Counting the ways we love porkPublished 9:01pm Tuesday, September 25, 2012
“I’ve got my menu planned for the next two weeks,” says home cook Nikki Smith. “Pork on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Boy that was easy.”
Nikki is one of the thousands of devoted pork lovers who are gleefully sharing their enthusiasm and recipes with all of us lucky cooks at www.justapinch.com.
As easy as it is to forget sometimes, there’s just so many ways to enjoy pork. In fact, that’s one of the things we love so much about it — it’s just so versatile. There are endless flavor combinations to explore, and we’ve found that pork can handle just about every flavor challenge we can concoct.
Skip Davis of Florence, Miss., adds an Asian flare to his dinner table with his favorite recipe for Sweet and Sour Pork.
“This is a very tasty Asian dish that can be easily prepared at home using very basic ingredients and cooking skills,” explains Skip, who cuts pork shoulder into 1-inch pieces before marinating it in a delicious combination of apple juice concentrate, ginger and garlic.
“It was one of my first attempts at Asian cuisine — many, many years ago — and I have been addicted to the Asian style of food preparation ever since. It is my passion.”
Pork sirloin roasts and shoulder roasts like Skip suggests using are perfect choices for cooking low and slow in the oven, on the grill or in a slow cooker as well. They hold up wonderfully and come out tender every time.
Now, slow cookin’ is something Robynne Glenn of Lake Arrowhead, Calif. knows a good bit about! Her blue-ribbon recipe for Pulled Pork and Crispy Onion Sandwiches is the perfect showcase of what slow cooking and a good cut of pork can combine to do.
Toss on a few crispy French-fried onions, and you’ll want to shout for joy.
“Slow-cooked, barbecued pulled pork on a lightly toasted ciabatta roll with crispy onions,” Robynne promises, “will be a hit at your family dinner table.”
Of that we have no doubt. She suggests adding more seasoning and onions to suit your taste. We love lots.
Keep those yummy pork recipes coming, folks. We just can’t get enough. Need a little inspiration? Check out PorkBeInspired.com for more great recipe ideas. They also offer up the “official” word on suggested cooking times, prep tips and more. Cool beans (and pork)!
Delicious Sweet & Sour Pork
1 lb. pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into one-inch cubes
1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 cup pearl onions
1 medium sweet red pepper, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1-8 ounce can unsweetened pineapple chunks (with juice)
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
- Combine the apple juice concentrate, ginger and garlic. Mix well. Pour mixture into zip top plastic bag. Add the pork cubes. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, turn occasionally to coat.
- Spray a 10-inch no-stick skillet with cooking oil and place over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onions, red peppers and green peppers. Cook, stirring, for three minutes, until crisp-tender.
- Add the pork and marinade. Cook, stirring, for five minutes, until the pork is no longer pink in the center. Insert the tip of a paring knife into a cube to test for doneness.
- Place the cornstarch, soy sauce and vinegar in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the pineapple (with juice) and brown sugar. Place mixture into the skillet with the pork and vegetables. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Serve the sweet and sour pork over rice.
- Eat now or later.
- To freeze, pack the cooled, cooked pork in a freezer-quality plastic container. To eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Cover and microwave on high power for five minutes or until hot. Stir halfway through the heat cycle.
NOTE: Pork tenderloin may be substituted for pork shoulder. Tenderloin is much more tender than shoulder. Lightly batter the cubed meat and double deep fry in peanut oil for maximum crispness.
Hoot ‘n’ Holler Baby Back Ribs
2 racks baby back pork ribs, (about 1-1/2 pounds per rack)
1 12-oz. jar prepared mesquite-flavored marinade
3 bay leaves
1 medium onion, peeled
1 cup prepared barbecue sauce (mild or spicy)
1/2 cup brown sugar
- In a large stockpot, place both racks of ribs; add enough water to cover ribs. Add marinade, bay leaves and onion.
- Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. (This will create foam on top.) Reduce to medium-low heat; simmer 45 minutes or until ribs are just tender.
- Remove ribs from cooking liquid; drain on rimmed baking sheet.
- Heat grill to medium heat (about 350 degrees F).
- Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, stir together the barbecue sauce and brown sugar. Brush over both sides of ribs.
- Place ribs on grill, bone side down, close lid. Grill for seven minutes, turn and grill seven minutes more.
— Recipe courtesy of the National Pork Board, ww.porkbeinspired.com