Rick Bayless’ Tomato Carpaccio Salad And A Pulled Pork Cuban Sandwich “Stromboli”

Setting the site record for longest post title by far..

The tomato and tomatillo plants are heavy with fruit right now so it’s time for Rick Bayless’ Tomato Carpaccio Salad:

190908 tomato carpaccio salad

We last posted the salad recipe in 2014.  The 2019 version featured Black Krim and Taxi tomatoes as the base. The pictured tomatillo salad topping included Oregon Cherry and Sun Gold tomatoes as well as avacado and red onion.

The salad was fairly filling for three adults, but we had some frozen pulled pork to use up as well as some “empty” jars of mustard. I really dislike that bit of waste, so I rinsed out the mustard jars in a little bit of water and used that as a base to reheat the pulled pork. We then moved the thawed pork to a mixing bowl and added shredded cheese and mustard-pickle relish.

The pork mixture was originally intended to become Cuban Sandwich Style Pulled Pork Pigs In A Blanket, but there was too much filling for that so it became a Cuban Sandwich Style Pulled Pork Stromboli:

190908 cuban pulled pork stromboli

Served with more of the mustard-pickle relish on the side. Super tasty.

The dough was basically a simple pizza dough — 400g AP flour, 240g water (60%), 10g salt (2.5%), 1 tsp yeast. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 10″ x 8″. Arrange the filling in a row down the center of the long axis and fold the dough over the filling, overlapping slightly. Press to seal the seam. Place the stromboli on a parchment or Silpat-lined sheet tray seam side down. Slice a few cuts into the top so that steam can escape — I placed cuts about every 2 inches which then became the portion sizes after it came out of the oven. Bake at 425F for 30 minutes.

If there’s extra dough it can become bread sticks.

Next time I’ll cut the salt back to 2%, I think the extra salt may have toughened the finished product a little bit. The extra bite would have been fine with pigs in a blanket but the stromboli form was already enough work to get through without the added salt.

Still, a very nice dinner all around. Thanks to SeattleAuthor for his help in the kitchen.

Roasted Tomatillo-Pork Tacos

by A.J. Coltrane

I used this recipe (“Pork Stew in Green Salsa”) as a jumping off point for Roasted Tomatillo-Pork Tacos. The picture is of my variation, situated on a corn tortilla, topped with sour cream and frilly cilantro:

150929 tomatillo pork

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1.5 lb boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or more if needed
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups pureed roasted tomatillos
  • 4 seeded minced green tomatoes (I used Romas)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar (pork loves apple)
  • Additional salt to taste

Directions

  1. Stir together the flour, salt, pepper, and cumin in a large bowl. Place the cubed pork into the mixture, and stir well to coat the meat with the seasonings.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Working in batches if necessary, place the meat into the hot pan in a single layer. Pan-fry the pork until brown on all sides. Remove the pork to a bowl.
  3. Cook and stir the onion in the hot pan over medium heat, adding more olive oil if necessary, until the onion is translucent. Return the meat to the pan and stir in the garlic, tomatillos, tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, and water. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.
  4. Stir in cilantro shortly before serving. Check for salt.

———–

The big changes from the original are:

Roasted tomatillos instead of fresh. I may try it with fresh at some point, but we currently have a freezer stocked with a lot of roasted tomatillos.

The addition of green tomatoes instead of green chiles. We have more than a few green tomatoes on the counter at the moment. (Gotta use everything up.)

More garlic (surprise!). More cumin. No majoram.

The addition of apple cider vinegar, which I think really helps. It brightens the dish and somewhat compensates for using roasted tomatillos rather than fresh.

Less liquid. The target was a taco filling rather than a stew.

Adding the cilantro very late in the cooking process. No point killing it by adding it early.

Half as much meat. It’s still plenty of food for four.

——————

[As an aside, the allrecipes picture uses mint as a garnish, which isn’t anywhere in the recipe. I guess they didn’t want a completely brown picture either. The inclusion of mint in the photo is “cheating” I think. They should have garnished with cilantro, which is actually in the recipe. /rant]

I really enjoyed this take on Roasted Tomatillo-Pork Tacos. It’s an easy one-pot preparation that doesn’t take all night. We’ll be making this one again for sure.

Sausage Dressing without the Turkey

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I am not much of a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving – I really don’t care for turkey (have had too many bad ones over the years and that is inexcusable – turkey is easy to cook, of course, I am there if you are going to serve wild turkey, either the bird or the booze), stuffing (especially the store bought stuff) or cranberry jelly. I would much rather have a traditional Thanksgiving of deer, game bird and small furry woodland creatures; pretty much what would have been served at the actual first Thanksgiving. I still get roped into making the traditional meal and my sister-in-law usually requests my stuffing, and lots of it for leftovers. The beauty of this stuffing recipe is that it doesn’t require it to be stuffed into a turkey cavity (the idea is that you butterfly the bird and put it on top of the tray of stuffing so the juices drip down), so you actually don’t need to make a turkey at all to enjoy stuffing (the directions are for if you aren’t cooking a bird with the stuffing). The plus side is that it is easy to make, produces a sufficient quantity (the recipe feeds 12 in theory) and reheats well. I adapted this from the original Cook’s Illustrated recipe.

The Software

  •  18 cups 1-inch challah or Italian bread cubes (from about 1 1/2 loaves)
  • 2 cups turkey stock or chicken stock
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 ½ lbs mild Italian sausage
  • 3 cups onions, chopped fine – I prefer sweet onions here
  • 1 ½ cups celery, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
  • 1 ½ teaspoons table salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper

 

The Recipe

  1. Adjust one oven rack to upper-middle position and second rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Spread bread in even layers on 2 rimmed baking sheets and dry in oven 40 to 50 minutes.
  2. Place bread in large bowl. Whisk together stock, half-and-half, and eggs in medium bowl; pour over bread and toss gently to coat so bread does not break into smaller pieces. Set aside.
  3. Heat heavy-bottomed, 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage loses its raw color, 5 to 7 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer sausage to medium bowl. Don’t drain the fat. If there isn’t much in there, add a tablespoon of olive oil.  Add about half of onions and celery to fat in skillet; sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to bowl with sausage. Return skillet to heat and add 2 tablespoons butter; when foam subsides, add remaining celery and onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, sage, and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds; add salt and pepper. Add this mixture along with sausage and onion mixture to bread and stir gently to combine, trying not to break bread into smaller pieces.
  4. Spray disposable aluminum 12 by 16-inch roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dressing to roasting pan and spread in even layer. Cover pan with foil and refrigerate until needed. It should be good in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Remove from the fridge about 45 minutes before cooking.
  5. In a 400 degree oven, cook the dressing covered for 80 minutes covered, rotating the pan after 40 minutes. The internal temperature should be about 150-155 degrees. Uncover, increase heat to 450 degrees and cook until the surface starts to become golden (keep an eye on it, it can burn), about 10-15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, plate and serve.

Notes

The original recipe called for just 12 oz. of sausage, which really didn’t seem like that much. I like the flavors Italian sausage brings to the party, but you could certainly use any sausage that you like. I would highly recommend using turkey stock if you are making this, even if you roast a bird on top of it, I think it has better flavor than chicken stock, plus then you can make turkey gravy to put over it. If you want to make it vegetarian or vegan, it is easy – I have made this using vegan sausage and it works. You just need to use oil in the pan for sautéing the sausage and veggies and replace the meat stock with veggie stock; everything else would be the same. I prefer Italian bread to challah just because it is easier to work with. Oh yeah, the recipe actually scales down pretty easily if you don’t want too much leftover stuffing.

Braised Pork Sugo

By Iron Chef Leftovers

One of the nice things about making pasta sauce is that it is a fairly simple process and can be used in a variety of ways. One of the things I tend to do with my tomatoes is to make a really simple sauce and freezing it so that I can use it as a base for a more robust pasta sauce later in the year. One of my favorite sauces is a sugo – a hearty sauce that I love in the cold of winter. It was part of one of my courses at a recent dinner party and it is a nice sauce to feed a crowd.

 

The Software

3 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 medium onions, finely sliced (about 2 cups)

3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch lengths

3 celery stalks cut into 1 inch lengths

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 can diced tomatoes (16 oz)

1 1/4 cup chicken stock

1 ¼ cup red wine

1 teaspoon minced garlic

5 cups tomato sauce

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon minced sage

1 teaspoon minced rosemary

2 teaspoons olive oil

 

The Recipe

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a dutch oven, heat one teaspoon of olive oil over medium high heat until just smoking. Add 1/3 of the pork and brown on all sides (about 4 minutes per side). Remove from the pot to a plate and reduce heat to medium and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add onions and cook for 8 minutes until they start to become translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add celery and carrots and cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add stock, tomatoes and red wine and increase heat to medium high until liquid comes to a boil. Add the pork and cook until the liquid returns to a boil. Cover and put in the oven. Cook for about 2 hours or until the pork is fork tender. Remove from the oven. Pull the pork from the liquid and set aside to shred. Take the vegetables and add them to a blender. Strain the liquid to remove the fat and then add to the blender with the vegetables. Puree until smooth (you may need to do this in a couple of batches). Add the puree and the pork back to the pot and combine with the tomato sauce, oregano, rosemary and sage. Heat over medium heat for 15 minutes, add salt and pepper as needed and serve over pasta.

 

Notes

This recipe is better if you make it a day ahead of when you want to use it. I use an even split of marsala wine and dry red wine, but just about any red wine will work in this recipe. You can adjust the amount of tomato sauce depending on how much sauce you like. If it is too thick when you serve it, add a bit of pasta water to it to loosen it up. This would also be nice with a bit of red pepper flakes added to the initial braise.

A Simple Spice Rub

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I like spice rubs, but I tend not to buy ones in the store since they are mostly salt and very expensive and you can actually make the same thing at home for a fraction of the price. I have a default spice rub that I use for chicken, fish or pork when I am not really sure what I am in the mood for. It is quick and easy to make a spice rub with the spices you have on hand and they will keep in an airtight container for 6 months (which is as long as you should be keeping spices around anyway), but I usually just make them on the fly since they take less than a minute to put together. For this recipe, I will give the ratios in parts and you can use whatever measuring device you want.

The Software
2 parts smoked paprika
2 parts powdered garlic
2 parts cumin
2 parts dried oregano
1 part ground adobe
1 part ground black pepper
1 part salt

The Recipe
Take all of the ingredients and add them to a container with a lid. Close the lid tight and shake until well combined. Spread on your protein or veggies of choice. Cook and you are done.

Notes
If the rub is not salty enough for you, add more salt. It is easier to add more than it is to remove it after you have put everything together. The ratios are really just suggestions, add and subtract whatever you would like and feel free to substitute sweet paprika for smoked and to take anything out. This recipe was developed with what I had on hand, you can pretty much make your own by combining spices and herbs and trying them out.

Pot Stickers

by A.J. Coltrane

Pot stickers are really easy to do.  They’re somewhat time consuming, but almost impossible to screw up.  Most of the time they’ll fool people into thinking that you can cook.  I don’t use a recipe for them — something like this will work fine as a leaping off point:

The filling - includes cilantro from the CSA box.

The “Recipe”:

1 lb Ground Pork

1/2 Large Head Cabbage, finely shredded

1/2 cup – 1 cup Scallions, finely chopped

2 cloves Garlic, minced

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Sesame Oil

1 package (4″ square) Wonton Wrappers — Buy two packages to cover overruns, they freeze just fine.  Extra wrappers can also become Crab Rangoons if you have cream cheese in the house.

About the right amount of filling.

Other good stuff:  Black Pepper, Sambal Oelek/ hot sauce, minced Bell Pepper, minced Cilantro, Ginger, minced Onion, Soy Sauce.  Any of those in small quantities will be fine.

The Assembly:

Use a food processor, even one of the little cheap ones is highly recommended as a time-saver.  I would also suggest that the assembly process happen while sitting down, in front of a television, with beer.  It’s much more pleasant that way.

Ready for action.

1.  Cut all vegetables into pieces that the food processor can handle.  Working in batches if necessary, pulse the food processor to finely chop vegetables.  Do not puree.

2.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

3.  The Setup:

Two plates, one for folding the pot stickers and one for the finished product.  A small bowl or ramekin with some water — the water will be used to seal the pot stickers.  Plastic wrap for covering the finished pot stickers — the pot stickers can sit in layers on the plate, with plastic wrap between the layers.

4.  Take one wrapper out the package and place on the “assembly” plate.  (The wrappers will dry out quickly, make sure to keep the package covered, or at least mostly closed.)  Place about 1 tsp+ of the filling into the center of the wrapper.  I use two forks for this to keep my hands relatively clean.  (Use one fork to pick up the filling, then scrape off with the other fork and onto the wrapper.)  Lightly wet one finger in the bowl of water and moisten two adjacent edges of the wrapper.  Fold the two “dry” edges over to meet the “wet” edges, removing as much air as possible.  Crimp the filled wrapper a few times.

Into the frying pan... Yeah, I

The Cooking Part:

Note:  You’ll need a non-stick skillet that has a lid.  Heat skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 3 tablespoons of canola oil.  When the oil is hot add as many pot stickers as will fit in one layer into the pan.

Cook about 2-3 minutes.  Resist the urge to poke, move, or otherwise disturb the pot stickers.

Add 1/8 cup of water to the pan and immediately cover.  Watch out for splattering oil/water.  It’s best to have the lid in your hand hovering over the pan when you add the water so that you can slap on the lid when the water hits the heat.

Cook about 4-6 minutes.  The goal is to have the water finish evaporating just as you’re ready to remove the lid.

Remove the lid and cook an additional 2 minutes to crisp, finish browning, and evaporate any leftover water.  Cut open one pot sticker to ensure that the pork is cooked through.

Fin.

Repeat until all pot stickers are done.

Sweet and sour sauces go well with this recipe.  Also good is the classic soy/sushi vinegar/ hot sauce combo (1 part soy, ~1 part sushi vinegar, and a dash of hot sauce.  You can substitute white wine vinegar and a little sugar for the sushi vinegar.)

It looks like a big project, but it’s easy.  Most of the preparation can take place in front of the TV.  Painless.