I am a Texan at heart, and always will be. It's hard to be far from the culture and food that I grew up with, so I love whenever I find a recipe that reminds me of home. I loved even more when I found a whole blog and cookbook dedicated to displaced Texans. I am talking about The Homesick Texan - I love this site so much. I will definitely be exploring it more in the future. The recipe that introduced me to The Homesick Texan was a FANTASTIC pork carnitas recipes. It is super easy and incredibly delicious, and is definitely going to be a staple for us from now on. We loved it so much that I went back to the store to get more pork so that I could make it again!
Fall for us means lots of hearty meat dishes and stews, especially after a summer bursting with vegetables and salads. Pulled pork is one of Jasper's most requested dishes and I was more than happy to make it for him. It's actually a pretty versatile dish - we prefer to eat it in sandwiches, but it's also great in tacos, over rice or mashed potatoes, and as the base for a stew when you are getting bored towards the end of the leftovers.
I recently went on a trip for a little over a week and needed to make something would last Jasper for about as long. I knew that left to his own devices it would be mac-n-cheese or Chipotle for every meal, and I just couldn't have that. So I decided to make him a big ol' pot of chili. Funnily enough, even though it is one of Jasper's favorite foods, I had never made chili before. I literally googled "best chili recipe" and came up with this one, which turned out great!
adapted from Moms Who Think
2 1/2 lbs lean chuck, ground
1 lb lean pork, ground
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
8 oz tomato sauce
2 bottles beer (recc. Sam Adams)
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp instant beef bouillon (or 6 cubes)
2 tbsp cumin, ground
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp oregano leaves
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp cornmeal
1 tsp flour
1 tsp warm water
2 cans red or white beans, rinsed and drained
In a large dutch oven, brown the ground meat. Add the garlic, onion, and bell pepper, cook and stir until tender. Add the tomato sauce, beer, chili powder, bouillon, cumin, paprika, oregano, sugar, coriander, and cocoa. Mix well. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered , for 2 hours
In a small bowl, stir together the cornmeal and flour, then add the warm water and mix well. Stir into chili. Add the beans and cook, covered, for an additional 20 minutes.
We have joined a CSA this year - it stands for Community Supported Agriculture and what it means is that you buy a share in a local farm and they deliver produce to you weekly. The CSA that we joined is Dragonfly Farms and you can read all the information about it here. We got our first share this week and, as you can see, it was packed full with good stuff!
Beautiful! What was in the crate:
1 head of butter lettuce
1 head of Romaine
a big bag of spinach (10-15 oz)
a bunch of asparagus
2 green/spring onions
several stalks of rhubarb
a pint of hothouse strawberries
4 tomatoes on the vine
a pint of English peas
Pork loin is a relatively inexpensive and lean cut. It takes many flavors well, making it a blank canvas. I like to buy a large loin (10 lbs or so), butcher it myself and freeze 1/2 - 3/4 of the meat - that way I always have some on hand. Below are two fast and easy recipes for boneless chops. As always, have your chops sit out at room temperature for 20 min before cooking to avoid tough meat.
Pan-fried Pork Chops with Mustard-Caper Sauce
adapted from Williams Sonoma
Time: 45 min Serves:4
4 boneless pork loin chops, 1 inch thick
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cup semidry white wine
1/3 cup capers
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
Season the chops with salt and pepper. Heat oven to 170 degrees F, place a platter in oven to keep warm. Place a large fry pan over medium-high heat and add half of the oil. Add two of the chops and don't touch them for 3 min, turn and cook another 3 min before transferring to the platter. Repeat with the remaining two chops. Pour off the oil, add the wine to the pan and deglaze. Add the capers and cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, vinegar, pepper to taste. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, whisk in mustard. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spoon over the chops.
Cranberry Stuffed Pork Chops
Time: 20 min Serves: 4
4 boneless pork loin chops, 1 inch thick
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
2 tbsp apricot preserves
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine cranberries, preserves, and coriander in a bowl. Cut a deep pocket into each chop, stuff with the cranberry mixture, season the outside with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in an oven safe skillet over medium-high. Brown the chops 2 minutes per side, then transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 4-6 minutes.