Pulled Pork

We have high standards for barbecue in this apartment. Sarah’s from a barbecue-centric part of the world. We’ve been getting better at making sauces of all kinds (let me tell you about a recent Alfredo experiment that has bolstered my own confidence). Oh, and we live in Germany, home of the Champion Pork People. So why wouldn’t we want to try our hand at pulled pork sandwiches? Continue reading Pulled Pork

Ham, Mushroom and Cheese Quiche

Got the inspiration for this quiche from Thursday Night Smackdown. We had

  • a pie crust to use up, and
  • the mushrooms at the Donaumarkt this weekend looked great, and
  • my favorite ham was there: “schwarz geräucherter” from Rottaler Landmetzgerei Griesbacher. I get a Leberkäs Semmel mit dem scharfen Senf from them most Saturday mornings.

So conditions were favorable for a quiche this weekend. Continue reading Ham, Mushroom and Cheese Quiche

Thai Garlic Meatball and Pork-Filled Cucumber Soup

Geng Djud Teng Gwa Jad Sei Mu Sab(?)
I think that’s Thai for “Can’t handle the fish sauce? Eat this!”
A while back we attended an evening of Indian cooking instruction at our local Volkshochschule. The next installment was last week, and we moved a little further East, culinarily speaking, to Thailand. Given Sarah’s rules about fish (it better be canned tuna or beer-battered cod) and derivative products, I was flying solo on this one. But I brought home a winner of a recipe that met with her approval this evening at home, too.

Continue reading Thai Garlic Meatball and Pork-Filled Cucumber Soup

Garlic & Paprika Sausage

The sausages I made are the four in the middle of the grill.

Nearly a wholesale lift from this recipe, my version contains about half the ground black pepper compared to the original. Love that site for inspiration! Even with 25% extra pork fat added into the mix, these dry out quickly if you let them go too long on the grill. Continue reading Garlic & Paprika Sausage

Sausage Gravy

Well, we have a good biscuit recipe. Isn’t this the next logical step? This is not by any stretch of the imagination diet friendly, but it’s absolutely delicious. Plus, it’s enough work that you won’t want to make it that often.

1/2 lb bulk pork sausage, crumbled (or make your own!)
2 T flour
1 1/2 c weak beef broth
1/2 c whipping cream
1/2 t sage
1/2 t black pepper
pinch ground cloves

In a deep skillet over medium heat, brown sausage, breaking up with back of spatula while cooking. Drain off fat except for one tablespoon and stir flour into meat until no lumps remain, then add beef broth, stirring frequently until liquid comes to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low and add cream in a slow stream while stirring. Add sage, pepper and cloves and stir constantly until mixture thickens and just begins to boil – gravy should well coat the back of spoon. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Sauerkraut Paprikash

I will eat anything that includes sour cream. It is literally my favorite food. Since I’ve come around to sausage and sauerkraut and I have way too much paprika, this looked like the perfect recipe. I’ve made some alterations, so here’s the original and below is what I actually did.

2 T butter
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T hot paprika
1 lb Polish sausage, sliced
3 small potatoes, medium dice
2 T fresh chopped dill
1 tsp caraway seeds
2 c chicken broth
2 16 oz cans sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
3/4 c sour cream

1. Melt the butter in a dutch oven and add the onion, garlic, and paprika. Cook over medium heat until the onion is quite soft, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Add the sausages and potatoes and cook for a minute to begin rendering their fat. Add the dill, caraway seed, broth, and water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Add the sauerkraut and stir to combine well. Continue simmering, covered, for an additional 15 minutes. Add a little water (no more than 1/2 c) if it looks like there’s not enough liquid or the sauerkraut begins burning to the bottom of the pot.

4. Add the sour cream and simmer just until hot; avoid letting the liquid boil once it’s added. Serve immediately.

Hot Italian Sausage

After the success of the breakfast sausage patties, I wanted to see if I could make some hot Italian sausage at home too.

Answer: YES.

But not with the recipe I used as a basis. Even with the suggestion to add fennel and red pepper flakes, the ratios there were terribly weak.

So here’s my suggestion:

1 pinch of salt
3 pinches coriander
3 pinches coarse black pepper
1/2 t whole fennel seed
3 pinches hot red pepper flakes
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 t smoked sweet paprika
40 ml water
500 g (about a pound) of ground pork

Note the pinches — nothing more exact than that. I mix the stuff up in a bowl with my best guess, then fry up a silver-dollar-sized patty to check for taste and re-season if necessary. The end result is lovely in a meat-sauce — we’ve proven that tonight. I’m excited to try this out as a pizza topping (I’m looking at you, Matthias) or in a lasagna.

Homemade Sausage Patties

I had a hankering for some breakfast sausage patties recently. Checked with Mom via Skype and she said it would be easy to make ourselves. She was right. I cobbled the below recipe from stuff I found by googling and trial-and-error.

Here’s what you need:

1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/3 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pinch ground cloves
1 lb. ground pork — finely ground, if you can get it.

This is not an exact science, so mess with the proportions according to your taste. I like it sagey and peppery (both red and black) and this recipe reflects that. Actually, I forgot the cloves in this trial run of the recipe, and they were great without it, but I’m putting them in next time for sure. And we didn’t have dried sage, but oddly enough, we did have ground sage, which worked fine.

Mix all that stuff up together in a bowl. Some advice I read said to mix the stuff together by hand; some said that the body heat from your hands will negatively impact the texture of the meat. I opted to distribute the herbs and spices throughout the meat by using a thin wooden spatula with sort of a chopping motion. Seems to have worked. I got 4 hamburger-sized patties out of that recipe.

Pork Tenderloin in Mustard Sauce

This was a bit of a shocker. I just wanted to make something that involved a mustard sauce. I got the recipe originally from Recipezaar, but partially due to negligence and an inborn inability to follow directions, I tweaked it. So follow the link for the original – I’m posting here what I did. It looks kind of involved, but it comes together really quickly. I served it over egg noodles, but it might work with brown rice or a dark green vegetable like broccoli. The sauce was fabulous – I suggest 1.5ing or doubling it.

1 c crème fraîche
1 T whole grain mustard
1 t dijon mustard
1 t Colman’s dry mustard
1 T butter
1 T canola oil
1 onion, sliced thin
1 medium pork tenderloin (about 1 lb), trimmed and sliced thin
1 lb mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 t cornstarch
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 t tarragon

Whisk together crème fraîche and all three mustards in a small bowl and set aside. In a large skillet, heat butter and oil to medium and cook onions until just soft, about 3-5 minutes. Remove onions to plate and turn skillet up to high. When the pan starts to smoke a little, add the pork and quickly stir-fry (the thinner the pork is sliced, the faster this part goes). When the pork is still slightly pink in the centers, add the mushrooms and stir frequently. When the mushrooms just start to release their juices, add the onions back in. Stir the cornstarch into the chicken broth and add it to the skillet, letting it come to a rapid boil. After it boils for about a minute, add the pepper and tarragon, then turn the heat down to medium low and add the mustard mixture. Stir until just combined and heat through, but do not boil. Serve immediately.

Chinese Dumplings

It’s high time for a few updates on this recipe. While the ingredients for the original version have remained pretty much the same, we’ve streamlined a few preparation steps, been shown a vegan filling option, discovered a video about folding and stumbled on a really efficient way to cook them. Time consuming, but worth every moment!

6 leaves Napa cabbage
5-6 dried Chinese mushrooms, rehydrated in boiled water for 20-30 minutes, squeezed and quartered
1 clove garlic, very roughly chopped
1 in/2.5 cm fresh peeled ginger, very roughly chopped
2/3 lb ground pork or mixed beef and pork (meatloaf mix)
1 egg white
2 t dark soy sauce
1/2 t white ground pepper
1/8 t Chinese chili powder
1 t salt

About 2 c flour
About 1/2 c water

*Homemade dough is delicious, but if you can buy wrappers (gyoza or wonton, doesn’t really matter), do it! The whole thing will go so much faster.

Dipping Sauce
1 t black vinegar
2 T light soy sauce
1 t Shao Xing wine
½ t sugar
A few drops chili oil

  1. After washing cabbage leaves, tear each leaf into pieces. Put into food processor with rehydrated mushrooms, garlic and ginger. Chop to fine in food processor. Place in medium mixing bowl. Add ground meat, egg white, soy sauce, pepper, chili powder and salt to mixing bowl and mix all ingredients well. Once filling is mixed, make dumpling dough. If you’re using store-bought wrappers, skip to step 4.

  2. In another medium mixing bowl, combine flour and water. Knead together with hands, adding more water or flour as needed. Dough should be slightly sticky, yet firm and pliable. Or, use a food processor with a blade attachment and a feeder tube. Put the flour into the food processor bowl, turn it on and add the water through the feeder tube. The dough nearly assembles itself.

  3. Place finished dough on floured surface and roll with hands into a long, cylindrical shape (you might have to break dough into halves and roll out two separate cylinders), about 11/2 inches in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut cylinder into 1-11/2 inch pieces, turning roll with each cut so that you don’t squish the roll on one side. Press each dough piece with heel of hand to flatten, then with a floured rolling pin, roll each dough piece into a round flat shape. THIS PART IS TRIAL AND ERROR!! The rounds of dough should ideally be about 4-5 inches across and thickest in the middle.

  4. Put a dollop of meat mixture in the center of each dumpling wrapper (about 11/2 t). Seal the edges of the dough around the meat filling and place on floured surface. Check the video above for dumpling wrapping help.

  5. To steam, place in steamer basket lined with cabbage leaves and don’t let the dumplings touch (they’ll stick to each other). Steam for 20-25 minutes. To steam-fry (suggested!), heat a large, deep skillet with an unvented lid and 1-2 T oil (we use sesame, but vegetable is fine) over medium-high. Add dumplings to pan, not letting them touch. Pour 2-3 T water into the pan (it will spit), cover with lid and cook 2-3 minutes (until browned). Turn dumplings and brown on other side, another 2-3 minutes. Cook in batches and add more oil and water as necessary. Always be conservative; you can always add more, but too much could ruin your dumplings.

    Notice the crispy bits!

  6. To prepare the dipping sauce, whisk all ingredients together in a small, deep bowl.

Vegan Filling
5-6 leaves Napa cabbage (large center rib trimmed), torn
5-6 dried Chinese mushrooms, rehydrated w/hot water (30 minutes), squeezed and quartered
1 clove garlic, very roughly chopped
1 in. fresh peeled ginger, very roughly chopped
1 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1-2 T vegetable oil
1/8 t ground turmeric
salt and white pepper to taste

Fit food processor with blade attachment and add first 4 ingredients, chopping until pieces are fairly even in size. Heat a large, deep skillet to medium and add oil. Cook onion until very tender, then add contents of food processor and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, until well mixed and heated through. Add turmeric, salt and pepper, stir well and taste, adjusting as needed. You will probably need to add salt a few times, just to make the veggies pop. You don’t want them to taste perceptibly salty, just like the most intense versions of themselves. The salt also serves to temper some of the carrots’ sweetness.

Fill and steam or steam-fry as outlined above. The dipping sauce is especially great with this variety.