Fiesta Pork Chops

This time of year can be a challenge. School is ending and there are a million end of the year activities going on. On top of that, summer practices and ballgames are beginning, the lawn needs to be mowed and all the household chores still need to get done. It can be a real challenge to get dinner on the table, but this recipe can help. It’s just a few ingredients and clean up is easy since it is all made in one skillet. Dinner will be on the table in under 45 minutes from start to finish.

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Fiesta Pork Chops – Pork chops topped with black beans and salsa all made in one skillet so cleanup is minimal.

I’m the first to admit that I will take a short cut in the kitchen if I need to. This recipe calls for canned black beans and jarred salsa. Soaking and cooking beans is not the most difficult thing in the world, but it takes planning ahead. I have no problems using canned beans on occasion and I always make sure my pantry is stocked with several different types.

The pork chops I like to use in this dish are bone-in chops at least three-quarters of an inch thick. You can use boneless if you like, but I think the bone helps develop a deeper flavor. A thinner chop can also be used but it will cook much faster and the liquids may not have as much time to cook down.

Here is what I did:

Fiesta Pork Chops

Ingredients

4 bone-in thick-cut pork chops
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoon oil
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, with liquid
1 cup salsa
3 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Season pork chops with pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear pork chops 3 to 5 minutes per side until golden browned.

Stir about 2 tablespoons of the chopped cilantro into the salsa reserving the remainder. Pour beans and salsa over pork chops. Continue cooking over medium-high heat until liquid is bubbling, then reduce heat to medium-low, loosely cover the skillet, and simmer until chops are no longer pink in the center and liquid has reduced by about half; about 20 to 35 minutes.

Milk and Cream Braised Pork Loin

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I frequently braise meats using wine, beer, broths, or plain water; this recipe uses milk and cream. The wonderful thing about using milk and cream as a braising liquid is that it makes its own gravy as the milk cooks down. The combination of the pork fat, sage, lemon, and black pepper make a truly amazing tasting gravy.

Here is what I did:

Milk and Cream Braised Pork Loin

Ingredients

5 pound pork loin roast
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
Leaves from 1 bunch fresh sage
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
Wide strips of zest from 1 lemon

Directions

Generously season pork loin with salt and pepper. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a dutch oven over medium-high heat until butter melts. Add pork, beginning with fat side down, and brown on all sides 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Pour off fat from dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When butter melts, add half the sage leaves and fry for a few seconds. Slowly add milk and cream. Then add lemon zest, season to taste with salt, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover dutch oven and gently simmer for 1 hour, turning pork after 30 minutes.

Coarsely chop remaining sage leaves and add to dutch oven. Continue simmering, partially covered, for 1 hour more once again turning meat after 30 minutes. Uncover casserole and continue simmering, turning every 30 minutes, until meat is very tender and milk mixture is pale golden and thick, about 90 minutes more.

Transfer meat to a warm serving platter and slice meat. Spoon sauce over meat and serve.

Garlic Lime Grilled Pork Tenderloin

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I use my grill year round. Sure, it’s much more enjoyable to stand outside grilling with a beer in one hand and tongs in the other when it’s sunny and 75° F, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grill when it’s snowing and 22°. It’s one reason they make Scotch.

All joking aside, don’t forget about your grill November through February. There are plenty of days that lend themselves to grilling. Plus, you can make great meals like this Garlic Lime Grilled Pork Tenderloin. The sweet, citrusy flavor is sure to brighten your spirits and wake up your mouth. If nothing else, it will get you yearning for spring and then can mojitos be far behind?

Garlic Lime Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

2 pork tenderloins (approximately ¾ lb each)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons grated lime peel
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Directions

Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut small, ¼- to ½-inch-deep slits in top of each pork tenderloin. Insert garlic slices into slits.

In small bowl, mix lime peel, oil, lime juice, honey, salt and pepper until well blended. Divide in half.

When grill is heated, brush pork tenderloins with ½ the lime mixture. Place pork on gas grill over medium heat or on charcoal grill over medium coals; cover grill. Cook 18 to 22 minutes, turning several times, until pork has slight blush of pink in center and meat thermometer inserted in center reads 160°F. During last five minutes of cook time, spoon remaining lime mixture over pork tenderloins. Cut pork into slices to serve.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Thai Inspired Peanut Sauce

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One of the most moist, tender cuts of meat is the pork tenderloin. In some markets outside the United States, this cut is referred to as a pork filet which may be more accurate. The equivalent beef cut is the beef tenderloin used to make filet mignon. The pork tenderloin cut, though, does get confused with the pork loin eye cut which is an excellent choice for a pork roast. Adding to the confusion is the use of the pork loin to make the pork tenderloin sandwich; a great sandwich but not nearly as tender as a pork tenderloin.

Here is one way that I like to prepare a pork tenderloin:

Ingredients

½ cup chunky, unsweetened peanut putter plus 2 tablespoons additional
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 piece freshly grated ginger (1 inch cube)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 to 1 ½ pound pork tenderloin

Directions

Combine peanut butter, coconut milk, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, ginger, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon in glass bowl. Whisk until thoroughly  combined. Divide in half. Place pork tenderloin in one gallon zipper stye storage bag and pour one-half the sauce over tenderloin making sure tenderloin is completely covered. Remove as much air as possible, seal, and store in refrigerator for at least one hour or until ready to grill.

Whisk in an additional 2 tablespoons peanut butter into remaining sauce to slightly thicken and set aside keeping at room temperature.

Heat grill to medium heat. About 30 minutes before grilling, remove tenderloin from refrigerator keeping it in the plastic bag. When ready to grill, remove tenderloin from marinade and discard marinade. Grill over medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes (5 to 6 minutes per side). Remove from grill and let tenderloin rest for about 5 minutes before slicing into ½ inch slices. Spoon reserved peanut sauce over slices and serve.

Chili — Nothing like a good bowl of red on a cold winter day

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You can’t have just one bowl of this chili. I use shredded chuck roast and shredded pork roast instead of the ubiquitous hamburger. The beef and pork compliment each other and gives chili a flavor and mouth feel you just can’t get with ground beef. This is how chili should be made.

Chili

Ingredients

1.5 lbs Combination of shredded chuck roast and pork butt roast (Recipe follows)
1 T Olive Oil
1 Onion
4 T Hot Mexican Chili Powder
1 Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes with garlic
1 Can Mexican Styles Stewed Tomatoes
2 Cans Red Kidney Beans (Optional)
1 46 oz Can Tasty Tom (Spicy V8 will also work but Tasty Tom is better)

Directions

Heat olive oil in large stew pot. Add onion and chili powder and sauté until onion just begins to get tender. Side Note: Sautéing the chili powder along with the onions brings out a somewhat smokey flavor to the powder. Add shredded beef and heat until warm. Add tomatoes, beans and Tasty Tom. Heat until chili begins to bubble. Reduce heat and simmer for as long as you like.

Shredded Beef or Pork

Ingredients

beef roast or pork butt roast – trimmed of fat approximately 2 to 3 pounds
1 onion – coarsely chopped
4.5 oz jar minced garlic – unless you want to mince all that garlic
1 to 2 bay leaves
Oregano
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Cumin
olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325F. Rub the beef thoroughly with olive oil. Generously season both sides of the roast with the salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano. Spread entire jar of minced garlic on top side of roast. Top with onion. Add bay leaves and wrap the meat in heavy-duty foil sealing the edges all around with tight crimps. Place the meat in a baking dish and bake for about 2 ½ to 3 hours, or until the beef is tender enough to fall apart. If you hear much sizzling as the meat cooks, turn the heat down.

When the beef is fork-tender, unwrap the top of the foil package, push aside
the onions, and cook another 5 to 10 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and let the meat cool. Shred it into long shreds with a fork. Beef may be stored in the refrigerator (for up to a week) or frozen. I use this style of shredded beef and pork for tacos, burritos, chimichangas, chili, shepherd’s pie or any other recipe in place of ground meat.