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Category Archives: Pork

Cochon Heritage Festival

Alternate Title: Best Weekend of my Life

This past weekend was the first annual Cochon Heritage BBQ Festival & National Bourbon Month kickoff in Memphis.

A three day festival bringing nationally recognized chefs to come together to learn, eat, and compete focusing on the heritage pig and some awesome bourbon.

There was a Cochon weekend competition earlier in the year in Memphis, but Bryan and I missed it as we were out of town. I heard it was incredible and when they announced this event I knew I would not miss it for the world.

We purchased tickets to two events. Even though they were normally out of our budget, I knew it was something worth saving for.

Friday night was the kick off event on the rooftop of the Peabody. For $50 a person it was all you can eat appetizer portions from 8 different restaurants and all you can drink specialty cocktails mixed by the best local bartenders featuring bourbon. The weather was amazingly cooperative giving Isaac was in the area. It was a beautiful night on the rooftop overlooking the Mississippi River.

And the cocktails! Amazing. Allyn and I have been planning a spring bourbon country tour and this whole event really made Bryan and I super excited for the spring. I can’t even describe some of the cocktails as they are totally out of our beer-loving realm.

Saturday morning Bryan took a group on a 5.55k run around the neighborhood before the bloody mary/oytster/bacon brunch. Attendees could also do a BBQ tour of Memphis and had some seminars set up. That evening a few of the chefs collaborated on a “pop up” dinner. We didn’t go, but heard it was amazing.

The second event that we attended was Sunday afternoon and was the culmination of the whole weekends activities. Eight chef driven teams competed against one another. They had to cook 4 pork dishes with separate requirements and 2 side dishes (one mayo based and one mustard based). We started off the afternoon at a local restaurant across the street from the main venue. We had more bourbon cocktails: Bourbon with bacon bitters and bourbon, orange bitters, and Proseco topped off with a bourbon cherry. We also enjoyed fresh oysters and a build your own BLT bar with three different types of bacon. Le sigh…

After about an hour of mingling and bourbon drinking it was time to go over and do some tasting. Attendees can sample everything at every one of the teams tables. Below is just some of the stuff available at one of the team’s tables.

There was a lot of food to try. I don’t think we even hit up half of the teams it was so much food.

In conclusion, I will be singing the praises of this event for at least the next six months and then I will be switching to gearing up for the next years event.

For more information visit the Heritage BBQ site.

Foodie Friday: Simple Rosemary Pork Chops

For me pork chops is my backup meat in the same way that chicken is for most people. It’s always delicious no matter how we eat it and the varieties to make them are endless. So the other night I had a casserole side dish planned and decided to pair it with pork chops. I’ve kind of been in a rut lately and decided to try this recipe I had booked marked.

Simple Rosemary-Rubbed Pork Chops
from The Kitchn

4 pork loin chops (about 1/2 pound each)
1 – 2 teaspoons olive oil for the pan
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin

Combine rosemary, brown sugar, salt, pepper and cumin in a small bowl. Rub mixture all over chops. Let spices penetrate meat for a few minutes before cooking. If there’s time, cover and put in refrigerator for a few hours before cooking.

If chops have been refrigerated, remove from refrigerator and let the chill dissipate for 10-15 minutes. Cook on an oiled, pre-heated (medium-high) grill-pan or skillet, oiled grill about 5 minutes on each side.

A nice, thick 1-inch chop will be done (medium-rare) in about 12 minutes, so about six minutes per side, or when an instant-read thermometer registers 145°.*

Tent with foil, and let rest a few minutes before serving as the chop will continue to cook for a few minutes after you remove it from the grill.

Serve with pan juices, mustard or a nice chutney.

The sweetness of the brown sugar and the savory flavor of rosemary will make your mouth water. This is my new go-to porkchop meal.

Foodie Friday: Perfect Red Beans and Rice

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There are certain dishes that seem so cozy and simple that finding a good recipe should be a no brainer. However, in recent years I’ve found that these are often the dishes that can be the most disappointing. I’ve been on a slow hunt for a collection of perfect, staple recipes for some of my favorite dishes. Some, I’ve found (like my bolognese). Others, I’m still searching for.

Well, consider my search for the perfect red beans and rice officially over.

This glorious recipe (which I will copy in perfect, untouched glory), is all that I dreamed of and more. The ONLY thing that I did differently (and I do recommend if possible) is use pork neck bones instead of ham hocks, because that’s what the local pig farmer had on hand. At the end of the cooking process we removed the bones, shredded the meat off of them, and stirred the meat back in. Josh compared the neck meat to braised beef short ribs (which we love).

Honestly though, just following this recipe will still result in extreme deliciousness, and might just result in you dreaming of leftovers while at work. Every day. Until it’s all gone.

Red Beans and Rice (from here)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bag dry small red beans
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 2 ham hocks (about 1 lb)
  • 2 tsp Creole seasoning (I love Tony Chachere’s)
  • 2 tsp original Tabasco sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz good quality smoked andouille sausage, roughly chopped

for serving—

  • 1 cup dry rice
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

The night before, rinse the beans under cold running water and then place beans in a large pot. Cover with cold water and let soak overnight.

In the morning, drain the beans. Add the chopped yellow onion, chopped green pepper, celery, minced garlic, Creole seasoning, bay leaves and ham hocks in the same pot with the beans. Cover with fresh water about three inches above beans (I used a five quart pot and pretty much filled the thing to the top with water).

Turn the heat to high and cover pot with lid, letting about an inch open to let out steam. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.

After an hour and a half, stir in Tabasco sauce, salt and chopped andouille sauce. Simmer slowly for another hour, stirring often at this point.

When the beans are done, the liquid should have gotten very thick (almost like a gravy texture) and the beans will almost look mashed. Remove the ham hock and the bay leaves and turn off the heat. Cover the pot again while you prepare the rice.

To make the rice, boil the rice, water and salt together. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork when done and serve with the beans with additional hot sauce on the side.

Foodie Friday: Sauerkraut and Pork

Rachel and I both made this dish within a week of each other, and both loved it. She served hers over mashed potatoes, and I served mine with roasted potatoes. Some egg noodles would be good too. Whatever you use, you’ll want something to slather in the awesome juicy sauce that comes along with this stuff.

The sauerkraut gets really mellow when cooked this long, and pretty much anytime you cook meat this long, you know it’s going to be good.

This is the perfect weekend meal to put in the oven and then kind of forget about while your cleaning house, or reading gossip blogs.

No judgement here.

I cut the original recipe in half and that’s what I’m posting here. It still makes a lot. Trust me.

Sauerkraut and Pork

  • 2 lbs bone-in country style pork chops
  • 1.5 cups no sugar added apple sauce
  • 1 32 oz jar of sauerkraut
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into 8 pieces
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 325. Season your pork chops with lots of pepper and a little salt (sauerkraut is plenty salty on its own).

Heat your dutch oven over medium high heat and add a tablespoon or two of oil. Once it’s hot, brown your porkchops in batches, about 2-3 minutes each side. Remove to a plate.  Add applesauce to the pan and stir to deglaze. Open the sauerkraut and drain about a third of the juice (without spilling any on yourself. Not that I would know what that’s like). Add the sauerkraut to the applesauce and stir to combine. Put the porkchops back in, pressing them into the applesauce mixture and not completely submerging. Scatter the onion wedges on top, place lid on, and put in oven.

After about 1.5 hours, check to see if anything is drying out. You want there to be liquid above the sauerkraut. If it looks too dry, you can add some chicken broth at this point (I didn’t need to). Put the lid back on and cook for another hour. Take the lid off and cook for about 30 minutes, until the onions get a little color.

Serve with your accompanient of choice, and curl up with an obscenely large portion of deliciousness.

Original Recipe: Sauerkraut and Pork

Foodie Fridays: Beer Braised Pork Chops

I have a confession: I think pigs are pretty much one of the tastiest things ever created. Oh how I love bacon. And pork belly. And pork tenderloin. And… well, you get the point.

The beer plays a huge role in the flavor of this dish, so this is not the time to buy Miller Lite or PBR, unless you just really love it. I used a Newcastle, and next time I might go for something even darker.  The richer, nuttier flavor is heavenly with the pork. Also, might as well get something that you’ll enjoy finishing off while cooking. No sense in letting good beer go to waste, right?!

Beer Braised Pork Chops

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless pork chops, preferably 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup beer
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary

In a large, plastic zip-top bag, mix flour, salt, and pepper. Add the pork chops, and shake to coat thoroughly. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add olive oil and heat until sizzling. Add the pork chops in a single layer. Saute until brown on one side, approximately 2 minutes. Turn the pork chops and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well. (I actually mixed all of the remaining ingredients beforehand, and simply poured it all in at once, which I recommend.) Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove pork chops to a plate. Increase temperature in skillet to medium and boil pan juices until thickened, whisking often. Top pork chops with pan sauce.

Original recipe

Foodie Friday: Pork Noodle Soup

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This soup is good. Really good. So good that I made it one night, and Josh asked me to make it again the next night, and to make a bigger batch. I think that’s a recipe win. It comes from the Nigella Kitchen cookbook that I gave my sister for Christmas. At this rate, I’m really going to have to buy myself a copy.

Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup

* 10 oz pork tenderloin, cut into thin discs and then fine strips
* 2 tablespoons lime juice
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* ½ teaspoon paprika
* 2 tablespoons fish sauce
* 2 packages ramen noodles. Discard seasoning packets
* 1 tablespoon olive oil (I added some of our homemade chili infused olive oil at this point for a little heat. Yum)
* 6 scallions thinly sliced
* 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
* 1 quart low sodium chicken broth
* 3 cups bean sprouts
* 3-4 cups chopped bok choy.

Mix the pork with the lime juice, soy sauce, paprika and fish sauce in a bowl. The recipe said to not let this stand for more than 15 minutes. I probably did, but it turned out just fine.

Cook the ramen, then put in a bowl of cold water and set aside.

Heat the chicken broth in a small saucepan to a low simmer.

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and fry the scallions and ginger for a minute or so. Pour in the pork and its marinade and stir thoroughly.

Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. At this point your pork should be cooked. Add the bean sprouts and bok choy.

Put some of the noodles in a bowl, top with meat and veggies, and pour some broth over it all. At this point Josh drizzled a little more chili oil on top, but for me it was perfect.

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