Category Archives: pork

Moroccan Spiced Pork Chops

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 It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.
Apples are the perfect foil for the warm and fragrant spices we associate with Moroccan cooking. Cumin, coriander and cloves complement the tartness of apples, mellowing the fruit and making it absolutely delicious. I most often think of these flavors resulting from a slow cooked tagine dish but with this recipe from Cooking Light you can enjoy these flavors in a lot less time.
MOROCCAN SPICED PORK CHOPS
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 6 ounce boneless pork loin chops
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, diced
2 tart apples, peeled and chopped (I prefer Granny Smith)
1 cup apple cider

 **Moroccan Spice Mixture:

1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
For the pork:
  • Rub 1 teaspoon of the Moroccan Spice Mixture and 1/4 teaspoon salt evenly on both sides of pork chops.
  • Melt the butter with oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the pork chops four minutes on each side or until done.
  • Remove the pork chops from skillet and keep warm.
  • Add the onion and salt to the drippings in skillet; cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the apples and the cider.
  • Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes or until fruit is tender.
  • Stir in the remaining 3/4 teaspoon Moroccan Spice Mixture and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook over medium-high heat 5 minutes.
  • Serve over the pork chops.

 

Serves 4

 

 

 

Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin w/ Cherry Compote

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion.  If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

With the arrival of spring in Albania comes fresh cherries.  Small ones have been appearing in neighborhood fruit markets in recent weeks but they are now ripe, juicy and plentiful.  I can eat fresh cherries by the handful but I also like to incorporate them into entrees.  When combined with fresh orange juice and a dab of honey the cherries make for the perfect complement to balsamic glazed grilled meat.  I used pork tenderloin for this recipe but the flavors work just as well with chicken.  I served this dish alongside fresh peas, which are also plentiful this time of year, and leftover pearl barley.  Not bad for a quick and balanced dinner.

BALSAMIC GLAZED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH CHERRY COMPOTE

1 pork tenderloin

2/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted

1 Tablespoon honey

Juice & zest from one orange

Dash of kosher salt

1 Teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 Teaspoon cornstarch

3 Teaspoons cold water

1 Tablespoon Kirsch

1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and heat over medium high heat.  Stir occasionally until the vinegar is syrupy and reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the honey and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium high heat until the honey is melted.  
  • Stir in the cherries and a dash of salt, cover, and reduce the heat to low.  Continue to cook until the pork is cooked, stirring occasionally and crushing the cherries slightly.  
  • Stir in the orange zest, ginger, and Kirsch.
  • In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and the cold water.  Bring the cherries to a boil, add the cornstarch mixture and boil for one minute.
  • While the cherries are cooking pre-heat a gas grill on high.
  • Liberally sprinkle the pork loin with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Reduce the grill heat to medium-high.
  • Grill over indirect heat for 8-10 minutes turning twice.
  • Brush  the reduced balsamic over the pork.  
  • Cook for an additional 4 minutes then baste again.  
  • Repeat basting and grilling until the pork is cooked to your likeness.  The total cooking time will be 16-18 minutes.
  • Remove the pork from the heat and allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Slice into 1/4 inch slices and divide onto four plates.  
  • Divide the cherry compote over the pork.

Serves 4

Beer & Honey Baby Back Ribs

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Barbecued ribs are about as American as apple pie. But despite their popularity, ribs are one of those controversial foods where everyone thinks their version is the best with other simply falling short of being the real deal. Often your preference for rib style is dependent upon which part of the country you hail from. Ribs can be marinated in either a tomato or vinegar based sauce or it may be coated with a spicy dry rub. Or maybe you start with a dry rub and move onto basting the meat with a sauce as it cooks slowly over a grill. But really, each method will give you different flavor profiles but all –in my opinion– are equally delicious. All you have to do is think outside of the box.

And thinking outside of the box is exactly what I’ve done with this recipe that is based on one found on the Food 52 website. Not only have I skipped the vinegar or tomato argument instead opting for a sauce made of local Belgian ingredients-dark ale and locally produced honey  but I’ve foregone the grill all together. Thats right, I’ve made delicious and melt in your mouth ribs right in the oven. There really isn’t a better way to enjoy a traditionally summer time treat in the dead of winter. But don’t just take my word for how delicious these ribs are; try them for yourself. You just might want to double the recipe since they are that good.

BEER & HONEY BABY BACK RIBS

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

5 pounds baby back ribs, trimmed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

1/3 cup honey

12 ounces dark ale

1 bay leaf

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

  •  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Generously season both sides of the ribs with salt and pepper. Arrange the ribs in a single layer on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet.
  • Pour the oil into a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally for five minutes or until the onion has begun to caramelize.
  • Stir in the mustard, honey, beer and bay leaf. Cook until the mixture is heated through.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and brush it over the ribs, pouring and additional sauce over the top of the ribs.
  • Bake in the pre-heated oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the ribs are fork tender and cooked through.
  • Allow the ribs to cook for 10 minutes before slicing and serving topped with any sauce that has accumulated in the pan.

Serves 6

Apple Dijon Pork Saute

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Thinking it is fatty many people tend to avoid pork. Some pork is fatty–bacon anyone???- but cuts like pork tenderloin are lean and easy to cook. When you slice the tenderloin into coins it cooks even faster making it a perfect meat for a fast Friday night dinner. The pork is quickly sauteed in olive oil then added to a creamy Dijon mustard and apple juice sauce. Serve over a bed of brown rice or orzo with a green vegetable and dinner is served.

APPLE DIJON PORK SAUTE

1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch rounds

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 shallot, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup apple juice

2 tablespoon cider vinegar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

3 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup heavy cream

  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Generously sprinkle the pork coins on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • When the oil is hot, add the pork and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until the pork is no longer pink in the middle. Remove the pork from the pan and place on a large plate tented with foil.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet.  Add the shallot and salt and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the apple juice and cider vinegar and bring to a simmer. Cook for approximately 9 minutes or until the mixture is syrupy.
  • Stir in any of the pork juices.
  • Turn the temperature to low and slowly whisk in the butter.
  • Stir in the Dijon mustard and cream then return the pork to the pan.
  • Cook for 2 minutes or until heated through.

Serves 4

Blackberry Pork Chops

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This super easy dinner idea is adapted from Cooking Light Magazine.  I’ve been making this recipe for years and it is always a family favorite.  Because you use thin pork chops, it only takes a matter of minutes for the meat to cook making them a perfect weeknight dinner.  During Glenn’s last assignment we would regularly invite the geographic bachelors from his ship over for a home cooked dinner and these pork chops quickly became the most requested meal.  Because I had a very large pan I would triple the recipe to feed the crowd.  But the pork chops work just as well for a fancier meal; I’ve used boneless pork chops and served them as a part of a formal sit-down dinner.  Regardless of the audience, they are always a hit.

BLACKBERRY PORK CHOPS

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 bone-in thin cut pork chops

Salt and pepper

1 small shallot, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup Port

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup seedless blackberry preserves

  • Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  • Season the pork chops on both sides with the salt and pepper.
  • Add the pork chops to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes per side until the chops are browned and no longer pink in the middle.  Remove from the pan.
  • Add the remaining oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering.
  • Add the shallots and garlic and stir until brown and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the Port and stir to remove the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and the preserves and stir until the jam is melted.
  • Return the pork chops to the pan and cook until heated through.

At this point you can reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and allow the pork to sit for up to 1 hour until ready to serve.

Serves 4

Chinese Five Spice Pork & Noodles

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I first discovered Chinese five spice powder when it showed up in my spice order as a free sample and I was immediately hooked.  Chinese five spice powder is an intriguing combination of cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, fennel, and anise.  When added to simple ingredients such as pork and noodles it brings the ordinary to extra-ordinary.  Even better, this dish is fast which is the perfect way to end a long week. The original recipe, from Fine Cooking Magazine, calls for using fresh Chinese egg noodles, an ingredient I have yet to be able to find here in Albania. You can make your own or use any long fresh noodle you can find in the refrigerator case of your grocery store.

CHINESE FIVE SPICE PORK & NOODLES

1/3 cup salted peanuts

1/4 cup bacon, cut into thin strips

2 medium cloves, garlic, coarsely chopped

1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 cup peanut oil

3/4 pound ground pork

1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 scallions, trimmed and sliced

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

3/4 pound fresh egg noodles or other fresh pasta

  • Fill a medium-sized pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Coarsely chop the peanuts in a food processor.  Transfer to a small bowl.
  • Place the bacon, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in the food processor and pulse to finely chop.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy skillet set over medium heat.  Add the bacon mixture and cook, breaking it apart with a spoon until the bacon renders most of its fat and darkens somewhat, about 4 minutes.
  • Raise the heat to medium-high and add the pork, five spice powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.  Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until it looses its raw color, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the scallions, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and sugar.  Keep warm over low heat.
  • Cook the pasta in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes.  Drain and put it in a large bowl.  Toss in the pork mixture.
  • Divide the pork and noodles amongst four shallow bowls and sprinkle with the reserved peanuts.

Serves 4

 

Pork Tenderloin w/ Blueberry Bacon Ketchup

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I’m a huge fan of using fruit in savory dishes so when I saw this recipe on the Noble Pig website, I knew I had to try it. And when I saw that the blueberry sauce included a hefty dose of bacon, I knew my family would love it as well. After all, everything tastes better with bacon. And it really does.

I’ve increased the amount of bacon and jalapeno pepper in my version of the sauce which results in a richer and thicker blueberry topping, hence the ketchup moniker. With the brown sugar and vinegar the sauce is reminiscent of a chutney; mine is pureed smooth but you can also leave yours in a chunkier form if you prefer. My pork tenderloin is dusted with spices that both enhance the meat and complement the fresh blueberries. If you aren’t a fan of pork, the sauce would also be a tasty topping for boneless chicken breasts that have also been dusted with the spice mixture. However you prepare it, you are sure to love it. So fire up your grill and you are good to go!

PORK TENDERLOIN w/ BLUEBERRY BACON KETCHUP

For the ketchup:

6 slices thick cut bacon, diced

1/2 cup minced red onion

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

2 cups fresh blueberries

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon stone ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the pork:

1 1-1/4 pound pork tenderloin

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon olive oil

  • To make the blueberry sauce: fry bacon in a medium skillet over low until slightly crispy; remove bacon to a paper towel leaving the bacon grease in the pan.
  • Saute onion and jalapeno in the bacon grease over medium heat until soft, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the blueberries, sugar, vinegar, mustard, garlic powder, salt, lemon juice and cooked bacon.
  • Simmer until blueberries have split and sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor; pulse until pureed. Alternatively, pour the sauce into a small bowl and use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth.
  • Return sauce to pan so you can warm it slightly when the pork is done.
  • For the pork: coat a grill with non-stick cooking spray and preheat to medium-high.
  • Combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.
  • Brush the pork with the olive oil and season the pork on all sides with the spice mixture.
  • Place the pork on the grill and cook turning every 4 to 5 minutes, until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  • Brush a small amount of the sauce over the meat during the final few minutes of cooking.
  • Remove the pork from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Serve with the blueberry bacon sauce.

Serves 4

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