Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

We wanted a recipe for Cinco de Mayo, and this one truly made the grade. We tried this recipe from Chungah’s website Damn Delicious. You can find the recipe here. There are other excellent recipes to try there as well. If you can’t find the website, here are the ingredients and directions. (We recommend doubling the spices listed here, but adjust to your tastes.

Ingredients

1 Tbsp canola oil

1 (4 lb.) boneless pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed and cut into 3-inch chunks

1 (12 oz.) Pilsner or lager beer

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Directions

Set a 6-quart Instant Pot® to the high sauté setting.

Heat canola oil; working in two batches, add pork and cook until evenly browned, about 3-4 minutes.

Stir in beer, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, oregano, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Select manual setting; adjust pressure to high, and set time for 30 minutes. When finished cooking, quick-release pressure according to manufacturer’s directions.

Remove pork shoulder from the Instant Pot® and shred the meat using two forks; season with salt and pepper, to taste, if needed.

OPTIONAL: Preheat oven to broil. Place pork onto a baking sheet and broil until crisp and crusted, about 2-3 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Serves: 8

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

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One-Pan Cuban Chicken with Rice and Beans

One-pot meals not only simplify meal preparation but kitchen clean-up as well. We recently made this dish from marthastewart.com to rave reviews from the family. For authenticity, use cooked black beans, but as the website notes, any other drained beans from a 15.5-ounce can will do nicely! (And yes, 5 garlic cloves is not too much!)

We give the ingredients and directions in case you can’t find them on the website.

Ingredients

¼ lb. thick-cut bacon (about 3 slices), cut into ¼-inch pieces

6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

¾ tsp ground cumin

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

½ green bell pepper, diced

5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1½ cups long-grain white rice

1 tsp dried oregano

2½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

1¾ cups cooked black beans

Directions

Preheat oven to 375º F. In a large straight-sided ovenproof skillet, brown bacon over medium-high, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Season chicken with ¼ teaspoon cumin, salt, and pepper. Brown in skillet, turning once, about 10 minutes; transfer to plate.

Remove fat from skillet. Add oil, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until translucent, 3 minutes.

Add rice, remaining ½ teaspoon cumin, and oregano. Cook, stirring 1 minute. Add broth, beans, and bacon; season with salt and pepper. Nestle in chicken, skin-side up. Bring to a boil, then cover and transfer to oven. Roast until liquid is absorbed and chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes; serve.

Serves: 4 to 6

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

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Peanut Butter Hummus

This household loves hummus and salsa. We are always looking for some variation on either appetizer. This recipe from Cooking Light December 2012, was simple and delicious.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp black pepper

⅜ tsp kosher salt

1 (15½ oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 garlic clove, minced

7 Tbsp water

1 English cucumber, cut into 48 ¼-inch-thick slices

Directions

Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 20 seconds. Combine peanut butter and next 7 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor. With food processor running, slowly drizzle in water; process until smooth. Serve with cucumber.

Serves 8.

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Beef Tenderloin with Veggies

Sorry, no review of restaurant cuisine or fabulous nightlife from New Year’s Eve here. Instead, we stayed home and made this great dish for a cold, cold night. Thanks to Joy Bauer on the Today show for giving us a warm and tasty New Year’s Eve dinner. The link is here. We substituted some other root vegetables for the Delicata squash she recommended, and there was no fall off in flavor! Joy was right to use plenty of thyme leaves on the vegetables. Likewise, we did not spray oil onto the pan or vegetables. We used a good quality extra-virgin olive oil to brush both pan and vegetables. For those who can’t find the link, we include the instructions here. The recipe also refers to a White Wine Mushroom Sauce which can be found at the link, but which we did not try. Finally, any kind of mushroom you like will be great in this dish.

Ingredients

• One (4 to 5 lb) whole beef tenderloin, tied with string from butcher

• 2 tablespoons dijon mustard

• 3 tablespoons peppercorns crushed, or fresh black pepper

• 1 tablespoon Kosher salt, divided

• 16 ounces cremini mushrooms halved

• 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, melted (optional)

• 1 medium Delicata squash, seeded cut into ¾” rings

• 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1” chunks

• 3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1” chunks

• 1 to 2 red onions, cut into 6 small wedges

• 3 to 4 fresh thyme sprigs

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F. Liberally coat a large skillet with olive oil spray and warm over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until just tender. Transfer to bottom of roasting pan.

Add the beef on top of the mushrooms in roasting pan, and rub with mustard and season generously with crushed peppercorns and 2 teaspoons salt. Drizzle the optional butter over the top of the beef.

Toss the cut veggies into the pan evenly around the beef, mist them generously with olive oil spray, season with a sprinkling salt and pepper and nestle in thyme sprigs.

Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes at 425°F. Then lower the oven to 375°F, give the veggies a good stir, and cook for about 30-45 minutes (or until the beef reaches an internal temperature of 145°F). If you like your steak rare, while its not recommended for safety reasons, remove when the thickest part hits 125°F. It’s always best to use a meat thermometer.

Remove the beef and veggies from the pan to a serving plate and cover with foil for at least 10 minutes before slicing to lock in the juices. Top with White Wine Mushroom Sauce.

Makes 12 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

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Shrimp Cocktail with Cilantro-Lime Cocktail Sauce

We wanted an appetizer for the long wait for the turkey. This recipe fit the bill. We thought the cocktail sauce was decidedly better than store-bought, and even better than most of the homemade variations we have prepared. The broth added a delicate flavor to the shrimp. Overall, we again commend the winter 2018 issue of Real Food from Lunds and Byerlys for this treat.

Ingredients

For the sauce:

¾ cup ketchup

¾ cup chili sauce

3 Tbsp fresh lime juice

2 to 3 Tbsp prepared horseradish, to taste

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 tsp Asian fish sauce

2 to 3 dashes of hot sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste

⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro

For the shrimp:

3/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1 small carrot, thinly sliced

1 or 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 bay leaf

½ tsp salt, any kind

¼ tsp whole allspice

16 to 20 extra-large shrimp in the shell

Directions

Make the sauce: Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix well. Add more horseradish or hot sauce, to taste. Chill before serving.

Cook the shrimp: Combine 2 quarts water, wine, vinegar, carrot, garlic, bay leaf, salt and the allspice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, partially cover, and then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

Add the shrimp to the simmering broth, cover the pot and return to a simmer for 1 minutes. Immediately turn off heat, and let sit, covered, for 8 minutes. Drain in a strainer, and quickly rinse with cool water before plunging into ice bath to cool. Let chill thoroughly, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Drain again, picking out and discarding any vegetables. Peel and arrange the shrimp on a platter for dipping or refrigerate until serving.

Note: The cocktail sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator. Cooked shrimp can be kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Serves: 8 to 10

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Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Hot Sauce Vinaigrette

Nothing says “Thanksgiving” less than a tossed salad, right? But not everything for the big Thursday dinner has to lean hard on the starch and sugar. We wanted something with a lighter flavor and heavier crunch to offset the turkey and mashed potatoes. Thank goodness we found this delightful recipe, because everyone thought this dish was a winner. (You can tell by how little was left over when the meal ended!)

This alternative to a tossed salad will likely find its way to the table at many times beyond the holidays. We found the recipe in the winter 2018 issue of Real Food from our local Lunds and Byerlys grocery store. Kudos to the featured chef Carla Hall for this dish from her book Carla Hall’s Soul Food. We hope you enjoy the salad as much as we did.

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves, grated on Microplane

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp yellow mustard

1 Tbsp hot sauce

1 tsp honey

¾ tsp kosher salt, divided

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

6 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 15-oz can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

2 mini-cucumbers, cut into ½-inch dice

½ sweet onion, finely chopped

1 pint cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved

¼ cup fresh dill

Directions

Whisk the garlic, vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, honey, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until smooth. While whisking, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Whisk until emulsified.

Add the peas, cucumbers, onion, tomatoes, dill and ½ teaspoon salt. Toss until well mixed. You can serve this right away or let it sit at room temperature for up to 1 hour. The salad can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 1 day.

Serves: 4

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Sweet (and Hot) Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

A recent dinner at a local restaurant (Redstone Grill in Maple Grove) led one of us to lobby for a Brussels sprouts dish on the Thanksgiving menu. That recipe had a honey glaze, smoked bacon and a sriracha aioli. We were unable to find that exact recipe, but we found what we thought was a good foundation for our run at that recipe.

The recipe comes from thekitchn.com and is called Cider-Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Bacon. We followed all the steps, but at the end we put several dashes of sriracha on the glazed sprouts. The results spoke for themselves; we have no leftover Brussel sprouts! Please give it a try.

Ingredients

• 1 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

• 3 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved through the stem

• 3 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 1/2 cup unfiltered apple cider

• 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

• 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Directions

Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds. Divide the bacon between 2 rimmed baking sheets and spread into an even layer. Place the baking sheets in the oven and heat to 400°F.

Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl or pot (something large enough to easily toss them), drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Remove the hot baking sheets from the oven. Stir the bacon. Divide the sprouts between the 2 sheets, and arrange them cut-side down into an even layer.

Roast for 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and stir the Brussels sprouts and bacon. Return the baking sheets to the oven, switching them between racks and rotating them from front to back. Roast until browned and tender, 12 to 15 minutes more, depending on the size of the Brussels sprouts. Meanwhile, make the glaze.

Heat the apple cider, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cook until it’s reduced by about half and thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

When the Brussels sprouts are ready, remove the baking sheets from the oven. Turn the oven off. Combine the Brussels sprouts onto one baking sheet, drizzle the glaze over the sprouts, and stir to combine. Return the baking sheet to the turned-off oven and let sit until the Brussels sprouts absorb some of the glaze, about 2 minutes more.

Serves: 8 to 10

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