Pork


Porchetta is utterly divine.  This version, slightly modified from Anne Burell‘s take, is tender, moist, redolent: a perfect pork.  The veggies can be easily changed according to number of guests and/or vegetable preferences, which makes this recipe fairly versatile.  The almost-better pork leftovers should be toasted/grilled with a fairly mild cheese like Gruyere or Fontina and dipped in the warmed juices.  Such a wonderful use of leftover food in the fridge that doesn’t even come close to resembling last night’s dinner…

The Veggie Bed

Garlic and Herb Filling

Bacon, Pork, and Twine

Polder Thermometers + 3-4 Short Hours...

Porchetta: Sliced, Juicy, Delicious

Leftovers: Porchetta Sandwich Au Jus

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (or so) fresh thyme, chopped
  • lots and lots of garlic cloves, thinly sliced (20+ is the minimum for me)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pork shoulder, bone removed
  • 1 lb slab bacon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Vegetables:

  • 3 yellow onions, diced
  • 10-15 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut lengthwise
  • 2 pints Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 celery roots, diced
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 lb baby yellow carrots (cut lengthwise, if desired)
  • 2 parsnips, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 bottle decent dry white wine
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bundle fresh thyme
  • 10 bay leaves
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 quarts chicken stock (maybe 1 qt, maybe 3)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. To prepare the meat: Combine the rosemary, sage, garlic, and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Mix with enough olive oil until a loose paste has formed.
  3. Butterfly the pork so it opens like a book (or ask the butcher to do so, like I did).
  4. Rub the oil and herb mixture all over the inside of the meat.
  5. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Roll the meat, jellyroll-style.
  6. Delicately lay the strips of bacon atop meat.
  7. Tightly tie the pork bundle with butcher’s twine.  Set aside.
  8. To prepare the vegetables: In a large roasting pan, combine all the vegetables and wine.
  9. Season with salt, to taste, and add the thyme and bay leaves. Tie the thyme and bay leaves in twine for easy removal when the meat and veggies are cooked.
  10. To cook the dish: Nestle the pork on the vegetables. Rub the top of the pork with oil and put in the oven. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes until the bacon starts to brown and becomes crispy.
  11. Brush the pork with the pan juices and chicken stock. Roast for another 2 1/2 to 3 hours, basting the meat occasionally and adding more chicken stock to keep pan moist. If the pork becomes too dark, tent with foil (but remove the foil during the last 30 minutes of cooking time, if possible).
  12. Cook to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
  13. Remove the pork from the pan and place on a cutting board.  Let rest for at least 15 minutes, then discard the twine.
  14. Slice the meat and serve atop vegetables from the pan, drenched in juices.

Yields about 10 servings

Pork au Poivre & Garlic Green Beans with Baby Bellas

Pork au Poivre with Garlic Green Beans and Baby Bellas

Cooking anything au poivre is almost as fun as saying it.  With a really thick accent.

Pork au Poivre

Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin, silverskin and fat removed
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 tablespoons of whole black peppercorns (sometimes we like 3)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon thickener: tomato paste, pizza/red sauce, flour…I’ve used them all
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Add broth and remaining ingredients to pan; stir well with a whisk. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (for about 3 minutes).

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Butterfly the tenderloin by slicing it lengthwise, but only partway through to other side so the meat is a big, flatter tenderloin.
  3. Crush the peppercorns. (The easiest way I know is by pounding them in a baggie with a mallet/skillet.)
  4. Spread the meat with Dijon.
  5. Press the peppercorns into the meat until they stick.
  6. Add a dash salt.
  7. In large, ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook tenderloin for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned and peppercorns are softened.
  8. Transfer the skillet and pork to the oven and bake for about 12 minutes, or until slightly pink.
  9. Transfer meat to a plate to rest, and tent with foil to keep it warm.
  10. Add broth, wine, and a thickener (and even a tiny bit of Dijon to taste) to the skillet.
  11. Cook over medium-high heat, deglazing by scraping.
  12. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer until reduced by about half.
  13. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Pour sauce over pork and serve.

Garlic Green Beans & Baby Bellas

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup (or however many) criminis, thickly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound (or so) green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons thyme, chopped (or really just removed from the woody stems)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Coat a jelly roll pan with cooking spray.
  3. Combine all other ingredients the pan coated, tossing well to coat.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes or until beans are lightly browned.
  5. Add more salt/pepper to taste; toss to combine and serve with pork.

Yields 2-4 servings (depending on the size of pork tenderloin)

Since I ran in my first competitive race since 1993 yesterday, we decided it was time for lots of meat.  We grilled filet mignon, chicken, and pork tenderloin.  The beef was probably the best (just meat, salt, pepper, and a grill), but that’s largely due to the great cut we purchased from Giant Eagle.  The pork, however, is one of my more economically-sound, healthier favorites.

Ingredients

For the rub, mix together equal parts of the following.  I sometimes make extra and save it in a Ziploc for a later date.  One teaspoon of everything should be about enough for one small pork tenderloin (3/4 – 1 pound)

  • garlic powder
  • cumin
  • onion powder
  • brown sugar
  • smoked paprika
  • chili powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 part sea or kosher salt

For the barbecue sauce, stir the following together over medium low heat, bring to a boil, and then simmer (an hour or more for a deeper flavor, less if time is a factor):

  • 2-3 cups ketchup
  • 1-2 cups brown sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3-4 tablespoons diet Coke
  • 2-3 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1-2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon A1 Steak Sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1-2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • hot sauce (to taste)

I really hate measuring spoons and cups, so I just keep adding and tasting and adding and tasting until it seems decent.

Preparation

To make the barbecued pork tenderloin,

  1. Press the rub into the trimmed pork, and let it sit for at least 20 minutes (in the fridge if longer).
  2. Grill for about 5-7 minutes on each side (and in this case, it’s four sides, if possible).
  3. Baste with the barbecue sauce, and keep turning and grilling.
  4. When it’s just a little pink in the center, but not translucent, allow the pork to rest at least 5-10 minutes.  (Or, use a meat thermometer.)
  5. Slice and serve with more barbecue sauce.

Yields 4 servings (for a 1 lb tenderloin)