Monday, May 22, 2017

Braised Meat - Berkshire Pork Osso Bucco & Braised Pork Shank

Have you ever run across a recipe that requires you to braise the meat? Does it sound like a foreign word to you? Are you just beginning to find your place in the kitchen, and have no clue about the terms or techniques?
While braising sounds like a scary term, it is actually a very simple technique. Once you learn how to do it, it won’t be long before you’re a pro.

Check out these tips plus 2 recipes from Circle B Ranch in Seymour, Mo. 
First, you begin with the meat:
  • Choose your meat. You can decide on beef, chicken, fish, lamb, or pork. Of course, I am going to focus on pork—my favorite! You don’t have to start with a high-dollar cut either; the liquid you use in braising will make the meat succulent and tender.
  • Brown the meat. Using a little bit of oil in a skillet, sear the meat on all sides, and give it a bit of color. A golden hue is perfect. This will help seal in juices, and the crust will make your dish more visually appealing. Searing the meat also leaves you little bits in the pan which will play a part in a future step—“deglazing.” 

Berkshire Osso Bucco, Searing in Olive Oil
  • Set the meat aside. It’s time to think about your veggies. If you are including tougher vegetables like carrots or celery or onion, you will now add them to the oil in the pan and “caramelize” them. Sauté them until they are softer and light brown in color, but be careful not to burn them.
  • Deglaze the pan. Add just a little bit of liquid to the pan (wine, beer, chicken stock, vinegar, water, cider, or juice), and scrape up any caramelized bits from the skillet with a wooden spoon. But don’t get rid of them. Stir them into your liquid! These tasty bits are going to add immense flavor to the braise.
  • Choose your liquid. Most braises are created from stock or wine, but little additions can enhance flavor and add a little flair. Your decision can be based on what you have on hand, or make a selection according to your cooking goals or tastes. For example, you can braise with water, but the result won’t be very flavorful. Some chefs prefer beer, specifically lighter lagers (an acquired taste), to complement pork. Cider, as well as apple or citrus based juices, can be used to sweeten poultry or pork. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous—some cooks have even tried milk or coconut milk!

Braised Circle B Ranch Pork Shank
In my Braised Circle B Ranch Pork Shank recipe, I added my Marina’s Italian Style Tomato Sauce to the braise. And it turned out to be absolutely delicious!
  1. Add your meat back in. Put your meat in a coverable pan or Dutch oven, along with your veggies, and pour in your liquid until it sets about one-half the way up the side of your meat. Don’t completely cover the meat; the liquid will seep in and flavor it.
  2. Add a little spice. It’s customary to use bay leaves, and salt and pepper is usually a given, but don’t limit yourself!
  3. Cover and cook. The hardest part of your work is over. Slide the meat into the oven and cook on low heat, usually 325° but no more than 350°. The meat should cook for about 2-3 hours depending on the cut, but you will know when it is done because the meat will be tender and literally sliding off the bone, or easily cut with a knife.
  4. Broth or Sauce. At this point, you can serve the meat as is or you can choose to create a sauce, which will enhance the dish. Take out the meat and the vegetables. Skim off the fat, and simmer the liquid until it thickens enough to coat a spoon. Then add your meat and veggies back in to heat them back through.
  5. Give it a little zing. If you want to add texture or give the dish your own personal touch, you can top it off with a handful of chopped herbs, grated citrus zest, or crème fraiche.
  6. When I make Berkshire Pork Osso Bucco, I top it off with a classic Italian gremolata—parsley, garlic, and lemon zest.
And that’s it. Braising, once you understand the process, is as simple as breathing. I hope you give braising a try, experiment, and have as much fun with it as I do!
"Last night I made the Osso Bucco and I was amazed how delicious it turned out.
These are the ingredients.  I used Veal Shanks. "  ~Shelly

  1. 4-6 meaty slices of pork shank, cut 1.5 inches thick
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1/3 cup carrots diced
  4. 1/3 cup onions diced
  5. 1/3 cup celery diced
  6. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1 cup dry white wine
  8. 1 cup chicken stock
  9. Ground black pepper to taste
  10. Salt to taste
  1. 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leafed parsley, chopped
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
Veal Shanks Browning
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add the shanks and brown on both sides.
  2. Remove the shanks from the dutch oven. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the carrots, onions, celery and garlic. Cook and stir until the vegetables have softened-5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the wine, chicken stock, salt and black pepper. Add the shanks back to the stock and bring to a boil.
  4. With the lid back on the pot put the Dutch oven into the oven and cook the shanks for one to two hours, or until fork-tender.
  5. Sear the Berkshire Osso Bucco in Olive Oil.
  6. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and prepare the Gremolata.
  1. Check the shanks that they are fully cooked.
  2. Take the shanks out of the pot.
  3. Reduce the liquid in the Dutch Oven by half and add the gremolata, a classic Northern Italian seasoning.
  4. Return shanks to the pot.
I served it with Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  So Yummy!

Visit Marina's website at 

Asian Braised Pork shoulder

This recipe comes from Marina at Circle B Ranch.

Extra-virgin olive oil
One 3-pound pork shoulder
Kosher salt
5 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3 to 4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup hoisin suace
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sambal oelek ( Chili Paste - Can substitute Siracha)
1/4 tsp 5 spice
Zest and juice of 1 orange, zest removed in wide strips with a peeler

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Coat a large wide ovenproof pan or Dutch oven with olive oil and bring the pan to high heat. Sprinkle the pork with salt and brown it on all sides. Remove from the pan and reserve.
  3. Ditch the fat from the pan and add a few drops of fresh oil. Toss in the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and rice vinegar and reduce by half. Add the 3 cups chicken stock, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, sambal, 5 spice, orange zest and juice. Stir to combine, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Taste to make sure it is delicious and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  4. Return the pork to the pan, cover and put in the oven. Braise the pork for 2 hours, turning it over once. If the liquid reduces too much during the cooking process, add the remaining 1 cup chicken stock. Remove the lid for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  5. When the pork is VERY tender, remove the pan from the oven. Remove the pork, place the pan over medium heat, bring the liquid to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces to a sticky sauce consistency.
  6. Serve the pork draped with the sauce. Also serve the pork shoulder with Pickled cucumber and daikon salad.

Pickled cucumber and daikon (radish) salad.


2 carrots, julienned
1 hothouse cucumber, sliced thinly, preferably on a mandoline
1 medium daikon radish, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons, preferably on a mandoline
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sambal oelek
1 teaspoon grated ginger


In a large bowl combine the carrots, cucumbers and daikon. 
In a small jar or container with a lid, combine the rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, sambal, ginger and garlic. Shake well and let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve and the flavors to marry. 
Toss the cucumber-daikon mixture with the vinaigrette and let sit outside the fridge for an hour before serving. Sprinkle with the scallions. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Shredded Chicken Enchiladas

Shredded Chicken Enchiladas - Ready To Bake

These enchiladas will also freeze very well and they're pretty simple to make.  To freeze, just go through all the directions up to adding the sauce back over the tortillas — that way, when you defrost, they aren’t all soggy.  Just freeze the enchiladas and the sauce separately and you’ll be good to go.

  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can enchilada sauce 1 1/2 cups, I use Mild
  • kosher salt to coat the chicken
  • ground black pepper to coat the chicken
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese divided
  • 1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro roughly chopped, divided
  • 2-4 tbsp vegetable oil for quickly frying the tortillas
  • 12 6- inch corn tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • optional: sour cream for garnish

Shredded Chicken Enchiladas - Cooking The Chicken
Shredded Chicken Enchiladas - Shredding The Chicken
Shredded Chicken Enchiladas - Ready To Bake

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Add the minced garlic to the enchilada sauce in a deep skillet and heat to boiling. Generously sprinkle kosher salt and ground black pepper over the chicken breasts and then nestle the chicken breasts into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the sauce, set aside and let both the chicken and the sauce cool.
  3. Using two forks, shred the chicken breasts by holding one fork steady and slowly scraping the other fork, prongs faced backwards, away from the other fork (see picture above). Transfer the shredded chicken to a large bowl. Add half the enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup each of the Monterrey jack and cheddar cheeses and the 1/2 cup of cilantro to the shredded chicken. Stir to combine.
  4. Lightly fry each tortilla quickly in a skillet using 1 tbsp. of the vegetable oil. Quickly pat dry and then roll as directed.
  5. Using cooking spray (or olive oil), grease a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture along the center of the tortilla. Gently, but firmly, roll the tortilla around the filling and place into the baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  6. Lightly spray the exposed tortillas with cooking spray (or brush lightly with olive oil). This will help the tortillas turn golden in the oven and will also help keep them from cracking. Place baking dish in the oven, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until the tortillas begin to turn golden.
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle remaining cheese over the sauce. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro. Lightly cover baking dish with aluminum foil and place into the oven for 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil after 20 minutes and bake, uncovered, for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is golden.
  8. Remove from the oven and let stand 5-10 minutes prior to serving. Feel free to add a dollop (or two!) of sour cream and some more chopped cilantro for a garnish if you'd like.

Shredded Chicken Enchiladas

This shredded chicken enchiladas recipe comes from the Blog, A SWEET PEA.

The Best Ways to Cook Boneless Top Sirloin Steak

This week USDA Prime Top Sirloin is on Sale for $6.99 lb. in a Family Pack.

While prime beef may be the juiciest and most flavorful cut of beef, sirloin is among the leanest and healthiest. To make the most of this lean, healthy cut, enhance your sirloin with additional flavor boosters, and cook it carefully.


Choose steaks that are at least one inch thick. Thinner steaks will dry out when you cook them, and you'll have difficulty reaching the perfect rare or medium rare stage for the best flavor. Let your steak sit at room temperature for at least one hour prior to cooking -- the muscle fibers in cold steaks contract and shrink when hitting a hot pan, causing the meat to toughen. Finally, dry the steak with a paper towel to ensure that you will be grilling and not steaming it.


Opinions vary about whether to salt meats before or after cooking.  According to Oliver Schwaner-Albright of Food and Wine Magazine, the tiebreaker is food scientist Harold McGee from the New York Times, who believes that salting before cooking actually helps the muscle cells of the meat hold moisture in.


Allowing your sirloin to marinate for a few hours or a whole day adds flavor and tenderness to the meat. The acidic elements in a marinade begin breaking down the meat's muscle fibers prior to cooking. The best marinade is a matter of personal preference. Use your favorite wine vinaigrette straight from the bottle or choose a marinade that includes balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped parsley. Place the marinating steak in a zip-lock plastic bag for complete coverage and easy clean-up.

Pan Frying

For an unusual but effective method of cooking sirloin, coat the bottom of your pan with oil and turn the heat to medium high. Cut the sirloin into serving size portions. Place the steaks in the pan and begin turning them after only 15 seconds and every 15 seconds thereafter until they reach the desired stage of doneness. The length of cooking time depends on the thickness of the steak. After the first two or three minutes of constant turning, your steak will develop a flavorful brown crust on the outside but will remain tender and pink on the inside.


Grilling on an outdoor barbecue adds the smoky flavor to sirloin that some steak connoisseurs swear by. You'll get the attractive grill marks by using your grill-pan indoors, but will miss the distinctive grilled flavor. Chef and famed barbecue king, Bobbie Flay, brushes his sirloins with olive oil and seasons them with salt and pepper before grilling the steaks for four minutes on each side. He lets the steak rest for two minutes before cutting, a best practice for any cooking method.

This information is written by Susan Lundman and the website

Monday, May 1, 2017

Country Style Pork Ribs and Polenta

This recipe from the Food Network

3 pounds bone-in country-style pork ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
Creamy Polenta, recipe follows
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pat the ribs dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown the ribs on all sides, working in batches if needed. Remove the ribs and set aside. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven and reduce the heat to medium.   
Add the carrots, celery, onions and some salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, to remove the raw flavor, about 3 minutes.   Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, and then add the red pepper flakes and bay leaves.            
Add the ribs back to the pan and add enough stock to reach halfway up the sides of the ribs. Bring the pan to a simmer, cover and place in the oven. Braise until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. During the last half hour, uncover to allow the liquid to reduce and the pork to brown.            
Serve the ribs with Creamy Polenta, spooning the sauce on top, and garnishing with parsley.         

Creamy Polenta

Spray the insert of a slow cooker with cooking spray (for easier clean up) and preheat on high.
In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup of the half-and-half, the milk, 1 tablespoon of the butter and the polenta. Season with salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly to keep the mixture lump-free. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring once or twice per hour. 
Once you are ready to serve, open the slow cooker and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the remaining 1/3 cup half-and-half and the Parmesan. Salt and pepper conservatively since the polenta will be served with a robustly salted dish.