pounds)

3-4 whole green chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded.

6-8 slices thick cut bacon

Salt

Pepper

Kitchen twine

Preheat oven to 350*

Butterfly pork roast into three sections. Layer green chile on the center and top third and the third directly next to it, leaving the last third bare.  Layer bacon over the green chile.  Fold the bare third over the center third.  Then fold those two thirds over the remaining third.  Secure with kitchen twine.  Flip the roast and score the fat with a sharp knife.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Place roast fat side down in hot cast iron, or other oven safe, skillet and sear for 3-4 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining 3 sides.  Place roast fat side up and transfer the roast and skillet to the hot oven.    Bake for 30-45 minutes or until desired doneness (minimum 145*).  Allow pork to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Smoked Sausage Hash

The last few days have been unusually busy and exhausting.  Even with no Friday night practice or Saturday game this weekend, I came to tonight feeling drained.  Dinner had to be filling and simple.  And, for my sanity, it had to be something no one would complain about.  This recipe fits the bill.  There are seldom any leftovers, but when there are, they make a great breakfast – just cook up an egg to your preference and voila!  Or, you could toss in some green chile, scrambled egg and cheese and roll it all up in a tortilla (which is what my husband prefers).  Anyway, for dinner, start by cubing up a large sweet potato (you could use two or three smaller ones, but I hate peeling the dang things). Then toss them into a hot skillet with some butter.

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Turn the heat down to medium low or low (depending on how hot your burner is).  Lid them and let them cook for a few minutes until they start to get  brown.  Stir them around and add 1/4-1/2 cup water to the pan and lid it again.  When the water cooks off and the potatoes are mostly tender, add the sausage (which you can cut up before you start cooking or while the potatoes are cooking).My usual grocery store has stopped carrying full sized links of the smoked sausage brand I like best.  Thankfully they still carry it in bratwurst-size links and they work just fine for this recipe.

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Season with salt, pepper, onion powder and chile powder.  Cook until the sausage starts to brown and the potatoes are completely tender.

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Before anyone asks, yes, those are canned green beans on the plate.  Yes, I ate them AND served them to my family.  No, I am not ashamed.  They’re convenient, quick and reminiscent of my childhood.  Of course, they taste distinctly better if you add a little bacon grease, grated garlic (on my microplane so it is superfine) and black pepper to the pan and let it get toasty before you add the green beans.  Which just happens to be exactly what I did.

Recipe:

1 large or 2-3 small sweet potatoes

14-16 oz of your favorite smoked sausage

2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

Peel sweet potato and dice into 1/4″ cubes.  Split sausage down the middle and cut into half moon shapes.

Heat non-stick skillet and butter over medium heat until hot.  Add sweet potatoes, reduce heat and cover.  Cook for 4-5 minutes or until potatoes start to brown.  Stir, add water and replace lid.  Cook until all water is gone and potatoes are mostly tender (5-10 minutes).  Remove lid.  Add sausage, salt, pepper, onion powder and chile.  Continue cooking over medium low heat until sausage is brown and potatoes are tender.

Andouille Potstickers

The other night, we were watching Diners, Drive ins and Dives.  Guy visited the Highway 61 Roadhouse and enjoyed their CajAsian potstickers.  Now, we love Andouille sausage at my house.  His recipe used fresh Andouille, which I can’t get.  And, since Andouille tends to be on the spicy side, I needed something to tame it down a bit for the little mouths I feed.  Thus, my Andouille potsticker was born.  These little dumplings are divine, but prep takes a large chunk of time (unless you are a seasoned dumpling maker – which I am not).  I start by dicing up my pre-cooked Andouille sausage and tossing it in a hot skillet to brown.

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Yes, I’m using my cast iron again.  I love my cast iron and someone once told me that cooking in it helps keep your iron levels in the normal range (and since I’m almost always slightly anemic, I figure it’s worth a shot).  While my sausage is browning a bit, I dice up a whole package of button mushrooms and add them in. This not only bulks up the filling amount, but also helps tone down the spice level without making a significant change in flavor.

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I know it looks like a lot of mushrooms, but I promise they cook down a lot.  Just keep cooking them until they’re nice and brown.  Then turn off the heat and let the filling cool.

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I used square wonton wrappers this time because it was what the store had.  You can certainly use round ones or even cut full size egg roll wrappers into wonton size squares.  The trick here is to not overfill the wrappers. About a tablespoon of filling is all you can easily fit in one of these dumplings.  Use your finger to wet two sides of the square before you fold it over and seal the edges.  Try to squish out as much of the air as you can before you seal them completely.  Store them covered with a towel until you are ready to cook (unless you’ve got two people working in tandem to fill and cook).

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Now, I am sure that my potsticker cooking method is not traditional, but it works for me and they taste good.  Feel free to cook them the ‘right’ way instead of my way.  Heat a large skillet over high heat until it is hot.  Do not use a non-stick skillet for this. Do use a skillet with a tight fitting lid. Brush the bottom of the skillet with a thin layer of oil and place 6-8 dumplings in the pan.  Don’t over crowd your pan.

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Cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes or until the bottom sticks to the pan and is a nice golden brown. I pried one off the bottom of the pan so you could see what it looks like. 

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Add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan, place the lid on, turn the heat off and walk away for a minute or two. Just FYI, trying to snap a picture of this step is almost impossible and will most likely result in a nasty steam burn.  You’ve been warned. However, when the water has evaporated, you should have nice, glossy dumplings waiting for you.

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Remove this batch to a plate, reheat your skillet and start again. Resist the urge to eat each batch as they come out or your family will wonder why you aren’t eating your dinner.

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Serve dumplings alongside a hearty scoop of veggie fried rice (I make mine with brown rice) and enjoy.

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Recipe:

1 pound Andouille sausage

1 pint white button mushrooms

1 package wonton wrappers

water

oil

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Dice sausage into small pieces (about 1/8″ cubes).  Add sausage to hot skillet stirring occasionally.  While sausage begins cooking, dice mushrooms into similar sized pieces.  Add all the mushrooms to the skillet at the same time. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are cooked down and everything is brown.  Remove from heat and cool.

Take one wonton wrapper and place it in front of you.  Keep the rest of the package covered with a towel to keep them from drying out.  Place about a tablespoon of cooled filling just off center on the wonton wrapper. Dip your fingertips in water and run along two of the straight sides (or around half the circle if using round wrappers).  Fold wrapper over and press firmly to seal edges. Try to press out as much of the air around the filling as possible.  Place on a covered tray and repeat until you run out of filling or wrappers (or until you get tired of making dumplings).

Place a skillet over high heat (not a non-stick skillet).  When skillet is hot, brush the bottom with oil and place 6-8 dumplings in the hot skillet and cook for about 2 minutes – until the dumplings stick to the pan and are golden brown.  Pour about 1/4 cup water into the hot skillet and immediately cover with a lid. Let the dumplings steam for 1-2 minutes.  Remove dumplings. Reheat skillet and repeat until all dumplings are cooked. Serve as an appetizer or with fried rice for a main dish.

 

 

 

Grilled Pork Tacos with Peach and Corn Relish

What could be better than pork tacos? Pork tacos topped with grilled peaches, corn and roasted peppers.  I swear this taco tastes like summer.  And for the record, I totally ate the peach and corn relish for lunch today, by itself, with a spoon.  Yup, it is that good.  I only managed to snap one picture on Tuesday, but it’s enough to whet your appetite.  The recipe takes a little more time than some of my others, but there is nothing particularly difficult and it is oh so worth the effort.

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Recipe:

1-2 dried ancho chiles

2-3 dried guajillo chiles

1 cup hot water

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 2lb pork loin

1 red bell pepper

1 jalapeno

2 ears corn, husks and silks removed

1 large or 2 small peach(es)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

salt and pepper

corn tortillas

oil

Remove stems and seeds from dried chiles. Break chiles in half and soak in hot water until rehydrated (I think I left mine for an hour or so, but you could probably do less).  Pour liquid, chiles, garlic cloves, cumin and salt in blender and blend until smooth.  Pour chile paste over pork loin in a shallow dish or ziplock bag and marinate for 2-3 hours. 

Preheat your grill.  Remove pork loin from marinade, but don’t scrape off the paste that sticks.  Place loin on grill and sear over direct heat for 5 minutes on each side. Move loin off of direct heat and continue cooking until desired doneness (I cooked mine for about an hour and a half).

 Toward the end of the cooking time, Place corn, bell pepper and jalapeno over direct heat.  Cut peach(es) in half and remove pit.  Add the peach, flesh side down, when you flip the vegetables. 

Remove everything from the grill when the peppers are charred and the corn and peach are roasted.  Set pork loin to rest while you prepare the relish.  Peel, seed and dice the peppers (I like to mince my jalapeno).  Cut corn off the cob.  Dice peach.  Place diced vegetables and peach in a bowl and add garlic powder, onion powder and salt to taste.

Brush both sides of corn tortillas with oil and heat over the grill until soften and slightly charred, flipping once. 

Slice pork loin into strips.  Pile tortilla with pork strips and relish and dig in.