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Posts Tagged ‘Main Dish’

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

When I’m developing a new recipe for a meal there are two criteria that generally need to be met.  First, the recipe has to be mostly healthy.  Since I’m the main person that pumps food into my family, I need it to be loaded with nutrients.  Second– and this is the tricky one– I need it to be a meal that my family actually likes and will eat.  Finding this balance is often a challenge, but today’s recipe was spot-on.

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

Luckily for me, my family actually likes broccoli.  Seriously.  So, if I toss that into a dish I’m already one step to the good.  Here, I also relied on chickpeas for the protein and the texture.  And quinoa is one of my favorite things to build a meal around.  It cooks quickly, has a nice nutty flavor, and happens to be loaded with protein, as well.  Though it looks like a grain, quinoa is actually a seed–so it is gluten-free.

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

This isn’t a heavy bake loaded with cream or lots of cheese.  It’s simple and clean, if you will.  Aside from the main components of the dish, the subtle flavors of garlic and lemon really come through and work so well together.  I like to use my homemade chicken broth here because I always have it on hand and I love its flavor.  However, if you are vegetarian, feel free to use vegetable broth.  Finishing it with parmesan cheese that has become golden and chopped almonds for the texture is perfect.

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

One of the best parts about this dish just how easy it is to prepare.  From start to finish, your family will be eating dinner in about 30 minutes.  That’s not bad, especially considering most of that time it is in the oven. And you can feel good about the fact that every bite is healthy for them.  Hope you enjoy!

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas| Relishing It

The Recipe: Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas

(serves 4)

olive oil

2 cups chopped broccoli

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

13-15 ounces cooked chickpeas (about 1 1/3 cup)

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed (any color will work)

zest of 1 large lemon

1 1/2 cups chicken broth (heated)

kosher salt and cracked pepper, to taste

handful of parmesan (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup)

handful of chopped roasted almonds, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Heat olive oil in a cask-iron skillet, or anything similar. Sauté the onion, garlic, broccoli, and chickpeas for about 3 minutes.  Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of salt and some cracked pepper.  Then add the lemon zest, parsley, quinoa, and heated broth.  Make sure all of the quinoa is covered by the broth.  Cover with foil and place in the oven.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid and is tender.  Remove from oven.  Place oven rack near the broiler and turn it on.  Sprinkle parmesan over the quinoa and return to oven uncovered.  Broil for just a couple of minutes until the parmesan has turned golden brown.  Keep a watchful eye, as it can burn quickly.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped almonds before serving.  Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator and reheated easily.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce | Relishing It

Today’s recipe is a simple little dish that my my husband and I both love.  You’ll note that I didn’t say my kids love it, because…well they’re kids, and I guess they just don’t yet appreciate brussel sprouts and horseradish   I, on the other hand, love brussel sprouts and I’m always trying to put them into new dishes.  I enjoy them raw, such as in this salad that I still make often.  But I also love to roast them to add a little complexity to their flavor.  Roasted Brussel sprouts alone can be a meal or a hearty side, but adding leftover braised beef and crimini mushrooms takes them from “boring vegetable” status in my husbands eyes to “that was an amazing meal”.  Topping the entire dish with a delicious horseradish cream sauce made it perfect.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce | Relishing It

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce | Relishing It

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce | Relishing ItAs a kid, my grandpa used to grow horseradish in his massive garden. He’d process it into a creamy version and my parents and grandparents would slather it on the homemade sausage. Like my kids, at the time I didn’t appreciate the horseradish… or the sausage, for that matter. The horseradish was strong– it had “bite” to it, as my grandpa would always say.  I’m sure you’ve all made a beef roast and wanted to create something new with the leftovers.  Well, this is a nice quick option.  No leftover beef on hand?  No problem– it will still be amazing without it. This meal only takes about 15-20 minutes to make and it’s so satisfying.  Top it with a drizzle of the horseradish cream sauce and a few chopped hazelnuts (trust me on this) for crunch.  It’s a perfect weeknight dinner and you can feel good about the fact that you’re eating healthy, whole foods.  Enjoy!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce | Relishing It

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushroom, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce | Relishing It

The Recipe: Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce

brussel sprouts, halved (or quartered if very large)

crimini mushrooms, halved

leftover braised beef, preferably grass-fed

hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

olive oil

kosher salt and cracked pepper

For the Horseradish Cream Sauce:

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons creamy, prepared horseradish

2 tablespoons whole milk (any kind will work)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar  ( I use Bragg’s organic raw)

1 tablespoon finely minced shallot or red onion

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh chives

1 garlic clove, finely minced

kosher salt and cracked pepper

You’ll notice that I didn’t give amounts for the main ingredients.  Amounts aren’t really needed in this recipe, make as much or as little as you want.  One pound of brussel sprouts will generally feed about four people.  Add as much mushrooms and beef as you like.

To make the Horseradish Cream Sauce: add all of the ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and mix with a spoon.  Taste and properly season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the halved brussel sprouts with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Roast for about 10-15 minutes, flipping once.  You want a nice golden brown color to appear on the brussels. When they are nearly done and have nice color, add the mushrooms and beef to the pan and roast for a few more minutes until they are heated through and the mushrooms begin to shrink in size. Remove from pan.  Place onto a serving dish and top with the horseradish cream sauce immediately (so it can warm slightly) and hazelnuts.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

 

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Braised Korean Beef Short Ribs | Relishing It

Full disclosure: this is a blog post in two parts.  First, I lure you in with this recipe for these amazing ribs.  Then “POW!”, I hit you with some truth about what’s wrong with the way we as a society eat and what we can do about it.  Deal?  Alright, let’s start with the ribs.  My husband was still raving about them days later– they’re that good.  Honestly.  Subtly-sweet and balanced with just the right amount of salt.  The ginger, garlic, and orange juice are key.

Braised Korean Beef Short Ribs | Relishing It

I happened to have some gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper powder) left from making homemade kimchi. It worked wonderfully in this dish, but don’t worry if you don’t have it– it will still be amazing without it. Oh, and don’t forget to buy your ribs from someone you can trust, because quality matters.  These beauties came from Bar Five.  Braising season is here, and you really should put these ribs high on your priority list of things to make.

Braised Korean Beef Short Ribs | Relishing It

Now for my sermon.  I was on a run this summer listening to a podcast– because tricking myself into forgetting that I’m running by listening to something interesting is the only way I can tolerate it.  I believe the podcast was the brilliantly-titled ‘Go Fork Yourself’ with Andrew Zimmern and Molly Mogren.  The hosts were discussing the documentary ‘Fed Up‘– an excellent take-down of the Big Food industry.  After hearing them chat, I had to see the film, which came out on DVD a few weeks back.  Now I read a fair amount on food and health, so I was mostly aware of the threats that the large-scale processed-food industry pose.  Even so, this film was eye-opening.  As a passionate food blogger that cares about eating healthy food and really wants the best for not only my family, but yours too– I really think you need to see this documentary.

Braised Korean Beef Short Ribs | Relishing It

So, what is ‘Fed Up’ all about?  Basically, it’s an investigation into why we as a society have become morbidly obese over the past few decades.  It follows food fads, big corporations, nefarious political lobbying efforts, the costs to our health and healthcare system, and in the end provides an answer.  The real reason we’ve become so overweight, why childhood diabetes has exploded, why for the first time children will have a lower life expectancy than their parents comes down to… sugar.  Intrigued?  You should be.

Braised Korean Beef Short Ribs | Relishing It

The industry would have you believe that we’ve become overweight because we’re lazy, or that they’re just offering more choices and it’s up to us to make healthy decisions.  But that is a finely-crafted message backed by millions of dollars in advertising and lobbying payouts to politicians.  It’s hard to make the right decision when there is so much misdirection.  It’s hard to make the right choices when we subsidize sugar, rather than whole fruits and vegetables, making processed foods the the affordable option.  The fact is, we’re addicted to sugar– in all of its confusingly-named forms.  And that’s exactly how they want it.  I was stunned to see how hard people try to make the right food choices– to eat healthy– but to be dead-wrong because of the flood of misinformation.  The most heartbreaking part is watching how children suffer because they have no choice in the matter.  The majority of public school lunch programs have been co-opted by corporations like Coca Cola and Pizza Hut, serving up nachos, soda, and sugary tomato paste (which the government counts as a vegetable).

Braised Korean Beef Short Ribs | Relishing It

Yes, I make homemade food from scratch because it tastes better, but I also do it so I know that my family is eating real, nourishing food.  This is why I rarely buy food in packages– most of it is loaded with unnecessary sugar.  And the key here is “unnecessary sugar.”  I cook and bake with sugar.  There’s a place for it in my kitchen.  But at least I know just how much my family is taking in when we sit down to eat a meal.  And yes, my kids still get to eat ice cream, and cookies, and candy.  But it’s in moderation, and balanced by the fact that the majority of their calories come from real food– not the hidden sugar in a box of so-called “healthy” cereal.  There.  I’ve said my peace.  Sometimes it’s good to get things off of one’s chest.  I really do hope you watch this film, think about it, talk about, and share it with others.  It’ll be difficult, but we can get a conversation going in this country and make things happen.  Thanks for listening, friends.

Braised Korean Beef Short Ribs | Relishing It

The Recipe: Braised Korean Beef Short Ribs

(serves 4)

3 pounds of grass-fed beef short ribs

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup chopped white onion

6 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup fresh orange juice and zest from 1 orange

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon gochugaru (korean red chili pepper powder), optional

salt and pepper

olive oil

toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onions, for serving

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil a large Dutch oven.  Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper and then brown for a few minutes on each side, or until they become dark brown in color. You may want to brown the ribs in two batches, depending upon the size of your pan.  Use more olive oil, as necessary.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, blend the soy sauce, onion, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, rice vinegar, orange juice and zest, sesame oil, and gochugaru until smooth.  Pour the liquid over the browned ribs, cover, and braise for about 2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender and practically falling off of the bones.  If after 2 hours, it doesn’t do that, braise a bit longer.

Feel free to spoon off some of the fat that will rise to the top before eating.  Serve ribs with plenty of sauce, rice, toasted sesame seeds, and green onions.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

 

 

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Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

So, I’m assuming you have all made your homemade batch of enchilada sauce from my post a couple days ago, right?  Now, what are you going to do with that bowl of deliciousness?  You could use it for regular ol’ enchiladas, but why not try something different– like this enchilada bake? An enchilada bake is kind of like an Italian lasagna but with a Mexican twist.  It’s a lot of layering of ingredients of your choosing separated by tortillas, cheese, and sauce.  And it’s wonderful.

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

Of course, you can use any sort of filling that you want, but I chose to go with butternut squash because it’s in-season right now.   Shredded chicken probably isn’t necessary as the black beans give this dish protein and a nice Mexican vibe.  With that said, the chicken was perfect in this dish– and my husband probably would have rioted without it.  Plus, I had some in my refrigerator from making broth the other day.  I love the combination of the squash, black beans, and chicken– they compliment each other so well.  And the enchilada sauce ties everything together.

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

If you’re not entirely sure how to cut into that butternut squash, I took a few photos that should help you out.  It’s quite easy to dice.  And if you have extra squash, roast it and freeze it for later.  I love doing that this time of year, since they are so plentiful and inexpensive at the farmers markets.  Something to think about if you’re like me and stocking your freezer full of summer goodness to get you through the winter.  Be well, my friends.

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

The Recipe: Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken

(makes an 11 x 8 casserole)

1 butternut squash, cubed into small pieces (you’ll only use about 1 1/2 cups of it)

1 cup cooked black beans

1 1/2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese

about 12 corn or flour tortillas, or more depending upon your pan size

1 cup shredded, cooked chicken ( *see note)

2 cups homemade enchilada sauce, plus more for serving

olive oil

salt and pepper

green onions, sour cream, and jalapeños, for garnish

*Note: If you don’t have any cooked chicken on hand, you can easily roast some.  You’ll need about 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts.  Place on a small baking sheet lined with foil.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake at 375°F for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken reaches between 165-170°F when inserted with a thermometer. You can bake the chicken and squash at the same time, the chicken will just need to bake a bit longer.  Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before shredding it

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Place the cubed squash on a large baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 25 minutes, or until tender.  Remove from oven.  You will not use all of the squash.  Store remaining squash in the refrigerator to use throughout the week, or freeze.

Next, begin layering the enchilada bake.  The amounts I listed were for a casserole dish that measures 11 x 8.  Use whatever dish you have, but just know that you may need to make adjustments to the amounts.  Start by putting 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom, followed by about 1 cup of roasted squash.  Then place about 4 tortillas on top of that, followed by 1/2 cup of black beans, 1/2 cup of shredded chicken and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. The next layer will be 4 more tortillas, 1/2 cup of black beans, 1/2 cup of shredded chicken, and 1/2 cup of roasted squash.  Then, the final layer is 4 tortillas, 1 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce topped with about 1 cup of monterey jack cheese. Slightly push down on the layers, as you go.

Bake uncovered at 375°F for about 40-45 minutes, or until the cheese is a beautiful golden brown.  Remove from oven and serve with extra enchilada sauce, sour cream, chopped green onions, and jalapeños.  Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator and are wonderful when served with a little extra enchilada sauce.  Enjoy!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

 

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Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew | Relishing It

It has been a busy couple of weeks around our household lately.  School started for both of my kids and I’m happy to report that they are really loving it. Honestly, getting back onto the swing of things wasn’t that difficult despite the transition from late summer bedtimes and laid-back mornings around the house.  And I suddenly have a bit more free time now, which has fallen perfectly in-line with canning season! That wonderful time of the year when I dream of tomatoes. I’ve been busy in the kitchen stocking up on salsa, sauces, and plain tomatoes for the winter. Two more boxes I picked up from the farmers market this weekend are waiting for me as I write this. But, I wanted to share this ridiculously delicious recipe with you before I dive into chopping my day away again.

Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew | Relishing It

Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew | Relishing It

Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew | Relishing It

Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew | Relishing It

I was never exposed to tomatillos while growing up.  In fact, I didn’t really ever buy them before I moved to Minnesota.  Now, I just love them and making salsa with them is a no-brainer.  However, we’ve been getting a beautiful bag almost weekly from our CSA, so I wanted to do something a bit different, because how many chips can a girl really eat?  Kidding…I can eat A LOT of chips.  Pork and tomatillos are a perfect combination together– the tang from these little green gems is perfect.  This stew could not be easier to make or more satisfying. The flavors are bright and the pork is tender, yet doesn’t need to cook all day long, which makes it a bonus for a weeknight meal.  I love to serve it with a scoop of brown rice on top, but it can be equally satisfying if you prefer it without grains.  If your family loves heat, preparing it with jalapeños in the sauce would be ideal.  We put them on the side, because…kids.  I really hope you make this stew– it’s perfect with the changing weather.  Now, if you’ll excuse me– I need to get back to my little tomato factory.  Hope you are all well!

Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew | Relishing It

The Recipe: Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew

(serves 4)

2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed and tomatillos cut in half

1 bulb (yes, the entire bulb) garlic, separated into cloves

1 large white onion, chopped into large pieces

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

2 1/2 pounds – 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted then ground with mortar and pestle OR 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

fresh cilantro, jalapeño,and lime for garnish

olive oil, salt and pepper

1 cup uncooked brown rice, cooked according to directions, for serving

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the tomatillos, onion chunks, and garlic cloves on the baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes, then broil for 2-5 minutes until slightly browned.  Keep a watchful eye.

Meanwhile, heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Sprinkle the pork shoulder with salt and pepper and begin browning the meat in two batches, so as to not to overcrowd the pan.  When meat is done place it all back into the Dutch oven.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

In a large food processor, place the contents of the roasting pan, plus 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, and ground cumin seed and pulse a few times.  You don’t want the mixture to be completely pureed– a little texture is nice.  Add the mixture to the browned pork.  Stir.  Bring almost to a boil on the stovetop then immediately place in the oven.  Bake for about 1 hour, or until the pork is tender.  Reseason with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Serve immediately with a scoop of rice, jalapeño, more fresh cilantro and a wedge of lime.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

 

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Black Rice Ramen with Sesame Garlic Ginger Scallion Sauce | Relishing It

I just got back from an amazing walk.  The temperature was perfect at a nice cool 60 degrees, the birds were singing, and a beautiful assortment of tulips soaked up the sun.  A walk on a day like today is good for clearing my head.  So, now I’m home with a full cup of coffee, ready to tell you about this fantastic recipe that I conjured up.

Black Rice Ramen with Sesame Garlic Ginger Scallion Sauce | Relishing It

I recently came across organic black rice (forbidden rice) ramen noodles at my co-op.  You may remember this recipe that has black rice.  Or this one, with a bit of a Spring twist.  I love black rice– it’s ridiculously healthy.  So, when I found it in pasta form, I was excited.  I generally use brown rice noodles, so I’m thrilled to have another healthy option.  Fear not, if you can’t find black rice ramen– most any thin pasta will work here–regular ramen, vermicelli, angel hair pasta, just about anything really.

Black Rice Ramen with Sesame Garlic Ginger Scallion Sauce | Relishing It

This is a really quick dinner that can be whipped-up in about 20 minutes.  It’s versatile in that it can be served hot or cold, which is a nice option for the upcoming warmer months.  It’s also versatile in that you can pair any of your favorite vegetables with it and it will be fantastic.  Red peppers come to mind.  I’m on a broccoli kick…still.  And so are my kids, so that’s what I went with.  The vegetables can be roasted, quickly sautéed, or even raw.  You decide. I generally roast mine, but I know that will stop with the summer heat.   The sauce is simple and packed with flavor.  The sesame, garlic, ginger, and scallions all compliment one another.  The sauce is light– it barely coats the noodles and vegetables.  I didn’t want it loaded with oil (read calories), but I still wanted it potent.  When you toss all of the ingredients together, make sure to reserve a bit of pasta water.  You can use that to loosen everything up, if necessary.  Be sure to taste and re-season with more soy sauce or sesame oil, if you want a bit more punch.  Hope you enjoy!  We sure did.

Black Rice Ramen with Sesame Garlic Ginger Scallion Sauce | Relishing It

The Recipe: Black Rice Ramen with Sesame Garlic Ginger Scallion Sauce

(serves 2)

2 squares of ramen, (about 5 ounces total)

2 tablespoons olive oil or peanut, if you have it

4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon hoisin sauce

4 teaspoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

4 scallions, thinly sliced

handful of broccoli and crimini mushrooms, bite-size

sesame seeds and chopped peanuts for garnish

(Note: This meal comes together rather quickly– you’ll need to work fast and be attentive.)

Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Bring a medium sauce pan filled with water to a boil.

On a baking sheet, roast the broccoli and mushrooms for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly tender.  Remove from oven.   Place the ramen in the boiling water and keep a watchful eye.  It will only need about 5 minutes to cook.  Test along the way.  Reserve some cooking water.  When tender, drain.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat,  heat the olive oil and add the ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Sauté for about 1-2 minutes until aromatic.  Then add the vinegar, hoisin, sesame oil, and soy sauce and whisk together until warmed through.  Add most of the scallions, reserving a few for garnish.  Sauté for 30 seconds.  Toss in the vegetables and then the ramen.  Use tongs to toss everything together.  Loosen with 1-2 tablespoons of pasta water, if need be.  Taste.  Re-season with soy sauce and sesame oil, if desired.  Top with sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, and reserved scallions.  If wanting to make a cold version, run the pasta under cold water.   You may need a bit more oil to loosen the pasta, if cold.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today!

Laurie

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Beer-Braised Pork Shoulder with Polenta | Relishing It

Another polar vortex, another no-school day for the kids.  So another cozy, cold-weather meal is in order.  It was difficult to come up with a name for this dish that would capture the flavors here.  It has so many things going on, but they don’t necessarily fit nicely into a category.  A little bit of Mexican from the ancho chiles and the cumin, and a little bit of Asian from the star anise and the cloves, brought together by the American craft beer.  At any rate, let me tell you about this delicious pork shoulder that you’re going to want to make more than once this winter.

Beer Braised Pork Shoulder with Polenta | Relishing It

For those of you who have a fear of tackling a large cut of meat, this recipe is an ideal entry point.  Braising a pork shoulder could not be easier and the results are dynamite.  For starters, and not to sound like a broken record– please use a piece of meat that has been raised properly, preferably local.  Braising can be done using any variety of liquids– broth, wine, milk, or plain water.  In this recipe I used a local craft beer that paired with the spices to develop a deep, wonderful flavor.  The pork works wonderfully with the sweeter tones of cinnamon/cloves/star anise/and allspice.  It also works well with ancho chiles and cumin.  Marrying the two combinations together is fantastic.  You’ll love it.  Be sure to top it with a bit of fresh jalapeño– it’s not that hot and the freshness really brightens up the flavors.

Beer-Braised Pork Shoulder with Polenta | Relishing It

We generally serve the pork shoulder on top of  polenta.  I love a creamy, hot bowl of polenta when it’s cold outside.  Polenta is basically just yellow cornmeal.  It’s origin is Italian and from what I gather, true Italians wouldn’t dream of putting dairy into their polenta, instead making it only with water.  I’m not Italian.  So, I opted for a couple pats of butter and a sprinkle of parmesan mixed in with mine.  I think my Fortify friends may have influenced this a bit.  You will find different variations of the grind size when buying polenta.  Medium ground seems to make the most satisfying polenta.  Some people think making polenta is fussy, but I haven’t found that to be the case.  I do however advise you to be ready to sit down and eat the moment the polenta is done.  It doesn’t stay creamy all that long before it starts to harden and become a bit clumpy.  While it still maintains it’s lovely flavor, the silky texture will be lost.  So, be ready to sit down at the table and enjoy this lovely meal.

Beer-Braised Pork Shoulder with Polenta | Relishing It

The Recipe: Beer-Braised Pork Shoulder with Polenta

(serves about 4 with leftovers)

For the Pork Shoulder:

2 tablespoons olive oil, for browning

about a 4-pound pork shoulder (bone-in gives a great flavor)

1 medium white onion, diced

7-8 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1 4-inch long cinnamon stick

1 whole star anise

1 dried bay leaf

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 12-ounce bottle of really good craft beer (Locally,  Fulton’s Lonely Blonde or Indeed’s Midnight Ryder work really well.  One is a lighter beer and the other is a black ale.  The end results are each different, but both equally delicious.)

For the Polenta:

5 cups water

1 cup polenta, preferably medium grind

salt

a couple pats of butter

a few grates of fresh parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 250 °F.  Over a med-high flame, heat a large Dutch oven coated with olive oil until it is hot.  Pat the pork shoulder dry with a paper towel and season both sides of it with salt and pepper.  Place the pork in the Dutch oven and brown every side (ends, too) until a deep, dark caramel color has formed on all sides.  Remove from the pot and place on a plate.  In the same pot, add the onion and garlic, and a bit more olive oil, if needed.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  After about 3 minutes, add the the entire list of spices.  Stir and then add the beer.  Place the pork, along with any juices back into the pot.  Bring to an almost boil, then remove from heat.  Cover and place in the heated oven for about 3 hours.  You will know when the pork is done when you touch it with a fork.  It should feel tender, not tough.  It should practically fall off of the bone when gently tugged at.  If there is too much resistance, roast it a bit longer.  Be sure to have an oven thermometer, so you know the accuracy of your oven.

Meanwhile, begin the polenta.  In a large saucepan heat 5 cups of water seasoned with salt.  When it is boiling, sprinkle the polenta on the top.  Whisk everything together and reduce the heat to a medium simmer.  Continue to whisk every so often to avoid the bottom burning.  The mixture will eventually thicken up– the exact time will depend upon the size of the grain and how high you have the heat– so, I won’t give an exact measurement in minutes (anywhere from 20-40 minutes), just look for it to be the thickness that you desire.  When it is done, remove from heat and mix in a couple of pats of butter and a few grates of fresh parmesan cheese.  Polenta requires a decent amount of salt, to bring out the flavor– re-season, if necessary.  (Note:  leftover polenta can be spread out smoothly onto a baking sheet.  Refrigerate, then cut into squares.  You can bake or fry it and top it with all sorts of things– use your imagination!)

While the polenta is cooking, tend to the pork.  When the pork is done, remove it from the pot.  I like to make a smooth sauce out of the liquid, but the choice is entirely yours.  You can certainly skip this step.  Strain the liquid.  Then pour the liquid portion into a gravy separator to remove the fat, or use a spoon to skim it from the top.   Remove the cinnamon, star anise, and bay leaf and discard.  Place the remaining onions and garlic into a blender.  Then pour the liquid (sans fat) into the blender and blend it together (always be careful when blending hot liquids).  Return the mixture to the Dutch oven and re-season with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Meanwhile, separate the meat from the bone and tear it into big chunks.  Place the meat into the sauce.  Serve with jalapeños and polenta, if desired.  This is a wonderful dish to re-warm, as the flavors deepen even more overnight.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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