Pork, Turnip and Sweet Potato Stew

pork-turnip-sweet-potato-stew-sm

I was going through the dinner food line at my Grandparents house. All the cousins, aunts and uncles were there, so a pretty long line. Each stop in the line fills your plate more and more and it all looks great. I got to the mashed potatoes and gravy and took a pretty good size scoop. When I got to the kids table, I sat down and went straight for the “potatoes”. Unfortunately, they were not potatoes but mashed turnips. Yuck! From then on, I would tell people, there is nothing I won’t eat but turnips. Double Yuck!

All these years later, I still hadn’t ever eaten turnips. It’s funny, in retrospect, it wasn’t that I didn’t like turnips. It was the shock of getting them mashed, when I was expecting potatoes. Even when we got turnips in our CSA, we just gave them away (my wife doesn’t care for them either).

So, we got stuck with the turnips a week back and couldn’t give them away. After 30 years (give or take) I decided I’d give them a try again. I hit up Google and found a number of interesting recipes. The one I settled on was from a favorite Chef, Vivian Howard (a fellow North Carolinian). Here is a PDF of her recipe “Berkshire Pork, Turnip and Sweet Potato Stew“. I did my usually modifications to give it my own little spin, but WOW and Double Yum! With the weather getting cooler and it being turnips and sweet potato season, I highly recommend this one. We’ll be making it again. My wife even loved it.

The stew was surprisingly light. I left the herbs in whole and picked the stems (all the leaves just fall off during the braise) and bay out. The gremolata added a citrus punch and herbaceousness.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds pork Boston butt
  • 2-3 tbsp flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bunch turnips (diced) with greens
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 carrots, cubed
  • 2 celery stocks, diced
  • ½ a large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2-4 cups low sodium beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 sugar cubes (1 tbsp brown sugar)
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Ingredients for Gremolata

  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
Directions

    1. Heat a Dutch oven to medium high and add oil. Season the pork liberally with salt and pepper, dust with the flour and brown on all sides. Remove the pork and set aside.
      Add the onions, celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables until softened and add the garlic. Cook another minute or two and add tomato paste. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan.
    2. Reduce the heat to simmer and add the pork back to the pot. Add the stock until the pork is covered (use water if needed). Add sugar, bay, rosemary and thyme and cover with lid. Allow to simmer for 1 ½ hours.
    3. Add turnips and cook for 5 minutes. Add sweet potato and cook for another 5 minutes until the potatoes are barely tender. Add the turnip greens and allow to wilt a bit.
    4. For the gremolata, just add the lemon zest, minced garlic and parsley together and toss to combine.
    5. To plate, add a serving to a big bowl and garnish with the gremolata. Enjoy!
Pork, Turnip and Sweet Potato Stew

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Seared Okra and Pimento Cheese Grits

Bacon Wrapped Porkloin, Seared Okra and Pimento Cheese Grits

 

Super easy and impressive meal you can make on a week day, no problem. This was actually inspired by several meals I’ve eaten at restaurants. The bacon wrapped pork came from Soby’s and I’ve blogged before (Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin). The pimento cheese grits I had at Distilled at Gratz Park Inn. The seared okra I had at High Cotton Greenville. I made these a little more approachable for me at home but the combination is amazing.

This is as southern a meal as it gets. Bacon, pork, grits and okra. I made this for the in-laws from Indiana, they loved it. Other than the okra, everything pretty much self seasoned. The bacon on the pork and the pimento cheese in the grits.

Before we get started on the recipe, I want to dip my toes in a controversial topic here in these parts. Pimento Cheese. If you aren’t from the south and have never tried it, you might turn your nose up at it. You shouldn’t. It is fantastic. Here’s a shocker, I don’t like (I loathe) mayonnaise (unless I make it myself), an essential ingredient in every pimento cheese. I still love this stuff, but I digress.

The Controversy

Do you have your own recipe for pimento cheese? Which mayo do you use? Heaven forbid, do you add jalapenos? Do you only eat your Grandmothers? Do you buy it from a store or deli? What brand do you buy? You’d be surprised how many different answers to those questions you might get around here and the conversations they turn up. It’s almost (ALMOST) as bad as asking a southern about BBQ.

My answers are: Yes, I have made it myself. Duke’s is the only mayo if you must. Yes, I love jalapenos in mine. Nope, I eat just about anyone’s recipe. Yes, I buy in the store most times. Palmetto with Jalapenos (from Pawley’s Island) is favorite.

Ruth’s is another brand made in South Carolina that you can find in most stores but Palmetto isn’t as sweet or mushy.

 

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Set oven to 425 ° and set a large pan over medium high heat.
  2. Slice the okra in half length wise, toss in a bowl with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Wrap the pork with the bacon so that the seems are on the bottom of the tenderloin.
  4. Place the bacon wrapped pork in the hot pan seem side down and then sear on all sides. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until desired doneness (it is supposed to be 165 but I pull it before that). Place on a cutting board and allow to rest.
  5. Heat a large grill pan over medium high heat.
  6. Depending on the type of grits, cook per the instructions. I generally use half water and half milk. Also, if it calls for butter, I substituted olive oil. Just before serving mix in pimento cheese and allow to melt. For four servings I used 3-4 tablespoons.
  7. Place the okra in the grill pan and sear on both sides until just slightly tender.You should have nice grill marks.
  8. To serve, spoon some grits down, slice the pork and stack, then top with the okra.
  9. Enjoy!
Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Seared Okra and Pimento Cheese Grits

Pork Stir Fry, Braised Bok Choy and Brown Rice

Pork stir fry, braised bok choy with brown rice

We love our CSA, but we can only eat so much bok choy. This year we’ve receive quite a lot. This sent me off to find a recipe to use up a whole head. I came across a recipe for Pork and Bok Choy Stir Fry, and as usual, I tweaked it a bit. I added bell pepper and mushroom. I also used fresh ginger. Finally, I let the bok choy stand on its own by braising separately rather than in the stir fry.

The most interesting notes on this recipe were using cornstarch in the sauce which thickened it up and helped it stick to the pork and vegetables and the braising of bok choy in rice wine vinegar. I really liked this. Each component was tasty but the whole was delicious.

 

Ingredients

  • 3 pork cutlets, sliced through on a bias into pieces
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • Canola oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced (I used button)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bok choy
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flake
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup brown rice (I used instant, shame on me)
Directions

  1. In a medium size bowl, add the wine, soy sauce, honey and cornstarch and whisk until smooth, set aside.
  2. Heat a large pan or wok over medium to medium high heat. Add enough canola oil to just cover. Add pork and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir to combine.
  4. Add carrots, bell pepper and mushroom. Toss to combine and stir fry for approximately 2 more minutes.
  5. Add the soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick and coats the pork and vegatables.
  6. Meanwhile, cut the bottom off the bok choy stock. Strip the leafy greens, then thinly slice the white part of the stocks. The smaller interior stocks I left whole.
  7. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot and toss in the smashed garlic. Allow the garlic to infuse the oil.
  8. Next, add the chopped white stems of the bok choy and the crushed red pepper. Cook until slightly softened and add the leafy parts of the bok choy. Toss to combine and add the rice wine vinegar, season with salt and pepper and cover. Cook until all is tender.
  9. Prepare the rice per instructions on the box.
  10. Enjoy.
Pork Stir Fry, Braised Bok Choy and Brown Rice

Soby’s Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Mashed Potatoes, Broccolini and Habanero Butter Sauce

Sobys bacon wrapped tenderlion

Soby’s was one of the first upscale restaurants to open up on Main Street here in Greenville, SC. We’ve had a number of important dinners there, including our wedding dinner. As long as I have been going there, one of my favorite meals has been the bacon wrapped pork loin with broccolini, mashed potatoes and a habanero cream. The habanero cream sauce is the hit of the dish and it makes me crave it. I crave it so much, I decided to remake this meal at home.

I have to say, this was about as close of a recreation as there gets. The crispy/fatty bacon (I use Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked) is a nice balance against the lean pork loin. The crunch broccolini adds freshness and lightens the dish. The whipped potatoes are the glue and the habanero cream sauce… oh that spicy cream sauce blends perfectly with everything. The best bite is when you get a bit of all the components together on the fork. I love when meal components are great alone but are enhanced by each other. Amazing.

I’d like to offer a hat tip to Let’s Dish for the Habanero Cream Sauce recipe. I only slightly modified it.

 

Habanero Cream Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pork loin (they come in two packs at my grocery)
  • 4-6 slices applewood smoke bacon (I prefer Niman Ranch)
  • 1 large bunch of broccolini
  • 2-3 large baking potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Salt and pepper
Directions for Habanero Cream

  1. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter and add olive oil.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  3. Whisk in the flour and cook until the rue is light blond.
  4. Slice the habanero in half and add to the pan. Note: for less spice, only use half. For even less spice remove the seeds and steams.
  5. Whisk in the milk and increase heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Continue to whisk until the mixture is thick and bubbly.
  6. Stir in the chicken broth and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Cover and keep warm. Remove the habanero halves before serving.

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Wrap the pork loin tightly with the applewood smoked bacon keeping a slight overlap on each wrap.
  3. Place the pork in oven pan and roast until desired doneness about 25 minutes. The last few minutes you can switch to the broiler if the bacon is not crisp enough.
  4. Meanwhile, peel and cut potatoes into uniform chunks. Place in pot of cool salted water with the smashed garlic cloves. Bring to boil and let them go until fork tender. Strain potatoes and using a ricer, food mill or food processor “mash” until you achieve the consistency that you like. I mash the garlic right in with the potatoes for extra garlicky goodness. Return potatoes to the pot, add approximately 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, as much half and half, heavy cream or milk as you like and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm.
  5. To save time and keep from clean two large pots, while the potatoes were boiling I add a steamer to the same pot and steamed the broccolini. You can do this in a separate pot if you like, but it worked out just fine using the same one.
  6. Once the broccolini are as tender as you like (I prefer mine almost raw), set aside.
  7. To plate this like Soby’s does, after allowing the pork to rest, slice the pork. Add the potatoes, three pieces of pork (as seen above), top with broccolini and pour the cream around the edges of the plate.
  8. Enjoy!
Soby’s Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Mashed Potatoes, Broccolini and Habanero Butter Sauce

Greenbrier Farm to Table Dinner with Hedges Wine and Stella’s Southern Bistro

Greenbrier Farms Pork Belly Wrapped Pork Loin Porchetta

It was a chilly night, not a usual thing on March 6th in the upstate of South Carolina. Never the less it was cold; to the point they had a pit fire and big outdoor space heater going instead the barn. We love Greenbrier Farms; it is an awesome place ran by awesome folks and producing amazing foods. Any time they have an event we try and attend. This particular event was most interesting. At Greenbrier, with Greenbrier products, prepared by Chef Jason Scholz (Stella’s Southern Bistro) and paired with wines from Hedges Family Estates…uhhh, yeh…we’re going.

I could go course by course and rave about each. I could go on about how each component worked well together and had balance. I could go on and on about how the wines paired perfectly. The venue was fun, the service was excellent, the…on and on. It would be true. Instead of going on and on, here is the menu and a few snap shots I was able to grab.

The stand outs for me; the second (Greenbrier Farms Pork Bolognaise & Tomato Braised Pork Meatballs) and third courses (Greenbrier Farms Pork Belly Wrapped Pork Loin “Porchetta”) pictured above but everything we ate and drank was phenomenal. If you haven’t, visit Greenbrier and Stella’s and buy some Hedges wine. You won’t regret it.

 

Greenbrier Farm to Table Dinner with Hedges Wine Menu

Hors D’ Oeuvres
Greenbrier Farms Pork Pate
Biscuit, chow chow

Hedges HIP Chardonnay – 2012 vintage
Made from 100% Chardonnay from the Dionysus Vineyard of the Columbia Valley, this wine shows flavors of crisp pears and apples with hints of pineapple, lychee, straw, licorice and custard. 100% fermented in stainless steel for a true expression of Chardonnay.

 

First Course
Crispy Confit Greenbrier Farms Chicken
Sea Island red pea & kimchee pancake, bourbon soy glazed stuffed wing, gingered sausage,
Hakurei turnips, anise chicken jus

Hedges CMS White – 2012 Vintage
Made mostly of Sauvignon Blanc (76%} rounded out by Chardonnay (22%) and Marsanne (2%) that shows flavors of pear, grapefruit peel, wet straw and gooseberry. 100% fermented in stainless steel for a clean, bright wine that is versatile and refreshing.

 

Second Course
Greenbrier Farms Pork Bolognaise & Tomato Braised Pork Meatballs
Anson Mills farro, dinosaur kale, Thomasville Tomme, rustic pork liver toast,
Palmetto Olive Oil Tuscan herb oil

Hedges CMS Red – CMS Red – 2011 vintage
Made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Syrah in the Columbia Valley AVA this wine is dark, deep ruby color. Aromas of black cherry, blackberry, sweet plum fruit and sweet toasted oak with undertones of ripe melon, dried herbs and vanilla with hints of cocoa powder.

 

Third Course
Greenbrier Farms Pork Belly Wrapped Pork Loin “Porchetta”
fennel pollen, citrus, spinach & garlic sformato, arugula pesto, pan drippings
Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain – 2011 vintage
Made exclusively from fruit grown on the Hedges Estate, comprised of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 16% Syrah, 3% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec. Deep purple color, yet not opaque. The 2011 vintage produced a savory character in the wines, like that of fennel, salt, and tar.

 

Dessert
Sticky Toffee & Greenbrier Farms Carrot Cake
Split Creek goat cheese frosting, cajeta panna cotta, rum soaked raisins,
Palmetto Olive Oil Dark Chocolate Condimento

Hedges Fortified Wine
This wine, made in the tradition of Port, speaks of black cherries, deep dark wood and mahogany, and has hints of tobacco, earth and dark chocolate.

 

Crispy-Confit-Greenbrier-Farms-Chicken
Crispy Confit Greenbrier Farms Chicken

Sticky Toffee & Greenbrier Farms Carrot Cake
Sticky Toffee and Greenbrier Farms Carrot Cake

Pork Bolognaise and Tomato Braised Pork MeatballsPork Bolognaise and Tomato Braised Pork Meatballs

Greenbrier Farm to Table Dinner with Hedges Wine and Stella’s Southern Bistro

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork, SC Mustard BBQ Sauce and Blue Cheese Coleslaw with Baked French Fries

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork, South Carolina Mustard BBQ and Blue Cheese Coleslaw with Baked French Fries

In the south it is sacrilege to not smoke barbecue. Well I don’t have a smoker and I do have a slow-cooker. In South Carolina, where I live, and really anywhere in the Carolinas there is a BBQ joint on every other block. That is a great thing. Some restaurants do it better than others, of course, but it is all good.

Barbecue Sauce

BBQ sauce is the source of many great debates here in the south. Where I live in Greenville, SC, we are in the middle of several regions with clearly defined sauce preferences. The western parts of the Carolinas generally prefer tomato based sauces. The upstate of SC to the midlands prefer mustard based sauces. The midlands of SC and foothills of NC go for the vinegar based sauces. A small portion of the southern part (in the middle) of SC and into GA prefer (gasp) ketchup based sauces (yuck). I like all of them but my favorite since I was a kid is the mustard based, so that’s what I go with. I found a great recipe here at the Food for my Family site. Before I continue, sauce is a condiment that you add after. You don’t cook BBQ in sauce, you just don’t do it.

Slow-cooker

I never owned a slow-cooker. My cable TV provider (stick with me) has a rewards program that gives you points each month. Once a month they offer up items you can get using your points. I got a slow-cooker. So now I have this thing and have no clue what to do with it. Well, here is what I did with it first.

 

Pulled Pork Ingredients

  • 1 2 to 4 pound boneless pork shoulder (whatever will fit in your slow-cooker)
  • 6 potato buns (or your favorite hamburger buns)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons hot paprika
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 3 tablespoons Dale’s marinade (or soy sauce)
  • Salt and pepper

South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup onion, minced
  • ½ cup yellow mustard
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons hot sauce (Tabasco or Texas Pete)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Blue Cheese Coleslaw Ingredients

  • 1 package shredded cabbage
  • 1 package broccoli slaw mix
  • 1 cup blue cheese crumbles (less or more if you like)
  • 1 cup coleslaw dressing (less or more if you like)
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Baked French Fries Ingredients

  • 3-4 baking potatoes cut into fries
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Directions

  1. Combine 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, the paprika, mustard powder, cumin, 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl and combine. Rub the pork until covered.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add vegetable oil and heat until it shimmers. Sear the pork on all sides until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the pork and add a ½ cup or so of water. Whisk to remove any bits and drippings from the pan. Add that liquid to your slow-cooker.
  3. Add the vinegar, tomato paste, remaining brown sugar, liquid smoke and Dale’s marinade plus another cup of water to the slow cooker. Whisk to combine. Add pork and more water if needed. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. After 4 hours, turn the pork over and cook for another 4 hours.

South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce Directions

  1. In the meantime, heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Add butter and cook until melted and add the onion and garlic. Once the onion becomes transparent and soft, add the yellow mustard, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and hot sauce. Whisk to combine and reduce heat, simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat until cooled slightly. Pulse with an immersion blender until smooth, season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the sauce to cool completely. Place in the refrigerator.

Baked French Fries Directions

  1. Soak fries in salty water for 10-15 minutes (minimum), drain and dry thoroughly. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put the fries in a large bowl and toss with oil to cover and season liberally with salt and pepper. Line a large sheet pan with non-stick aluminum foil and add the fries. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes and cut the heat to 400 degrees and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Flip the fries over and continue cooking until you achieve desired doneness.

Blue Cheese Coleslaw Directions

  1. In a large bowl add the cabbage and broccoli slaw mix, blue cheese, yogurt and less of the dressing then you think you’ll need, toss to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Add more dressing just before serving if need be. Place in the refrigerator.
Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork, SC Mustard BBQ Sauce and Blue Cheese Coleslaw with Baked French Fries

Chorizo Tacos

Chorizo Tacos

Chorizo, cotija, onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Those simple ingredients are all you need for some of the best tacos I’ve had. In this country tacos tend to be loaded down with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, salsa, etc. No need here, simple is just fine.

There is a little restaurant here in Greenville, SC called Fonda Rosalinda’s. The food there is outstanding and authentic Mexican cuisine. They also setup booths at several of the street festivals here and at these they generally serve smaller mobile friendly food. They always have some sort of tacos, and I get them every time. Their tacos are general small homemade corn tortillas with pork and very little else. The last time I had them they were chorizo, pineapple, red onion and cilantro. These tacos are an obsession, so simple but so delicious. Well, when a visit to our favorite little farm (Greenbrier Farms) for a plant sale netted fresh chorizo, I knew immediately what I was going to make.

By the way, the tacos turned out great. I couldn’t find good corn tortillas so I resorted to flour, but they worked just fine. I also added cotija cheese, which I’m sure Rosalinda would say is very American of me. I served these with Mexican rice and black beans as sides. Yum, yum, yum!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Fresh chorizo
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Small corn tortillas (I used flour)
  • Cotija cheese (or Queso Blanco)
  • Red onion, minced
  • Jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • Cilantro
  • Package of Mexican rice
  • 1 can black beans
  • Cooking spray
DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Spray the pan with cooking spray and add the chorizo. Cook for a few minutes using a spatula or fork to break up the meat in to small pieces. I find it works well to smush the larger clumps. Add crushed red pepper to taste (our chorizo was not too spicey). Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until browned. Be patient, it will take longer the ground beef or turkey.
  2. In the meantime, heat the oven to 325 F. Wrap the tortillas in tin foil and place in the oven to warm.
  3. Warm the beans in a small pot and cook the rice per the instructions on the package.
Chorizo Tacos