Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Category: pork (page 1 of 5)

HAM SKILLET DINNER

This is one of those spur-of-the-moment dinners that, amazingly, comes out right. If you got a ham steak and want something different and delicious, this recipe is it. This is one of those family dinners that is simple, and stick to the ribs. What more could you want? All you need is ham, onion, potatoes and chicken broth. If desired you can add some frozen vegetables to it like green peas or green beans. You are only limited by your imagination.

This meal goes great by itself with some crusty bread or with rice (or your favorite grain like, let’ say, couscous). With a hearty red wine like a chianti or cabernet, or a white, if that’s your preferences, you’ve got yourself a feast.

HAM SKILLET DINNER

Ingredients:

I large ham steak, about 1-inch thick, preferably maple and sugar cured
3 tablespoons butter
2 medium potatoes, washed and sliced thin (do not peel)
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thin
Salt to taste
Pinch of pepper
½ cup chicken broth

Instructions:

  1. Heat butter in a large frying pan or skillet. Add ham steak and brown on both sides.
  2.  Add potatoes, onion, salt, pepper and broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 20 minutes, Cut ham steak into 4 portions and serve  with potatoes and onions.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

 

RED COOKED MEAT

The Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor (CHAA) is an organization of scholars, cooks, food writers, nutritionists, collectors, students, and others interested in the study of culinary history and gastronomy. They publish a quarterly, Repast, which is a treasure trove of information on culinary history. The Spring 2021 edition contained an article, ‘How Chao and Chiang Changed Chinese-American Cuisine.’

The article featured a recipe by Buwei Yang Chao who, in 1945 published her pioneering work, How to Cook and Eat in Chinese (New York, John Day Co.). The Book introduced refined and authentic Chinese food to American readers. It included a discussion of red-cooked meats, which are large pieces braised in soy sauce,. wine and spices.

I was unaware of red-cooked meat until I came across this gem.  As noted in the title, this one is a very plain dish, easy to prepare and renders a delightful meat entrée (in this case, pork) that served over steamed rice, is a definite winner.  Be aware that for this recipe, the only modification I made is that I used chicken broth instead of water in the ingredients. I also added chopped fresh scallions. Either way, you can prepare the recipe as is, or enhance it any way you see fit.  Tradition is great, but innovation (in some cases) ain’t so bad. Also, the recipe doesn’t say anything about servings. I would figure 3-4 pounds of pork is enough for 4-6 servings.

So add a touch of history to your cooking. It won’t disappoint, and will leave family and friends hankering for more.

RED-COOKED MEAT PROPER: PLAIN

For this type of Red-Cooked Meat, the order of preference of cuts should be fresh bacon, fresh shoulder, fresh ham, pork chop.

3-4 pounds pork                                                                 1 tsp. salt
1 cup water                                                                            4 slices ginger
3 Tbsp. sherry                                                                              (if you can get it)
½ cup soy sauce                                                                    ½ Tbsp. sugar

Wash meat, cut into 1- or 1½-inch cubes. Put meat and 1 cup water in a heavy pot and use big fire. When it boils, add sherry, soy sauce, salt and ginger. Cover pot tight and cook over very low fire for 1½ hours. (In case of pork chop, use only 1 hour here.) Then add sugar. Again, over low fire, cook ½ to 1 hour. Test meat (for doneness by inserting a fork or chopstick).

 

 

MAPLE GLAZED PORK CHOPS – NUYORICAN STYLE

This dish is so easy to make, and its so good, taste-wise. It’s pork chops seasoned with typical Boricua ingredients and then slathered with maple syrup. That’s right, maple syrup. Burt you can substitute honey, if that’s your preference. Also, in the Rivera family, we love to serve these pork chops over steamed rice with roasted vegetables or a side salad.

MAPLE GLAZED PORK CHOPS – NUYORICAN STYLE

Ingredients:

4 (1-inch) boneless tenderloin pork chops
12 whole black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon oregano
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup maple syrup

Instructions

:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Wash pork chops under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  3.  Place peppercorns, garlic, oregano, and salt in a mortar and pound until crush. Blend in olive oil, and vinegar.
  4. Rub pork chops thoroughly with the seasoning.
  5. Heat an oven-proof frying pan or skillet (we prefer cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Sear the pork chops until browned, 2-3 minutes per side.
  6. Add onion to maple syrup. Pour over the pork chops.
  7. Place in oven and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes for thick (1-inch thick) chops, 5-10 minutes for thin (½-inch thick) chops or until the interior temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once you remove from the oven, let chops rest in the pan for 5 minutes before serving.
    Yield: 4 servings.

    Note: If desired, you can also cook the chops atop the stove. In this case,  heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or fry pan. Add chops and cook over medium-high heat 4-5 minutes on each side till cooked through. In a small bowl, whisked together crushed peppercorn, garlic, oregano, salt, red wine vinegar, chopped onion and maple syrup. Add to skillet and cook another 3-5 minutes, spooning sauce over the pork chops and turning to coat. Serve hot.          

ORZO WITH BEANS AND SAUSAGE

This is another take on that famous Italian entry known as pasta fazool. In more renowned circle, it’s Pasta e Fagioli, or pasta with beans. In the post of 04/26/20 I gave my version of this classic dish. In my family, we prefer white kidney beans when we’re making this recipe. Still, we’re always experimenting and seeking to improve on it. And now we have another version: this time with red kidney beans and sausage. In this entry, the pasta base we’re using is orzo. That singular item that, to us, most resembles rice. And, yes, in past efforts we’ve used rice instead of pasta for this dish.

We prefer to use dried beans instead of the canned variety. True, it’s more effort in that you have to prepare the beans for cooking. This entails soaking overnight a one pound package of beans  in water to cover (by at least 2 inches). Next morning, draining the beans then placing in a heavy kettle or Dutch oven with 2 quarts (8 cups) water. Bring it to a boil, cover and cook over moderate-low heat until beans are tender (about 1 hour).  Now, because of time constraints and convenience, you can substitute 2 (15.5-oz.) cans of red kidney beans. We won’t fault you for that. But, again, it does not match the flavor you get from regular beans.

Note that this dish includes sausage. We prefer the sweet Italian type. Yet you can substitute any pork sausage, or even chicken or turkey sausage. If you’re health conscious, you can use organic vegetable sausages that have appeared in markets in the last few years. Be aware that some sausages come with a casing that has to be removed before cooking.

ORZO WITH BEANS AND SAUSAGE

Ingredients:

1 pound package dry red kidney bean
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (12 oz.) pack sweet Italian uncured sausage, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
2 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (16 oz.) package orzo

Instructions:

  1. Prepare beans by soaking overnight; and then cooking as instructed above.
  2.  While beans are cooking, heat olive oil over moderate-high heat in a frying pan or skillet. Add sausage and onion and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
  3.  Add sausage mix to beans. Season with oregano, salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato sauce, cover and cook until beans are tender.
  4.  While beans are being done, prepare orzo as per package directions. Serve beans and orzo side by side; or you can serve orzo in a large serving dish topped by beans and sausage. Also, if desired, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
    Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

 

 

CINNAMON-APPLE PORK CHOPS

I tend to believe that this recipe is either Turkish or Middle eastern in origin. It’s pork chops cooked with a mix of sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and apples. Yes, apples. It gives the lowly pork chop a new and piquant flavor. Served with rice (or favorite grain), or a salad, it makes for a truly exceptional meal, and something out of the ordinary.

CINNAMON-APPLE PORK CHOPS

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 loin pork chops
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 pinches salt
2 medium-sized tart apples, such as Granny Smith, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped pecans, optional
¼ cup dry white wine

Instructions:

  1. Rinse chops under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. In a large skillet or frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until hot. Add pork chops and cook 3 minutes on one side, then 2 minutes on other side until done—no pink juice runs out when cut.
  3.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4.  Remove chops from skillet and keep warm. Add apples, pecans (if using) and brown sugar mixture to skillet, plus reaming 2 tablespoons butter. Cook ingredients until tender. Add pork chops, stir to mix, adding white wine. Cook over high heat until wine evaporates. Serve immediately.
    Yield: 4 servings.

BLACK-EYED PEAS WITH SAUSAGE

About the only time we have black-eyed peas is on New Year’s Day when we cook them with rice. It’s a dish called Hoppin’ John, and it’s a southern favorite. Other than that, we seldom cook these suckers. Well, I recently found some on hand.  To me, Hoppin’ John is good once a year. I had to create something new with this batch. So, I decided, why not pair them with sausage? It sounded okay. And it turned out magnificent. This dish you can have by itself or with rice. For the sausage, I used pork sausage. But you can use beef, chicken, turkey sausage or, if you’re in the mood for something spicier, Spanish chorizo sausage. Also, remember, if the sausage comes with a casing, remove such before cooking

Let me state that we used dried beans for this recipe. If desired, you can use the canned or frozen variety. However, it will not be the same in terms of texture and flavor. The extra bother of soaking the peas is well worth the effort.  And, yes, I know, there’s a pop-rap group known as the Black Eyed Peas.  They had nothing to do with this dish. Although I was sad when Fergie left the group. J. Rey Soul is a pretty good replacement.

BLACK-EYED PEAS WITH SAUSAGE

Ingredients:

1½ cups dried black-eyed peas
2 sprigs fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 12-ounce package pork sausage, cut into ¼-inch rounds
1 small onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons red wine
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Instructions:

  1. Soak black-eyed peas overnight with water to cover by about 2 inches. Drain and rinse.
  2.  Place beans in a Dutch oven, heavy kettle or pot with water to cover by about 3 inches. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour or until peas are tender.
  3.  While peas are cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet, add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
  4. Add pork and oregano, and sauté until pork is brown. Add wine and cook over high heat until wine is absorbed and has evaporated. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes more.
  5.  When beans have cooked, add sausage, season with salt and pepper, and stir to mix. Garnish with parsley and serve.
    Yield: 4-6   servings.

 

 

CHULETAS RELLENAS (Stuffed Pork Chops)

A family favorite down memory lane. This was a singular dish for us in the Rivera household. It’s one of the prominent beauties featured in my first cookbook, Puerto Rican Cuisine in America (Running Press). Think of a fabulous Sunday dinner.  I’ll admit, the dish takes time to prepare, but it’s worth every minute of the effort. The lowly pork chop comes up front as never before. You’ll never think of pork chops the same way again. This dish is not just for Sunday, but for whenever you want something special, even if it’s the middle of the week. Believe me, this is one recipe you’ll go back to again and again. You can serve it with gravy or without. If you’re a barbarian at heart (like some of us) you can pour ketchup over the chops and forget the gravy.

CHULETAS RELLENAS
(Stuffed Pork Chops)

Ingredients:

4 rib pork chops, 1½ inches thick (about 3 pounds)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 cup bread crumbs
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon capers, drained
¼ cup flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter

Instructions:

  1. Rinse chops in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Place chops, one at a time, on a cutting board and place one hand on top. With a sharp boning knife, cut chops lengthwise all the way to the rib, creating a small pocket. Be careful to keep the knife blade equidistant between the cutting board and the palm of your hand.
  3.  Trim off excess fat and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or frying pan. Add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Sauté over moderate heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in bread crumbs, rosemary and capers to complete the stuffing.  Continue cooking for 3 minutes more.
  4.  Fill each pork chop pocket with about ¼ cup stuffing. Close pockets by fastening together with wooden toothpicks.
  5.  Pour flour on a flat plate and dredge pork chops in flour until they’re coated on both sides.
  6.  Heat vegetable oil and butter in a large skillet (you can wipe clean and use the same skillet as before). Brown chops on both sides over low heat (about 8-10 minutes per side). Depending on the size of skillet you may have to cook them two at a time. When finished, reserve pan juices.
  7.  Arrange chops in a greased, shallow baking pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a 350º preheated oven for exactly 1 hour.
  8.  Remove foil and wooden toothpicks. Continue baking, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until tender.
  9.  Chops can be served as is. If a gravy is required, dissolve leftover flour in ½ cup water. Cook baking pan and reserved juices over moderate heat, adding dissolved flour while stirring. Cook until thickened and boiling. Strain and serve over chops.
    Yield: 4 servings

ARROZ CON CHORIZO (Rice and Sausage)

One of our favorite dishes is Arroz con Chorizo, or Rice and Sausage. The sausage usually entails chorizo, the Spanish pork sausage most common to Puerto Rican cuisine. But for this dish you can use any preferred sausage be it beef, pork, chicken or turkey. The recipe also calls for sofrito, a common base flavoring in Nuyorican cooking. You can find a recipe for sofrito in our post of 10/16/20. If you don’t have the time or ingredients for sofrito, you can use achiote, as we did in this version. Achiote is easy to make. Just heat ½ cup olive oil in a small skillet or pan. Add 1 tablespoon annatto seeds (found in most supermarkets or Hispanic markets). Cook, stirring frequently on low flame until the oil turns a bright orange-red color. Use as needed, cover and refrigerate. The achiote will give not only flavoring,  but also that bright color that defines the rice.

The most common accompaniment to this recipe is beans. It can be red kidney beans, black beans, white beans, ext. This time around we used pinto beans. This is the type of hearty meal that comforts the soul.

Ingredients:

2 cups rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 chorizos or 4 preferred sausage (about 12-ounce pack), sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1 tablespoon achiote
Water or chicken broth to cover
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Wash rice until liquid runs clear. This is what they call  in Pennsylvania Dutch country as “washing in several waters” to remove starch from the rice.
  2.  Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy skillet or pot (we prefer cast-iron).  Add onion and stir-fry  until onion is wilted and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
  3.  Add rice. Stir in achiote, and add water to cover contents in pot ¼ to ½ inch. Add salt and pepper.
  4.  Bring to a boil. Cover tightly and simmer on low heat until water is absorbed and rice is tender (about 20-25 minutes). Serve with beans.
    Yield: 6 servings.

 

 

ARISTA OF PORK AND BEANS

Arista of Pork and Beans is the classic dish of Tuscany. It is made, traditionally, with pork loin. One can also use pork shoulder. My version is made with pork shank. In fact, there’s a theory that arista, in Latin, means upper part, possibly referring to pork shank, or upper part of the pig. The most popular story of how the dish got its name is that in 1430, the Byzantine Patriarch, Bessarion, came to Florence for an ecumenical council and, when he tasted the roast pork, he exclaimed “Aristos!”, the Greek word for best or excellent.

The beans in the dish refers to Tuscan Beans. That is,  white beans, either Great Northern or navy beans, and cooked with sage and plum tomatoes.

This is a special dish for that special occasion when you want to impress family and friends. However, anytime would be a great occasion for this classic. With a good Chianti, nothing could be better.

ARISTA OF PORK AND BEANS

Ingredients:

1 four-pound pork shank  or loin of pork
3 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary or 1½ teaspoons dried
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 whole cloves
2 cups dry red or white wine
2 cups water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Trim excess fat from pork. Roll garlic slivers in rosemary. With the point of a sharp knife, cut small incisions in the meat and in each incision insert a garlic sliver. Rub the meat with salt and pepper. Insert the whole cloves in the meat.
  3.  Place the pork on a roasting pan. Pour the water and wine in the pan. Cook for 2¾ hours, basting occasionally. Cut roast into thin slices and serve.

TUSCAN BEANS

Ingredients:

1½ cups small dried white beans, picked over and rinsed
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 plum tomatoes, chopped; or 1/3 cup canned, drained and chopped

Instructions:

  1. Soak beans overnight in a large bowl with water to cover.
  2.  Drain beans and place in a Dutch oven or large pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes or until beans are just tender. Drain.
  3. In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over moderate heat. Add beans, sage, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring with a fork, 3 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and toss lightly to blend. Cook 3 minutes more and serve with pork roast.
    Yield: 6 servings.

GRILLED PORK CHOPS WITH GARLICKY FRUIT SAUCE

This is my favorite grilled pork chop dish. Why? Simply because it can include a fruit spread, jelly or jam—whatever you have in the fridge to give it a sweet touch. That, combined with the garlic (and we love garlic), makes it divine. In this rendering, the lowly pork chop will become your go-to dish in a barbecue setting. It’s that good.

GRILLED PORK CHOPS WITH GARLICKY FRUIT SAUCE

Ingredients:

4 to 6 bone-in pork chops
½ cup fruit spread (we used blueberry), jam or jelly
2 tablespoons  grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons sherry or apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Rinse pork chops under cool running water and pat dry with paper towels.
2. In a blender, combine fruit spread (or jam or jelly), ginger, garlic, honey, dry sherry, vinegar, salt and pepper. Purée until smooth. Pour mixture over pork chops, coating them well. Let pork marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.
3. Prepare grill. When it is hot, grill chops until done to taste, about 6-8 minutes per side. If the chops turn very dark as the sauce caramelizes, move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

 

 

 

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