Slow Braised Kahlua Pork Shoulder

by Monday, January 26, 2015
 I wanted to try a new preparation of pork shoulder, since I have been in a (delightful, delicious) rut with Mexican Pulled Pork. No complaints, honestly, as hubby and I not only gorge on it the night we make it, but eat it cold as a snack and reheated in various forms throughout the week. But my recipe is an 8-10 hour slow cooker recipe, which is stupid-simple, but not great when it's 4pm and I'm like "Oh no! I am eating out the next three nights and I have 4 pounds of pork in my fridge!"

So the following is what I came up with. It is an amalgam of several other recipes and let me tell you: YUM! We chose to have it with mashed potatoes, which isn't very inspired, but we have 3lbs of golden potatoes we need to eat up before they go bad (got 'em on sale) so it seemed a good idea. I made other suggestions in the recipe for what I would do if I had shopped for the purpose.

 Slow Braised Kahlua Pork Shoulder
4-5 lb Pork Shoulder
7 cloves garlic (3 sliced, 4 smashed)
Hawaiian sea salt
1/2 large onion, chopped
Optional: one 3" piece of fresh ginger, minced
1 cup pineapple juice
2 cups chicken broth
Optional: one 3" piece of fresh ginger, grated
Canola oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Pour a couple Tablespoons of canola oil into a large dutch oven over medium high heat.

Cut pork shoulder into 4-5 pieces. Poke holes in pork and poke the sliced garlic pieces into the holes.

Generously coat all meat pieces with the Hawaiian sea salt and a bit of pepper. Sear all sides of the meat, then remove to a plate.

Turn stove down to medium, add a couple more Tablespoons of canola oil to hot dutch oven, toss in chopped onion, smashed garlic cloves, and ginger (if using) and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add pineapple juice and chicken broth and heat through. Add pork back to dutch over, cover and place in oven.

Cook for 2 1/2 hours until pork is fork tender.

Remove pork to a large plate or bowl, shred with two forks.

Optional Step: Put shredded pork on foil-lined baking sheet and return to oven. Put on broil and crisp pork, turning every 7 minutes or so to crisp up more pieces to your liking. Try not to overcook and dry it out, just crisp some edges for exceptionally yummy crunch.

Another Optional Step: Take some braising liquid from the pan and reduce with a little butter (and a little brown sugar if you want a little more sweetness) in a pan to make a sauce for the meat.

Serve over mashed sweet potatoes or parsnips, brown rice, shredded cabbage salad, or polenta. You could also make a sandwich, putting the pulled pork on a hoagie roll or, for "authenticity" on King's Hawaiian Bread!

Amish Cinnamon Bread

by Thursday, January 15, 2015
Gotta make this!

Amish Cinnamon Bread
No kneading, you just mix it up and bake it
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Cinnamon/sugar mixture:
2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Cream together butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs. Add milk, flour, and baking soda. Put 1/2 of batter (or a little less) into greased loaf pans (1/4 in each pan). Mix in separate bowl the 2/3 c sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in each pan. Add remaining batter to pans; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. or until toothpick tester come clean.
Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

Almond Crusted Chicken with Blue Cheese, Bacon, Mushroom Stuffing

by Wednesday, January 14, 2015

We did this two ways--stuffed and topped--to see which we liked best. WE LIKED BOTH! So I will offer both options below:

Almond Crusted Chicken with Blue Cheese, Bacon, & Mushroom (Stuffing)

Crusted Chicken:
2 Chicken breasts
1/4 cup almonds, lightly crushed
Herbs of choice (I used mainly thyme and a punch of cumin)
Salt & pepper
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp dijon mustard

Sauce/Stuffing :
3 pieces of bacon (or 4!)
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, remove stems and slice
1 small shallot, finely diced
2 Tbsp Blue cheese (or more if you like!)
1/2 cup cream (optional, if making sauce instead of stuffing)

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Line baking sheet with foil, lay out bacon and bake for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through, until crispy. Remove to paper towel.
  3. Add butter to pan over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms and wilt. Add shallots, some salt and pepper to taste, and cook until shallots are transparent. Remove to bowl.
  4. When bacon is cool enough to handle, break or chop into small pieces, add to bowl with mushrooms and shallots. Add blue cheese and mix lightly with fingers.
  5. IF STUFFING, slice a pocket into the breast and use fingers to gently widen the interior without making the entry hole too large (keeps the ingredients from spilling out during cooking). Take 1/2 of the blue cheese/bacon/shallot/mushroom mix and stuff into the pocket, press opening closed as best you can.
    IF COATING, leave chicken intact and move on to step 6
  6. Mix herbs, some salt and pepper to taste, coat chicken breasts with herbs
  7. Mix together honey and dijon, coat herbed chicken breasts 
  8. Roll each breast in crushed almonds. Place crusted breasts on the same foil-lined sheet you cooked your bacon on (should have bacon fats/oils still on it)
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until internal temp is to your liking (I am a 165 girl, public health will tell you otherwise, but I'm a rebel like that). 
  10. IF YOU DID NOT STUFF, add 1/4 cup cream to pan and heat over medium-low to reduce by half. Add blue cheese/bacon/shallot/mushroom mix to reduced cream and heat through, stirring until blue cheese melts completely.
  11. Let chicken rest about 5 minutes before serving. 
  12. NOTE: If you made a sauce, I recommend putting it in a little pool on the plate and then placing the chicken breast on top of the sauce. It's a slightly more elegant presentation, IMO, than a lumpy sauce poured over the top, obscuring the lovely browned almond crust.


On this blog I share my personal posts about cooking and knitting, travel and other musings; while I will blog about dance-specific topics over on the Deep Roots Dance blog:

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