Stuffed Pork with Some Roasted Potatoes

Here is another somewhat easier meal to do if you take the time and plan ahead. In this case, I made some simple roasted pork along with some potatoes to go with.


From my past experiences working in a meat room during part of my college tenure, I came to learn the various cuts of meat as well as different cuts of meat which are in actuality the same thing, just cut differently to look different. This is very apparent when it comes to boneless pork. Your boneless roasts are utilized as: roasts, pork chops (thick or thin) and also these lovely pieces they call country-style ribs (comes from the end roasts as opposed to the chops coming from the center part). So as it is cheaper by the pound to get the roast, I do that and then cut at home to whatever thickness I may choose. For the instances of stuffing- I make them a little thicker. I typically buyt whatever else I may need in the same grocery trip (unless I already have the needed supplies) so then when I get home, I can prep the meals, and then freeze the meals.

Here, I did a simple stuffing of apple pieces, diced up red onion, some brie cheese, and I crushed up some walnuts. Put these in a bowl together, mix and then cut a slit in the middle of the chops (not quite all the way through) and then stuff. Then weeks later since these are prepped and frozen, I can take them out and toss right in the oven.


The potatoes I find it quicker to par-boil them, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process, dice up and then sautee in oil and other spices. Here I used some olive oil, cut up some garlic, sweet paprika, salt, and some fresh parsley.



Bacon- What more needs to be said?

With a trip up to Northern New Jersey to visit my parents last weekend, it gave me the opportunity to buy some products I do not normally see or can obtain easily where I currently reside- one of them being Pork Belly. So since I had the opportunity, I decided to give it a go.

With this particular piece, I decided “hey, why not try making my own bacon.” and so I did.

First things first- curing the meat. I’ve read different literatur on curing and salts and there are those specificaly designed for such an instance as to keep the meat a particular color (in this case it would be a pinkish color). Personally I like the all-natural look nor do I have curing salts so I used my mortar and pestle and ground up some of my Moroccan sea salt. I mixed this in with some brown sugar and then poured in some aged whiskey. I took this mixture and brushed it all over both sides of the belly (sort of formed a glaze) and then placed the piece in a 1 gallon ziploc and put in the refrigerator.


Every other day for 1 week I flipped over the bacon. On day 7, I took it out and washed it off in cool water. I then put it on a rack over a tray back in the fridge (fat side up) to dry over night.

On to the good part. I lined a roasting pan with aluminum foil and tossed in a few handfuls of Western Pecan wood chips and some water. I then layed the rack over the pan as to give space between the chips and the meat. I then formed a triangle of foil over the meat (as to not come in contact). I set the oven to 200 degrees and before placing this in the oven, I put the covered pan on the stove top for a quick 2 minutes on high heat to garner some smoke in/around the pork belly.

The belly was then cooked for about 6 hours at which it got up to temperature (150 degrees). I then let it cool down and then wrapped with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil.



Grilled Baby-backs- a few styles.

Now that I can assume the weather should stay moderately warm, I can say grilling season is here to stay. I can then say it has been fun doing some experimenting with different ways of preparing baby back ribs for the grill.


For the first round, I prepared a dry rub of red onions, garlic, salt, pepper, sweet peppers, rosemary, chili powder, brown sugar, and scallions. I placed the rack on a sheet pan and poured a little whiskey in the bottom, foil-wrapped, and left in the refrigerator for two days.


After two days, I then started off by slow cooking the pan in the oven at 200 degrees for 2 hours. I then put them on the grill and used a homemade sweet-tangy barbecue sauce which I did in two coatings. The side of corn I soaked the husks and basted the corn with a mixture of oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.


For the second round I started off a little differently. I used some of the same spices as with the first time, but then I turned it into a moist rub by the addition of finely dicing up some pineapple and mixing it with some tequila. I then also added some tequila to the bottom of the pan.


I did a similar cooking prep except I turned the oven to 180 degrees instead of 200. I also did a lighter addition of barbecue sauce (same kind but I added some more smoky elements and chili powder to offset a little more with the sweetness of the rub).

In this instance I decided to make some homemade fries (which I cooked in the oven at 380 degrees). I cut the potatoes up into strips, lightly basted them with some olive oil and used some salt, pepper, diced up garlic and scallions and baked. Upon completion, I tossed them in some truffle-infused oil and served.

Overall, both cases for preparing the ribs were a success. I felt the moister rub (and possibly the slightly lower oven temperature) left a slightly moister rib when fully cooked/grilled, but at the same time I love having that thick, partially starting to blacken sauce on my ribs. In the end, can’t go wrong with either route.


Seared Porckchops with an Apple-Shallot Compote

Since we had celebrated the holiday on Sunday, we did not have the normal corn beef and cabbage as you would on Saint Patrick’s Day- I hope everyone had a fun and safe holiday celebration. Instead I decided to make some seared pork chops.

The chops were initially seasoned with salt and pepper. In a medium pan I heated up some oil along with some Worcestershire sauce. I then proceeded to brown the chops on both sides and near completion with them still in the pan, I deglazed the pan with a little red wine and cooked both sides slightly more.


While all this was going on, I diced up one apple and one whole shallot, and tossed them in a small saucepan with some butter. Part of the way through the cooking process, I added in some honey and cooked it down. Near the end I tossed in some fresh oregano for some added flavor and topped the chops with this combination.

As a side dish, I did a twice-baked baked potato. I initially baked 3 potatoes whole and then as they cooled, cut them in halves (careful to keep them fully intact). Each one I had scraped out (the four halves I saved for secondary usage had some still on the sides to maintain structure while the others I fully scraped out). I then tossed this into a bowl which contained a combination of heavy cream, and sauteed garlic, kale, small bits of bacon, and some mozzarella (mainly for creaminess). I then mixed this up, spooned back into the potato halves and baked again. Near the end, I topped the halves with a little bit of cheddar for added flavor or color (I do like things to look nice and colorful).



Panko Crusted Pork Chops

Pork chops are nice when you want a good meal but don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. They are also very nice because of the creativity and different styles of meals you can create with them. Personally I prefer the bone-in chops, think they have a more distinct flavor, but anything I post pertaining to chops can be done with the boneless version as well.


For this meal, I did a simple flour, egg, and then panko coating on both sides of the chops. I heated a pan with some oil and when that was heated up I threw on the chops and coked on both sides for about 5 minutes per side.

In the meantime, I boiled some pasta and separately the same thing with some asparagus. In a saucepan I made a sauce with some butter, heavy cream, some sharp provolone (grated it directly into the pan), squeezed half a lime, added some capers, and then some cracked pepper. When the pasta was done I drained out the water and then added in both the sauce and the asparagus.



Baby Back Ribs Done in the Oven.

Every so often I tend to get a craving for something I have not had in quite a while: could be due to scarcity of a product, seasonal/weather related issues (as in this case), or price/time constraints. I was in the mood for some baby back ribs, so despite cold winter weather, I created a nice indoor version.


A day ahead, I had made a marinade of brown sugar, soy sauce, ancho chili, and some soy sauce. I put the rubs in a ziploc bag and left in the fridge overnight until the next afternoon. I set the oven to 450 and prepped the ribs by placing them on cooling racks over a sheet pan. I then cooked them for 20 minutes with the curved side upwards.

In the meantime, the extra marinade I put in a small saucepan and added some fresh ginger, garlic, and a little corn starch. I then heated lightly until it started to boil, added in some ale and let simmer until it reduced to a nice consistency like bbq sauce. After the initial 20 minutes in the oven, I then took the rack out, basted the ribs on the same side and put back in for about 10 minutes. I then flipped the ribs over, coated the other side and cooked for another 15 minutes.


Nice sticky glaze, tender juicy ribs. A nice side of seasoned fries.


Hazelnut Crusted Pork Chops

A huge portion of the time, I typically do not cook much pork. There are days where I do see certain dishes or get ideas and then I just go for it. This one is a bit of a variation from an idea I had seen Mario Batali do on the Chew a few days back.


Simply put, the coating is a mixture of fine chopped hazelnuts and some unseasoned bread crumbs. I utilized thin sliced bone-in chops, coated with flour, dipped in an eggwash and then put on the coating. Meanwhile, I had put a combination of olive oil and butter in a pan and put on medium heat (start cooking the chops when brown butter starts to form).


In the meantime, I had put white asparagus in a pot of boiling water and cooked until tender. I then drained the pot and rinsed with cold water to stop the cooking process. I then did a quick saute with truffle-infused oil, salt, pepper, and fresh basil.

In a separate bowl, I finely chopped up some shallots, red onion, and granny smith apple. These were tossed together in a bowl which I added some oil as well as some honey and mixed together. This mixture was placed on the chop after cooked through (they were cooked a few minutes on each side).