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Oct 22, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘pork’

By the Book: Preserving the Japanese Way by Nancy Singleton Hachisu

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

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Canning, pickling and preserving are great, ancient ways to make the most of a harvest. In Preserving the Japanese Way, author Nancy Singleton Hachisu dedicates 350 pages to the methods, ingredients and dishes of her Japanese husband’s heritage by way of his mother.

While there are instructions for making one’s own soy sauce, miso and rice vinegar, the recipes do not require homemade everything. As the reader and cook, you choose how much time and effort you want to invest. I opted not to make my own soy sauce or mayonnaise for the ginger-soy pork sandwiches and instead happily picked up the items at the store.

The recipe was simple – thin-sliced pork butt soaked in a two-ingredient marinade overnight. I tossed it in a smoking hot pan with a dash of sesame oil, then assembled the sandwiches. The result was fine – just fine. We all agreed the pork was too salty and, should I attempt it again, would use a reduced salt soy sauce. The marinade also needed something else for brightness. More ginger? Herbs? More acid? With some tweaking – and a tomato slice or two ­– this little sandwich might have prevailed.

Skill Level: Easy to super difficult. I know this isn’t helpful, but this book truly contains recipes for the novice sandwich maker and the professional preserver.
This book is for: The curious and adventurous of most any ability.
Other recipes to try: Fish sauce fried rice, green beans cloaked in miso
The Verdict: While it has potential, the recipe as written falls short and Asian-American emerges the victor.

 

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Ginger-Soy Pork Sandwiches
6 sandwiches

2 Tbsp. grated ginger
14 oz. thinly sliced pork butt with some fat
½ cup soy sauce
Mayonnaise, preferably homemade (see Note)
2 small onions
1 small head of red leaf or butter lettuce
12 slices pain de mie or another soft bakery bread
Dijon mustard
About ½ tbsp. sesame oil, for cooking

• Scrape the peel off of the ginger with the back of a spook and grate. Place the pork slices in a medium-sized bowl, pour the soy sauce over them and drop the grated ginger into the bowl as well. Pick up the pork slices one by one and smoosh in some soy sauce and grated ginger until all of the slices are coated with soy sauce and no longer pink. Slide the pork slices and marinade into a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Roll the bag up, squeezing out all of the air as you go, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but preferably overnight.
• Assemble the sandwich components when you are about 45 minutes or so from eating.
• Make the mayonnaise, if using homemade (see Note); otherwise use jarred French mayonnaise. Avoid Japanese Kewpie mayo because it contains MSG. Cut the ends off of the onions, peel, and slice crosswise into ¼-inch half-rounds. Wipe the lettuce and make a stack of around 18 leaves (about 2 per sandwich) depending on the size of each leaf. (I prefer a thick layer of lettuce to one scraggly leaf.) Set up a bread station by laying the slices side by side on the counter or cutting board. Arrange them in a row of top pieces and a row of bottom pieces. Slather on the mayonnaise, dollop ½ teaspoon mustard onto the bottom slices, and spread. Lay 2 piece of lettuce on each of the bottom slices of bread and strew some onion half-rings on the lettuce. Lay another piece of lettuce on each of the top slices of bread.
• Set a large frying pan over high heat and film with a small amount of sesame oil when the pat is hot (hold your palm over the surface of the pan and you will feel the heat start to rise). Lift the pork pieces out of the soy-ginger marinade, shake off the excess liquid, and throw the pork pieces into the hot pan. Cook by tossing and separating the pieces that are clinging together with tongs until the pieces caramelize a bit over high heat.
• Lay 2 to 4 slices of pork on top of the piece of bread with the sliced onions and cover with the top slice of bread. Cut in half and serve immediately. Be warned – you may want more than one.

Variation: Throw on a couple of slices of ripe tomato in the summer.

NOTE: To make homemade mayonnaise, stir 1 tsp Dijon mustard (or ¼ teaspoon dried mustard) and ½ teaspoon brown rice vinegar into a farm-fresh egg yolk at room temperature. Whisk in about ¾ cup best-quality canola oil at room temperature very, very slowly. Once the mayonnaise looks like a creamy sauce (not oily looking), you can add the oil a bit faster. Season with a sprinkling of fine sea salt and dribble in a bit more brown rice vinegar to taste, if you like. Stir in ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar or honey if you prefer a more Japanese style of mayonnaise.

 

Reprinted with permission from Andrews McMeel Publishing

Just Five: Pork Chop with Squash and Herbs

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

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Pork chops are possibly my favorite cut of meat. But not just any skinny little half-inch chop will do. I like a good Iowa chop – at least 1¼-inch thick. I usually finish salty pork with a sweet glaze or chutney, but this dish gets its sweetness from creamy butter spiked with fresh herbs. Use whatever summer squash looks best at the farmers market like crookneck, zucchini or pattypan. And yes, if you’re firing up the grill, this can definitely be made outside.

 

Pork Chop with Squash and Herbs
2 servings

3 shallots, divided
5 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. minced chives
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tsp. kosher salt plus more, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. summer squash (yellow squash, zucchini, pattypan, etc.), chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 1-inch-thick bone-in pork chops

• Mince 1 shallot and place in a small bowl with the basil and chives. Add the softened butter, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper and mash with the back of a fork to make a compound butter. Cover and refrigerate.
• Place an oven rack 6 inches from the top of the oven. Preheat the broiler.
• Roughly chop the remaining 2 shallots and toss with the squash, oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Spread onto a foil-lined sheetpan. Broil 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the squash starts to brown in spots. Remove the squash and keep warm.
• Line the sheetpan with fresh foil and place a rack on top. Sprinkle both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper and place on the rack. Spread a heaping tablespoon compound butter on top of each pork chop.
• Broil 5 to 6 minutes, flip, and broil another 5 to 6 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chop reaches 150 degrees.
• Divide the squash between two serving plates. Top each with the pork chop and serve with remaining compound butter.

Just Five: Cornmeal-Crusted Pork Loin with Blood Orange

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

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Beautiful blood orange takes your breath away with its rich color and a nuanced flavor – think tart raspberries mixed with sweet orange. Here, a slightly spicy, crunchy cornmeal crust on this pork loin is finished with a splash of this sweet citrus’ juice. Don’t be shy when seasoning the pork loin. It’s a big cut of meat and needs the flavor. This dish would work equally well with pork tenderloin or chops, too.

 

Cornmeal-Crusted Pork Loin with Blood Orange
4 to 6 servings

2 blood oranges
½ cup medium-grind yellow cornmeal
1 Tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
3½ lb. boneless pork loin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. olive oil

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Use a microplane or zester to remove 2 teaspoons orange zest. Slice the oranges in half, then juice. Reserve the juice and the zest; discard the remains.
• In a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, cumin, chili powder and orange zest, then transfer the mixture to a large plate.
• Pat the pork dry with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper. Roll the pork in the cornmeal mixture until evenly coated.
• In a large nonstick, oven-safe or cast-iron skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork and sear until browned all over, about 3 minutes per side.
• Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake 45 minutes, until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 155 degrees.
• Tent the skillet loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Slice the pork into ¾-to-1-inch pieces and drizzle with the blood orange juice to serve.

Just Five: Pork Tenderloin with Date Relish

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

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This dish is the perfect date night dinner. (See what I did there?) Sweet, toothsome dates pair wonderfully with fresh orange juice and seared pork. Toasted walnuts add a finishing crunch, though hazelnuts would also work here. Don’t skip the fresh herbs, either. If you are a card-carrying member of ICCCC (I Cannot Consume Cilantro Club), parsley makes a fine substitute. One final note: Do not use pre-cut dates, which are often coated in extra sugar that makes the dish far too sweet.

 
Pork Tenderloin with Date Relish
3 to 4 servings

¼ cup walnuts
1 1½-lb. pork tenderloin
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
¾ cup diced pitted dates*
¼ cup fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)
¼ cup cilantro or parsley

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
• In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts 2 to 3 minutes, tossing frequently, until aromatic. Remove from heat and let cool, then coarsely chop. Set aside.
• Season the pork tenderloin all over with salt and pepper.
• In a large ovenproof skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the pork 1 to 2 minutes per side, until evenly browned all over. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast 12 to 15 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Let the meat rest on a cutting board and loosely tent with foil.
• Pour the pan drippings into a small bowl. Add the dates, orange juice, cilantro and toasted walnuts and whisk together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Slice the pork tenderloin and place on a serving dish. Spoon the date relish over the top and serve.

* Do not use pre-cut dates, which are often coated in extra sugar.

By the Book: Sean Brock’s Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

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I have a new celebrity chef crush. Ever since catching his episodes of The Mind of a Chef, Sean Brock has become my famous chef obsession. What joy, then, to have the opportunity to make a dish (four, actually) from his first cookbook, Heritage. Brock approaches heritage food and farm-to-table cooking with a sentimental, reverent curiosity and a dogged pursuit not only to cook the food of the South, but also to find the regional ingredients that give this cuisine its soul.

 

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And what could be more soulful than a slow-roasted pork shoulder with tomato gravy and roasted Vidalia onions? And by slow-roasted, I mean slooooow-roasted. Brock required me to roast this porky goodness at 250 degrees for a whopping 14 hours. To make that happen, I painted the roast with Dijon mustard, sprinkled on his spice rub, popped it in the oven and went back to bed – but not before I took this picture to prove that, yes, I did put the roast in at 4 a.m. This is the view out my front window just after the roast went in the oven.

 

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At about 3 p.m., I was afraid I would serve pork jerky for dinner. At 4 p.m., my oven actually shut itself off, as if to say, “Hello? I’ve been working for 12 hours, here. Why haven’t you managed to cook something in that amount of time?” I turned the tired oven back on and briefly celebrated the victory of man over machine.

To be honest, I did remove the roast an hour before I was supposed to, and I’m glad I did. It wasn’t jerky, but it hadn’t produced the pan drippings with which I was supposed to baste it. Still, the meat was moist and flavorful, but I’ve produced similar results without my oven going on strike.

 

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I prepared the side dishes during the last few hours of cooking: roasted baby Vidalia onions, creamed corn and tomato gravy. The roasted onions are drop-dead simple – onions, oil, herbs are wrapped in foil and put in the oven. The tomato gravy was equally easy to prepare – cornmeal toasted in melted bacon fat, squished up whole tomatoes, seasoning. Boom and done.

 

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The most amazing side by far was was the creamed corn. I’ve made creamed corn before by adding a bechamel sauce to the cooked corn, but Brock’s version calls for you to first saute half the kernals along with the shallot and garlic before adding heavy cream. Then the genius trick: that mixture is puréed in the blender and strained for a velvety smooth sauce to coat the rest of the corn. I will never make this dish the other way again. The texture and sweetness is exactly what you’d want from creamed corn. The lurid yellow may be a little off-putting to some, but trust me – it’s delicious.

Despite this marathon roasting session, I still love Sean Brock. Heritage is beautifully photographed and warmly written. The recipes are accessible for the most part and perfect for the times you want to share a bit of carefully prepared, responsibly sourced Southern food with soul.

 

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Slow-Roasted Pork with Roasted Vidalia Onions and Tomato Gravy
12 servings

2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 bone-in pork shoulder (also called butt; about 6 lbs.), skin removed
½ cup Dijon mustard

Onions
6 baby Vidalia onions with greens attached (about 8 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, lightly smashed and peeled
½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

Tomato Gravy
2 Tbsp. bacon fat
2 Tbsp. cornmeal, preferably Anson Mills Antebellum Fine White Cornmeal
3 cup home-canned tomatoes or canned San Marzano tomatoes
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. freshly cracked black pepper

For the pork: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place a rack in a roasting pan.
• Combine the brown sugar, salt, pepper and paprika in a small bowl and blend well. Using a brush, paint the top only of the pork with the mustard. Pat on the seasoning mixture. Place the pork on the rack in the pan and roast, uncovered for about 14 hours, until the meat is tender but not falling apart. Baste occasionally with the pan juices during the last hour to make glaze. Remove the pork from the oven, transfer it to a platter and let it rest for 10 minutes. Reserve the juices in the roasting pan, skimming off any fat from the top as the pork rests.
About 2 hours before the pork is done, prepare the onions: Remove the greens from the onions, slice the greens as thin as possible and reserve to use as garnish. Place the butter, thyme and garlic on a large piece of aluminum foil and top with the onions. Fold up the edges of the foil and seal to make a closed packet. Place the packet in a baking pan. Add the onions to the oven for the last 2 hours of the pork’s cooking time.
Meanwhile, for the tomato gravy: Heat the bacon fat in a large nonreactive saucepan over high heat. Stir in the cornmeal with a wooden spoon, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly until the cornmeal turns a light brown color, about 5 minutes.
• Using your hands, crush the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces, then add the tomatoes and their juices to the pan and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium, bring the gravy to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is slightly thickened and the cornmeal is soft, about 10 minutes; be careful that it is not sticking or scorching. Add the salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat for up to 1 hour.
To complete: Remove the onions from the oven, carefully open the packed and cut the onions into quarters. Put the onions in a dish, baste with the liquid left inside the foil and season with the salt.
• Portion the pork by gently pulling it into large chunks with a pair of tongs. Serve with the onions, creamed corn and tomato gravy. Sprinkle the pork with the reserved onion greens.

Creamed Corn
4 servings

8 ears corn, husked
1½ Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups heavy cream
3 thyme sprigs, tied together with kitchen string
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper

• Cut the kernels from the corn; set aside. Using a box grater, scrape the “milk” from the cobs into a wide bowl; set aside.
• Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the corn kernels, the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots and garlic have softened considerably, about 7 minutes. Add the cream, bring to a simmer and cook stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
• Working in batches if necessary, transfer the corn mixture to a blender and blend on high until completely smooth, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a saucepan.
• Add the remaining corn kernels, the reserved “milk” from the cobs, the thyme and butter to the pan, bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer until the creamed corn has thickened and the whole kernels are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the thyme, season with salt and white pepper and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Artisan Publishing

Heritage celebrates traditional Southern cooking in all its glory. What was the best Southern meal you ever had and what made it so special? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Heritage.

 

 

By the Book: Cynthia Graubart’s Pork Stew with Gremolata and Island Pork Chili

Friday, October 24th, 2014

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I admit, it is possible that I unjustly conflated the slow cooker with the universes of Mad Men and John Cheever’s short fiction, dismissing it out of turn. But I had a good reason – at least I think. After all, my mother is prone to finger wagging about the slow cooker’s dead usefulness in a way that makes me nod vigorously and then instantly forget the advice.

Or it could be because, by chance, I own the same vintage, seafoam-colored Rival Crock-Pot Southern Living columnist Cynthia Graubart reminisces about in her new book, Slow Cooker: Double Dinners for Two. Seeing it as a kind of culinary anachronism, I often left mine to collect dust on a shelf.

However, it’s safe to say Graubart’s undemanding slow cooking tome helps breathe new life into this bloodless style of mid-century cooking. The lushly varied recipes tap fruit flavors and invoke the colorful traditions of Thailand, France, the American Southwest and others.

Most notable is the book’s conceit. Advertising “double dinners for two,” the two-serving recipes are paired together throughout the book with the idea that they can be made simultaneously in the same slow cooker, using separate plastic liners. Each recipe is labeled A or B, with individual preparation instructions followed by simultaneous cooking instructions. The methodology behind the recipe pairings is never fully explained (one of several glaring editing quirks in the book), but it’s a damn good idea, and a good way to prepare several days’ worth of meals without fuss.

I’m a pork lover and went with a (handsomely photographed) recipe for Island Chili, using pork tenderloin and a succotash-esque mix of black beans, tomatoes, corn and mango. Since I had extra ingredients, I doubled the recipe rather than making the Pork Stew with Gremolata recipe that’s paired with it.

The preparation, as with most of the recipes in Slow Cooker, is a cinch. Dice the mango and pork tenderloin (trimming away fat and silverskin), and mix the other ingredients in a bowl with a quick stir.

 

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Add the pork to the bottom of the slow-cooker liner, seasoning it generously with salt and pepper. Then, simply pour the other ingredients on top, cover and set the slow cooker to low.

 

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Six hours later, it was time to tango with my equatorially inspired chili. The pork itself was cooked remarkably well, considering the minimal amount of seasoning required (the beauty of using an inherently flavorful meat). But the other ingredients felt diminished in flavor, even after extensive salting – much like the gauzy, repressed feel of 1960s suburbia itself. For starters, canned beans and tomatoes and out-of-season mangoes don’t have the zing of fresh ones, and Slow Cooker’s reliance on preserved or processed ingredients undercuts its stripped-down ingenuity. You’re better off throwing fresh produce into the pot, along with some of the “jazz-up” ingredients enumerated in the book’s introduction like soy sauce, tomato paste, Parmesan, or any other umami-boosting ingredient. Remember: slow cooking can be as improvisational as it is easy.

 

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Cynthia Graubart’s Pork Stew with Gremolata and Island Pork Chili
2 servings each

For the Pork Stew with Gremolata:
½ lb. pork tenderloin (½ of small tenderloin), cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 small onion, diced
10 baby carrots, chopped
1 14½-oz. can diced tomatoes
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup beef broth
1 clove garlic, minced or ½ tsp. bottled minced garlic
3 to 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 tsp. bottled minced garlic

For the Island Pork Chili:
½ lb. pork tenderloin (½ of small tenderloin), cut into ½-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 14½-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
¼ cup frozen corn kernels
½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
1 mango, diced, divided
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Pork Stew with Gremolata
• Insert liner into the slow cooker, fully opening the bag and draping the excess over the sides.
• Add pork to the bottom of the liner. Season with salt and pepper.
• Top pork with onions and carrots.
• Stir together tomatoes, white wine, broth and garlic in a medium bowl. Pour over pork and vegetables.
• Top pork with rosemary sprigs.
• Reserve parsley, lemon zest and garlic to top finished dish for serving.
• Fold the top of the bag over to one side and push ingredients at bottom of liner over to create room for the second bag.
• Follow directions for the second recipe.

Island Pork Chili:
• Insert liner into the remaining space in the slow cooker, fully opening the bag and draping the excess over the sides.
• Add pork to the bottom of the liner. Season with salt and pepper.
• Stir together tomatoes, corn, black beans, cumin and chili powder in a medium bowl. Pour over pork.
• Top with half the mango.
• Fold the top of the bag over to the opposite side of the first bag and nestle the ingredients of both bags so they are sharing the space evenly.
• Reserve second half of mango and cilantro to top finished dish before serving.

To complete the recipes:
• Each closed liner should be draping away from the other, extending over the sides of the slow cooker.
• Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
• Move two shallow serving dishes or bowls next to the slow cooker. Remove cover and using pot holders or oven mitts, carefully open each liner to and remove the solids with a slotted spoon or tongs to its own serving bowl. Still using a potholder, gather the top of the first liner, carefully lift the bag from the slow cooker and move over its serving bowl. Cut a corner off the bottom of the bag, large enough to allow the remaining contents of the bag to be released into the second bowl. Discard the liner. Repeat with the second liner.
• Allow the recipe being served to cool, and package in a resealable plastic freezer bag or freezer container. Label and freeze up to 3 months.
• Before serving, taste and season again with salt and pepper. Top Pork Stew with Gremolata with the reserved parsley, lemon zest and garlic before serving. Top Island Pork Stew with mango and cilantro before serving.

Reprinted with permission from Gibbs Smith Publishing 

What’s your go-to slow-cooker meat (or non-meat), and the three most important items to throw in with it? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Slow Cooker: Double Dinners for Two

The Scoop: Heritage BBQ by Cochon returns to St. Louis Sept. 14

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

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{From left, Blackberry Farm’s Michael Sullivan, 2013 Cochon competing chefs Fabrizio Schenardi, Gerard Craft, SPQR’s Matthew Accarrino, Kevin Willmann, Kevin Nashan and Cochon founder Brady Lowe}

 

Pork lovers, rejoice! Heritage BBQ by Cochon is returning to St. Louis this year. The national tour that celebrates heritage breed hogs will take place Sept. 14 at the Four Seasons Hotel-St. Louis. Cochon founder Brady Lowe brought his Heritage BBQ to town for the first time last year, and his 2014 ‘cue fest is set to be even bigger.

The main attraction at the event is a whole hog barbecue competition. Five area chefs will each cook up a 200-pound heritage breed swine to create six dishes judged by a panel of local industry professionals. The lineup of competing chefs is: Gian Nicola Colucci (executive chef, Four Seasons – St. Louis), Eric Heath (chef and co-owner, Cleveland-Heath), Patrick Connolly (executive chef, Basso), Josh Galliano (chef and co-owner, The Libertine) and Lou Rook III (executive chef, Annie Gunn’s).

But the pig-crazed can dine on more than competition barbecue. New this year is Barbecue Traditions, during which area meat moguls will serve a dish exemplifying their take on barbecue paired with wines, bbers or spirits. Look for Mike Emerson of Pappy’s Smokehouse and Chris Bolyard of soon-to-open Bolyard Meat & Provisions to be among those educating eaters on barbecue culture. Other food attractions will include a pop-up butcher shop featuring Andrew Jennrich of soon-to-open The Butchery, a tartare bar with edible delights by Creekstone Farms, a cheese spread by Rogue Creamery and ice cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

Even though there will be pound upon pound of tender, juicy meat prepared every which way, libations aren’t an afterthought. Festival-goers will can partake in top-tier bourbons, Crispin ciders, wines, mezcals and Goose Island beers, including its rare Bourbon County brews.

VIP tickets are $200 and include a 4 p.m. early admission, as well as access to reserve wines and spirits. General admission tickets are $100; tickets available online.

Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of this event.

Just Five: Honey-Vanilla Pork Tenderloin

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

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There are no exotic ingredients or fancy prep work required for this dish, just simple, satisfying flavors. The sweetness of the honey and vanilla are cut with the slightly acidic cider vinegar, though you could substitute any vinegar you like. Balsamic adds sweetness, rice vinegar would be wonderful and in a pinch, plain old white vinegar works, too. I add smoked paprika to a lot of dishes to give it a little oomph without adding heat. (Though if a little hot sauce found its way into the glaze, that would be lovely, too.)

This is not a dish that will change your life, but it will change your day. After all, not every dinner needs to be mind-blowing, but they should always be delicious.

Honey-Vanilla Pork Tenderloin
4 to 6 Servings

¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 ¾-lb. pork tenderloins

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
• In a small glass bowl, whisk together the honey, vinegar, vanilla and smoked paprika. Microwave 20 seconds and whisk again to combine. Set aside.
• Season the tenderloins with salt and pepper to taste.
• In large, ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Sear the tenderloins about 2 minutes per side, then pour all but 2 tablespoons of the glaze over the meat, turning the tenderloins to coat. Bake 10 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reaches 155 degrees.
• Let the pork rest 5 minutes, then slice and serve drizzled with remaining glaze.

 

 

By the Book: Mast Brothers’ Chocolate Cranberry Pork Tenderloin

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

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To kick off this month’s By the Book theme of cooking with chocolate, I explored Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook by Rick and Michael Mast. Mast Brothers Chocolate, based out of Brooklyn, N.Y., is one of the most progressive bean-to-bar craft chocolate companies in the country, meaning its owners do everything from sourcing and roasting to grinding and cooking. I was particularly excited to read this book after learning about Mast Brothers Chocolate while editing Ligaya Figueras’ story “Big Kids in a Candy Shop: How St. Louis chocolatiers are raising the bar”  in our February issue.

Mast Brothers’ chocolates have such unique flavor profiles that world-renown chefs such as Thomas Keller, Alice Waters and Alain Ducasse use them in their cooking. Even if I didn’t know that – if this elegant cookbook is any indication to the care this company puts in their craft – I feel pretty confident that its chocolates must be both beautiful and delicious.

Besides beauty shots of chocolate sweets, drinks and savory dishes, the book also includes the history of the company, the Seven Crowns philosophy that guided the Masts as they grew their company, and short narratives detailing the brothers’ adventures that inspired their craft (including sailing across the Atlantic on a schooner to source beans).

 

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Although all of the chocolate dessert recipes looked amazing, I chose a savory dish because I’m always looking for ways to bring chocolate into dinner. I also appreciated how the directions and ingredients were straightforward. Besides cacao nibs, which can be found at Whole Foods, there weren’t any special ingredients or tools I would need.

 

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It turned out that the directions were a little too straightforward. At times, I wasn’t sure what to do. The sauce called for 1½ pounds of pork chops as part of the reduction, but there was no note about removing the pork chops when deglazing the pan (I did.), or putting the chops back in for the rest of the reduction (I did.), or what to do with the pork chops after straining from the sauce (I’m saving them to dice up for tacos because they tasted amazing.).

 

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The sauce also took a really long time to reduce, which wouldn’t have been a problem if I wasn’t so hungry, like crazy food-rage hungry. If I make this sauce again, I will start it much earlier in the night so I have the patience to reduce it into a more viscous syrup.

 

 

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In the end, I’m not sure if I made the sauce exactly how the Mast brothers intended, but it tasted amazing. The subtle sweetness from the chocolate balanced the tartness from the cranberries, and the pork chops made the sauce rich and layered.

 

 

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Chocolate Cranberry Pork Tenderloin
6 Servings

Chocolate Cranberry Sauce
1½ lbs. pork chops
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 cups red wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup cranberry juice
½ cup dried cranberries
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
½ cup cacao nibs

Pork Tenderloin
1½ lbs. pork tenderloin
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Make the Chocolate Cranberry Sauce
• Cut the pork chops into small bits.
• Dice the onion and garlic and sweat in butter over medium heat.
• Add the pork and saute until pork is browned.
• Deglaze the pan with the red wine and scrape bits from bottom of pan.
• Cook and reduce red wine by half.
• Add the stock and cranberry juice and stir. Reduce liquid by half.
• Strain the sauce and return it to the saucepan. Bring to a simmer.
• Add the cranberries, salt, pepper, vinegar and cacao nibs.

Make the Pork Tenderloin
• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
• Season the pork with the salt and pepper.
• Melt and brown the butter and sear all sides until golden brown.
• Keeping the tenderloin in the pan, place in oven for 10 minutes.
• Glaze the tenderloin by ladling sauce over top before slicing.

Reprinted with permission from Little, Brown and Company

What’s your favorite way to use chocolate in a savory dish? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Mast Brothers Chocolate. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Adele, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won a copy of Savory Cocktails. Adele, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!

 

 

In This Issue: Eat This

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

090313_eatthis

If a pig and a zombie had a baby, swaddled in bacon and laid in a warm pretzel bun, you would have the Aporkalypse Pretzelwich. This juicy, garlic-y peppered pork roast, bacon and gooey provolone sandwich, topped with pickles and spicy boom-boom sauce, is only served on Wednesdays at Blues City Deli. From the massive muffuletta to the Benton Park po’ boy, all of Vince Valenza’s sandwiches are served up spectacularly, but if the world ended tomorrow, the Aporkalypse would survive; it would be rewriting the history books.

Blues City Deli, 2438 McNair Ave., St. Louis, 314.773.8225, bluescitydeli.com

-Photo by Carmen Troesser

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