Quick Tip – Pork Chop Brine

By Julie20160325_174452

Tired of eating tough, dry, bland pork?  Try brining.  It makes your pork tender, juicy, and incredibly flavorful.  I prep this quickly in the morning, and then the chops are ready for cooking.

You Will Need

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Place a large freezer bag in a big bowl, this will keep it stable while you’re mixing the brine.  Add the salt and sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until dissolved completely.  Add the cold water and the pork.  Place in the fridge for 4-8 hours.  Rinse meat and pat dry before cooking.

This sounds like effort but it is very simple.  And worth it.

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Slowcooker Pulled Pork

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By: Corinne

I have a busy life. One of the ways I manage cooking is just recognizing that sometimes I’m not going to have a lot of time to put something together for supper. I like my slow cooker for these applications, but even more so like things that I can prep and freeze and then throw into the slowcooker when I need to.

I like this recipe for pulled pork, mostly because I find it’s much easier to use the leftovers for a variety of things, pulled pork pizza, pulled pork wraps with avocado and sprouts, baked pulled pork pasta with peppers, or soup. I find a more thick BBQ saucy type pulled pork for sandwiches, but not much else. So if you like that style, but anticipate having a lot of leftovers, just pull out what you want for sandwiches and sauce it up.

I usually buy boneless pork rib roast as they go on sale fairly frequently. This tends to be a less fatty cut than others used for pulled pork. In the photo below you can see that I didn’t need to drain off any fat, but you may if you use a fatty cut of meat.

You Will Need:

  • 1.5 – 2kg roast, cut in half (mine was 1.86kg)
  • 2 large freezer baggies
  • 2 large onions chopped (one for each bag)
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped (two for each bag)
  • 1 beer (half for each bag)- not an IPA as the bitterness really comes through. Use a more boring beer like Alexander Keith’s or Sleeman’s honey brown. To make GF, omit the beer and add 1 cup of water or veggie or chicken stock, or use a GF beer. While I haven’t tried it, I bet a cider would be good in this recipe too, not one of the really pop-like ones.. but a dry cider would probably work just fine and would also be gluten free.

All of the following ingredients are that amount for each half of the roast- so you put that amount in each baggie

  • 1 tbsp chili powder (I used my homemade stuff, depending on your spice level you may want more or less)
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 3oz tomato paste-  half of a small can
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (for GF substitute balsamic vinegar or a GF Worcestershire)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo chopped

Add all of the ingredients to the baggies, it really doesn’t matter what order you do it in, as long as you add the beer last and smush everything around so it mixes before you add the pork. If you happened to oopsie and add a whole beer to each bag instead of just half, don’t worry it will be just fine 🙂 Then pop it in the freezer and you are good to go for another day. If you are skipping the freezing step you can of course do this all directly in the slow cooker 🙂 When that other day comes, take your already good to go pulled pork from the freezer, let it thaw in your fridge over night (in the slowcooker even so it’s all ready to go in the morning) and then into your slowcooker on low for 6-8 hours. My slowcooker on low is quite gentle, so it’s been fine for up to 10 hours.

When it’s finished, if you used a very fatty roast and seem to have too much juice, feel free to pour some off (but don’t toss it yet!) before using two forks to shred the pork. If you have time to let it sit for another 15 min after shredding it gives the sauciness a chance to get right in the meat and you might find you want to use some of those juices you poured off.

Serve on soft buns with your favourite coleslaw. Even though this is just half of the original roast- it makes a lot and I always plan to make something with the leftovers.

Favourite things to make with leftovers- pulled pork pizza, pulled pork pasta and pulled pork soup!

Pork Chops with Peppers-Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking

By: Corinne

A few years ago I bought my friend Julie the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, a book by Deb Perelman of the http://smittenkitchen.com/ blog. We both adore the book and her blog. In part it was this exchange that got us talking about cooking, which has since led to this blog 🙂

Julie, being the thoughtful and wonderful person who she is, thought it would be fun to cook out of another cookbook together and I found this wonderful package in the mail one day.

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In addition to all of her other qualities, Julie is a creative and accomplished scrapbooker (and scrap blogger if that is a thing?) She made the gorgeous card to go with the book and the beautiful jelly.

The first recipe from this book I tried was the the Pork Chops with Peppers. An odd choice since pork chops are NOT one of my favourite things.

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I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter. After all, I wouldn’t want Chef Ramsay to yell at me – though I’m sure he’s lovely in real life.  Things I would note- there is a generous amount of peppers and onions! I was a bit skeptical about the amount of sugar, as I often find in ‘sweet and sour’ type recipes mostly just end up sweet. I went with it and it wasn’t too much. I actually made three pork chops not two- and as you can see in my photo there are no shortage of peppers and onions on my chop. I actually quite liked this, which is a bit surprising because pork chops are not my favourite- I usually only make them when someone else requests them. The instructions in the book are clear and precise. The following video is Gordon preparing this recipe from his book.