Pork Meatballs Asian Style

Since this pandemic has had us sheltering at home, most of us are doing a lot more cooking than usual.  And, if you’re like me, you keep trying to come up with new dishes to break the monotony.  Unless, of course, monotony is what you actually prefer.  I do know people who could easily survive on pizza or burgers or Mac and cheese as a steady diet. Yesterday I had a pound of ground pork thawed and was trying to think of something different to make for dinner.  I was talking to my daughter and she shared this recipe which they had recently made.  Based on what was available in my fridge and pantry I modified the recipe a bit, and I’m sharing my own take.  This was a quick and easy dish to prepare and packed a lot of flavor.  We devoured all but 4-5 meatballs!

Meatball Ingredients:

1 pound of ground pork

2-3 green onions finely sliced

1 inch of fresh ginger grated

1-2 cloves of garlic grated

3/4 cup of fresh bread crumbs

Add all of the ingredients to the pork.

Before you start mixing the meatball ingredients, cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix well and shape into 12-14 meatballs.  Place the meatballs on one end of the baking sheet.

Cut vegetables of your choosing into bite size pieces.  A generous 2 to 3 cups.  I used broccoli florets, sweet peppers, mushrooms, and pea pods.

Toss the vegetables in a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil or olive oil and put them on the other end of the baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  While the oven is preheating prepare your sauce.

Sauce Ingredients:

1 T toasted sesame oil

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup orange juice

3 T hoisin sauce

3 T honey

2 T rice vinegar

1 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less based on personal preference)

Measure out all of your ingredients in a medium size heavy saucepan.

Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat and keep it at a slow boil for 8-10 minutes until it is reduced by about a third.   Remove from the heat.

While your sauce is cooking, put the meatballs and vegetables in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.  At this point, ladle about a third to half of the sauce over the meatballs and return them to the oven for another 3-4 minutes.

Serve the meatballs, vegetables and sauce over rice.  I used brown rice with quinoa, but use your favorite rice.  I garnished ours with thin sliced radishes, green onion, and cilantro.

NOTE:  The original recipe called for ground chicken or turkey but I really liked the ground pork.  I think that beef might be too heavy for this dish but, as with all recipes, it’s all about personal preference.

You can use vegetables of your choosing; zucchini or summer squash, onion, green beans.  I did not have low sodium soy sauce so I did not add any additional salt and none was necessary.

Use garnishes of your choice including sesame seeds or a little fresh basil.  It all makes a beautiful plate of food.  Enjoy.

Meat Pie

Some time ago, I’m not sure where, I came across a recipe for meat pies and tucked it away along with the hundreds of other recipes I plan on making one day.  Today was the day for meat pies.  The weather is getting colder and comfort foods like this are extra appealing.  The ingredients are very basic and the dish comes together quickly, especially if you use pre-made pie crust.  However, it’s Sunday and I had lots of time, so I used my favorite King Arthur recipe for pie crust which I’ll also share here.  I made two pies and shared one with our neighbors.  She has been down with a cold or flu and no one feels like cooking when they’re sick.  He doesn’t like vegetables so this dish was perfect for sharing.

First the crust.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups AP flour (10.5 oz)

1 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

10 T cold unsalted butter, cubed

6-10 T ice water

The beauty of this recipe is that you make it in your stand mixer. I’ve made crust recipes in my food processor before but this works perfectly every time.  Measure out your flour, salt and shortening and put it into the bowl of your stand mixer.  Use the beater attachment and mix until you have an even crumble.

Add the butter and mix until there is an uneven crumble.  You still want to be able to see little chunks of butter.

Once the butter is mixed in and while the mixer is running slowly add the ice water until the mixture starts forming large clumps.  Stop adding water and stop the mixer.  If the clumps hold together restart the mixer and add just enough additional water to make the crust come together in one ball without any crumbs.  You’re done mixing.  Remove the dough to your work surface and divide it into two discs.  Wrap each disc in wax paper or parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

One of the tricks I learned from King Arthur that makes so much sense is to make one larger and one smaller disc.  The larger disc for the bottom crust, the smaller one for the top.

Now that the crust is made and chilling you’re ready to prepare the meat mixture.

Ingredients:

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 pound ground pork

1 large sweet onion diced

2 T butter

4-5 russet potatoes boiled

2 T poultry seasoning

1/2 tsp ground cloves

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Peel, cut and rinse potatoes.  Cover with cold salted water, bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are fork tender.

While the potatoes are cooking rough chop the onions.  Heat butter in a large heavy skillet and cook the onion just until it is translucent..

Add the pork and beef to the skillet with the onion and, over medium heat, cook until the meat is no longer pink.  Drain off excess fat but leave a little for flavor.

Season the meat with the poultry seasoning, cloves, and salt and pepper to taste.

Rice the potatoes (or mash) without any butter or cream.  Stir in just enough of the potato to bind the meat together.

Looks like cheese, but it’s just riced potatoes.  Now it’s time to roll out your pie crust.  The filling recipe makes 2 pies.  Put half of the meat mixture in each pie.

Roll out the top crust and cut vent slits.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  Slice and serve.

I served ours with steamed broccoli and a salad.  And catsup of course.

Meat pie is definitely a good comfort food for cold days and I will make it again.  The leftovers should reheat well and it may even taste better the second day than the first.

NOTE:  When I first read the recipe I thought the spice combo of poultry seasoning and ground cloves with a beef and pork dish was odd.  But it actually worked well.  However, you could change that up and use Italian seasoning and serve with a side of marinara or Mexican seasoning with a side of fresh salsa.  Endless possibilities.  I preferred using catsup with this recipe but you could make a gravy or barbecue sauce if that would be more to your liking.

As an aside, for years I always cooked potatoes in a pot with the lid on.  Awhile back someone told me potatoes should be simmered in a kettle with the lid off.  I googled it, because that’s what we all do now, and sure enough, the instructions for boiling potatoes say lid off.  My potatoes have always tasted fine but occasionally, I make an effort to do it the proper way now.

 

 

Stuffed Peppers

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Stuffed peppers are a perfect winter supper.  A meal in themselves.  Just add a salad and some good crusty bread and serve.   If you look up recipes for stuffed peppers there are all sorts of ethnic variations.  A Spanish stuffed pepper with Manchego cheese, cod and a béchamel sauce. An Indian stuffed pepper with meat, potato, onion, turmeric and coriander.  A Mexican pepper stuffed with cheese, covered in an egg batter and deep fried.  A Finnish stuffed pepper with rice and lamb,  finished with some heavy cream.   The pepper itself is the vehicle and almost any combination of protein, carb, and seasoning can be stuffed inside.  Today I made my peppers with lots of tomato, rice and ground pork.

Ingredients:

5-6 red, yellow or orange peppers

1 pound ground pork (or pork sausage)

2 pints of tomatoes

1 cup beef or chicken broth

2 cups rice (cooked)

1 cup red onion diced

1 cup celery diced

tops of peppers diced

2 T olive oil

4-5 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 lemon juiced

1 T oregano

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

1 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

1/2  cup fresh parsley

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Preheat your oven to 375.

Cut the tops off of the peppers and reserve to use in the filling.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the peppers for 5-6 minutes until tender.  Drain on a clean kitchen towel and set aside.

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Dice the pepper caps, onion, and celery.  Heat 2 T of olive oil in a heavy skillet and sauté the vegetables over medium heat until tender.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.

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Set aside 1/2 of the vegetable mixture to use for the sauce.  Add the ground meat to the skillet and cook until the meat is no longer pink.  After the meat has cooked I put it in a strainer to drain off the fat and then return it to the skillet.

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Add one pint of tomatoes, 1/2 cup of broth, and oregano and cayenne to the meat mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Transfer the meat mixture to a large bowl.  (Or if you are into less dishes use the kettle you parboiled the peppers in.)  Add the 2 cups of rice, 1 cup of cheese, and parsley and stir to combine.  If you feel the mixture needs more moisture add a little more broth.  Set aside while you make the gravy.

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In the skillet combine the reserved vegetables, one pint of tomatoes, 1/2 cup of broth, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce is reduced and thickens.  Tranfer the sauce to a food processor or blender and purée.

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Now it’s time to assemble the peppers.  Fill each pepper with the meat and rice mixture and stand up in a casserole dish.  Once you’ve filled the peppers pour the gravy over the top and bake for 45 minutes.

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Serve with  extra grated cheese and some good bread.  Enjoy!

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NOTE:  Cooking is limited only by one’s imagination.  This recipe is a perfect example of an opportunity to substitute ingredients based on your family’s personal tastes.  Beef, lamb, turkey or pork.  Rice, quinoa, potato or orzo.  Parsley, basil, cilantro or mint.

 

 

Stuffed Meatloaf

 

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I haven’t made a stuffed meatloaf in a long time. You can stuff it with any combination of veggies and cheeses based on your personal favorites.  I decided to stuff mine with caramelized onions, oven roasted tomatoes and cheese. How can that combo not be good!!  I had some very special friends coming for dinner and decided this was a bit of sophisticated twist on  a homey comfort dish.

First I sliced and roasted several Roma tomatoes.  Lay the tomato slices out on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil, scatter some smashed garlic cloves and salt to taste. Put in a 225 degree oven for approximately 5 hours.

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Grate approximately 1 cup of cheese. I used asiago and Parmesan.

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Next, slice a large yellow sweet onion and caramelize it over medium heat in olive oil.

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Meatloaf Ingredients:

1 pound of ground pork

1 pound of ground beef

1 cup bread crumbs

2 eggs

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup fresh minced parsley

3 or 4 cloves of garlic minced

salt and pepper to taste

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Preheat your oven to 350.

Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl and, using your hands, mix together.

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On a piece of parchment paper shape the meat mixture into a  rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.   Top with the tomatoes and onion and sprinkle with cheese.

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Using the parchment paper roll the meatloaf jelly roll style and place in a large baking dish.

Meat Loaf Topping Ingredients:

1 cup catsup

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

Whisk together.

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Pour the sauce over the meatloaf and bake for approximately one hour. Allow it to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.

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I served it with oven roasted Brussels sprouts and new potatoes. Would also be great with smashed potatoes, corn on the cob… any sides you would typically serve with meatloaf.

Santa Fe Green Chili with Pork

I haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks. I’ve been busy with the holidays and I had my 87 year old father visiting for a couple of wonderful weeks around Thanksgiving. My husband was bragging my blog up to my dad and my dad asked if I got paid for writing my recipes on the computer. I told him no, but one day my blog may make me famous. To which my dad replied, what good is being famous if you don’t make any money. Yup!  Ever the practical Finn.

So the possibility of fame is the lead in to this particular blog entry. I entered a Chili Cookoff that was held today. I decided to make my Santa Fe Green Chili with pork. I call it my Santa Fe Chili because I purchased the green chili powder that I use in this recipe on one of our visits to Santa Fe.   This is one of my favorite chili recipes!  And a lot of the chili tasters also liked it. I’m proud to say I placed second in the competition. Hope you’ll like it too.

Chili, like many other soups, tastes best the second day. If possible I would recommend preparing it the day before you plan to eat it. In this particular recipe there is a notable positive difference with the flavors and heat the second day.

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Ingredients:

2 pounds good lean ground pork

1 large onion diced

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

3-4 poblano peppers roasted, peeled and rough chopped

1-2 seeded and diced jalapeño pepper(s)

1 can mild green chilies diced

6 cups chicken broth

1 quart diced tomatoes

3 T dried oregano

1 T dried green chili powder

1 T cumin

salt to taste

2 cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed

2 15-oz cans yellow or white hominy drained and rinsed

1/4 cup (or more to taste) of fresh cilantro chopped

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On top of your gas range or in your oven roast the peppers. Once the peppers have a good char put them in a bowl and cover with Saran Wrap until they are cool enough to peel and dice.

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In a large heavy kettle cook the pork, onions and garlic until the pork is no longer pink.

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I like to to strain out any grease after cooking and then return the meat and onions to the kettle.

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Add the diced poblano peppers, jalapeños, and mild green chilies.

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Add the oregano, cumin, green chili powder, and salt to taste. Stir in the chicken broth and diced tomatoes.  Drain and rinse the beans and hominy and add to the kettle.

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Bring the chili to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.

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Allow the chili to cool down and refrigerate overnight.

On the second day slowly heat the chili over medium heat. Chop the cilantro and stir into the chili.

Serve with fresh grated pepper jack cheese, thinly sliced green onions, and a little sour cream. Chili goes great with a nice slice of buttermilk cornbread. Cornbread recipe was previously blogged.

Thanks to all the folks at the chili Cookoff today who voted for my Santa Fe Green Chili!  You gave me a brief moment of fame, a cookbook and a great apron!

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