Honey Baked Ham

April 22, 2011

It’s not a holiday at our house without some kind of baked ham. With that said, we don’t normally have baked ham unless it’s a holiday :). Last year, I experimented baking our own honey baked ham at home to see whether it would really make a difference.  And yes it did! This ham did not disappoint. It was tender, juicy and full of flavor. I love how thew red pepper flakes added a little bit of tang to the sweetness of the honey glaze. Skip the store-bought ham, and try this one instead. While it takes time to make, it’s really worth the wait.

Recipe courtesy the Neely’s via Food Network

Ingredients

6 pounds bone-in ham
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a standard size roasting pan with aluminum foil, and place ham with rounded side up. Bake for an hour.

In the meantime, mix the rest of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan, oven medium heat. Stir occasionally until it forms a thick glaze.

Use 1/2 of the glaze to coat the ham, and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. (If the glaze thickens up, let it heat back up for a few minutes until it reaches the consistency to coat).

Flip the ham, use the remaining 1/2 of the glaze, and finish baking for another hour.

Let stand for 30 minutes before slicing to serve.

Yield: 8 Servings

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Slow Cooker Smothered Pork Chops

April 2, 2011

I’m always on the lookout for a new delicious dish that can be prepared in a slow-cooker. My weekly recipe rotation consists of one slow-cooker dish; and I don’t know about you guys, but I need variety!!! Trust me, I understand first hand how difficult it is to get a nice dinner on the table during the week where we seem to be on the race against time. This recipe is attractive to me because I have never cooked pork chops in a slow cooker before; and it also uses bone-in blade cut pork chops.


This dish requires a little bit of prep time in the beginning but I promise you that the end result is worth it. I also don’t have time in the mornings to prepare my slow cooker, therefore I prepare everything the night before, cover the slow cooker insert with the lid, and leave in the refrigerator overnight. That way, I can just put the insert into the slow cooker in the morning and turn it on, which only takes two minutes. These pork chops were fork-tender, melt-in your mouth delicious, with gravy that was equally rich and decadent, without being too heavy. Finally, I love how beautiful the final product was. We enjoyed this with another household favorite Mustard Roasted Potatoes, but I think they’re great with hot egg noodles, rice pilaf, or mashed potatoes. Yum! I will be making this again very soon. Happy cooking!

Adapted from The Best of American Test Kitchen 2008

Ingredients
4 slices bacon, chopped fine
Vegetable oil if necessary
6 bone-in blade-cut pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
Salt and Pepper
3 onions, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick (I used my mini food processor to do this)
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Directions
Fry the bacon in a skillet until they are crisp. Transfer bacon to paper-towel lined plate, and leave the bacon fat in the skillet. Refrigerate the bacon.

Meanwhile, pat the pork chops with paper towel until they are dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the bacon fat until it smoking. Fry 3 chops at a time, about 3 minutes on each sides until they are golden brown. Then transfer to the slow cooker insert. Repeat process with remaining chops.

Pour off all but 1 tsp of bacon fat from the skillet; add onions, 1 tsp light brown sugar, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 cup water to the now-empty skillet. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits from the pan and cook over medium high heat until the onions are soft, approximately 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, approximately 30 seconds.

Pour this mixture into the slow cooker insert over the pork chops. Add broth, soy sauce, and remaining 1 tbsp brown sugar to the skillet, bring to a boil and add the bay leaves. Pour the mixture in the slow cooker.

Cover the slow cooker, and cook either on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

When ready to serve, reheat the bacon in a large saute pan until crisp. Transfer bacon to a small bowl. Slowly, transfer the pork chops into a large platter, and tent the plate with an aluminum foil. Remove bay leaves from the crock pot, and pour the liquid through mesh strainer into a large saucepan.

Transfer the solids into a blender along with 1 cup of the cooking liquid, and blend until smooth. Stir back into the remaining liquid in the saucepan. Mix the cornstarch and remaining 2 tbsp water together in a small bowl and stir into the sauce. Cook over medium heat for approximately 8 minutes.

Add vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the chops and sprinkle with bacon and parsley. Serve.

Yield: 6


Five Spice Pork Wraps {Slow Cooker}

March 10, 2011

I saw this recipe in my most recent Williams Sonoma catalog, and knew that I had to make them! However, with an active 8-month old to tend to, I wanted to turn this into a crock-pot dish that I can prep ahead of time, and let it cook for a nice 10-12 hrs stretch. I prefer to use bone-in pork shoulder, because I think that’s where a lot of the flavors are from; so that’s what I did instead. I modified this recipe to allow for the slow cooker version, and I was really happy with the result.

The tender, juicy, slightly spicy and warm pulled pork were delicious on top of cold crispy butter lettuces and bean sprouts. And don’t forget to save those little onion bits from the bottom of the crock pot, they added excellent boost of flavor to the pork. The only thing I would caution you on is that this dish was MESSY to eat! Make sure you have extra napkins around because you will need it. You can turn this into a low-carb dish by skipping the rice (I skipped the rice because I simply forgot to cook it). And it was still delicious! They are a great party dish, because you don’t spend a lot of time cooking this, and it serves a large crowd. Happy cooking!

Adapted from Williams Sonoma

Ingredients

4 tsp. Chinese five spice
1 Tbs. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
6 lb. bone-in pork shoulder
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, diced
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 Tbs. minced garlic
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup hoisin sauce, plus more for serving
2 Tbs. Sriracha chili sauce, plus more for serving
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Butter lettuce leaves, steamed white rice, bean sprouts, thinly sliced green onions and cilantro leaves for serving

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the Chinese five spice, salt and pepper. Rub the mixture evenly on the pork.

Combine the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour into the bottom of a crock pot.
Let it cook on low for 10-12 hrs or high for 5-6 hrs.

When the crock pot is done cooking, using tongs and a fork, pull the pork apart into large chunks. Serve with lettuce leaves, steamed rice, bean sprouts, green onions, cilantro, hoisin sauce and chili sauce.

Yield: 14


Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

January 31, 2011

I know my recent posts have all been dessert; but I do eat other things in addition to dessert 🙂 I was basically lured into trying this recipe because I kept on seeing it advertised on every magazine that I was reading at that time. I couldn’t remember when the last time I had pulled pork and never made it before; so I wanted to give this a try.

I didn’t have a boneless pork butt, so I used a bone-in version, and let it cook for 12 hrs. It was super tender, fell apart beautifully and was ridiculously delicious. I sprinkled some smoked paprika as well to give it a bit more spiciness to it, and it was perfect.  I love that it makes so much and  they froze and reheated well.  I  served it with this Carolina Cole Slaw and used store-bought barbecue sauce (although I think they were delicious without it as well. What could be more perfect winter meal than this? Happy eating! 🙂

Ingredients
1 5-pound boneless pork butt (shoulder) –I used a bone-in version that I think made it even more flavorful!
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
Soft sandwich buns

Directions
Combine all the seasonings in a small bowl and rub evenly over roast. Place meat in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add water. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours or until pork is very tender.

Remove pork to a large cutting board or platter and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Pull, slice or chop to serve. Serve in buns with barbecue sauce.

Makes 16-20 servings