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

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Yields: 10 large pieces
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 4 hours to overnight
Cook Time:  roughly 1 hour 10 minutes
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 marinate. 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.

Remove the pan with the Pork Belly and increase the temperature to 470 degrees F. The salt should have formed a crust which you can easily remove. You’ll be able to see the Pork Belly,  in the side by side pictures, with the removed salted fat cap above.

Once the temperature of the oven has reached 470 degrees F., place the Pork Belly back into the oven and bake for another 30 minutes. The skin should be bubbly and crisp. 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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Panna Cotta Topped With Raspberry Sauce

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Whenever I serve this Panna Cotta (Italian translation, cooked cream) my friends tend to lose their minds and go CRAZY!   Serving dessert in a glass seems to add a touch of elegance. I love making my Panna Cotta Topped With Raspberry Sauce because you can make it a day in advance and garnish them right before serving.


Cook Time: bring just to a boil
Inactive Prep Time: 4 hours minimum to overnight
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoons cold water
2 cups of heavy cream
1 cup of half and half
1/3 cup of sugar
1 vanilla bean pod

Raspberry Topping:
2 pints of fresh raspberries (reserve 6 raspberries for garnish)
1 cup of granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of Chambord (raspberry liqueur optional)
1/4 cup of raspberry jam (with seeds optional)
1 heaping tablespoon of corn starch
2 tablespoons of cold water
6 chocolate hazelnut Pirouline rolled wafers for garnish
fresh mint for garnish
white chocolate chips for garnish

Directions:
Start with the raspberry topping. In a food processor, add the fresh raspberries, fresh lemon juice, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, and Chambord. Pulse until the raspberries are completely pureed. In a medium-size saucepan, on medium heat, pour the pureed raspberry mixture. Next, add in the raspberry jam along with the other 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, add the corn starch and water. Whisk the two together until combined and add that to the pan of raspberry mixture. Once the raspberry sauce comes up to a boil, about 5 to 8 minutes, the sauce will start to thicken. Turn the heat off. Remove the pan from the heat, and transfer the raspberry sauce to a medium size bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

To start the Panna cotta, have a medium-size saucepan,. To the saucepan, add the heavy cream, half and half, granulated sugar, and the seeded vanilla bean and pod.

In another small saucepan. Place the 3 tablespoons of water and sprinkle the gelatin over the water, letting stand for about 1 minute to soften. Heat the gelatin over low heat, using a small whisk, stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Then remove the pan from the heat.

Over medium-high heat, whisking continuously, bring the cream mixture just up to a boil. Once at the boil, remove from heat. Remove the vanilla bean pod and whisk in the prepared gelatin mixture.

Carefully, ladle the cream mixture evenly into the 6 glasses, on a baking tray. Let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

After the 4 hours is up, remove the Panna Cotta from the frig. Remove the plastic wrap, and evenly ladle the raspberry sauce carefully over the top of each one of the glasses. Garnish with white chocolate chips, fresh mint, a fresh raspberry, and finally, a hazelnut Pirouline rolled wafer.

Note: Keep Panna Cotta Topped With Raspberry Sauce refrigerated until ready to serve. Garnish right before serving.

 

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Homemade Cajun Chicken Pasta

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Here in Florida, we have a popular restaurant/bar that serves Homemade Cajun Chicken Pasta. Every time we go that’s what I order. I just love it so much I needed to recreate it at home. I will say that there’s a good bit of butter that goes into making this dish, but that’s part of the reason it’s so delicious. I think once and a while it’s alright to indulge in a rich and decadent dish!

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Chicken Broth

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Thyme

Thyme

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diced roma tomatoes

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: cast iron skillet and a deep-sided frying pan, 6-quart saucepot, whisk, large mixing bowl. 1-gallon zip-lock plastic bag

Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 pounds (1 1/2 boxes) of linguine
1 pint of white button mushrooms, sliced
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 shallot, finely minced
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup of dry white wine
6 tablespoons of olive oil
8 tablespoons (1 stick) of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 cup of chicken broth, unsalted
1/4 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for garnishing each serving)
Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Directions:

Place 4 boneless skinless chicken breast, that’s been patted dry, in a large resealable plastic bag. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning, 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika. Let all the air out of the bag and seal it up. Using your hands, massage the chicken so all the seasoning coats the chicken. Set aside.

In a cast-iron skillet over medium melt 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil. Add the minced shallot, sliced mushrooms, and dried thyme. Cook the mushrooms and shallots for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the mushrooms have released all their water and become brown. Next, add the minced garlic, stirring, continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer until all the liquid has evaporated. This process should take another 7 to 10 minutes. While the mushrooms are simmering seed and dice 4 plum tomatoes. Transfer the diced tomatoes to a large mixing bowl. Add the sautéed mushrooms and shallot mixture and fresh thyme leaves to the same bowl, mix to combine.

Using the same skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons each of butter olive oil. Let the butter melt moving the butter and oil around in the skillet to coat the entire bottom. Next, place the 4 seasoned chicken breast into the skillet. Cook the chicken breasts for 5 to 7 minutes per side until almost tender. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate. Set aside.

Have a large pot of boiling salted water ready for the pasta. While that’s happening, thinly slice the chicken breasts on the bias. Transfer back to the plate.

In a deep-sided frying pan with a lid, start the sauce. On medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter (this may seem like a large amount of butter, but there is a lot of pasta and it needs to be coated really well with butter) along with 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning and 1 tablespoon sweet paprika. Add 1/2 a cup of unsalted chicken broth. Let this come to a bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in 1/4 cup of heavy cream, whisk to combine. Add the sliced chicken into the sauce. Over medium-low heat simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Drop the pasta and cook until just al dente.

Once the pasta reaches the al dente stage, using a pair of tongs, transfer the linguine to the deep-sided frying pan with 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese. Turn the heat off and toss together until all the pasta is coated and the chicken is mixed through. The pasta will quickly absorb the sauce.

Serve my Homemade Cajun Chicken Pasta in a porcelain pasta bowl. Garnish with fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley and another sprinkling of the Parmesan cheese. If the dish is not being served immediately cover with a lid.

 

 

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