Category: Pork

Crispy, Fatty, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Porchetta

Porchetta is the ultimate meal for pork lovers. Crispy, crackling pork skin; fatty, melt-in-your mouth pork belly; and moist shoulder (or loin) are rolled together in every bite. It’s pork, three ways, in one amazing dish.

When made strictly according to tradition, porchetta is a massive culinary undertaking: a whole, boned-out pig is stuffed with its entrails, herbs and spices and slow roasted in a wood oven. As amazing as this may sound, it’s not exactly manageable for most home cooks. Which is why easier versions of porchetta, like this one made from pork shoulder (or loin) wrapped in pork belly, have become so popular.

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Mushroom and Bacon “Risotto”

The rich flavors of bacon and mushrooms dominate this dish, turning riced cauliflower into a super-flavorful side. Cauliflower risotto is fantastic served with a main course of roasted chicken, salmon, or thick, juicy pork chops.

The recipe below is great without any additional ingredients, but if you’re really craving comfort food then fatten the risotto up a bit. Generous amounts of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or butter (or both) will do the trick. A garnish of fresh herbs like basil, parsley and chives add color and flavor.

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Tomato Soup with Spicy Mini-Meatballs

A bowl of tomato soup is delicious any time of year, for lunch or for dinner, for kids and adults. If fresh, super-ripe tomatoes aren’t available then this recipe for tomato soup made from canned tomatoes is the best one to follow. This homemade tomato soup has a rich, pure tomato flavor and silky texture. Like a much-improved version of Campbell’s.

A steaming bowl of tomato soup is one of life’s simple pleasures. The fact that this recipe is so easy to make with such great results is an added bonus. The soup turns out best with whole tomatoes (not chopped) because they have a flavor that’s most similar to fresh tomatoes. The quality of the canned tomatoes matters – choose a brand with a flavor you like and if you’re worried about BPA, stick with jarred or a BPA-free brand.

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Head Cheese

Head cheese is not cheese at all, and these days it’s not always made from meat simmered off the head of a pig. A more accurate and appetizing way to think of head cheese is simply that it’s a cold cut made from tender, fatty pork.

Head cheese isn’t hard to make at home, especially if you have a pressure cooker and use pig’s feet instead of a pig’s head. A pressure cooker completes the simmering process in 1 hour, rather than 3 or 4. And pig’s feet are easier to find than a whole pig’s head (and there’s a little less of a gross-out factor if you’re squeamish). Hispanic supermarkets almost always sell pig’s feet, or you can special order them from a butcher or local farm.

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Chinese Five Spice Pork Chops with Sautéed Escarole

Escarole is mostly thought of as a salad green, but like most greens, it’s capable of so much more than that. In this recipe, a hint of vinegar, a pat of butter and a scant drizzle of maple syrup turn escarole into a warm side dish that’s perfect with pork. It’s a bold medley of sweet, salty and pleasantly bitter flavors.

The bitter flavor of escarole can be a “love it” or “hate it” thing. This recipe is meant to woo both sides. The bitterness is still noticeable, but tamed by a magic combination of pork, butter and maple.

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Smoked Bacon Oysters

Smoked Bacon Oysters are crispy little morsels of pure pleasure, an addictive snack and appetizer, or a tasty breakfast side for scrambled eggs.

The flavor of bacon dominates (never a bad thing). Smoked oysters add a sweet and smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with the salty bacon. The texture is also perfect: crispy bacon and a creamy melt-in-your-mouth oyster middle.

This recipe can potentially serve 4 as an appetizer, but only if you have enough willpower not to pop half of them in your own mouth right out of the oven.

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