Jun 11, 2013

"Pigging Out" On Tropical PORK

Cooking Underground - The Hawaiian Imu
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From roast pork to ham hocks, pork is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide. Unfortunately pork has gotten a bad rap for many years, but recently scientists have given pork another look. 

First of all, ounce for ounce, pork tenderloin has less fat than a chicken breast. When properly trimmed, pork contains far more unsaturated fat than saturated fat. Pork is naturally low in salt and a rich source of premium quality protein. A 100 gram (.22 pound) portion of pork provides you with about half of the protein you need for the entire day. It is also a good source of several life sustaining vitamins and necessary minerals including iron, zinc, as well as some of the B group vitamins, selenium and phosphorus. Pork also naturally contains "Conjugated Linoleic Acid" (CLA) which scientific tests show health benefits in the areas of cancer and heart health. Pork is a powerful, natural help in the bodies fight to avoid "Type 2 Diabetes" and help to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.

All of this is great news for pork lovers, but something to remember when cooking pork, the USDA recommends cooking ground pork to an internal temperature of 160˚F, followed by a 3 minute rest, and cooking pork steaks to a minimum internal temperature of 145˚F, also followed by a 3 minute rest. This kills off any parasites or bacteria that may be present. The bottom line is that pork tastes good, but it's nice that it can be good for you as well. Here are a few tropical pork recipes for you to pig out on:

Spiced Pork Ribs
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 cup of orange juice
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
2 teaspoons of black pepper
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of ground clove
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 rack pork spareribs, cut in half
2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, grated

First preheat the oven to 350˚F. Mix together the brown sugar, ginger, cayenne, clove, cinnamon, paprika, oregano, pepper, salt, and lime zest; set aside. Next squeeze the limes and add the juice to the orange juice. rub ribs well with the spice mixture. Place into a glass baking dish, and pour in the juice. Cover the dish, then bake in preheated oven for 90 minutes. Now uncover and continue cooking until the ribs are nicely colored, about 20 minutes more. Brush the ribs with the pan juices a few times while they are cooking. Serve with rice. Makes 6 servings.

Lime-Garlic Pork Roast
5 pound pork loin roast
2 teaspoons sliced garlic
1/3 cup lime or orange juice
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Use a sharp knife to cut thin slits all over the pork roast, and into these slits rub or insert sliced garlic. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush lime juice on all parts of the roast, and sprinkle generously with salt and black pepper. In preheated 500˚F oven, sear the roast for 20 minutes fat side up. Then reduce oven heat to 350°F until pork is done to your taste, usually about one hour. Baste pork roast frequently with the lime juice or orange juice, starting when the heat is reduced, and being certain not to overcook the roast. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 150˚F with a meat thermometer. Allow to stand out of the oven, covered in foil, for 10 minutes, prior to carving. Makes 8 servings.

Filipino Oven Roasted Pork  (Lechon sa Hurno)
1 (3 to 5 pounds.) boneless shoulder picnic roast
Hawaiian or Kosher salt

Marinade Ingredients:
fresh sprigs of rosemary leaves
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Gravy Ingredients:
1/4 stick butter
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon of flour
some olive oil and salt

Marinate pork for several hours. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Remove pork from marinade and pat dry. Rub generously with salt. Transfer to a roasting pan and bake 40 minutes per pound. Brush skin with some of the marinade every 1/2 hour, then with the fat drippings from the pan every 10 minutes during the last hour, making the skin crisp. Increase oven heat to 450˚F. Roast pork for about 20 to 30 minutes more or until golden brown. The skin should be crispy. Internal temperature reading should be 170˚F. Remove from the oven. Cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes. During this time prepare the gravy; put all the juices and marinade in a pot, add some water to the flour, stir to dissolve. Heat the juices in the pan. Stir in the flour mixture. As soon as it starts to thicken add the butter, stir. Slice pork and pour gravy over and serve. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Caribbean Roast Pork (Pernil)
1 7-pound pork shoulder picnic cut or butt roast (preferably boneless)
10 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
Adobo dry rub (enough to rub all over the roast, recipe below)

With a pointed knife, puncture 20 holes evenly around the roast, including the top, bottom and sides. Push the peeled garlic halves deeply into the holes. Rub adobo dry rub all over the roast and into the holes. Put plastic wrap over roast and refrigerate for 24 hours. Let the roast get back to room temperature before cooking (about 1 hour). Then place the roast, fat side up in a roasting pan with 2" sides (there will be a lot of grease), don't cover roast. Place seasoned roast in a 400˚F oven for 1 hour, then reduce temperature to 300˚F for about 4 hours or so, do not turn meat. The roast is finished when a meat thermometer, inserted in the thickest part of meat, reads 185˚F. Let roast rest uncovered for about 20-30 minutes before carving. Makes 4 to 6 servings. Note: leftover pernil is great used in tacos.

Adobo Dry Rub
Adobo dry rub is used to season meat, poultry and fish. You can customize the recipe by adjusting the ingredients based on the spices you prefer.

Adobo Dry Rub Ingredients:
6 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
6 tablespoons granulated garlic
4 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons rosemary
2 tablespoons turmeric
2 tablespoons onion powder

Dry Rub Procedure:
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Makes about 1 1/2 cups of seasoning.

Braised Pork with Fresh Pineapple
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 pounds pork butt, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 scallions (green and white parts), minced
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 cup dry sherry
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup water
1 small pineapple, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with
2 tablespoons cold water

In a wok, heat the oil over high heat until just smoking. Add the pork in three batches and brown on all sides. Remove the meat to a plate. Add the ginger and scallions, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Return the pork to the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the orange zest, five-spice powder, sherry, soy sauce, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the pineapple chunks and continue cooking for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the meat is tender when pricked with a fork. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pork and pineapple to a serving platter. Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce, bring to a boil, and cook for 1 minute, until the sauce thickens. Pour the sauce over the pork and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Pan Fried Pork Chops with Fresh Apples
4 loin or rib pork chops
3 large firm, sweet apples, cored, peeled and sliced into 12 slices*
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup apple juice or cider
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Pan cook pork chops until barely done. Place on a platter in a warm oven. Add butter and brown sugar to pan used to cook pork chops and set over medium heat. Stir butter and sugar to blend well and to allow to caramelize slightly and to loosen small pieces of the pork chops. Add apple juice or cider and apple slices. Cook apples just until done, then remove with a slotted spoon and set apples aside. Reduce the pan juices to two to three tablespoons. Remove from heat and add vanilla, salt and pepper. Add apples slices and return to heat until the apples are hot. Pour over the pork chops. Serve with rice or potatoes.* Summer apples such as Gravenstein will work in this recipe; you may need to add a little extra sugar.

Note: This recipe can also be made with papaya, mango, peaches or nectarines. You will need less sugar and less juice as these fruits have lots of natural juices.

Stir-Fried Pork with Ginger and Napa Cabbage
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh ginger juice
2 tablespoons sake
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
3/4 cup napa cabbage, cut into small squares
2 inches fresh ginger, shredded
Combine soy sauce, ginger juice, sake, and sugar in a small bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add pork and stir-fry until meat is partially cooked, about 1 minute. Remove pork from skillet and drain.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add cabbage and ginger and stir-fry until almost tender, about 2 minutes. Return pork to skillet with the sauce mixture, and stir-fry over high heat until pork is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Serve with rice. Makes 4 servings.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Fruit Salad
and Sweet Ginger Dressing
The idea here is to create a bed of tropical fresh fruit and crisp lettuce of your choice, then top it off with slices of tender grilled pork tenderloin. A combination of island flavors served with aloha.

2 pork tenderloins (2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds total)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for spice rub:
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Ingredients for sauce:
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon Tabasco

Ingredients for sweet ginger dressing:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger root
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Ingredients for fresh fruit salad:
a variety of your favorite lettuces, watercress, leaf lettuce, etc.
a selection of tropical fruit, mango, papaya, avocado, kiwi, pineapple, etc.

Prepare pork: Preheat grill. Coat pork tenderloins with olive oil. Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, then coat pork with spice rub.

Make glaze and grill pork: Stir together brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco. Grill tenderloin about 10-15 minutes on each side, brushing with sauce in the last 5 minutes. Watch it carefully, using an instant read thermometer, remove from the grill when the tenderloin registers 140°F. Cover the grilled pork and let it rest while you toss and compose the salad.

Procedure for salad dressing:
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, vinegar, sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Serve over your favorite salad greens with fresh fruit. Makes 2 1/3 cups of dressing.

Assemble salad: Cut pork at a 45˚ angle into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Line a large platter with dressed fruit salad and arrange sliced pork in rows on top. Drizzle glaze over the pork. Serves 6-8.

Roast Pork Belly
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Roast Pork Belly
This is one of the fattier cuts of pork. Bacon is made from pork belly. Fortunately fat is flavor, and in this recipe, most of the fat melts away in the cooking process before the pork ever hits your mouth, leaving a piece of meat that is drenched in flavor. *I usually look for leaner cuts of pork belly with less fat.

1–3 to 4 pound piece of pork belly, skin on if possible and scored*
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fennel seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (optional)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

With a sharp knife, score across the skin, or fat if the skin has been remove, in a diamond or cross hatch pattern. By doing this, the fat works its way out, lubricating, bronzing and moisturizing everything in the pan. Place the soy sauce, garlic, fennel, coriander, thyme, salt, and pepper into a mortar and grind it using the pestle until a paste forms (you can do this in a blender). Spread the paste onto the pork skin, making sure you get into all the score marks. Cover with plastic and place in the fridge for 1 hour to marinate. Remove pork from the fridge 1 hour before cooking to bring it up to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the pork, skin side up, on a rack, in a roasting pan and cook in the lower 1/3 of your oven for 30 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Lower the temperature to 400°F. Pour half a cup of water into the roasting pan and cook for 1 1/2 hours more or until the meat is tender. Serve in thick slices. Makes 4 – 6 servings.

Watercress Soup with Pork Wontons
1 large bunch watercress, stems removed
8 ounces minced pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon Chinese wine or dry sherry
pinch of freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 pints chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces ready-made wonton skins

Divide the watercress into two bunches. Chop one bunch finely and cut the other in 1 inch pieces. In a bowl, mix together the minced pork, finely chopped watercress, soy sauce. 1 teaspoon sesame oil, sugar, cooking wine, pepper and ginger. Beat well to combine throughly. Place about 1 heaping teaspoon of the filling in the middle of a ready-made wonton skin, gather up the corners to completely enclose the meat, then twist the top to close tightly. Continue until all the meat mixture is used up. In a deep saucepan, heat the chicken stock with the salt. In a separate pan, bring about 2 1/2 pints of water to a boil. When boiling, drop in the wontons. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Drain the wontons and place in a deep bowl. Line soup bowls with the remaining watercress. Put in the wontons. Pour on the chicken stock, sprinkle with the remaining sesame oil and serve hot. Makes 2 servings.

Tropical Pulled Pork Sliders
Ingredients for Pork:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 boneless pork butt or shoulder, fat cap scored (about 5 pounds)
1 1/2 cups rice vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup bourbon (I use Maker's Mark, but whatever you like)

Ingredients for Pineapple Salsa:
1 pineapple, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
juice of one lime
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

slider buns (small sweet dinner rolls - King's Hawaiian Bakery, 12 pack)
red cabbage, shredded

Mix together the brown sugar and spices in a small container. Generously rub the pork with the seasoning. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 2 hours or overnight, refrigerated. When ready to cook the pork, preheat the oven to 325˚F with the oven rack in the middle position. Remove the plastic wrap from the pork and place in a Dutch oven with a lid. Cover and place in the oven to roast for 3 hours.

After 3 hours, uncover and cook for another 45 minutes to brown the fat and cook until the pork registers 200˚F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes.

Make the sauce by adding the vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper, salt, and garlic cloves to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Take off the heat. Add the rum and set aside. Shred the pork with two forks. Right before you serve the pork, toss with the sauce, remove the garlic cloves.

While the pork is cooking, make the pineapple salsa. Mix all of the ingredients together and set aside. Check for seasoning, adding more salt as needed. To make the sandwiches, layer red cabbage, pork, and pineapple salsa on a slider bun. Serve with chips. Makes about 12 sandwiches.

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