April – Aduki Beans with Bacon, Bourbon and Rice

April – Aduki Beans with Bacon, Bourbon and Rice

Shelf at my grocery store

Adzuki Beans

Does your grocery store look like this? There was not a single can of beans on the shelves except these aduki beans. It was a sight I never expected to see, I guess beans are a good pantry staple. But why wasn’t anyone hoarding aduki beans? They are delicious. I guess most folks are not familiar with them.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil:

“Adzuki beans are small, red beans that originated in China. These legumes (also called aduki or azuki beans) are most often enjoyed boiled with sugar and mashed into a sweet red bean paste that is used as a filling in many popular Asian desserts, including ice cream. The nutty flavor of adzukis is equally delicious in savory applications: Festival Rice from Japan combines adzuki with rice, which receives a pleasant pink tint from the beans.”

“Like many other beans, adzukis are a good source of magnesiumpotassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and B vitamins. Also of note is the adzuki’s status as the “weight loss bean,” since they are so low in calories and fat, yet high in nutrition. Additionally, they are relatively easy to digest, so they should not give you gas as other beans do.”

This is a pantry dinner but still delicious. It could be either the entire meal or a side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of aduki beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 strips thick, uncured, apple wood smoked bacon
  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed (or white if that’s all you have)
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups of water (depending on the type of rice)
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey (start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste)
  • pinch of salt, to taste

A note on substitutions…

    • No thick sliced, uncured bacon? Use regular bacon with a few extra slices.
    • no bacon or are you vegetarian? Use any smoky vegetarian substitute.
    • no bourbon? Use brandy or a smoky scotch or sake or leave it out completely.
    • no honey? Use maple syrup or agave or a tablespoon of brown sugar.
    • and if you are missing all of those…use two or three tablespoons of BBQ sauce.

You are looking for a flavor profile, something sweet and smoky and a little sharp.

Method:

  1. Slice bacon in half, lengthwise, and then chop into small pieces. Add bacon to cold saucepan or Dutch oven and turn heat to medium. Cook bacon until fat is rendered and pieces are crisp and golden. Transfer cooked bacon to a small bowl and set aside. Drain off all but one tablespoon of grease.
  2. Add beans to pan, stir, and then add rice. Stir to coat in bacon drippings. Add bourbon, stir and cook, about a minute, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add water, bring mixture to a simmer, and cover pan, lowering heat. Cook until liquid is absorbed and beans and rice are tender, about 30-35 minutes.
  3. Fluff mixture with a fork.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of honey, reserved bacon pieces, and mix into beans and rice. Add additional honey if necessary.
  5. Add salt to taste. Serve hot or warm and enjoy!
aduki beans and rice

aduki beans and rice

 

 

  1. Aduki beans with bacon and bourbon

    Aduki beans with bacon and bourbon; with roast cauliflower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March – Forever Roasted Pork Shoulder

March – Forever Roasted Pork Shoulder

I cannot believe I have never posted this recipe! I searched my recipe index but couldn’t find it anywhere, even though it’s a big favorite of both friends and family for years. This dish will give you days of leftovers for pulled pork, carnitas, BBQ pork sandwiches, tacos, etc. And if you are feeling, like I am, sightly depressed…it will make your kitchen smell like a warm hug (something in short supply at the moment). Now is the perfect time to cook something that takes most of the day in the oven, where else are you going to go? Don’t make this in the slow cooker, it will not be the same. You could make it in your instant pot, you would need to crisp it in the oven after. But why? Use the low oven method unless it’s 4 pm and the zombies are at the door (instant pot options at the end), I encourage you to embrace slow oven cooking for this if at all possible.

If you want it have dinner at 6 pm, you need to pop it in the oven right after your Zoom workout or the first conference call of the day at 9. Rub it down with the spices and put it in the roasting pan at 8 am while you are having your second (maybe first these days) cup of coffee. Let it rest at room temperature on the counter until you have finished your workout or your call. At that time preheat the oven, and put the pork in the oven (uncovered) at 10:30. Forget about it all day (you won’t be able to ignore the aroma coming from your oven). It will be ready at 5:30, enough time for it to rest. Resist the urge to steal crispy bits before dinner is officially served, I usually can’t.

You will have the entire day free. Time to deal with home schooling, your toddler, the garden, and/or work.

The original idea for this recipe came from Michael Chiarello’s cookbook Casual Cooking, published in 2002. He was named Chef of the Year by the Culinary Institute of America  and Food & Wine Magazine. Founder of the Tra Vigne Restarurant in St. Helena, CA (in the wine country).

I have dramatically simplified his recipe except for one thing, the amazing mixture of spices that he uses. Toasted Fennel Rub is my absolute favorite spice mixture in the whole world. You don’t need to use it though, use any beloved spice rub of your own. I just happen to have this on hand most times and often give it as a present to friends. I’ve modified it with the addition of some heat. But, use what you have. Any BBQ rub would be excellent, what about taco seasoning, or chili powder with some added salt? Do not fret about it. The trick is the slow roasting which transforms the pork into a meltingly tender piece of meat with a crisp layer of fat on the outside.

Ingredients:

  • One pork shoulder roast (mine was bone-in, about 5 1/2 pounds)
  • Enough rub to coat all sides of the roast (see the recipe for fennel spice at the bottom of this post)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F
  2. Rub your spice mixture of choice (see Fennel Rub below) over all sides of the roast
  3. Place the pork, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan or other dish (there may be quite a lot of fat, so a deep one is best). Line it with foil for easier clean up.
  4. Roast, uncovered, for 7 hours.
  5. Let the roast rest for 20 minutes, then slice or shred.

Note: If you don’t have a rack of the correct size for your pan, make one with halved onions or whole carrots or crumbled foil.

Pork Shoulder Roast with Rub

Pork Shoulder Roast with Rub

Pork Shoulder Roast with Rub

Pork Shoulder Roast with Fennel Spice Rub

Here it is after 7 hours, juicy and ready to shred. As usual, I couldn’t stop the fingers from pulling off crispy bits before we were ready to eat dinner.

Forever roasted pork shoulder

Forever roasted pork shoulder

Shredded Pork Shoulder

Shredded Pork Shoulder

It was easy to shred. Served with roasted asparagus, avocado, pickled cabbage, shredded cheese, sour cream, and salsa.

Shredded Pork Tacos

Shredded Pork Tacos

We have some really amazing leftovers for the week. Stay tuned for some ideas.

 

Enhanced Fennel Rub

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fennel seeds
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons white peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • My additions:
    • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup chile powder (use something on the sweet rather than on the hot side, or leave it out)
    • 3 tablespoons cumin seeds

Method:

  1. Place a dry small heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel, coriander, peppercorns and cumin seeds (if using). Continually stirring, roast until light brown and the smell is amazing.
  2. Turn your oven fan (high), add the chile powder and red pepper flakes. Continue to stir (it will smoke) for a few more seconds. Then remove from the heat and immediately turn the spices out onto a large plate to cool.
  3. Once cool, add the salt.
  4. Grind in your blender, mini food processor, or spice blender to a powder. There will still be some whole spices that won’t be completely ground, that’s okay.

If you want to make this in an electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot, here are some suggestions. After you coat the pork with your spice mix of choice, brown it on the saute setting in the pot or in a large skillet. Then add 1 cup of broth (chicken or vegetable), set the machine to high pressure and cook for 60 minutes, then turn the machine off and let the steam naturally release for 30 minutes. You won’t get that amazing crust, or a whole day of comforting aromas, but you will have dinner on the table for hungry mouths much faster.

Stay well everyone, stay safe, and please stay in touch.

I am going to take this dish to Angie’s at Fiesta Friday #321. Please come check out the virtual party on her site. The cohosts this week are Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and, none other than myself: Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons

And if you would like to join us, link your post to FiestaFriday.net and/or the cohost(s), so you can be featured.

And if you would like a chance to be featured next Friday, please read the guidelines.

Also linking this to Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

May – Sous vide pork tenderloin

May – Sous vide pork tenderloin

Pork, like chicken breasts, is not something I cook very frequently. In my opinion, commercial pork has had the flavor bred out out of it with the fat. The campaign “the other white meat” did not make it popular in my kitchen.

From Wikipedia I found the following history and thought it was interesting.

“Pork. The Other White Meat.” was an advertising slogan developed by advertising agency Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt in 1987 for the National Pork Board. The campaign was paid for using a checkoff fee (tax) collected from the initial sale of all pigs and pork products, including imports. In traditional culinary terminology, pork is considered a white meat, but the nutritional studies comparing white and red meat treat pork as red, as does the United States Department of Agriculture.

With a program promoting pork using the slogan as a lean meat to health-conscious consumers, pork sales in the United States rose 20%, reaching $30 billion annually by 1991.

Well, it didn’t work for our household. In fact, we mostly swore off pork as tasteless and dry. Until I discovered sous vide pork tenderloin and chops. Something magical happens in that water bath, a whole new world of cooking opened up. The pork was tender and juicy all the way through.

This chart came from the site Serious Eats, you can click here to see the original recipe.

Recommended Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin Temperatures

Temp and Time Doneness Result
130°F/54°C for 1 to 4 hours Medium-rare Buttery-tender; very juicy
140°F/60°C for 1 to 4 hours Medium Firm but still tender; moderately juicy
150°F/66°C for 1 to 4 hours Medium-well Fully firm; moderately juicy
160°F/71°C for 1 to 4 hours Well-done Dry, with a firm, tacky texture

I used 140 degrees F and cooked the tenderloins for 2 hours. To finish I have both browned them in a cast iron skillet on high heat, and used a hot BBQ. Both were delicious.

Pork Tenderloin finished in a cast iron skillet

And done the browning on a very hot BBG grill.

Pork Tenderloin finished on the BBQ

In all cases the pork was tender and juicy.

Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin

I served the pork with a fruit salsa on the side. You could also brush it with your favorite BBQ sauce while on the BBQ to further caramelize the outside.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 -2  pork tenderloins
  • Favorite rub

EQUIPMENT

  • Vacuum sealer or good quality ziplock freezer bags
  • Sous Vide machine
  • Cast iron skillet or BBQ

METHOD

  1. Preheat the water in your pot (I use a large stockpot) to the desired temperature with the sour vide machine
  2. Rub the pork with your desired seasoning. I used my home made fennel spice rub once and a purchased rub the second time.

    Mustard Mistress Rub

  3. Seal in a vacuum bag on the moist setting. Or place in a large freezer zip log bag.

    Pork Tenderloin

    Pork Tenderloin with Rub

  4. Once your water has heated to the desired temperature, place the pork in the water. If using a freezer bag, slowly lower the bag into the water, as you go you will displace the air in the top of the bag (be careful not to let any water get into the bag), once the air has been displaced, seal the bag.
  5. When cooked for the desired length of time, remove the bag from the water bath. If not using immediately, cool the sealed bag with the pork tenderloin in a cold water bath for an hour before refrigerating.
  6. If cooking immediately, heat your BBQ or a cast iron skillet on high heat. Add a little oil (grape seed recommended) to the pan and brown the pork before serving. Don’t worry, it will brown up nicely, it doesn’t look very appetizing when you first remove it from the bag.

    Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin

November – Coconut Pork Stew with Garam Masala

November – Coconut Pork Stew with Garam Masala

This creamy, rich, spicy but with sweet notes, stew is the cure for the blues of any kind. Serve it at the end of a wet or grey day. It is comfort food at its finest and your house will smell exotic. You can even make it a few days ahead as it is improved by sitting in the fridge for a night. I saw the recipe in the New York Times Wednesday food section and knew I wanted to try it. I made some slight changes but it is essentially as written.

Ireland Hiking, perfect food after a hike in the Wicklow Mountains

Ireland Hiking, perfect food after a hike in the Wicklow Mountains

Garam Masala is an Indian spice mixture, the name comes from the words “heat” and “mix” and refers to the heat of digestion. The mixture consists of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cloves, and red chile peppers which are toasted until fragrant, cooled, and ground to a fine powder.

Start this the day before you intend to serve it, the meat needs to marinate overnight and the the split peas need to soak.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 pounds of boneless pork stew meat or butt, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (more or less depending on your tolerance for spice). I couldn’t find the cayenne so used a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  • 1/2 cup of dried yellow split peas
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 slices of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano or jalapeño chili, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can or package of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of coconut milk (not light), solids and liquid whisked together
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Garlic – Coconut Oil for serving

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 6 cloves of garlic, sliced very thinly
  • 3 hot chilis, red or green or mixed, halved lengthwise, seeds removed.
Coconut Pork Stew with Garam Masala

Coconut Pork Stew with Garam Masala

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the pork with the cumin, salt, garam masala, and cayenne. Mix well, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Cover the split peas with boiling water to cover by 2 inches, let soak overnight. Drain before using.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute until they are tender and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the cinnamon stick, ginger, garlic, and jalapeno. Saute for another 5 minutes until the jalapeno is tender. Add the pork and any juices from the bowl and saute until lightly brown and no longer pink, perhaps another 7 or 8 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes, drained split peas, and coconut milk. Taste for salt. The pork should be covered in liquid, add some water if it is not. Bring to a simmer on high heat.
  6. Once simmering, cover the pot and place in the oven for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. My own stew took almost 3 to soften the peas but they could have been old.
  7. Meanwhile prepare the garlic coconut oil garnish. In a small pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds. Once they begin to pop, add the garlic and chilis, fry until the edges of the garlic begin to brow. Immediately remove from the heat and cool. You do not want the garlic to burn and turn bitter. Once cool I drained the oil from the solids.
    Garlic Chili Coconut Oil

    Garlic Chili Coconut Oil

     

  8. Serve warm, drizzled with the garlic coconut oil and garnished with cilantro.

I found the stew was delicious over a baked sweet potato.

Coconut Pork Stew with Garam Masala and Sweet Potato

Coconut Pork Stew with Garam Masala and Sweet Potato

You couldn’t go wrong with a spoonful of yogurt or sour cream to cut the heat.

Coconut Port Stew with Garam Masala

Coconut Port Stew with Garam Masala

This recipe is both gluten and dairy free.