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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Crispy Pork Belly

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Pork Belly seems to be one of the most sought-after cuts of meat. The Iron Chef show is who really brought this cut to the forefront. In restaurants today, it’s become one of the hottest items to order. I mean, once you’ve ordered the Pork Belly, you’ll most likely always order it no matter the style it’s being served. It’s that delicious!  I sometimes think we may be a little slow when it comes to trying new things. Many Asian cuisines, have for many years, implemented Pork Belly into a variety of their dishes.

I have a great and easy way to prepare Crispy Pork Belly at home so it will come out tender, golden, with a crispy top. This recipe doesn’t require scoring the skin in any way. This will allow you to slice it later and it will retain its integrity. I think it’s worth mentioning, that Shaoxing rice wine is available in most Asian markets today.

If you love Asain cuisine and want to make delicious Asian dishes at home, Shaoxing rice wine should be a pantry staple.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 4 to 12 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 13 hours 15 minutes
Yields: 10 large pieces
Equipment: Roasting pan with rack

Ingredients:
2-pound pork belly
1 cup of Kosher salt

Marinade:
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup of Shaoxing rice wine
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of orange juice
2 cloves of minced garlic

Directions:
Using a paper towel, pat the skin of the Pork Belly completely dry. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and then pour them into a rectangle style baking dish that’s just big enough to hold the pork belly.

Carefully place the Pork Belly into the baking dish making sure only the meat touches the marinade. The skin on the top must remain completely dry. If the marinade level is too high, then discard any extra by pouring some of it off. Place the baking dish with the pork belly and marinade into the frig for at least 4 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

Completely line a roasting pan with foil. Pour an inch of water into the bottom of the pan. Place a wire rack on top to hold the Pork Belly.

Remove the baking dish with the marinated pork belly from the frig. While the pork belly is still in the baking dish, spread 1 cup of Kosher salt evenly over the fat cap of the pork belly as seen in the pictures above.  Next, transfer the Pork Belly onto the wire rack. The Pork Belly will cook above the water and the drippings will fall into the water.

Note: If one part of the Pork Belly is slightly lower or shorter on one side, use an oven-safe item to prop up that side so the pork will cook evenly. Bake for around 40 minutes.

Adjust oven temperature to 470-degrees F.

Remove the Pork Belly from the oven. The salt should have formed a crust that can easily be removed. Refer to the side by side picture of the Pork Belly with the removed salted fat cap.

Place the Pork Belly back into the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes. The skin should be bubbly and crisp.  Using an instant-read thermometer, the internal temperature should be 165-degrees F.

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Crispy Pork Belly is a great appetizer and one I know you’ll make over and over.

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Homemade Chili Verde

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Chili Verde is a style of chili traditionally made with white beans, tomatillos, onions, garlic, jalapeno or serrano peppers. Verde (the color green) lets you know the sauce is not tomato-based, instead, using the ingredients I’ve mentioned along with a lot of bold spices.

Listen, you could also add your choice of protein, like, ground chicken, pork, or turkey to this dish. Today, I’m adding braised pork to my Chili Verde.

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Mexican chocolate as seen below is used as a spice in traditional chili recipes. This chocolate adds depth of flavor to this dish.

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The tomatillo, which is not related to the tomato instead belongs to the gooseberry family and comes in its own natural wrapping.

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Cilantro

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Stuffing (2)

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I have a great tip for removing corn kernels from their cob and that’s to use a bundt pan. This way the corn won’t fly off in every direction.

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Olive Oil

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Limes

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Cilantro

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Using the leftover Chili Verde to create a pie was a perfect idea. Garnished with a few slices of avocado, my Chili Verde Pie turned out to be a home run.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 50 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours 5 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 2 (6-quart) Dutch oven pots, 1 (10-cup) food processor, 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, large mixing bowl, medium-size mixing bowl, chef’s knife, indoor grill-pan, bundt pan, pastry brush, non-stick cooking spray, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, kitchen twine

Ingredients For The Braised Pork Loin:
1 (3-pound) pork loin, tied
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of Canola oil (use for grilling corn)
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1 tablespoon of ground chipotle powder
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
3 cup of chicken stock, unsalted
3 cups of orange juice
6 sprigs of cilantro
2 bay leaves
1 medium-size onion, peeled and halved
1 whole jalapeno

Ingredients For The Chili Verde:
1/2 cup of olive oil plus 7 tablespoons
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
2 tablespoon of ground coriander
8 tomatillos, peeled and quartered
4 large white onions, 2 quartered, 1 diced, 1 roasted
1 whole bulb of garlic, roasted, divided
4 Poblano peppers, roasted
2 limes, juiced
3 1/4 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
3 cups of orange juice
1 green bell pepper diced
3 jalapeno peppers, 2 seeded and minced (substitute serrano pepper)
1 cup of cilantro leaves plus 5 sprigs of cilantro (including their stems)
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of Mexican chocolate, freshly grated
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1 lime, juiced
2 (15.5-ounce) cans of Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups of shelled Edamame, shelled (optional)
4 corn on the cob, grilled and kernels removed
braised pork cooking liquid, reserve 1/2 a cup for *slurry
2 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch

Garnish and Toppings:
crunchy tortilla strips
cheddar cheese, freshly grated
Queso Fresco, crumbled
1/2 red onion, finely diced
lime wedges
cilantro

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Start by spraying both sides of the corn tortillas with non-stick cooking spray. Stack the tortillas on top of each other slicing them into strips. Divide the strips in half giving you two equal portions. Arrange the tortilla strips into a single layer on each baking sheet pan. Sprinkle with Kosher salt. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Allow the tortilla strips to cool for 15 minutes before placing them into a large resealable bag.

Adust the oven temperature to 425-degrees F.
Directions For Roasting The Vegetables:
To start, slice a whole garlic bulb in half crosswise. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Wrap tightly with foil. Place the poblano peppers, the halved onion, and foil-wrapped garlic bulb on a rimmed baking sheet pan. Drizzle 1/2 cup of olive oil over the poblanos and onion halves. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

In the meantime, seed and dice 1 green bell pepper, dice the onion, quarter the tomatillos, and seed and mince the 2 jalapeno peppers. Place the vegetables on a large platter and set aside. Shuck corn, remove the silk. Set aside.

Transfer the Poblano peppers to a large mixing bowl cover tightly with plastic wrap, steam for 15 minutes. Next, carefully unwrap the roasted garlic allowing it to cool along with the onion halves.

Take 1/2 the roasted garlic bulb, squeeze the bulb until the roasted garlic slides out from the skins. Dice the roasted garlic, transfer to the plate containing the diced green bell pepper and onion.

Moving forward, using your hands, peel the skin off the Poblano peppers. Cut the tops off then remove and discard the seeds. Into the food processor, fitted with the metal blade, add the roasted poblanos, the remaining half of roasted garlic cloves, lime juice, and both the roasted onion halves. Next, add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, and 1/4 cup of chicken stock. Pulse until the mixture comes together in a thick consistency. Refer to the picture above. Transfer to a medium-size mixing bowl. Set aside.

This beautifully roasted poblano-garlic flavored purée that is going to bring this chili up to a level of perfection.

Heat the indoor grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush each one of the corn with Canola oil. Arrange the cobs on the grill pan turning them every 2 minutes or until they begin to char around 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Using a bundt pan, remove the kernels. Set aside.

Adjust the oven temperature to 350-degrees F.
Directions For Braising The Pork Loin:
Start by adding the spices into a large mixing bowl for the pork loin. Add ground cumin, coriander, dried Chipotle powder, brown sugar, Kosher salt, garlic powder, and fresh ground black pepper. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, mix to form a paste. Cover the pork loin with the spice rub, transfer to a large plate. Set aside.

In the bottom of a large Dutch oven add the quartered onions, 3 cups of chicken broth, orange juice, 5 tied sprigs of cilantro, 2 bay leaves, and 1 whole jalapeno. Arrange the spice-rubbed pork loin on top. You want to make sure the liquid comes up the sides of the pork without covering the meat. If needed, adjust the liquid by adding water.

Over medium-high heat bring up to a boil, reduce the heat allowing the liquid in the pot to be at a simmer. Place the lid on, transfer to the oven, and cook for 5 hours.

Halfway into the cooking process flip the pork loin and continue cooking. After the pork has finished braising transfer the pot to the top of the stove. Carefully remove the pork loin to a cutting board. Discard the string. Cut the pork into bite-size chunks and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In another Dutch oven over medium heat add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. To the oil add 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, and 2 tablespoons of ground coriander, stir to combine. Stirring frequently, cook for 1 minute allowing the spices to *bloom or until you smell their aroma.

To the pot add the diced green bell peppers, onions, minced jalapenos, and roasted garlic, stir to coat with spice mixture. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until soft. Add the freshly grated Mexican chocolate, lime juice, and the Agave nectar stir to combine. Finish by adding the poblano purée, and tomatillos, again stir to combine.

Now it’s time for the liquid. Using a slotted spoon and scoop out the onions, bay leaves, and jalapeno. They ‘ve done their work. Reserve 1/2 cup of the braising liquid in a small bowl and set aside. I’ll explain in a minute. The rest of the liquid is going into the chili.

At this point add the corn, Cannelini beans, and Edamame (optional) to the pot.

To the pot containing the vegetables add the shredded pork and all the braising liquid. You want the liquid to come up to about 2 inches from the top. If needed, add a little chicken stock. Cook over medium heat for 45 minutes.

The liquid will reduce and the chili will thicken some but not enough. Here’s what I do. After the 45 minutes taste for seasoning. Add Kosher salt and pepper if needed. In the bowl containing the reserved braising liquid add the cornstarch, mix until smooth and paste-like.

Add the *slurry into the chili. Allow the chili to come back up to a bubble and cook for another 15 minutes.

The Homemade Chili Verde is ready.

The best part is the toppings. I chose to make some crunchy tortilla strips, cheddar, and Queso Fresco cheese, avocado slices, and lime wedges.

I’m wondering if you can #tastethelove that went into making this dish?

How can you change this chili into something a little different the next day? Dishes like this are always better the next day because the flavors marry together which causes magical things to happen. I spent a lot of time making this dish, so I thought I’d turn my chili into Chili Verde Pies. I bought 2 boxes of store-bought ready-made pie crusts. There are some great ones out there so don’t be afraid to take advantage whenever you can.

I took two of my pie dishes and placed 1 pie crust into the bottom of each pie plate. Then I brushed the bottom pie-crust dough with beaten egg whites. This helps to prevent that raw mushy-like bottom dough taste. The egg whites form a barrier between the filling and the crust. Cool right?

Using a slotted spoon, to separate as much of the liquid as possible, I filled both the pies with half the chili. Sprinkled shredded cheddar and the Queso Fresco on top of each pie. Placed the remaining two pie crusts on top of each pie, crimped the edges, brushed them with an egg wash, and cooked them according to the directions on the pie crust box. There you have it, Homemade Chili Verde Pie.

*Bloom:  The process of cooking spices in oil allowing them to release their essential oils.

*Slurry:  A thickening mixture that is made up of cold liquid with cornstarch. It’s used as a thickening agent.

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Apricot And Blueberry Crumble

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I love crumbles, cobblers, and pies, so whenever certain fruits are in season, I feel a compulsion to bring them home. Yesterday, I was in the produce section, there was a huge basket of apricots and I couldn’t help myself. On the drive home, the wheels in my head started turning, “how am I going to use these beautiful apricots?”

I just want to say a little something, whenever you in the grocery store and seasonal fruit like apricots and blueberries are staring you in the face, go ahead and pick them up. My Apricot And Blueberry Crumble dessert is super easy to make and really good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Listen, it doesn’t matter what fruit you choose that’s totally up to you just be sure they’re at the peak of their season.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields:6 serving
Equipment: 2 large mixing bowls, pastry cutter, porcelain pie dish

Ingredients:
2 pounds of apricots, halved, pitted, and sliced
1 pint of blueberries
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of orange juice, freshly squeezed
1/3 cup of light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 stick of cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup of quick-cooking oats

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

For The Fruit:
Start by halving, pitting, and slicing the apricots. In a large mixing bowl combine apricots, blueberries. to that, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of flour, and orange juice toss to combine. Pour the fruit mixture into a porcelain pie dish.

The Crumble Topping:
In a large bowl, add 1 cup of flour, brown sugar, Kosher salt. To that add, and unsalted cold diced butter. With a pastry cutter work the butter into the flour sugar mixture until it’s the size of small peas.

At this point, add the quick-cooking oats. Work the oats into the flour mixture with your hands, combining it through the butter/flour mixture, forming into large crumbles. Add the crumble to the pie dish. Make sure to cover the fruit mixture completely.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling around the sides, and topping is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes

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