I have to admit, I don’t cook very many Mexican dishes—but when I do, pork canitas is one of my favorites. Pork carnitas is slow cooked pork with lots of garlic, spices and citrus. It can be easily made on the stove top in a large pot or your dutch oven. After a few hours of cooking, you end up mounds of tender, juicy pork that fall apart with a fork. It’s full of flavor and perfect for tacos one night and a casserole the next.
I like to cook a pork roast about once a month. It’s easy to throw the ingredients in a pot on a Sunday and let it cook without a lot of fuss. The pork slowly simmers on the stove and I end up with enough for several meals (in our small family), plus more to freeze for another round of meals. It may sound like something that is difficult to do, but pork carnitas is actually very easy, and your family will be so happy with the delicious results.
Pork Carnitas Tacos are great to serve for Cinco De Mayo, in fact, I’ll be pulling my stash from my freezer just for the occasion. Serve your tacos with homemade pico de gallo and, some shredded cabbage and corn tortillas and you have yourself a delicious, authentic Mexican meal. Another delicious way to use this pork is for breakfast like in this roast pork eggs Benedict with cilantro hollandaise.
Btw…be on the lookout on your grocery store shelf for La Tortilla Factory Hand Made Style Yellow Corn Tortillas. They are drastically better than the ones I’ve purchased before. They don’t fall apart, yet still have that delicious corn taste.
Using a dutch oven or any large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil and add the oregano, cumin, onion and garlic. Saute for about 8 minutes, and then place the pork on top. Add enough water to just cover the meat. Add the jalapeno, bay leaves, lime juice and squeeze the orange juice into the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Uncover the pot and continue to cook on medium-low heat, at a vigorous simmer another 1 ½ to 2 hours. Skim the foam or fat off the top as it cooks. When the pork is tender and much of the liquid has evaporated, use 2 forks to pull the meat apart in the pot (you can leave big chunks at this point). Increase the heat to medium-high and cook another 20 minutes, letting the liquid evaporate and the meat caramelize and brown in the fat left in the pan.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the bay leaves. Shred the meat thoroughly and discard any large chunks of fat.
You can make this pork tenderloin with Guinness glaze for St. Patrick’s Day or any day of the year. It’s a delicious dish for beer lovers. The Guinness glaze is sweet and savory, with a good hoppy bitterness added from reducing the Guinness to a thick syrup. The pork is tender and juicy. Served with a wedge of roasted cabbage and buttery parsley potatoes, this recipe is a fresh alternative to the old corned beef and cabbage.
Back in 2011, the USDA lowered the recommended safe cooking temperature of pork to 145 degrees instead of 160. This is important to know when cooking something as lean as a pork tenderloin. Over cooking produces a dry, chewy piece of pork—something I’m sure everyone has experienced. Cooked correctly, pork is juicy, pale pink and tender enough to cut with a fork.
If you love Guinness (or know someone who does) try cooking with it more often. It goes well in stews and soups, adding richness and color to the dish. With notes of coffee and chocolate, Guinness goes well in dessert recipes too. Don’t miss this recipe for Guinness chocolate cake with Bailey’s Irish Crème Anglaise or Guinness Ice Cream Floats.
Add the Guinness, apricot preserves, brown sugar and garlic to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook on low heat, stirring every few minutes, until the sauce is reduced to a thick syrup, about 20 minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon.
Heat oven to 425 degrees F/220 degrees C.
Trim any silver skin from tenderloins with a small sharp knife. Pat pork dry with paper towels. Season tenderloins well on all sides with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add pork and sear until browned on all sides, about 10-12 minutes.
Brush the tenderloin with the Guinness glaze and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook pork 10-15 minutes, basting once. Remove from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (63C). Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve the pork drizzled with more glaze.
I’ve been holding onto this recipe for a while now, so it’s only fitting it goes out as Love and Duck Fat’s last recipe of 2013. It’s the ultimate “Miami-style” Eggs Benedict, perfect for the morning after a long night out in the warm December air. Tender roast pork, poached egg and fresh cilantro hollandaise perched on top of a buttery-sweet arepa. The recipe isn’t too complicated. I use leftover roast pork, and store-bought arepas. The hollandaise is freshly-made, using lime juice and cilantro. Make sure you serve it with some hot sauce on the side.
Eggs Benedict can be made so many ways. I came up with this one with my husband while we were discussing the ultimate “Miami-style” Eggs Benedict over brunch one morning. If you have visited Miami, you may have come across the arepa vendors in popular parks and events. They are grill corn flour patties, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They are slightly sweet with the taste of corn, and delicious sandwiched together with warm melted cheese.
You can buy arepas in the refrigerated section of many Latin markets (usually next to the queso fresco). They come in a regular and mini-size. I prefer using the regular size for this recipe, trimmed down to the size of the Eggs Benedict. The mini arepas are more dry, but will work if that is all you can find.
Of course, you need some good roast pork. I like to slow roast a pork shoulder every few months with lots of onions, lime juice and cumin. It goes into tacos, appetizers (like this Cuban sandwich crostini) salads and then the freezer, to thaw for recipes like this (roast pork recipe to follow). If you are a true Miami native, you may have some roast pork left over from your Noche Buena celebration.
As my last post of 2013, I wish everyone a Happy New Year filled with love, family, friends and delicious food. Thank you for spending time with me (even if it was just a minute or two) on Love and Duck Fat. It’s been a blast!
Whisk together the egg yolks and lime juice in a stainless steel bowl until they are lighter in color, and thickened. Heat about 2 inches of water in the bottom of a small saucepan to simmering (or use a double boiler). Place the bowl on top of the saucepan, without allowing the water to touch the bottom of the bowl. Be careful not to get the eggs to hot or they will scramble.
Continue whisking the egg mixture rapidly. Slowly drizzle the melted butter into the eggs until the sauce is thick and double in volume. Remove from the heat.
Add the cayenne pepper, salt and cilantro to the sauce. Cover and keep warm until you are ready to serve.
I like to poach eggs in a small nonstick skillet filled with a few inches of water. I add a touch of white vinegar to the pan and bring it barely to a simmer.
Crack an egg into a small glass bowl. When bubbles begin to appear on the bottom of the pan, carefully pour the egg into the water. Cover and turn down the heat to low. Allow to cook for 4 minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spatula (you may have to carefully pry off the bottom of the pan), and place on paper towels.
In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter until foaming. Add the arepas and cook until slightly browned on both sides. Just before serving, top the arepas with shredded cheese and allow to melt.
Arrange two arepas per plate, cheese-side-up. Top with warm roast pork and press down slightly so you have a flat surface. Place a poached egg on each and spoon hollandaise sauce on top. Serve immediately.
Growing up in Miami, the Cuban culture is a part of me. I grew up attending Nochebuena parties to celebrate Christmas Eve, complete with a whole roast pig. You can find small cafes all over Miami selling the famous Cuban sandwich, made with buttered Cuban bread, yellow mustard, roast pork, sliced ham Swiss cheese and dill pickles.
This Cuban appetizer variation uses all of those familiar ingredients, served open-faced on thin slices of Cuban bread. The result is a bite-sized presentation of a familiar dish, full of flavor. What I love about crostini is how versatile they are, while still looking elegant, like these, made with prosciutto, Burrata cheese and figs. The Cuban sandwich crostini is an easy appetizer recipe your guests are sure to love.
One loaf of Cuban bread will make about 35-45 crostini, and the recipe below is for 30. If you need to make more, just purchase more meat and cheese. I like to use a fresh loaf, because Cuban bread gets very brittle when it dries out. The slathering of butter underneath the melted Swiss cheese keeps the bread nice and moist, even after several hours.
Yield: 30 crostini
Preheat oven to 350 °F/°C
Spread out the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet (work in batches if necessary). Spread a small amount of butter on each slice. Top each slice with ½ a slice of Swiss cheese.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the edges of the bread are lightly browned (check often so the bread does not burn). Allow to cool.
Spread about 1/4 – ½ teaspoon yellow mustard on the top of the melted cheese. Then top with a strip of sliced ham. Follow with a piece of roast pork (I like to fan it out a little).
Place a single dill pickle slice on each crostini and serve.
This delicious recipe pairs an elegant boneless pork loin roast with a creamy shallot and tarragon sauce. It tastes even better than it sounds and isn’t very hard to do. Boneless pork loin is not the tenderloin. This is basically a big pork chop roast. It’s an impressive cut, with a nice bit of fat on the top and lean, juicy inside.
For the past three months, I’ve been buying all of my meat and most of my eggs and dairy from Sea Breeze Organic Farm in Fort Pierce, Florida. It takes a little more effort and planning than running to the grocery store, but it’s worth it. We place our twice-monthly order by email. You can choose from nearly one hundred items; including farm fresh eggs, sour cream, milk, any cut of grass-fed beef, buffalo, lamb and goat, free-range chicken and even rabbit. They have fermented products like kombucha tea, sauerkraut and kimchee. Organic baked goods and seasonal fresh produce are also on the list. To pick up our goodies, we meet the delivery truck in a church parking lot late in the afternoon. My husband is usually the one to go on this errand because it involves waiting in line with an empty cooler to swap it out for a very heavy, full one. This isn’t the usual way to go grocery shopping in the heart of Miami, but it works for us.
What has me going back for more is the freshness and quality. Finding the best ingredients drives my desire to cook. My recipes taste better and I’m feeding my family foods raised with care and without pesticides. It’s good to know our hard-earned money is going into the pocket of small farmers instead of industrial food producers.
Back to the recipe! I paired the roast with my go-to roasted potatoes and broccoli rabe sautéed in garlic and olive oil. It was an extravagant change from our usual weekend roast chicken. By the way, keep extra sauce at the table. It was so good, my husband wanted to drink it right from the saucepan!
Yield: Serves 4
Combine garlic, tarragon and olive oil in a small bowl and stir to combine. With your hands, rub the olive oil mixture all over the roast. Place in a plastic bag and marinate 4 hours to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow to the roast to come to room temperature. Remove most of the marinade and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the roast to the pan and brown on all sides. Place the roast fat side up in the oven and cook about 30-40 minutes, until a thermometer shows the internal temperature is 135 degrees. Remove from the oven and transfer the roast to a carving board to rest for 15 minutes. Slice thinly before serving.
Using the same pan the pork was cooked in; drain any excess fat so there is about 1 tablespoon remaining. Saute the shallots on medium heat until they are soft. Stir in the garlic. Add wine, stock and any juices that released from the pork while it was resting. Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered until it is reduced by half. Reduce the heat and add cream. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add tarragon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over pork slices and serve at the table.
Once a month we make a pilgrimage to Proper Sausages, Miami’s premier artisan sausage maker and butcher shop. Their handmade sausages are far from typical, with ingredients like New Zealand lamb, cognac and chanterelles. I usually just stock up on my favorite sausages, but this time I spotted some amazing Berkshire pork rib chops. These bone-in beauties were over an inch thick and beautifully marbled. Berkshire pork comes from a heritage breed of English black pig (from Berkshire, of course). Incredibly juicy and flavorful, this pork is part of the reason those Proper Sausages are so good.
Every now and then I splurge on some expensive, but hard to find grocery items. I would rather buy something a little pricey in the store and cook it up myself then go out and spend a fortune at a restaurant. We put on a movie, get cozy on the couch with the baby and enjoy a luxurious meal. Sure, it’s nice to get dressed up and go out, but when you have to schedule a sitter and have an early curfew; it makes going out a bit of a hassle.
Besides the sausages I keep on hand in the freezer, I usually don’t cook pork, mainly because it’s impossible to find organic, farm-raised pork in the supermarket. Because of the exceptional quality, I gave these chops a try, pairing them with creamy goat cheese polenta, grilled fennel and a sautéed apple. I was careful not to overcook them, browning them in a sauté pan before finishing them off in the oven. They came out perfectly juicy and incredibly flavorful — truly the best pork chop my husband and I have tasted.
These are cooked very simply, letting the quality of the meat stand out.Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F., and allow pork chops to come to room temperature. Pat dry and generously season the chops on all sides with smoked salt and pepper. Heat the oil on medium-high heat in an oven proof pan large enough to fit both chops. Add the chops to the pan and cook about 2 minutes on each side until brown. Place the pan with the chops in the oven for about 10 minutes until cooked through. Remove the chops from the pan and cover to keep warm.
You can use the pan drippings to make a sauce if you like (I didn't, but saved them for another meal). Just add about half a teaspoon of flour to the pan and your liquid of choice. This could be ½ a cup of cider, wine or stock. Stir in some seasonings like orange zest or peppercorns if you like. Once thickened and bubbly, season with salt and pepper for a delicious sauce.
Serving Size: 4
In a heavy saucepan, bring water, milk, and salt to a boil. Slowly add the polenta while stirring. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent the polenta from sticking to the bottom or clumping. When the polenta is thick and creamy, remove from heat. Stir in butter, pepper and crumbled goat cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Taste for seasoning and serve.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Trim and clean fennel and cut into thick slices or quarters. Arrange on a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil and drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat with your hands. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until the fennel is cooked and slightly brown.
Serving Size: 2
Heat oil and butter in a pan over medium-high heat until bubbly. Season apples with salt. Cover and cook on the cut side only until nicely browned. This will take about 5 minutes.
Sauteed apple recipe Inspired by Real Simple magazine’s pork chops with sauteed Granny Smith apples