Archive for the ‘meat’ Category

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pan-roasted juniper and garlic brined pork chop

October 8, 2019

Pork chops are perfect seared off with just salt and pepper in a pan. However, if you want to boost the flavor of a pork chop with some sauerbraten-inspired spices, brining is an easy overnight treatment.

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Make the brine! Combine water with salt, sugar, a teaspoon of juniper berries, a pinch of whole black peppercorns, and a few cloves of raw garlic sliced in half. You can add a pinch of whole coriander seeds and allspice berries, and a few sprigs of thyme if you have them. I added some fennel seeds, too.

Heat in saucepan til simmering, then shut off heat.

When cool, pour over pork chops. refrigerate marinated pork chops 8-12 hrs.

The next day, preheat pan with grease or oil on stove top. If chops are thick, preheat oven, too, to 450.

Pan-sear dried chops over medium-high heat until pork chops develop some nice caramelization. Just a few minutes. turn up the heat if they turn gray instead of brown. If the chops are very thick, leave chops in pan and shove them in the oven for a few minutes or until they register at a temperature you’re comfortable with. Thin chops will easily reach a safe temperature on the stove in no time – don’t overcook.

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recipe by Brian Leth, from bon appetit, adapted here by friedsig

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The brine definitely flavored the pork chop. I would do this again. Served with cast-iron roasted fennel root and apple with caramelized onion and sage. Definitely tastes like fall. Sweet, comforting, and just complex enough. Has a subtle gin/sauerbraten flavor from the juniper and spices.

This adds some really nice German flavors to your Oktoberfest meal. Lower in sodium than knackwurst or brats, and (at least in my area) way more affordable. Don’t forget the Black Forest sweet-and-sour red cabbage or sweet-and-sour beet salad, German-style potato salad, and some good carbs like knäckerbrot and soft pretzels.

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lemon meatballs with tahini sauce

October 2, 2019

These meatballs are packed with middle Eastern flavor. Definitely not your everyday boring meatballs! Thanks to Shabnam of Cooking and Cooking for this recipe – click to check out her photos!

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MEATBALLS:

650 g extra lean ground beef
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 medium onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt and pepper to taste

TAHINI SAUCE:
1/2 cup tahini
4 tablespoons lemon juice (or more depends on your taste)
salt
enough water to thin the mixture

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mix the meatballs, pan-fry, and bake at 350 until done.

separately, mix ingredients for tahini sauce. don’t cook it! just combine and eat!

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recipe by cooking and cooking

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I made a ton of alterations – no cilantro, no basil, pistachios instead of walnuts – and they were still good. Lately, I have been trying lots of vegan and vegetarian meatballs, like vegetarian buffalo “meatballs”, meatless wild rice and mushroom “meatballs”, and the disappointing polpette (Italian vegetarian “meatballs”). I have found that meatballs do stay together a bit better and are easier to cook all the way through. Usually, with meat, I like it medium rare. However, if your ground meat isn’t so fresh and the idea of a rare burger seems sketchy, pan-frying some meatballs is a great choice. (They came out well-done. Oops. Oh, well. Check ’em often.)

The tahini sauce is great. Not the sauce I would normally think of to eat with meatballs. The texture of the meat was good. I liked the nuts in the meatballs – reminds me of the pine nuts in Lebanese sausage. The turmeric and cinnamon in these quantities are almost sweet. These would be outstanding with all the herbs in them, because it did seem like it was missing something, but I’d still definitely make them again. This recipe is a keeper!

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lu rou fan (滷肉饭, Taiwanese braised pork belly)

August 23, 2019

One of the absolute best recipes of the year. Maybe the best pork belly of all-time? I love you, Woks of Life!

1 lb skin-on pork belly, cut into 1/2” pieces
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 oz. rock sugar (or about 2 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar) (or less is fine, too!)
1 small onion or a couple of shallots, finely chopped
8 shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/2” pieces
1/4 cup shaoxing wine
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 cups water
4 hardboiled eggs, peeled (optional)

whole spices:
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
6 cloves
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 pieces dried tangerine peel
2 slices fresh ginger

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1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and blanch the chopped pork belly for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a wok over low heat, and add the sugar. Cook the sugar until it starts to melt and then add the onions. Turn up the heat to medium high and stir-fry the onions for a minute. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another couple minutes.

3. Add the blanched pork, shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add the spices (which should be tied in cheese cloth), along with the peeled hardboiled eggs and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

4. At this point the meat should be fall-apart tender. To finish the dish, remove the spice packet and turn up the heat to medium high to thicken the sauce, stirring occasionally. This process should take about 5-minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon, but there should still be plenty of it left. Serve over steamed white rice.

by Judy @ the Woks of Life

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These flavors are so complex! The chewy shiitake texture was amazing with the melty sweet pork belly. We ate a ton of this with hot chili oil and rice. The flavors build and layer with every bite! Although these are traditional “five-spice” flavors, it tastes completely different than a five-spice powder without the fennel. It’s really its own unique flavor. The sauce came out thin, since we used low-salt tamari instead of thick dark soy sauce, and a pinch of sugar instead of rock sugar. Still amazing, even without the thick, sweet sauce. Without question a highly recommended dish.

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lebanese sausages

June 17, 2019

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground mahleb (I substituted star anise ground coarsely in a mortar and pestle)
~2.5 T red wine
1 lb minced pork, lamb, and/or beef (any combination is fine)
2 cloves crushed or minced garlic
~2.5 T lard, bacon grease, or duck fat
~1.5 T pinenuts
sea salt
Aleppo chili or other chili flakes, to taste

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Mash up ingredients. Don’t overmix, or it’ll be crumbly. Let the flavors meld together for about 24 hours. Form into kebabs or patties, or if you want sausage crumbles, break it up in the pan. I love these fried in cast iron. You can bake them, though, or even grill them!

I substituted pork, but I think these would be great with chicken, too (maybe just add a bit more lard, since chicken can be leaner than pork.)

recipe adapted from nine.co.au

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Possibly my favorite homemade sausage, although I also adore maple breakfast sausages and spicy homemade chorizo! The clove and anise meld into something special. I don’t usually have pine nuts in the house, but I did this time, and they were absolutely incredible in this sausage. I cut the pine nuts a bit, from 2.5T to 2T,

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diy chorizo from scratch!

May 20, 2019

Did you know you can make sausage from scratch without casings or any special equipment? I already posted recipes for two different breakfast sausages: sweet maple sausage, and savory sage sausage. But what if you want something fiery and super flavorful? Something to go perfectly with black beans, or paella, or chili, or breakfast tacos? Something to sprinkle on nachos, or queso fundido?

This chorizo, fried up with black beans, eggs over easy, and leftover garlic rice, is a perfect hearty breakfast!

•1/4 pound chiles guajillos (about 14), stems, seeds, and membranes removed
•3/4 cup mild vinegar such as vinagre de pina or diluted unseasoned rice vinegar, or more if needed
•2 pounds coarsely ground pork shoulder
•1/2 pound medium-ground pork fat
•4 large cloves garlic, minced
•1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
•2 teaspoons sea salt
•1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
•1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
•1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

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Soak the chilis in hot water until soft, maybe 15 mins. Drain and puree. Mix all ingredients together.

Here’s the hardest part: you have to wait at least 24 hours before frying and eating them.

I know. It’s cruel. I tried frying up a few bites of it right away, and it just didn’t taste right. 24 hours later, though, the sausage was perfect. If you have the patience to let this cure, you can just fry it right up, in patties or crumbles. No need to buy casings! Amazing with everything from simple gallo pinto to fancy seafood. To be honest, I am watching my budget this month after overspending last month, so I didn’t buy chilis. I used the dried red pepper that my last housemate left behind, and some powdered chili. Surprisingly, the spice blend still made it taste just like chorizo!

recipe by Marilyn Tausend & Ricardo Muñoz Zurita from La Cocina Mexicana

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Thanks for being patient with experimental mixed meat-ea.

Added to the “rotation” tag because this is an amazing way to use the other half-pound of pork when I make mapo tofu!

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mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐)

March 25, 2019

Quest for the perfect mapo tofu!

VERSION 1 – a sweet, Americanized version by Shirley Cheng for epicurious

•1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
•1 1/2 pounds soft (not silken) tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
•2 tablespoons Chinese hot bean paste (also called chili bean sauce)
•1 tablespoon Chinese black-bean paste or sauce
•4 tablespoons oyster sauce (note: this is too much, and will make your dish very, very sweet)
•2 tablespoons Asian chili powder (note: this is clearly too much for most westerners; add a little at first and more to taste)
•1 tablespoon cornstarch
•1/4 cup peanut oil (I mixed in some hot chili oil from dan dan noodles)
•4 ounces ground beef
•1 (1/4-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1 scallion (white and green parts), thinly sliced on diagonal
•1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
•1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only), washed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 1/2 cup)
•1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
•1 tablespoon light soy sauce
•1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

recipe by Shirley Cheng for epicurious

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VERSION 2 – from omnivore’s cookbook

•120 grams (4 ounces) ground meat (pork, chicken or turkey)
•2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine (or Japanese Sake)
•1 teaspoon light soy sauce
•1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

For braising
•1 teaspoon cornstarch
•2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns (increase to 3 teaspoons if you like your dish extra numbing)
•1 tablespoon vegetable oil
•3 tablespoons Doubanjiang spicy fermented bean paste
•2 tablespoons green onion, chopped (note: I didn’t have any, so I used 2 cloves of garlic)
•1 block (400-g / 14-oz) firm or medium firm tofu , cut into 1.5cm (1/2 inch) squares
•1 cup water or stock
•2 teaspoons Chinese chili oil; 1 teaspoon for a less spicy dish (note: for a mild dan dan noodle chili oil, you will need all 2 teaspoons.)
•1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
•1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
rice or another grain to serve

1. Combine ground meat/veg, cooking wine, soy sauce, and ginger in a bowl. Mix well.

2. Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.

3. Cut and prep ingredients.

4. Heat vegetable oil and Sichuan peppercorns in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When the Sichuan peppercorns turn dark brown and crispy, scoop them out with spatula and transfer into a bowl layered with paper towel to soak extra oil. Save to use for garnish the dish.

5. When oil is hot, add ground meat and bean paste. Stir-fry over medium heat with a spatula, until pork is evenly coated with bean paste. Add green onion and stir fry for another minute.

6. Spread tofu evenly on top of ground pork – don’t stir until it braises for a few minutes, so the tofu doesn’t fall apart. Add chili oil, five-spice powder, and sugar. Pour in broth/water and simmer, covered, over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until tofu becomes tender and the sauce has reduced to half the original amount. Taste the tofu with some broth. Adjust seasoning by adding salt. If the dish is too spicy, add another teaspoon of sugar. Gently mix well with spatula.

7. Mix cornstarch water again until fully dissolved and swirl it into the skillet. Gently stir a few times with a spatula, until sauce thickens. Turn off heat and transfer everything to a bowl.

8. Garnish with green onion and Sichuan peppercorns, if using. Serve warm over rice or another grain.

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VERSION 3 – from iron chef chen

1 package silken tofu
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
water, for parboiling tofu

3 ounces ground pork
1⁄2 cup green garlic chives, chopped in 1/2 inches (nira)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chinese chili bean sauce (toubanjan or doubanjiang)
1 tablespoon chinese brown bean sauce (tenmienjan, tenmenjan, or tenmenjiang)
2 teaspoons fermented black beans, chopped finely
1⁄4 – 1⁄2 teaspoon ichimi togarashi pepper or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon japanese dried red chili pepper, minced
1 teaspoon chili oil
3⁄4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon sake or 1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon szechuan peppercorn (optional)

Cornstarch paste: 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water

Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes. Heat enough water in a large saucepan, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and tofu pieces. Bring to boil and cook tofu on medium high heat for 8 to 10 minutes and remove from heat. Precooking tofu in water prevents tofu from breaking apart easily later. Set aside.
While tofu is cooking, make cornstarch paste by mixing 1 T cornstarch and 1 T water. Set aside.
Set wok on high heat for 1 minute until hot. Add 2 T vegetable oil and swirl the pan, then add ground pork, stirring to separate.
When ground pork is browned, add Chinese brown bean sauce ie tenmenjan, tenmienjan, or tenmenjiang, Chinese chili bean sauce ie toubanjan or doubanjiang, fermented black beans, and ichimi tougarashi or minced dried red chili pepper. Continue to cook for 1 minute.
Add chili oil, drained tofu pieces, chicken stock, garlic chives, soy sauce, and sake. Stir fry gently for 1-2 minutes.
Add cornstarch paste to thicken and add sesame oil. Swirl gently and cook for another 3-4 minutes on medium high heat. Sprinkle Szechuan peppercorn on top.
Serve with steamed white rice.

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RECIPE 1: I’ll be honest – I hardly followed the recipe. I made my own low-sodium versions of bean paste, since I ran out of fermented bean paste a few months ago. I combined miso, a homemade version of hoisin with peanut butter and tamari… the substitutions were a mess. Sherry for Shaoxing wine, sesame oil for peanut oil… I barely had anything the recipe called for at all. But this was still one of the best things I made all winter.

Hits all those comfort food notes. Greasy, sweet, salty, savory, texturally interesting, and absolutely numbing and spicy. Just… yes. I used some extra chili oil from last month’s batch of dan dan noodles (dandanmian), and a ton of Sichuan peppercorns toasted and ground, although nowhere near the teaspoon called for in the recipe.

A comment on the Epi review recommends iron chef Chen‘s recipe as slightly more authentic and less sweet. Since I used half my oyster sauce on this recipe, I’ll definitely try it.

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RECIPE 2: I was worried it’d be too spicy, so I cut the bean paste from 3T to 2T. It wasn’t spicy enough last night, but the leftovers sat and got spicier and spicier! Today it was just perfect. I’d say cut it to 2T if you’re making it for tomorrow. Otherwise, go for the whole 3T! Very different from the super-sweet oyster sauce version. They’re both so good! I would say version two is a little more savory and simple, and recipe one is a little more of a flavor bomb, much saltier and sweeter. The first is perfect for American palates, and the second is great for people who don’t care for sweet food. I highly recommend both! I can’t wait to try iron chef Chen‘s recipe to complete this trifecta of tofu!

Added this to the “rotation” tag because I plan to try all the different versions of this amazing dish. I made this twice so far in March. What a rad way to use up the last little bit of ground meat in your fridge!

 

edit: help I can’t stop eating this incredible spicy meal

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RECIPE 3: (July, 2019) I’m guessing this is the most authentic, as it tastes the least like something from an Americanized Chinese restaurant. Recipe #1 is way too sweet, even for me, but it’s really delicious if you like it sweet. Recipe #2 is super flavorful. Recipe #3 is definitely more subtle. I splurged on some fermented black beans this year, and I really liked their subtle flavor in this. I definitely recommend recipe #3 – it’s delicious.

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BEST MAPO TOFU EVER: for my tastes, I prefer recipe #2 with some alterations. Next, I will start combining all these recipes – a little oyster sauce or hoisin from recipe #1, a ton of chives from recipe #3, using the skeleton of recipe #2. I have made this no less than five times this year!

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panko-crusted mustard-thyme roast chicken thighs

March 18, 2019

Easy weeknight chicken! What could be better? I’m including the original, from epicurious, and my own (way better) crispy-skinned version!

MY VERSION:
– preheat oven to 450
– rub chicken thighs with black pepper
– on the stovetop, brown chicken thighs on a smokin’ hot cast iron, skin-side down, til the skin is crispy
– flip thighs, sprinkle with thyme and a little bit of salt, and place in oven til done (about 25 min for small thighs)
– remove thighs, put smoking hot cast iron onto the stovetop on medium heat, and add white wine and mustard to deglaze the pan, maybe some thyme to taste.
– turn off heat, add fresh lemon juice to taste, and pour pan sauce out into another container so the acidity doesn’t mess with your cast iron. serve chicken with pan sauce. great served with a honey mustard dressed salad, or some roasted veggies like orange carrots with tahini drizzle, or even just toss potatoes in the pan sauce and roast them on the side! also great with veggies sautéed in tarragon mustard citrus butter.

ORIGINAL RECIPE:
•3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
•4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
•1/4 cup Dijon mustard
•2 tablespoons thyme leaves, plus 3 sprigs
•8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, patted dry
•Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
•1 pound medium carrots, scrubbed, cut into 3″ pieces, halved lengthwise if thick
•2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Place a rack in highest position in oven; preheat to 450°F. Place panko in a small bowl. Mash butter, mustard, and thyme leaves in another small bowl with a fork (it will be a little lumpy). Season chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange skin side up a rimmed baking sheet and smear all over skin side of thighs. Working with 1 piece at a time, firmly press chicken, skin side down, into panko so crumbs adhere. Place back on baking sheet skin side up.
Arrange carrots and thyme sprigs around chicken and drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and bake until carrots are tender and chicken is cooked though, 25–30 minutes.
Heat broiler. Broil chicken and carrots just until panko is golden brown and carrots are tender and browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter and pour pan juices over top.

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first recipe adapted by friedsig from the second recipe, which is by epi and bon appetit

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I found the panko crust didn’t get crispy and brown, even when I broiled the thighs for six or seven minutes. My version is way better! You still get that nice mustard and thyme flavor, with a little more depth of flavor from the wine and lemon. Also, instead of the carrots absorbing all that great chicken fat, you get a huge quantity of pan sauce and you can use that to flavor a ton of different roasted veggies throughout the week! Try the Bon Appetit version if you want, but if you want a nice crispy skin, try my version! Tagged “rotation” because I make this all the time.