Orange is the New Pork

orange-mustard glazed pork chops

citrus chops

I feel like a broken record, but:

Baby, it’s cold outside.

Feel free to remind me that it’s only 36 days until spring. With a snowstorm practically every week and temperatures barely out of the teens most days (that’s Fahrenheit, all my international friends), winter is not one of my favorite things right now.

But something that’s always one of my favorites is pork. That other white meat is just as tasty and versatile as the original white meat. And thanks to some unexpected citrus flavors, this dish offers a welcome reminder of the sunshine to come. In you know, just 35.5 days.

Orange-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops
½ cup of orange juice
2 tablespoons of orange marmalade
1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon of canola oil
4 bone-in pork loin chops
2 to 3 sprigs of rosemary
1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons of lime juice

Heat your oven to 425.º

In a small saucepan, combine the orange juice, marmalade and mustard. Heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until slightly syrupy.

Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Lightly season the pork chops with salt and pepper, and then cook for 5 minutes on one side until browned. Flip the pork chops and add the rosemary and onion to the skillet. Pour the juice mixture over the chops and then bake for 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 140.º

Remove the pork chops, onions and rosemary from the skillet. Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add the lime juice, and let cook for about 4 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the pork chops back to the skillet to coat with the sauce. Then plate, top with some cooked onions, drizzle with extra sauce, and eat.

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Serving Up Sausage

pork breakfast sausage

let’s play patty cakes

While I was getting the makings for Mexican home fries, I decided to forgo the usual stuffed-inside-a-box breakfast sausage and get ingredients to make my own. Because if you can’t be snowed in (or rather, rained in) without a good meal, what’s the point? Making your own sausage patties is surprisingly easy. Just mix your seasonings – the ones below are what I used, but by all means, adjust to your own tastes – and fry ‘em up. It’s best to cook a small piece up first to see if you like the flavor combo, since nobody wants imperfectly seasoned sausage patties for breakfast.

Pork Breakfast Sausage
– 1 to 1 ½ lbs of ground pork
– ¾ tablespoon of dried sage
– 2 teaspoons of dried marjoram
– 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
– 2 teaspoons of cracked red pepper flakes
– ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
– 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
– ½ teaspoon of salt
– ½ teaspoon of pepper

In a large bowl, mix together the pork and seasonings. A pair of clean hands works better than a spoon – just wash your hands after mixing. Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook a small, spoon-sized amount of the sausage on both sides for a few minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Then form the sausage into patties – grab a small amount with your fingers, roll into a ball and then flatten – and fry for about 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.


Cream of the Chop

pork florentine

a different take on creamed spinach

In honor of Christopher Columbus and his special day this past weekend, I celebrated my Italian ancestors with a twist on an Italian classic: pork florentine. You could use thinly sliced chicken cutlets if you want, because no matter what you cover with this spinach cream sauce will taste awesome. And depending on how generously you cover each chop, you’ll have a good amount of sauce leftover. Toss it on some penne or fettuccine the next day, and it’s buon appetito!

Pork Florentine
6 oz of baby spinach leaves, chopped into large pieces
1 lb of thinly sliced boneless pork chops (about 4 to 5 chops)
4 tablespoons of flour, divided
½ of a white onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of chicken broth
½ cup of heavy cream
1 cup of grated Parmesan-Reggiano
Salt and pepper
Garlic powder
Olive oil

In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and saute until wilted. Lightly season with salt, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Season the pork chops with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place 2 tablespoons of flour in a shallow bowl and lightly dredge the chops, shaking off any excess flour. Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and cook until brown on both sides and completely cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.

Add a tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour and cook until fragrant. Slowly add the chicken broth and heavy cream, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let simmer until sauce thickens, occasionally stirring, about 6 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the spinach and Parmesan-Reggiano.

Plate the chops, top with the spinach cream sauce and eat.


Let’s Hash It Out

pork hash

hash tag — you’re it

Remember that slow-roasted pork shoulder? I had to do *something* with the leftovers. This works as a really quick supper or a really quick breakfast if you like you pork in the morning. Feel free to substitute your own meat if you don’t have pork shoulder hanging around.

Roasted Pork Hash
– ½ of a white onion, chopped
– 1 cup of chopped white mushrooms
– 2 cups of diced porcini-rubbed pork roast
– 3 tablespoons of gravy
– 8 to 10 cooked fingerling potatoes, diced
– A few dashes of your favorite hot sauce
– 2 eggs
– Salt and pepper
– Butter
– Olive oil

In a skillet, heat a teaspoon of butter and a little bit of oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the pork and gravy and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce, and gently mash everything down. Let it cook until the potatoes are brown and crispy. Then turn the potatoes over so they brown and crisp on all sides.

Lightly oil a small skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and fry until done. Add a few spoonfuls of hash to a plate and top with a fried egg. Then eat.


Rub On Your Shoulders

porcini pork shoulder

you gotta get, that, rub on your shoulders

What’s perfect for a slow Sunday afternoon? How about a slow-roasted pork shoulder? There are plenty of ways you can roast pork, but a rub made with pulverized dried porcini mushrooms and spices really adds some hearty, earthy flavor. The beauty of this is that you literally roast it and forget it. Well, you won’t forget it once your house is filled with the scent of pork and mushrooms, but you get the idea. Then you make your sides, slice up your pork, and you’re ready for an easy Sunday supper. (And after that — leftovers!)

Porcini-rubbed Pork Roast
– 1 5 lb bone-in pork shoulder
– ½ oz of dried porcini mushrooms
– 1 tablespoon of onion powder
– 1 tablespoon of black pepper
– 1 teaspoon of garlic salt
– Olive oil

Heat your oven to 300º.

In a food processor or spice mill, crush the dried mushrooms into a coarse powder. Add the onion powder, pepper and garlic salt and pulse to combine.

Place the pork shoulder into a roasting pan with a wire rack. Lightly brush with olive oil and then rub the mushroom mixture onto the pork. (If some of the rub falls into the pan, that’s okay. You’ll use that later.)

Roast in the oven for 3 ½ hours or until the pork has an internal temperature of 160º to 165º. About an hour in, add a cup of water to the roasting pan. Continue adding a little water for the rest of the roasting time if the pan dries out. Let the pork rest for about 20 minutes before slicing.

To make a pan gravy, pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a skillet. Add a ¼ cup of chicken or beef stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Stir in a tablespoon of butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.


Pork and Greens

what a pair: pork medallions & ribbons of brussels sprouts

Second to chicken, pork is one of my favorite meats to cook and eat. It’s so versatile and easy to prepare. Normally, I would serve these juicy pork medallions along with a nice pile of mashed potatoes. But my new affinity for brussels sprouts inspired me to whip up this “hash” using thinly sliced pieces of those tasty little green bulbs. The garlicky sauce from the pork and the (slightly) crunchy texture from the hash worked so well together. You don’t have to make them as a pair, but I really recommend it.

Sautéed Pork Medallions with Brussels Spouts Hash
For the pork:
– 1 lb pork tenderloin
– 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
– ½ cup of dry white wine
– ½ cup of low-sodium chicken stock
– 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
– 1 ½ teaspoon of chopped fresh sage
– Salt and pepper
– Olive oil

For the brussels sprouts:
– ¼ cup of chopped onion
– 10 oz of brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
– Low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
– Salt and pepper
– Olive oil

Cut the tenderloin into 3/4 inch thick slices and season both sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat some olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until browned on both sides and the internal temperature reaches 145º. Transfer the pork to a plate and keep warm.

Add a little bit more oil to the skillet, then add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the wine and chicken stock. Increase the heat to high and cook, scraping up the browned bits from bottom of the skillet, until liquid is reduced by two thirds, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in lemon juice, zest and sage. Pour sauce over medallions and serve.

For the brussels sprouts hash: In a large skillet, heat some olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Add the sliced brussels sprouts, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender. Add a splash of chicken stock and cook until liquid mostly evaporates, about 1 minute.