Tag Archives: pork


24 Nov

This is one of my absolute favourite Belizean dishes to make. I first tried them years ago when J’s mom made them for dinner. Instantly hooked. As with many local specialties, everyone makes them just a bit differently and everyone claims their (or their mom’s) way is best. The basics, though: crunchy fried tortillas topped with shredded chicken or pork. The toppings and sauces are totally up to the cook: pickled onions, salsa verde, avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream, green onion, sliced jalapeno, and cilantro are all popular options. We do ours with thinly sliced avocado, shredded chicken simmered in salsa verde, sour cream, green onion, cilantro and a bit of hot sauce. You can include or omit just about any of the ingredients listed above: it’s truly about your own personal taste. We usually roast a whole chicken so we have leftovers for the rest of the week and shred both wings, a thigh and a breast. (Tip: take the skin off and save it to add when you’re dressing the tortillas. You want it to be crispy.) You could also poach chicken breasts in spice-tinged water – salt, pepper and oregano would be a nice combo.

This recipe makes 10. Two of us can polish that off but we are very full afterward.


10 tostadas (or 10 tortillas, fried)
2 chicken breasts or equivalent, cooked & shredded
1 c salsa verde
2 avocados, sliced
salt & pepper
lime juice
3 green onions, sliced
1 handful cilantro, finely chopped
sour cream
hot sauce, optional


1. Warm up your tostadas in the oven at a low temp. They have a high oil content, so make sure you keep an eye on them ensuring they don’t burn.
2. Heat up the salsa in a sauce pan til it simmers. Add in the chicken and stir. Allow chicken to warm through, 5-8 minutes.
3. Divide the avocado slices evenly among the warmed tostadas then season with salt, pepper and lime juice. Layer on the chicken, sprinkle with green onions and cilantro. Top with dollops of sour cream and, if you wish, dabs of hot sauce.



Vietnamese Pork & Vegetable Lettuce Cups

5 Jun

With the weather taking a turn for the better, the desire to eat a little lighter has kicked in. These lettuce cups are a little bit labour intensive – nothing hard, just a lot of vegetable chopping – but they pack a lot of flavour in each bite. The sauce is salty and spicy; the filling is crunchy and satisfying. The recipe is very adaptable: you can make it vegetarian, spicier, milder, switch up the fillings, use tortillas instead of lettuce, etc. You can certainly substitute the pork for turkey, chicken or beef and use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.

Serves 4.


3 tb vegetable oil
1/2 small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sweet peppers, diced
3 carrots, diced
handful mushrooms, chopped
1/2 bunch asparagus, diced
1 pkg ground pork
4 ts chili paste (I used sambal oelek)
2 tb fish sauce
2 ts brown sugar
juice of 3 limes, zest of 1 lime
1 head of butter lettuce, washed & separated
1 bunch of mint leaves, torn


1. Heat 1tb of oil in a large pan or a wok to medium-high heat. Add in the garlic and 2ts of chili paste. Sauté for 1 minute.
2. Add in the pork, onion, peppers and carrots. Break up the pork with a wooden spoon. Cook 5 minutes and then add in the mushrooms and asparagus. Cook 3-4 more minutes until the pork is no longer pink. Allow it to cool a bit.
3. In the meantime, whisk together the remaining oil, chili paste, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice & zest in a small bowl. Set aside.
4. Scoop the filling into the lettuce cups, then top with some sauce and garnish with mint. Should you like your food on the spicy side, you can also top with a little more chili paste or hot sauce.

Cochinita Pibil (Slow-Roasted Pork)

23 May

This one is all on Eat St. I was at home watching it and one of the food trucks had their version of cochinita pibil, a traditional Mexican shredded pork dish. For me, shopping for the ingredients was as much fun as making it. I headed off to Wychwood Barns on Saturday to get the pork from my fave farmers at Marvellous Edibles. (Best. Bacon. Ever. Go try it, people.)  Then it was off to St. Clair West to La Tortilleria for fresh tortillas and the achiote paste. It is imperative that you not substitute the achiote paste for anything else:  it is the dominant flavour in the dish. If you can get your hands on banana leaves, so much the better as the pork is traditionally cooked in them. Having said that, foil will work.

Best to get this started the day before you want to cook it. The pork should marinate in the fridge for 6-24 hours, but no more than 24 hours as the enzymes in the citrus juices will break down the meat too far and give it an unpleasant texture. It also takes 3 – 4 hours to cook, so ensure you’ve left yourself enough time to cook it!

Serves 4.


3lb pork shoulder, cut into 2″ pieces (do not trim fat)
1c orange juice
1/2c lime juice, (4-5 limes)
1 ts salt
3 oz of red achiote paste (also called “annato paste”)
Pickled red onions (optional), for garnish
1c cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish


1. Blend together the paste, salt, orange and lime juices in a blender. (Make sure you rinse out your blender quickly as the paste will stain.) In a non-reactive bowl, combine the marinade and the pork pieces. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 6 – 24 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a large casserole with a triple layer of regular foil – you want a good seal. Pour in the pork and the marinade and close the foil tightly. Put the casserole in the oven and bake 3.5 hours. At this point, remove from the oven and check to see if the meat is falling apart. If so, you’re done! If you think it could use a little more time, put it back in for 30 minutes.
3. When the pork is tender, take it out of the oven and open the foil. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon to a bowl, then shred it with two forks.  If necessary, pour some of the remaining sauce over the pork to make sure it’s juicy.
4. Serve with either fresh tortillas or rice. For garnish, add lime wedges, cheese, avocado, cilantro and/or pickled onions.

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Glazed Pork Loin with Pineapple Chutney

1 May

Surfing around the internets, I landed on this recipe and was enticed by two of my favourite ingredients: pork ‘n’ pineapple. I added a little more cayenne to the chutney as I like things a little spicier. Also, if you’re a bit short on time, you can skip buying a whole pineapple and cutting it up, you could get one that has already been peeled. I wouldn’t recommend getting the canned stuff, but that’s a personal preference and will certainly do in a pinch. Start this baby about 3 hours before you want to eat as it needs some time to marinate. It’s time well spent!


2 large cloves garlic
Kosher salt
1 tb extra virgin olive oil
2 ts finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2  ts ground coriander
1 3lb boneless pork loin roast
1 medium fresh pineapple (about 3-1/2 lb.)
1/4 c maple syrup
2 tb sherry vinegar
1 large shallot, minced
Pinch ground cayenne  -or more to taste
1 large scallion, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
3 tb chopped fresh cilantro


1. Peel and coarsely chop the garlic. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and mash it into a paste with the side of your knife. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the oil, lemon zest, coriander & 1 tb salt.
2. Put the pork on a large rimmed, foil-lined baking sheet, pat dry with paper towels, and rub all over with the salt mixture. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, no more than 2.
3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Roast the pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 130°F, roughly 50 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, peel and core the pineapple. Cut half into small dice and roughly chop the other half. Purée the roughly chopped pineapple in a blender, then strain it through a fine strainer, pressing on the solids with a spoon. This should give you about 3/4 cup juice which goes into a small saucepan with the maple syrup. Cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. (The liquid will become very bubbly as it reduces; lower the heat as necessary so nothing burns.)
5. Set aside all but 2 tb of the reduced liquid as this will be your glaze. Add the vinegar, shallot, cayenne, and a pinch of salt to the 2 tb liquid remaining in the saucepan and cook over medium heat just until the shallot begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the diced pineapple and scallion whites. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pineapple softens and releases some of its juice, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
6. When the pork reaches 130°F, brush it with some of the glaze and continue to roast, brushing with more glaze every 5 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast reads 145°F, about 15-20 minutes more. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
7. When ready to serve, stir the scallion greens and cilantro into the chutney. Slice the pork into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and serve with the chutney.

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NYT Project: Malaysian-Inspired Pork Stew

13 Feb

Winter has finally hit our fair city. We’ve lucked out this winter, being spoiled with double-digit temperatures and little snow. The last few days, however, have brought with them a cold front and even some actual snow! Since winter decided to show up, I decided to combat the chills with some Malaysian-inspired pork stew from the NYT Cookbook.

The aromas from this lovely dish permeated the house as they simmered away on the stove for an hour or so. The spicy rub for the pork was balanced out nicely with the coconut milk and the herb and lime juice garnish. Lots of great texture and taste in this one. An instant classic at our place.

Serves 4.


Spice Rub

3 tb minced garlic
3 tb curry powder
2 tb ground cumin
1 tb paprika
1 tb cayenne pepper (less if you don’t want a lot of heat)

2 pounds boneless Boston butt or picnic shoulders, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


5 tb olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
3 tb minced fresh ginger
3 plum tomatoes, cored & diced
¼ c soy sauce
1-1/2 c unsweetened coconut milk
1 c dry white wine


¼ c roughly chopped basil¼ cup roughly chopped mint
¼ c roughly chopped cilantro
½ c roughly chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
1 lime, juiced
5 dashes hot sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar


1. In a large bowl, mix together the spice rub ingredients.
2. Pat the cubed pork dry with a paper towel, season with salt & pepper and then put in the bowl with the rub. Toss to coat.

Pork's been all rubbed up....

3. Heat 3tb oil in a heavy-bottomed pan til the oil shimmers but does not smoke. Add in the meat in an even layer and brown on all sides, roughly 10 minutes. (You may need to do the meat in batches in order to avoid overcrowding your pan.)   Remove the meat from pan and place on a platter.
4.  Heat the remaining 2tb of oil to medium heat. Toss in the onions and sauté for 13-15 minutes.
5. Add in the ginger & tomatoes. Stir and cook 2 minutes.

Onions, tomatoes & ginger into the pan...

6. Add the pork back into the pan along with the soy sauce, wine & coconut milk.  Bring to a simmer and skim off any fat that comes to the surface.

Everyone into the pool!

7. Cover and lower heat. Simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
9. When the pork is tender, serve on a bed of rice and top with the garnish as listed above.

Garnish of fresh herbs, peanuts, hot sauce & brown sugar.


Pork Chops w/ Pineapple Salsa

6 Feb

I have an unabashed love of pork and make some mean bacon and tenderloin recipes. (Have a look around the site – you’re bound to find a few!) What I hadn’t attempted yet, however, was Homer Simpson’s favourite: pork chops. Love ’em, but never make ’em. So off to the interwebs I went and found some inspiration! You’re best to let these marinate for a couple of hours beforehand so that the flavours really soak into the meat, but no more than three hours. Any longer than that and the proteins will start to break down which means you’ll end up with mushy chops…and no one wants that.  As with all meat, let it come to room temperature before you cook it.

I also happened to have a pineapple kicking around that needed to be eaten, so I did up a quick pineapple salsa that I’ve also used with my go-to salmon dish and tossed in some tomatoes that we had in the fridge.

Serves 2.


2 pork chops, bone-in, centre cut
1  lime (juice & zest)
1/2 jalapeno, diced
1 tb honey
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/3 c olive oil
1/2 pineapple, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
Kosher salt & black pepper
1 lime, juiced
1 handful cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 tb olive oil


1. Combine the  lime juice, zest, jalapeno, honey, garlic and 1/3 c olive oil in a resealable bag or container. Add in the pork chops and marinate in the fridge for roughly 3 hours, if possible.
2. When ready, heat a heavy-bottomed pan (cast iron is best, but use what you have) with a little bit of canola oil. Let the pan get nice and hot: you want a nice sear on the meat.
3. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and shake any excess off. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Carefully place the chops in the pan, cooking one minute per side. Lower heat and cover, cooking 5 more minutes per side.
5. Meanwhile, combine the pineapple, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, tomatoes and olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Let the pork rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes to allow the juices to be re-absorbed back into the meat. Then plate and top with the salsa.

Marinated Pork Tenderloin w/ Sesame Seed Crust

23 Aug

Pork tenderloin is a great cut of meat: low in fat, not terribly expensive and can take on any flavour you like!  This is a great dish if you want or need to prep ahead of time. You can marinate the pork from 10 minutes to 24 hours and it will taste great. The longer it sits in the marinade, the more of the flavour will be imparted into the meat.

Most consider pork safe to eat once it hits 145 degrees. That’s not “well done” (which is generally considered around 170), but it’s certainly cooked enough to eliminate any bacteria that could be lingering. Overcooked, dry pork is pretty gross. But, as with most cooking, if you worry too much it won’t come out right.  A good rule of thumb is 20 minutes per pound. I do mine at 375 and it comes out just right!

Serves 2.


1 lb pork tenderloin
2 tb soya sauce
2 tb orange marmalade
2 limes, zest & juice
1 ts sesame oil
1-2 ts hot sauce
1 c sesame seeds


1. In a medium bowl, combine soya sauce, marmalade, lime zest & juice, sesame oil and hot sauce. Taste and adjust according to your palate. If you think it needs a little more of something, go for it.
2. Make several small incisions in the pork and put it in the bowl with the marinade. Spoon the marinade over the pork and marinate for desired time.
3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
4. In a foil-lined baking pan/sheet, add the sesame seeds. Remove the pork from the marinade and coat all sides with seeds.
5. Bake for 25 minutes. Check the temperature at this point. If it’s at 145, it’s ready!
6. Rest & tent for 10 minutes.
7. Slice into coins and serve.

Kick-A** Mexican Pulled Pork

17 Aug

It was a happy day in our house when we busted out the slow cooker for its maiden voyage into the Land of Yummy. I’d made this recipe in a large saucepan in the oven a couple of times before and while it was good, it paled in comparison to the slow cooker method. When you can cook meat that long at that low a temperature, it’s bound to be good. (Note: this recipe is easy but you will need to start it early in the day. It’s an nine-hour process when all is said and done.)


3.5lb pork butt (it’s the shoulder. Please don’t go into the store and ask for pork ass. Actually…do that.)
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
2tb vegetable oil
2 diced onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 diced jalapeno (keep the seeds if you want more heat)
3tb chili powder
2ts ground coriander
2 bay leaves
2tb cumin
1/3c tomato paste
1 can (14oz) tomatoes
1/2c cilantro
1 minced green onion


1. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.

2. In a Dutch oven or large sauce pan, heat the oil to medium-high and sear pork on all sides.

3. Remove pork from pan and set aside on a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add onions, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder and cumin. Stir occasionally and look for onions to soften and darken slightly, roughly 4 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir. After 2 minutes, add the tomatoes and break them up with a spoon. The tomatoes should loosen up the tasty bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Make sure they’re incorporated in this delicious concoction.

3a. Make sure you taste your sauce. If you think it needs a little salt or pepper, add it. Remember, though, that the flavours will intensify over the cooking process so aim for balance.

4. Transfer both the pork and sauce to the slow cooker. Set it to low for four hours. At four hours, turn the pork over and stir the sauce. Reset the timer for another four hours.

5. At the eight hour mark, remove the pork from the slow cooker, set aside in a large bowl and cover.  Let stand for 10 minutes and then shred with two forks. Meanwhile, return the sauce to the pan/Dutch oven and skim off the fat. Bring to a boil and let it boil for 20 minutes in order to thicken. Return the now-shredded pork to the sauce. Sprinkle final product with cilantro and green onion.

6. EAT IT, ALREADY. You’ve been waiting for eight hours and there are probably people with forks who are closing in on you with a hungry look in their eyes.

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