Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pomegranate Cherry Braised Pork

We recently joined a meat CSA. It makes me feel so much better about eating meat. I have never really had much of a problem, until I started investigating where meat really comes from. Maybe it is the media scaring me, but I feel better when I know exactly where it came from. We are sharing the meat with our friends Stacie and Greg. We got our first bag of meat last week. Oh my, do we have a lot of meat. In the bag was a huge pork shoulder. What do you do with a pork shoulder? Braise it for many of hours. I love braising meat, it makes it so tender and delicious. And it is usually pretty easy. Just throw a few things into a pot. I found this recipe on a fellow bloggers site. I added a few things, but mostly left it the same, since it was my first try at pork shoulder. and of course I served it with mashed potatoes.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pound pork shoulder- mine had the bone in, I left it in for cooking.
salt and pepper
1 onion diced- I recently wondered how the pros cut onions. I watched this video and it so much easier now.
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup red wine- never cook with wine that you wouldn't drink.
Juice from 1 orange
1/2 cup tart dried cherries
2 guajillo dried peppers, chopped without seeds
4 garlic cloves minced

Heat the oil over medium heat, add the onions. Let them get a little brown. Then you can add the big hunk oh meat. Brown this on each side for about 5 minutes.

Now you can add the pomegranite juice, wine, orange juice, cherries, peppers and garlic.

Once all combined, cover it up and place in a 325 degree oven for about 3 hours. About every 40 minutes open it up and turn the meat over, this makes sure that the meat stays moist through the cooking process.

When it is all done, it will be falling off the bone. Pull off some meat, pour some sauce on it and enjoy! For the mashed potatoes, boil red potatoes for about 20 minutes or until a fork can easily pierce through them. Drain them and add a little butter and a splash of milk. I mash mine by hand, then you don't risk getting them all gummy. I like mine to have texture to them, so this works best.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Beef Barley Soup

Soup & stew season is officially up on us. Well, actually, we have been having fantastic weather here in Chicago. I haven't even pulled out the winter coat yet. We'll see how long that lasts. I love the way soups and stews make your house smell so delicious and that you always have lots of leftovers for lunches during the week. One of my favorite things to put in soups is barley, it has such a great flavor and is so good for you. I used "Quicker Beef Vegetable Soup" by David Pazmino as inspiration for my soup. His recipe can be found in Cooks Illustrated Soups and Stews.

1 pound sirloin tip steaks- cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound mushrooms- wiped clean and quartered
1 large onion- diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup red wine
4 cups beef broth
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
4 medium carrots- chopped
2 bay leafs
1 cup dry barley

First, place the beef in a bowl with the soy sauce and set aside for about 15 minutes. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat until it barely starts to smoke, then add in the mushrooms and onions. Stir frequently for about 10 minutes. Cook until onions are nice and brown. Make sure to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Take the vegetables out of the pan and set aside.
Place the beef in the pan and cook until the meat starts to brown, about 8 minutes. Turn the beef as you cook. Add tomato paste and garlic. Cook until you can smell the garlic about 1 minute. Add red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the brown bits. Cook this until it is syrupy, about 2 minutes. Now you can add beef broth, chicken broth, carrots, bay leaves and the onion mushroom mixture.

Bring this to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Approximately 30 minutes before you want to serve, add the barley. When the soup is finished, take out the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Chicken Chilaquiles

Chris and I both love Mexican food. I say that if I had to pick one type of food to eat for the rest of my life, I would choose Mexican. We recently purchased the cookbook "Authentic Mexican" by Rick Bayless. Everything looks so delicious and the cookbook really teaches you about the different types of cuisine in Mexican food. The first thing we tried was Chicken Chilaquiles. The dish turned out great, I think I could eat tomatillo sauce everyday. This weekend we might attempt Tamales. mmm...I can't wait.

recipe adapted from Rick Bayless Authentic Mexican

Chilaquiles recipe
6 corn tortillas
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups tomatillo sauce- see recipe below
1/2 cup boneless cooked chicken shredded- see below
1/4 cup cream
2 tablespoons queso fresco

First you need to make the tomatillo sauce

Tomatillo Sauce
11 fresh tomatillos
2 chiles jalapenos
5 sprigs cilantro
1 small onion chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups chicken broth
salt for taste

Place the tomatillos in a pan with water that just covers them. Boil them for about 10-15 minutes or until tender. Place the tomatillos, jalapenos, cilantro, onion and garlic in a blender. Blend until it's nice and smooth. After blending, heat the vegetable oil in a pan and pour the sauce in the pan. Stir this constantly for 5 minutes or until the sauce is thicker and has darkened. Now, add the chicken broth. Return the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and cook until you can coat a spoon with the sauce.

For this recipe you will poach the chicken.

small onion chopped
3 cups water
1-2 medium chicken breast- depending on how big and how much chicken you want
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf

Put all of the ingredients in a pot and bring them to a boil. Simmer for about 13 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the chicken cool. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred with a fork and knife on a cutting board.

Now it is time to put it all together. Cut the tortillas into eighths. You want them to be dry, if they are still moist you can dry them in the oven for a little at 350 degrees. Pour 1/3 cup oil into a pan and when it is hot place half of the tortillas into the pan. Turn them often until they are lightly browned. Place them on a paper towel to let them drain. Keep doing this till you have cooked them all.

Once you have all the tortillas cooked, clean the oil out of the pan. Return all of the tortillas pieces to the pan. Pour in the sauce and chicken. Stir it all up and simmer for a few minutes.
Fill up your bowl or plate and sprinkle a little queso fresco on top and enjoy!