Pork

A nice, sweet meat. Good as sausage, in stews, or cured as ham.

Rice Pilaf, Pork Chops, and Green Beans and Tomatoes

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The plan tonight was to make a risotto again. Then I forgot to buy the mushrooms. Unfortunately, I still had some beef stock to use up. So, as I had been perusing some coffee table books, I came across a recipe for rice pilaf.

Making pilaf is pretty simple: Melt some butter, sweat some onions, cook the rice a bit, then add the stock, boil, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed. For improvisation, it turned out fantastic (and now that I think of it, Spanish Rice is very similar to Pilaf...)

The same cookbook had a recipe for green beans and tomatoes, which turned out pretty well, but I forgot the basil, which likely would've made it better.

All this was in accompaniment to some pork chops I picked up and pan-fried with some Lawry's.

Altogether it turned out terrific, but I need to keep working on my vegetable sides.

Pork chop, rice pilaf, and green beans and tomatoes on a plate

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

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Here's what happened to the rest of last week's 10-lb pork roast: slow cooker pork carnitas.

Just like before, this was incredibly easy. After 3 hours, the pork was cooked but still holding together. After 4 hours, it was tender enough to shred. I substituted lemon juice for orange juice, because I had an extra lemon on hand. I tried it without reducing the braising liquid, and it was effectively tasteless. Reduce the liquid to add the lovely flavor back.

Braised pork shoulder with onions and jalapenos in slow
cooker

This worked well as soft tacos for almost a week. A bit of lettuce, cheese, and sour cream turned it into something reminiscent of Taco Bell, if they'd ever serve pork (and I mean that in the best possible way).

All together, my experiment with a pork shoulder turned out great, and I'm glad to have another thing to look out for when I'm perusing the local grocery store.

Pork Carnitas on a soft taco shell with lettuce, cheese, and sour
cream

Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork

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I've been eating way too much chicken lately. It's what I know, and it's not scary. But, experimenting is the entire point of this blog! So, as an experiment, I bought a 10 lb. pork shoulder! Because the shoulder does a lot of work, it's good to cook it long and slow to tenderize it. Enter this recipe for Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork by Cooking Classy.

I cut my roast in half and tossed it in the slow cooker. Since I had more roast than the recipe called for, I had to increase the chicken broth and spices for the braise. During my last experiment with balsamic vinegar, I realized balsamic vinegar is quite powerful, so I only used half of what the sauce called for. That was absolutely the right decision: The sauce turned out fruity and sweet, but not overbearing.

This recipe was great for a lazy Sunday: I started the pork, got groceries, went shopping, relaxed a bit, then had enough time to make the sauce and some mashed potatoes for a nice dinner. And, I still have half a pork roast to consider... Maybe some tacos carnitas?

Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork sandwiches with cole slaw and mashed
potatoes

Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Mustard Sauce

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I've been eating way too much chicken lately. What can I say? It's cheap, and so am I. But, I'm alive damnit, and I need to allow myself to enjoy some finer things like a nice, expensive cut of meat once in a while. Lucky for me, pork isn't that expensive. So I picked up a nice pork tenderloin, and decided to try my hand at this Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce from MyRecipes.

I don't have a deep roasting pan, so instead I seared it in my big fry pan (4 minutes per side), then stuck it on a sheet pan in a 375° oven for 25 minutes while I sautéed the mushrooms and made the sauce. Instead of chicken broth, I used some white wine, but by far the boldest flavor in the sauce was the mustard.

Altogether, it was perhaps the tastiest thing I've ever cooked. Mustard sauces are delicious, as I learned last year with Skillet Chicken with Mustard Sauce. Though, the garlic basic couscous I made to accompany could use some work...

Cooked pork tenderloins on roasting pan in oven Pork tenderloin medallions with mustard mushroom sauce and
couscous