Crispy Pork Cheek, Belly, or Turkey Thigh Salad

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Since opening nearly 20 years ago, St. John, Fergus Henderson’s famous nose-to-tail restaurant in London, has developed a justifiable reputation for using underappreciated parts of many different types of animals (rolled pig’s spleen, anyone?). Henderson also helped popularize serving unusual vegetables and vegetables in unusual forms. I remember ordering “English peas” and watching a kitchen worker reach into a crate, pile a couple of handfuls of unshelled peas onto a plate and send them to the table.

I still visit St. John on most visits to London, and on a trip last year I ordered crispy pig’s cheek with dandelions, about as representative a dish as the restaurant offers. It was sensational: crunchy, fat-drenched croutons, hard crackling, moist, salty meat and superbitter greens with a powerful, caper-laden dressing. When I got home, I emailed Fergus — with whom I’ve cooked — and wrote, basically, Tell me how to do this. His reply:

Read the rest of this article here, and get the recipe here.

Posted in Uncategorized

How to Cook Everything: The Basics: Pork Stir-Fry with Greens

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By Alaina Sullivan

In the time that it takes to wait for take-out, you could already be sinking your chopsticks into this savory stir-fry. Nothing more than pork and greens dressed in a garlicky soy-lime sauce, it is not only weeknight-dinner easy, but also a foundation for any number of variations (each more delicious and more fun than any take-out version). I used red chard here, but any green is fair game (bok choy, spinach, mustard greens, kale and collards are other great options).

The trademark flavors of lime juice and soy sauce create a bright, umami-rich sauce. If you want to give it extra kick, toss in a bit of lime zest and some crushed red pepper flakes. I also added a drizzle of toasted sesame oil (and sesame seeds too) for some nuttiness and extra crunch. Recipe from How to Cook Everything: The Basics.

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Posted in Chinese, Recipes

Pork and Apples

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It is a classic — really killer — combination, but one most people don’t play around with much. Once I started to think about it, though, the possibilities for pork and apples seemed myriad: obviously, you can cook chops and chunks in a cast-iron skillet, maybe with a little bacon and onions . . . an easy vision. Bacon-wrapped apples, skewered and roasted or broiled (or grilled, for you warm-climate people) is another. A B.C.A. — bacon, cheese (soft, mild, brie-ish cheese, especially) and apple — is a fine sandwich, especially when cooked as you would a grilled cheese.

On the slightly more complex side, I turned to the stuffed pork loin. This recipe has been a symbol of winter to me ever since I saw its photo (the stuffing was apricots) in one of the Time-Life “Foods of the World” cookbooks. (These were important works of the ’60s and ’70s, at least to those of us who were cooking.)

Read the rest of this column and get the recipes here.

Posted in American, Recipes

A Better Sort of Pig

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In May, I went to Iowa, primarily to learn more about so-called conventional agriculture, those thousand-acre farms growing corn and soybeans, planted, tended and harvested largely by machine. (We have plenty of the other type — what’s variously called traditional, or alternative, or non-conventional — in the Northeast.) But thanks to an auspicious combination of topsoil, climate, topography and weather, Iowa is among the best locales for farming in North America, and I saw a wide range of practices.

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(Photo Credit: Quentin Origami via Flickr)

Posted in Farming, Travel

11th Day of HTCE: Skillet Pork Chops

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Skillet Pork Chops, Eight Ways

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

The essential sear-and-simmer technique that leaves you with any number of excellent pan sauces (see the variations).

Other cuts and meats you can use: bone-in chicken thighs (which will require more cooking) or pork medal- lions cut from the tenderloin (which will cook more quickly). Check out the new How to Cook Everything iPad App

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Posted in Behind The Scenes, Recipes, Uncategorized

Sunday Supper: Pasta with Pork Ribs

If after a summer of barbecue you’re looking for something else to do with those spare ribs, this pasta will do them justice (and then some).  Adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Andrea’s Pasta with Pork Ribs

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 11/2hours

One of my favorite pasta recipes, a Neapolitan specialty—taught to me by my old friend Andrea—that can make just a few ribs go a long way.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 small dried hot red chiles (optional)

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 to 8 meaty spareribs, separated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes with the juice

1 pound ziti, penne, or other cut pasta

Freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese (optional)

1. Put the oil in a deep, broad saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the chiles if you’re using them and the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the ribs and raise the heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until the ribs have browned and given off some of their fat, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, crush the tomatoes with a fork or your hands, and add them to the pot.

2. Turn the heat to medium or medium-low—enough to maintain a nice steady bubbling, but nothing violent. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the ribs are very tender, nearly falling off the bone, about 1 hour. Remove the chiles from the sauce if you used them. (You can make the dish ahead to this point; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Gently reheat before proceeding.)

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the pasta until tender but not mushy. Drain it and sauce it; serve a rib or two to each diner along with the pasta.Pass the grated cheese at the table if you like.

 

Posted in Italian, Recipes

Leftover Dueling Pork

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By Edward Schneider

When we had our dueling pork meal, even with eight people around the table there were leftovers, of course. The first round I mentioned in the post, but there were plenty more. So one evening Jackie and I had patties, or kotlety, or rissoles – or, as my mother used to call them, coquettes (how racy, had she but known). To make them, I chopped up the rest of the Ibérico pork and some of the Flying Pigs roast, mixed it with cooked (and cooled) onion, eggs, breadcrumbs and chopped dill, formed patties, breaded them and got them crisp and hot in clarified butter. Mushroom sauce (sautéed mushrooms, milk and cream, pureed then finished with lemon juice) on the side. They were deliciously porky. 

But wait, there were still more leftovers. And these became a stuffing for not-entirely-classic tortellini. The traditional Emilia-Romagna filling is made of some variation on cooked pork and capon or turkey, prosciutto, mortadella and parmesan, seasoned with nutmeg. It is quite a dry mixture, which makes it easy to form and keep the tortellini. For my variation, I used the remaining Flying Pigs roast pork loin (including all its fat), a chunk of prosciutto and some parmesan, all run through the food processor along with a little rosemary, and seasoned with ground fennel seed and black pepper. These flavors echoed the original seasoning of the roast; there was no point in fighting flavors that were already there in the name of some notion of authenticity that was already out the window.  

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Posted in Italian

Sunday Supper: 4th of July Menu

In honor of the long holiday weekend it seems only appropriate to offer up more than the usual Sunday dish–so here you go: a few ideas for a classic 4th of July celebration. All adapted from How to Cook Everything.

No-Work Smoked Pork Shoulder or Spareribs

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Time: About 4 hours, largely unattended

A gas grill works best here (though an oven will do for the first variation). You’ll be amazed by the ease of this low-and-slow technique and downright shocked at the result: The meat can be served straight off the grill, with no more than a squeeze of lime and a few drops of Tabasco, or with any salsa or chutney. Or your can refrigerate the whole thing, slice the shoulder or cut between the ribs, and put it back on the grill—this time over direct heat—to add a crisp steaklike char over the super-tender insides. Continue reading

Posted in American, Recipes

A Dangerous Disappearing Act

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by Daniel Meyer

Every Friday I sell pork in the Union Square greenmarket (Manhattan) for Flying Pigs Farm. Flying Pigs, as I have come to learn over the past two years, is an extraordinary farm. Their meat, pasture raised, rare heritage breed pigs, seems second to none, but strangely enough, the pork isn’t nearly the best thing that comes out of their farm. The owners of Flying Pigs, Mike Yezzi and Jen Small, are working tirelessly to prevent the loss of productive farmland to development in their native Washington County, in the whole of New York State, and beyond. The American Farmland Trust, Jen’s employer, notes that a farm is lost to development in New York every three days. Mike and Jen know how urgent their project is, and they are dead set on getting others to realize the same.

To that end they began holding “Farm Camp” up at their farm in Shushan, NY last fall. Farm Camp was a chance, explains its website, to “expose the NYC food professional to a broad range of agriculture issues that affect not just how and what we eat but also the future of our food system and rural landscape.”  The four two-day sessions were incredibly successful according to campers and organizers alike, so much so that they quickly sought to secure funding for another session in the spring. The fifth installment of Farm Camp concluded on Monday; this time I was fortunate enough to attend.

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Posted in Farming, Food Politics

Risotto as Sauce

By Edward Schneider

Last year some time, Jackie and I had the most wonderful risotto assembly at our friend Angela Hartnett’s London restaurant Murano: a layer of shredded braised oxtail, sauce and all, topped with a delicate leek risotto. Cottage pie meets Milan, with the creamy risotto acting simultaneously as a second sauce and as an integral element of the dish. (With a bit of imagination, you can see an antecedent in the custom of serving osso buco with saffron-scented risotto.)

I thought of this a while ago, when we were just starting to get tired of the leftovers of a braised pork butt we’d been pecking away at for several days. Also in the refrigerator I had some cooked peppers – sweet red peppers and a poblano – julienned and slowly melted in olive oil until the flavor intensified. As I reheated the pork yet again, I used a half cup of this pepper mixture to start a risotto: not the typical elegant kind, but something gutsier – a kind of in-your-face risotto that is becoming a habit in our house. This one was flavored only with that pepper “sofrito,” white wine and chicken stock, with plenty of black pepper. Continue reading

Posted in Italian