Slow food is some of the best food and along those lines, good things come to those who wait. This is exactly the situation with these flavorful, melt in your mouth pork belly carnitas from Food 52. These carnitas require some pre-planning but I’m sure you’ll agree that the time and effort is so worth it.
These carnitas are one of my favorite lazy weekend cooking projects. The day before I plan on serving them I marinate them in a tangy combination of pineapple juice and spices. The next day the slow cooking begins. The meat cooks in its own juices then its own rendered fat ensuring that the results are fork tender and oh so delicious.
You can serve them as is to enjoy their flavor of top them with your favorite toppings. In my house we like a zippy salsa and guacamole. It is simply oh so good.
PORK BELLY CARNITAS
2 cups pineapple juice2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
2 1/2pounds pork belly, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups unsalted chicken stock
In a container or large freezer bag, combine the apple or pineapple juice, garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, bay leaves, and oregano.
Add the pork belly and refrigerate while it marinates for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Remove the pork belly from the fridge an hour before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Tip the marinade into a large Dutch oven and spread the pork belly pieces in a single layer in the pan. Pour over your stock. Add salt if you’re using unsalted stock. Cook for 2 hours with a lid on.
After 2 hours, remove the lid and cook the pork belly for another hour. This will cook off the remaining liquid and finish rendering the pork fat.
Remove the pork belly from the oven. Transfer the pork pieces to a large, flat-bottomed skillet. Spoon off as much of the fat as you can from the Dutch oven and add it to the skillet with the pork belly pieces. Avoid any solids from the bottom of the pan, as these will burn!
Over medium heat, continue to cook the pork belly in its own rendered fat. The pan should be bubbling but not spitting. Flip the pork belly pieces so that they brown evenly on all sides. This should take about 30 minutes.
When all sides are brown and a little crispy, remove the pork belly from the pan and drain on some paper towels.
Shred the meat with two forks and serve on top of soft tortillas with your favorite toppings.
I’ve been craving hummus since we returned from our recent trip to Turkey. Before we set off for a second visit to Istanbul I had created a list of foods that I really wanted to eat while I was there. Hummus was at the top of the list but for some reason I never managed to eat any. So upon returning home I set out to find both dried garbanzo beans and tahini, two items I could never manage to locate while we were in Albania but are readily available in Belgium.
I always use dried garbanzo beans; I think they have a better flavor and texture than their canned counterparts. If you decide to go this route be sure to soak the beans overnight before cooking them. If dried beans aren’t available or you are pressed for time, canned ones will work as well. Just be sure to rinse them before using and adjust the salt in the recipe accordingly. I also love to use roasted garlic instead of fresh raw cloves. The roasting mellows the pungency of the garlic and gives the hummus a mild smokey flavor.
Now if you do how to eat hummus, the answer is any way you want. It is great as a dip for crudite or crackers and I love to spread on a whole grain wrap or flatbread, top it with fresh vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, shredded carrots and sprouts are particularly good) and roll it up and eat it as a sandwich. The wrap will keep well making it a perfect on the go lunch item. Of course, I’ve also been known to eat hummus by the spoonful right out of the container. Yes, I like it that much.
ROASTED GARLIC HUMMUS
3 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1 large bulb garlic
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 tablespoons tahini
Juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
To cook the garbanzo beans:
Pick over the dried beans and place them in a large stock pot and fill the pot with water. The beans will expand as they soak so make sure there is room in the pot. Allow the beans to sit overnight.
The next day, drain the beans and cover them with fresh water. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and to simmer until tender, 60-90 minutes. occasionally skim off any scum that forms at the surface of the water.
Remove the beans from the heat, drain, and set aside to allow to cool until ready to use.
To roast the garlic:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place a piece of aluminum foil on a rimmed baking sheet.
Slice off the top 1/4 inch of the garlic bulb. Place in the center of the foil and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Wrap the garlic completely in the foil and place in the oven, baking for 30 to 35 minutes or until the garlic is soft and fragrant.
Allow the garlic to cool slightly before proceeding.
To make the hummus:
Place the garbanzo beans in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
Squeeze the roasted garlic flesh out of each clove and add them to the food processor.
Add the tahini, lemon juice, remaining olive oil, salt and cumin.
Process until the ingredients are well blended and form a thick paste. You may need to add additional olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, until the hummus has reached a consistency you like.
Refrigerate the hummus in a tightly sealed container until ready to use.
I feel like we are in the calm lull between back to school craziness and the madness of the holiday season. The cooler weather has been inspiring my cooking and has me wanting to spend more time in the kitchen putting together satisfying and comforting dishes. And because some of the best dishes are those that take time to make, this is the season to make them. While the dishes take time to prepare much of the time is spent on the cooking rather than the preparations. And as these dishes cook their aroma fills the house with wonderful scents that give you a hint of the meal that is to come.
I’ve adapted this dish from a Jamie Oliver recipe and like so many of his recipes, it doesn’t disappoint. It is rich, flavorful and thoroughly satisfying. If you don’t have a tagine, or have one but also have a very small European sized oven that can’t accommodate a tagine, make this dish is a heavy, ovenproof Dutch oven. The slow cooked results will be the same. And if you want to make a fancy presentation like I do for company, I transfer the cooked stew into my tangine and serve it at the table.
MOROCCAN BEEF TAGINE
For the spice rub:
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
For the tagine:
1 pound stew beer
To make the spice mix, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
Place the beef into a large bowl, sprinkle with the spice mix and use your hands to massage it into the meat.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a tagine or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the meat and cook, tossing to ensure it is seared on all sides for about 5 minutes.
Add the onion and coriander stalks to the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and stock to the pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 1 1/2 hours.
Add the squash, prunes and additional stock if the mixture looks too dry. Cover the pot and continue to cook for an additional 1 1/2 hours until the meat is fork tender.
Adjust the seasonings and serve alongside couscous and topped with the slivered almonds.
This recipe is a family favorite and one my husband grew up eating. It is so simple and flavorful that it has become one of my go-to grilled chicken recipes. The marinade is quite simple–yogurt and lemon juice with a touch of spice and freshly ground ginger. Don’t substitute dried ginger because the results simply won’t be the same. And do make sure you allow plenty of time for the chicken to marinade–the longer it sits in its yogurt bath the better. I often make up a batch of marinade for the chicken the night before I want to serve it and let it sit overnight and all day. The results are amazing. And while the chicken is good right off the grill, it tastes just as yummy cold the next day. Enjoy!
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 small onion, grated
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root
3 pounds chicken
Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, onion, garlic, spices and ginger in a large non-reactive container or large ziploc bag.
Add the chicken ensuring that it is coated with the marinade and allow to sit for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Coat a grill with non-stick cooking spray and preheat it to medium-high heat.
Place the chicken on the grill and cook, turning ever 5-7 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending upon the heat of the grill and the cut of the chicken. Baste with additional marinade if desired.
When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the grill and serve immediately.
How do you make a pot of chili even more comforting? Top it with cornbread then bake it until bubbling! This recipe, from Food 52, does just that, turning a warm and spicy stew into a one dish casserole that is sure to please everyone. And unlike many chilies, it doesn’t require long hours of slow cooking. The entire dish is actually quite simple with chicken, beans and corn simmering along with spices in a tomato broth. I’ve used all black beans in my version but you can use different beans or even a combination of beans. Use whatever you like or have on hand. The cornmeal topping is essentially polenta and this simple topping makes the dish feel like a complete meal.
This is so good and so satisfying. And as I discovered, it tastes even better when reheated the next day for lunch. You might even want to double the recipe!
CHICKEN TAMALE PIE
For the filling:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can sweet corn, drained
1 4-ounce can green chilies
1 12-ounce can diced tomatoes
For the topping:3/4 cup yellow cornmeal1/2 teaspoon salt2 cups water1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 375.
In a large heavy skillet set over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until it shimmers.
Add the cubed chicken, garlic, coriander, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. Cook until chicken is browned on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Add chopped onion to the pot and cook down until soft and fragrant.
Add beans, corn, chilies, and tomatoes.
Bring mix to a boil and allow to cook and thicken. After the mixture has thickened, stir in the chicken and cook until heated through.
Remove chili from heat.
In a small pot, heat water and salt over medium high heat to almost boiling.
Stir in the cornmeal and continue whisking while it incorporates the water and thickens, about 5 minutes.
When it is thick, add the butter and mix in to melt. Remove from heat.
Pour the chili into a deep casserole dish then spread the cornmeal mixture evenly over the top.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is firm and slightly browned.
Allow to cool briefly, and then scoop into bowls to serve.
For me, winter weekends call for long lazy days of hanging around the house with families. And when the house is filled with the aromas of roasting meats it makes being housebound all the better. And this roast pork from All Recipes is the perfect answer to what’s for dinner this weekend. It does, however, take some planning ahead.
When preparing this roast I start my Sunday dinner on Saturday by making the marinade and allowing the meat to sit for a full 24 hours before putting it in the oven. This ensures that all of the delicious citrus, garlic and herb flavors have a chance to be infused in the meat. And don’t skip the toasting of the cumin seeds and peppercorns. This simple steps makes the spices that more aromatic.
CUBAN PORK ROAST
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup dry sherry
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed
Place the cumin seeds and peppercorns in a small heavy skillet set over medium heat. Stir constantly until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Cool.
Using a mortar and pestle, crush the toasted spices with the garlic, salt and oregano until a paste forms.
Transfer the mixture into the small bowl of a food processor and add the orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, sherry and oil. Puree the mixture until smooth.
Place the pork in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour the citrus marinade over the meat and seal.
Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning the bag over occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Transfer the pork and the marinade into a foil lined roasting pan and place in the oven.
Roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, basting with the pan juices occasionally, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 145 degrees.
Transfer the pork to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best. And when they are also fast and delicious, they are even better. Thus is the case with these tangy black beans. And while I love the flavor and texture of black beans when I have soaked, cooked and rehydrated them myself, sometimes using canned ones is a life saver. You know; when you have carefully planned out the protein and vegetable portion of your dinner yet need to add something else to the plate. Well on those nights I turn to my stash of canned black beans and make this dish. It is easy, tasty and the entire family digs right in.
SPICY BLACK BEANS
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lime
Heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet set over medium-high heat.
When the oil shimmers, add the garlic and shallot and saute until lightly golden and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the drained black beans to the skillet then stir in the cumin, salt and pepper.
Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally but taking care not to crush the beans.
Off the heat, squeeze the lime juice over the beans and stir to combine.