Brined Pulled Pork

1 cup plus 2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 boneless pork butt (about 5 pounds), cut in half horizontally
1/4 cup yellow mustard
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons smoked paprika (see note)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Dissolve 1 cup salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons liquid smoke in 4 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge pork in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

While pork brines, combine mustard and remaining 2 teaspoons liquid smoke in small bowl; set aside. Combine black pepper, paprika, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and cayenne in second small bowl; set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

Remove pork from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Rub mustard mixture over entire surface of each piece of pork. Sprinkle entire surface of each piece with spice mixture. Place pork on wire rack set inside foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Place piece of parchment paper over pork, then cover with sheet of aluminum foil, sealing edges to prevent moisture from escaping. Roast pork for 3 hours.

Remove pork from oven; remove and discard foil and parchment. Carefully pour off liquid in bottom of baking sheet into fat separator and reserve for sauce. Return pork to oven and cook, uncovered, until well browned, tender, and internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1? hours. Transfer pork to serving dish, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.

FOR THE SAUCE: While pork rests, pour 1/2 cup of defatted cooking liquid from fat separator into medium bowl. Whisk in ingredients (see below).

TO SERVE: Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-sized pieces. Toss with 1 cup sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.
Note: Sweet paprika may be substituted for smoked paprika. Covering the pork with parchment and then foil prevents the acidic mustard from eating holes in the foil. Serve the pork on hamburger rolls with pickle chips and thinly sliced onion. Alternatively, use 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce thinned with ? cup of the defatted pork cooking liquid in step 5. The shredded and sauced pork can be cooled, tightly covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat it gently before serving.

Salted Butter Caramels

3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, bean paste, or powder
rounded 1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
1/2 cup light corn syrup, golden syrup (such as Lyle’s)
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons, total, salted butter, cubed, at room temperature

Line a 9-inch loaf pan with foil and spray the inside with cooking spray.

Heat the cream with 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan with the vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm while you cook the syrup.

In a medium, heavy duty saucepan (4 quarts, 4l), fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the corn syrup, golden, or rice syrup with the sugar, and cook, stirring gently, to make sure the sugar melts smoothly. Once the mixture is melted together and the sugar is evenly moistened, only stir is as necessary to keep it from getting any hot spots.

Cook until the syrup reaches 310?F. To get an accurate reading while the syrup is cooking, tilt the saucepan to make sure the bulb of the thermometer is fully submerged in the syrup, tilting the pan if necessary.

Turn off the heat and stir in the warm cream mixture, until smooth.

Turn the heat back on and cook the mixture to 260F.

Remove the pan from the heat, lift out the thermometer, and stir in the cubes of butter, until it’s melted and the mixture smooth.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and wait ten minutes, then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the sea salt over the top. Set on a cool rack and let cool completely. Once cool, lift out the foil with the caramel, peel away the foil, and slice the bar of caramel with a long, sharp knife into squares or rectangles.

Storage: These caramels can be individually-wrapped in cellophane or waxed paper. Once cut, they may stick together if not wrapped. Store in an air-tight container, and they’ll keep for about one month.
from David Leibovitz

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 head small green cabbage, shredded
4 whole-wheat rolls, split

In a medium saucepan, stir together tomatoes, sugar, garlic, mustard, and 1/2 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; add pork, and simmer, covered, until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer pork to a plate to cool. Simmer sauce over medium, uncovered, until reduced by
half, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make slaw: In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon vinegar, celery seed, and 1 tablespoon water; season with salt and pepper. Add cabbage, and toss to coat.

Shred pork with 2 forks, and return to sauce; stir in 1 teaspoon vinegar. Serve pork on rolls, topped with slaw.

Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork

1.5 lbs boneless pork roast
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a deep bottom saucepan heat the oil over medium heat until just smoking. Add the pork roast and sear all sides of the pork, including the ends. This will take about 1-2 minutes per side.

In a bowl mix the onion, ketchup, tomato paste, sugar, paprika, red pepper, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Add the seared pork to this mixture and coat the pork completely.

Add the pork and all of the sauce to the slow-cooker and turn it on per the manufacturers directions. Cook pork for 6-7 hours, or until pork is very tender and cooked through.

When pork has completed cooking remove it from the slow-cooker to a cutting board. Shred the meat with a sharp fork. Reserve any sauce from the cooker to drizzle over cooked pork if desired.

Dutch Oven Method: Complete steps 1 and 2. Then, place sauce and pork in a dutch oven. Heat the oven to 325 F and cook for 3 – 3.5 hours, or until pork is cooked through. Continue with step 4.

Basic Chicken Stock

ones and carcass from one roasted chicken
2 onions
3-4 stalks of celery
1-2 carrots
2 bay leaves
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
6-8 parsley stems
Optional Extras – whole garlic cloves, fennel fronds, leek tops, whole pepper corns

Use your fingers or kitchen shears to pull the chicken carcass into a few pieces that will fit snugly in your pot.

Put the chicken bones in a pot and cover them with water by about an inch. Simmer on very low heat for 2-6 hours. You should just see a few bubbles here and there, a little movement in the liquid, and bit of steam over the pot. Add more water if the bones start to become exposed. Ideal temperature is between 180? and 190?.

Peel and roughly chop all of your veggies. The quantities given above are approximate, so use what you have.

Skim off any foam or film that has floated to the top of the stock. This isn’t strictly necessary, but it will make your stock look and taste more clean.

Add the vegetables and herbs. Add more water if necessary to cover. Simmer for another hour or two at the same heat.

Strain the stock to separate out the solid pieces. Discard the solids. (If you’d like a clearer broth, strain it again through cheese cloth.)

Let the stock cool, then separate into portion-sized containers. Refrigerate stock for up to a week or freeze it indefinitely.

Additional Notes:

? Alternatively, you can cover the pot and put it in a 200? oven. You can also use a slow cooker on one of its lowest settings.

? We’ll say it again: the amount and kinds of vegetables given above are just a guideline. Use what you have and your stock will still be great.

? If it fits in your pot, you can cook the stock inside the pasta strainer insert. This makes the job of separating the solids a cinch.

? You can double or triple the recipe depending on how many chicken carcasses you have.

? This recipe makes roughly 1 quart of stock.

Basic Roux

equal weights of flour and fat – generally butter So, one stick of butter (or four ounces) would be blended with four ounces of flour, usually a little more than what would fit into a dry half cup measure.

A roux is the traditional way to thicken and enrich gravies, sauces and soups. It’s essential to making our Best Way Gravy that is part of our Thanksgiving section every year, and is used often in Cajun/Creole cooking.

A roux is a cooked mixture of equal weights of flour and fat – we generally use butter So, one stick of butter (or four ounces) would be blended with four ounces of flour, usually a little more than what would fit into a dry half cup measure.

To make the roux, start by melting the butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan until it foams and bubbles. Add the flour all at once, whisking constantly until the two are combined and a smooth consistency has formed. It’s important to cook the mixture for at least 2 to 3minutes. At this point, you have a blond (or white) roux, which is used to thicken soups or sauces like bechamel or veloute, where the lighter color plays a key role.

Beyond that, the roux will take on different characteristics, depending on how long it cooks in the pot. Between 5 and 10 minutes, the roux will develop a light brown hue and a nutty flavor, good for thickening dishes like beef stew.

In Cajun/Creole cooking, recipes most often call for a dark brown roux, which has been cooked for 20 to 25 minutes.

Keep in mind that the longer roux cooks, the nuttier and richer the flavors become, but it will also lose thickening power as it darkens, which means you’ll have to make more.

To thicken your dish, cook it with the roux mixed in for at least 15 to 20 minutes. This will cook out the starchy flour flavor and bring the dish to the desired consistency.

Basic Seared Fish, Meat, or Poultry

enough oil to lightly coat the surface of pan, unless you are using a very fatty meat

Myths abound about the benefits of searing, most notably that it seals in the juices. In reality, searing or browning meat or fish creates a caramelized, golden crust that adds texture and a depth of flavor.

The most important factor in this technique is to start with a very hot pan. Ideally, you should use one made from a stainless steel or anodized metal – a heavy material that will conduct and distribute heat evenly and well.

Although you can use nonstick pans for delicate fish, pans without a nonstick finish do a better job of browning, and leave lovely browned flavorful bits to use in a pan sauce (see “Making pan sauce.”)

To brown, heat a completely dry pan, then add enough oil to lightly coat the surface (if you’re using meat that has a lot of fat, you can skip this step and put it directly into the dry pan). The oil should heat to the point where it shimmers, but does not smoke. You can test this by flicking a droplet of water into the pan – if the pan is ready, the water should sizzle and evaporate upon contact.

Place your ingredient directly into the pan. It will hiss at first, but let it cook until a golden brown crust forms. If the pan is heated properly, the ingredient won’t stick to the pan, and you’ll be able to lift it with tongs or a spatula easily.

Keep in mind that if you overcrowd the pan, the ingredients will steam rather than brown, so sometimes you’ll need to cook in batches. It’s OK to wipe out the pan in between, but leave the fond – the brown bits that stick to the bottom.

Read more:

Basic Pan Sauce

brown bits on the bottom of a pan (called fond) that appear after you’ve seared or browned meat, poultry, or fish

fat leftover from browning

olive oil or butter, if there is not much fat

diced shallots or other aromatics

wine, stock, vinegar, juice or other flavored liquid

cold cubes of butter

One of our all-time favorite techniques – making a pan sauce – is a great secret for home cooks. Within minutes, you can create a quick, professional-tasting meal using just a few ingredients.

This method utilizes the brown bits on the bottom of a pan (called fond) that appear after you’ve used the searing or browning technique, with anything from meat or poultry to fish.

We like to start by sauteing some diced shallots or other aromatics for added flavor, either in the fat leftover from browning the meat or in a little extra olive oil or butter.

Next, add liquid to the hot pan, and bring to a simmer. You can use wine, stock, vinegar, juice or other flavored liquid. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the fond from the bottom of the pan and incorporate it into the sauce, adding color and flavor. This is called deglazing. Reduce the sauce by letting it simmer and cook down, which concentrates the flavors and thickens the sauce. How long it simmers depends on how much liquid you add, but it’s never more than a few minutes.

To finish, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in cold cubes of butter, which will further thicken the sauce, add extra richness and provide luster. Season it with salt and pepper, and you’ll have a finished sauce that will enhance a main course.

Basic Breading

milk, water, or other liquid or seasoning
bread crumbs

This easy, three-step technique ensures an even crumb coating. It’s commonly used on thin cuts of chicken, pork or veal that will be fried or baked.

To begin, set up your breading station. Fill the first of three shallow dishes with flour. In the second dish, make an egg wash by whisking eggs with a little bit of water, milk or other liquid or seasoning. Finally, place your breadcrumbs (or other crumbs) into the third dish.

Start by dredging a piece of meat in the flour. Dredging means to thinly coat the meat with the flour, then shake off any excess. This eliminates much of the moisture from the surface of the meat and provides something for the egg wash to grab onto.

The second step is to dip the meat into the egg wash, again letting the extra drip off. At this point, you’ll basically have a paste for the crumbs to adhere to. Finally, press the meat into the crumbs, coating evenly.

Try to work with one hand as you complete the process, so as not to bread your fingers on both hands – that can lead to a sticky mess.

Proceed with the recipe as directed.

Vanilla Bean Bourbon Milkshake

1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 fresh vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (reserve pod for another use)
11 ounces premium vanilla ice cream (about 1 3/4 packed cups)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) bourbon

Combine the milk, bourbon, and vanilla bean seeds in the blender and blend until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the ice cream and blend until smooth, about 10 seconds.

Almond Curry Shrimp

2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup slivered, blanched almonds, ground
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large tomato, cored and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, but tails left on
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the almonds and garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the garlic is browned but not burned.

Add the tomato, cayenne, salt, sugar, and garam masala. Stir occasionally and cook for 2 to 4 minutes. The tomatoes should break down into the sauce.

Dump in the shrimp and pour in the cream. Stir well, then drop the heat to medium, cover the skillet, and cook for 5 minutes, or until all the shrimp are orange and cooked.

Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.