Tag Archives: pork

Helen’s Chicago Cassoulet

The Cassoulet Helen made for us in Chicago.

NOTE: The recipe can be halved.

2 cups dried canellini or great northern beans, soaked overnight or quick-soaked
Pork shoulder or fresh ham cut into large chunks and trimmed
6-8 brats, cut in 3rds
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, in 1/2 inch pieces
1 TBS thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 can diced tomatoes
2 TBS tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups broth
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
olive oil

In large dutch oven, brown pork in olive oil.  Remove from pan.  Add onions, celery, carrot, and saute until translucent over medium heat.  Add tomato paste, garlic, and thyme and saute for 3 minutes.  Add canned tomatoes, broth, wine, bay, salt and pepper, and stir until combined.  Add beans and meats.  Bring to simmer, then place in preheated 325 oven, uncovered, for 2 hours.

Increase oven to 375.  Combine bread crumbs with 2-3 TBS olive oil, sprinkle on top of cassoulet and return to oven for 1 hour.

Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

Maple glazed pork tenderloin

Serves 6.

This recipe will work with either natural pork or enhanced pork (injected with a salty solution). If your tenderloins are smaller than 1¼ pounds, reduce the cooking time in step 3 (and use an instant-read thermometer for best results). If the tenderloins don’t fit in the skillet initially, let their ends curve toward each other; the meat will eventually shrink as it cooks. Make sure to cook the tenderloins until they turn deep golden brown in step 2 or they will appear pale after glazing. We prefer grade B maple syrup in this recipe. (Don’t be tempted to substitute imitation maple syrup—it will be too sweet.) Be sure to pat off the cornstarch mixture thoroughly in step 1, as any excess will leave gummy spots on the tenderloins.


3/4 cup maple syrup (see note)
1/4 cup molasses , light or mild
2 tablespoons bourbon or brandy
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon table salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 pork tenderloins (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds each) (see note)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Stir ½ cup maple syrup, molasses, bourbon, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne together in 2-cup liquid measure; set aside. Whisk cornstarch, sugar, salt, and black pepper in small bowl until combined. Transfer cornstarch mixture to rimmed baking sheet. Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels, then roll in cornstarch mixture until evenly coated on all sides. Thoroughly pat off excess cornstarch mixture.
  2. Heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Reduce heat to medium and place both tenderloins in skillet, leaving at least 1 inch in between. Cook until well browned on all sides, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer tenderloins to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Pour off excess fat from skillet and return to medium heat. Add syrup mixture to skillet, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon, and cook until reduced to ½ cup, about 2 minutes. Transfer 2 tablespoons glaze to small bowl and set aside. Using remaining glaze, brush each tenderloin with approximately 1 tablespoon glaze. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of tenderloins registers 130 degrees, 12 to 20 minutes. Brush each tenderloin with another tablespoon glaze and continue to roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of tenderloins registers 135 to 140 degrees, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Remove tenderloins from oven and brush each with remaining glaze; let rest, uncovered, 10 minutes.
  4. While tenderloins rest, stir remaining ¼ cup maple syrup and mustard into reserved 2 tablespoons glaze. Brush each tenderloin with 1 tablespoon mustard glaze. Transfer meat to cutting board and slice into ¼-inch-thick pieces. Serve, passing extra mustard glaze at table.

Pork posole

2 lbs pork, cut into cubes
1 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T ground red chile
1 T chopped fresh oregano (or 1 T dried)
1 qt diced tomatoes
1 1/2 qts chicken broth
4 c posole (or whole hominy), drained and rinsed
1/2 c parsley (opt)

Brown pork in olive oil. Add onion, garlic and spices. Saute a bit, then add tomatoes and broth. Cook slowly until pork is tender – several hours. Add posole and salt to taste. Cook an additional 30-60 minutes. Freezes well.

Grill-roasted pork loin

If only “enhanced” pork is available (it will be stated on the label), do not brine the roast. Instead, simply add 2 tablespoons kosher salt to the black pepper seasoning. With minor adjustments, a roast larger than the one called for can be cooked using the same method. For each additional pound of meat over 3 pounds (do not use a roast larger than 6 pounds), increase the salt in the brine by 1/4 cup and the water by 1 quart; also increase the oil and pepper by 1 teaspoon each (if using a spice rub, increase the recipe by one-third). Because the cooking time depends more on the diameter of the loin than its length, the cooking time for a larger roast will not increase significantly. After rotating the roast in step 5, begin checking the internal temperature after 30 minutes of cooking. 


3/4 cup table salt
1 boneless pork loin roast (blade-end), 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, tied with kitchen twine at 1 1/2-inch intervals (see illustration below)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper , or 1 recipe spice rub (see associated recipes)


  1. Dissolve salt in 3 quarts water in large container; submerge roast, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until fully seasoned, 3 to 4 hours. Rinse roast under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
  2. Rub roast with oil; sprinkle with pepper or spice rub and press into meat. Let roast stand at room temperature 1 hour.
  3. Soak 2 cups wood chips in water to cover 30 minutes; drain. Place chips in small disposable aluminum pan. About 20 minutes before grilling, place wood chip pan on primary burner (burner that will remain on during cooking); position cooking grate. Ignite grill, turn all burners to high, cover, and heat until very hot, about 15 minutes. (If chips ignite, use water-filled spray bottle to extinguish.) Scrape grate clean with grill brush. (NOTE: If using charcoal ignite, about 5 quarts charcoal, or about 90 individual briquettes, and burn until fully ignited, about 15 minutes. Empty coals into grill; build modified two-level fire by arranging coals to cover one-half of grill, piling them about 3 briquettes high.)
  4. Place pork on hot side of grill without wood chips; cook until well-browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, rotate one-quarter turn and repeat until all sides are well-browned, about 8 minutes total. Turn off all burners except primary burner; position roast parallel with and as close as possible to primary burner (or on cooler/low side of charcoal grill). Cook 20 minutes.
  5. Remove cover; using tongs, rotate roast 180 degrees so side facing fire now faces away. Replace cover and continue cooking until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of roast registers 140 degrees, 10 to 30 minutes longer, depending on thickness, keeping lid down except as needed to check progress of pork.
  6. Transfer roast to cutting board; tent loosely with foil and let rest 15 minutes. Internal temperature should rise to 150 degrees. Remove twine; cut roast into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve.


1 pork shoulder, 4 to 7 pounds (or use fresh ham)

4 or more cloves garlic, peeled

1 large onion, quartered

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ancho or other mild chili powder

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil as needed

1 tablespoon wine or cider vinegar

Lime wedges for serving.

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Score meat’s skin with a sharp knife, making a cross-hatch pattern. Pulse garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, chili, salt and pepper together in a food processor, adding oil in a drizzle and scraping down sides as necessary, until mixture is pasty. (Alternatively, mash ingredients in a mortar and pestle.) Blend in the vinegar.

2. Rub this mixture well into pork, getting it into every nook and cranny. Put pork in a roasting pan and film bottom with water. Roast pork for several hours (a 4-pound shoulder may be done in 3 hours), turning every hour or so and adding more water as necessary, until meat is very tender. Finish roasting with the skin side up until crisp, raising heat at end of cooking if necessary.

3. Let meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting it up; meat should be so tender that cutting it into uniform slices is almost impossible; rather, whack it up into chunks. Serve with lime.

Yield: At least 6 servings.

Carolina pulled pork

2 boneless pork shoulder halves (aka Boston butt) ~ 6lbs total

Note: This recipe is for 6 lbs, and since most butts are ~3 lbs, the mop and rub recipes can be halved to do only a single butt.

dry rub:

3 T coarse black pepper
3 T brown sugar
3 T paprika
2 T kosher (coarse) salt
1 t cayenne pepper


1 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c water
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T black pepper
1 T coarse salt
2 t vegetable oil
1/2 t liquid smoke (if not smoking in a smoker)

Rub the butt with the dry rub and refrigerate for at least a few hours, or o/n.

Put butt in the slow cooker (or dutch oven) and pour mop over it. Cook on low (~300F) until your can pull the pork apart easily with a fork (probably >=5 hours).

Alternatively, BBQ at 225-250F in smoker with hickory chunks or chips. Occasionally baste with mop. Smoke for 8-10 hours, or until the internal temperator is >190F. You can cover with foil after 5-6 hours to keep moist if desired (a maneuver called the “Texas crutch” that is often used for brisket).

Take out, pull apart and remove fat. Mix in some of the juices if desired.


Serve with Carolina Red BBQ sauce and Carolina Red Coleslaw

Pork with Dates and Dried Apricots

Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 ½ pounds boneless Boston pork butt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups sliced onions (about 2 medium onions)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 ¼ cups pitted dried dates
  • 1 cup dried apricot halves
  • 6 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¾ cup water
  • Salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut the pork into 8 to 10 equal-size pieces. Heat the olive oil in large flameproof casserole or Dutch oven. Add the pork and brown for 5 minutes, turning as needed. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add ginger, cinnamon, cumin, and saffron and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the onions have softened and meat is evenly browned.

2. Add dates, apricots and garlic and pour in the water. Cover and cook in oven for about 1 hour or until pork is fork tender. Check frequently and add more water if casserole seems to be drying out.

Kathy’s Note: Basmati rice is the perfect accompaniment to this rich and savory dish. If you wish, you can make it a day ahead, then let cool slightly, chill, cover and store refrigerated. If you prefer a leaner dish, remove the solidified fat before reheating.