Bun Thit Nuong (Vietnamese Grilled Pork and Noodles)

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb dry rice vermicelli noodle

THIT NUONG:
2 lbs pork shoulder/butt
1/3 cup chopped lemongrass
2 shallots finely chopped
2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp fish sauce
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

FISH SAUCE DIPPING SAUCE / NUOC MAM CHAM:
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup hot water
3 Tbp fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 red chili seeded if you like and finely chopped

SERVE WITH:
1 large cucumber peeled, seeded, and julienned
lettuce leaves shredded
Do Chua
1/2 cup roasted peanuts chopped
Fresh Vietnamese perilla (tia to)
Mint leaves

Rice Noodles with Chili Bean Sauce

300 gr fresh/refrigerated flat rice noodles or dried flat rice noodles
2 Tbsp cooking oil
2 cups snap peas trim both ends

AROMATICS:
1- inch knob of ginger peeled and finely minced
1 medium onion peeled, quartered and separate

SEASONINGS:
2 Tbsp chili bean sauce (dou ban jiang) or more, adjust the amount of other seasoning
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar

PREPARE THE NOODLE AND SEASONINGS:
If using dried rice noodles, soak in water for at least 2 hours. If you are using refrigerated sheets of rice noodles, they come in one large sheet or pre-cut. Microwave them for about 1 minute and then cut (if you need to) and then separate and loosen the noodle.

Mix all the ingredients for seasonings in a bowl and set aside.

Preheat your wok or skillet until very hot. You should see some smoke started to rise. Add in 2 Tbsp of the cooking oil. Add the aromatics and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Push them to the side and then crack in two eggs. Let them cook until the bottom started to settle and then scramble the yolk and break the eggs into large chunks and continue to stir fry for few seconds.

Add sugar snap peas and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes until they are soft but still have some crunch.

Add the rice noodles along with the seasonings. Stir to mix everything. The amount of seasonings may vary according to your taste buds. You may need to add more soy sauce to your taste. Stir to mix everything. The noodles will start to soften. It may take longer if you use dry noodles. Have a final taste and add more seasonings as needed. Dish out and serve immediately.

Notes: You can use other greens like brocollini, broccoli, bok choy, yu choy, mung bean sprouts.

You can also add in slices of beef, chicken, pork, or even seafood. Just remember to cook the seafood or meat first and then dish out to preven overcooking.

Kwe Tiau Radna (Thai Rice Noodles with Sauce)

2 lbs fresh rice noodle or Fresh noodle Sheets or 1 lb of wide dried rice noodles
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
2 to 3 Tbsp minced garlic
Scant 1/2 lb boneless pork butt or shoulder , thinly sliced across the grain into 1-by 1/2-inch pieces (or substitute lean beef or boneless chicken, sliced similarly)
1 tsp sugar
1 lb of Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch wide spears and well washed (3 to 4 cups loosely packed)
1 Tbsp fermented soybean paste (dao jiao/dao jio), mashed until smooth
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp rice or cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups mild chicken , beef, or pork borth or water
1 Tbsp cornstarch , dissolved in 3 Tbsp water
Generous grinding of white or black pepper

CHILI VINEGAR SAUCE (1/2 CUP):
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 to 3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 mild chile (such as Cubanelle, Hungarian wax, or banana chile), I used 10-15 bird’s eye chiles, sliced into rings)

If using fresh rice noodles, rinse under warm running water. Stack the sheets, if using, slice into 3/4-inch-wide noodles, and separate gently with your fingers; set aside. If using dried rice noodles, soaking warm water for 30 minutes to soften, then drain and set aside.

Place all the other ingredients by your counter top near the stove. Have a platter and 3 or 4 dinner plates (one per person) nearby.

Heat a large work over high heat. Pour in 1 1/2 Tbsp of the oil and swirl to coat the wok. When very hot, toss in approximately half the noodles and stir-fry gently for about 2 minutes, pressing them against the hot pan, then turn out onto the platter and repeat with the remaining noodles, using only 1 Tbsp oil. Divide the noodles among the four dinner plates.

Wipe out the wok, then place back over high heat. Add the remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp oil and, when it is hot, toss in the garlic. Stir-fry briefly until starting to turn golden, about 20 seconds, then add the pork slices and a generous pinch of the sugar. Stir-fry for about 1 minutes, or until all the meat has changed color. Toss in the sliced greens and stir-fry, pressing the vegetables against the hot sides of the wok, until they turn bright green, about 1 1/2 minutes or more (depending on the size of your wok).

Add the soybean paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, and the remaining scant teaspoon sugar and stir-fry to mix, then add the broth or water and the cornstarch mixture. Stir to mix, then cover for 30 seconds to a minute, until the liquid comes to a boil. Remove the cover and simmer, stirring carefully from time to time, for another 2 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened a little and the greens are tender.

Use your spatula or a ladle to distribute the meat, greens, and gravy over the noodles. Grind pepper over generously and serve hot, with a bowl or cruet of the chile-vinegar sauce.

Put the vinegar in a small bowl and stir in the sugar until it is completely dissolved. Add the chile rings. Serve with a small spoon so guests can spoon a little onto their noodles. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator, this will keep for 4 to 5 days.

Khao Tom (Thai Congee)

PORK BALLS (MAKES ABOUT 30 SMALL BALLS)
8 oz ground pork
3 cloves of garlic finely minced
Small bunch of cilantro stems finely chopped
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp of fish sauce
1 large egg white beat until frothy

RICE SOUP
8 cups of chicken broth
1 stalk lemon grass bruised to release flavor by smashing with side of cleaver/knife
1 small slice of galangal
4 cups cooked brown rice you can use white rice if you prefer
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp of fish sauce
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
Shredded left-over chicken meat optional
4 eggs room temperature before cooking

GARNISHES:
1- inch fresh ginger peeled and thinly sliced
2 spring onions finely chopped
1 handful fresh coriander leaves

SERVE WITH:
soy sauce
3-4 red chilli (finely chopped

TO PREPARE THE DAY BEFORE:
Cook the rice using rice cooker or stove-top according to the instruction on the package. Let it cool and then store in the refrigerator until ready to be used.

Prepare the meatballs by placing the pork in a large mixing bowl followed by garlic all the way to fish sauce. Mix with your clean hands and then gradually fold in the beaten egg white and mix again and start picking up the meat and throw it back into the side of the bowl and repeat this for few times. This will make the pork balls rather bouncy.

Wet your palms and start rolling the pork into balls. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then drop the pork balls in there, batch by batch. They will float to the surface when they are cooked. Check to make sure they are no longer pinkish. If you make this the day before, store in air-tight container in the refrigerator.

WHEN READY TO COOK
Place the eggs in a pot and cover with water. Bring water to a rolling boil and then turn off the heat and cover and let them sit for 15 minutes. Discard water and set aside.

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large pot. Add in the lemon grass and galangal and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Add in the cooked brown rice and simmer briefly. Adjust taste by seasoning with soy sauce, fish sauce, and white pepper
Discard the lemon grass and galangal pieces.

Prepare four serving bowls. Gently crack one egg in the bowl and some shredded chicken meat (if using). Laddle the hot rice soup over each bowl. Garnish with coriander leaves, spring onion, and ginger. Serve immediately with a small dish of chilies doused in soy sauce.

Asian Pork Meatball Noodle Soup

1 lb angel hair/spaghetti/ramen or Asian wheat noodles/udon noodles
4-5 stalks of baby bok choy
1/4 cup goji berries washed and drained

PORK MEATBALLS:
1 lb ground pork (preferably with some fat)
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 egg yolk
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

SOUP BASE
6 cups chicken broth homemade or store-bought
2 inch piece of ginger bruised with heavy object
Small pinch of sugar
Salt to taste

GARNISHES:
1 stalk green onion finely chopped
Fresh cilantro leaves
Red chili oil optional
Fried shallots crisp optional

CHILI SAUCE (OPTIONAL)
4-5 Thai bird’s eye chili finely chopped
Soy sauce

Cook the noodles to al dente and then rinse with some cold water and set aside.

Blanch the baby bok choy in a boiling water for about 5 minutes and then refreshed with some cold water and set aside.

Place all the ingredients for meat balls in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix everything. Roll into balls. Place them into the refrigerator while you are preparing the soup base.

Place chicken broth and ginger in a medium to large pot. Bring to a boil and then let it gently simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add the salt, and sugar. Have a taste, it should be savory with some tangy taste. Add the meatballs and boil until the meatballs float to the top. Add the goji berries and let them cook for about 1 minute. Turn off the heat.

ASSEMBLING THE NOODLE BOWL:
Portion out the noodles into individual serving bowl. Portion out the meatballs and sprinkle of green onions, cilantro leaves.

Generously ladle the soup with some of the goji berries over the noodles. Drizzle with some chili oil if using.

Serve with some chili sauce on the side if you make some. Tuck in and enjoy! You can even serve with some black vinegar on the side if you like it extra tangy.

Lau Shu Fun Medan (Breakfast Pin Noodles with Pork)

1 lb of Lau shu fun noodle (pin noodles)
2 Tbsp of grape seeds oil or oil of your choice
3 cloves of garlic (peeled and finely minced)
1 lb of ground pork
2 Tbsp of soy sauce or more to taste
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
Dash of white Pepper
1 cup of chicken stock
2 tsp corn starch + 2 tsp water

SOUP:
4 cups chicken stock
Salt to taste
Pinch of sugar

GARNISHES:
3 stalks of green onion (finely chopped)
Small bunch of cilantro leaves
Crispy fried shallots

Zha Jiang Mian (Noodles in Bean Sauce)

1 lb dried/fresh Asian wheat noodles or fresh udon noodles
3 Tbsp cooking oil
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
4 Tbsp black bean sauce
1 small onion finely chopped
1 lb ground pork/beef/chicken
1/2 cup shaoxing rice wine/ dry sherry
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tbsp of corn starch mix with 2 Tbsp of water
1 cucumber peeled, seeded and julienned
2 stalks green onion finely chopped
chili oil (optional)

Cook the noodles according to the instruction on the package and rinse with cold water and set aside.

Preheat a wok or skillet. Add in oil, garlic, ginger, black bean sauce, onion and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the ground meat and cook for 6 minutes and then add in the wine and stock. Bring it back to a boil and have a taste. Add more salt and pepper to your taste. Give the corn starch solution a stir and pour it in and the sauce will thicken slightly.

Ladle the sauce over noodles, top with cucumber and chopped green onion. Drizzle some chili oil for a bit of heat. Serve immediately.

Spicy, Tangy Noodles

1 lb of spaghetti/linguine/angel hair/rice noodles/egg noodles/ramen noodles/udon noodles

SAUCE:
1 Tbsp of sesame oil/garlic oil/truffle oil
2 Tbsp of store-bought red chili paste/black bean chili paste or more if you like it really spicy
4 Tbsp of Chinese black vinegar available at Asian grocery store
3 Tbsp of soy sauce/tamari or more to your taste

GARNISHES:
Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
1 stalk of fresh green onions finely chopped
Fried shallots crips available at Asian grocery store

IF YOU WANT TO TURN THIS INTO A COMPLETE MEAL (USE ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING):
Soft-boiled/hard-boiled eggs
Pan-fried firm tofu cubes
Leftover rotisserie chicken
Grilled chicken/meat/seafood shrimp or crab meat lumps
Grilled/steamed veggies asparagus, broccoli, bok choy, etc

Cook the noodle as directed on the package. While the noodle is cooking, In a large mixing bowl, prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients. Stir to mix everything. Add in the cooked noodles (pan-fried tofu cubes, leftover rotisserie chicken or other protein of your choice if using) and tossed to make sure the sauce is coating the noodles. Have a taste to see if you like it. Add more soy sauce, or more chili paste if you prefer. It should be savory, spicy, and tangy. Garnish with some fresh cilantro leaves. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

Nasi Goreng

4 large eggs
2 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 tsp shrimp paste (optional)
3 shallots peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups cooked white rice it has to be at least room temperature or cold is fine too
2 cups leftover cooked meat shredded or diced
3 Tbsp Indonesian sweet soy sauce/ kecap manis
1 Tbsp soy sauce or more to taste
3 -4 Thai chili (optional)
1/2 cup green peas thawed if frozen
Salt to taste

SERVE WITH:
Fresh cucumber slices
Fresh tomato slices
Prawn/ Shrimp crackers
Crispy fried shallots / bawang goreng
2 stalks green onions finely chopped
Sambal kecap pedas (optional)

Make the fried eggs to your preference.
Preheat a wok or large pan. Melt the butter. Add shrimp paste (if using) and stir fry for about 1 minute.

Add shallots and stir fry for 3 minutes.

Add meat and chili (if using). Stir to mix everything.

Add the rice, kecap manis and soy sauce, continue to stir until all the rice grains pick up the brownish color from the kecap manis. Have a taste and season with a bit of salt to your taste if needed.

Garnish with the chopped green onion, sprinkle with crispy shallots / bawang goreng. Top with fried eggs. Put few slices of cucumber and tomatoes and some prawn crackers. Serve immediately.

Lort Cha (Cambodian Pork and Pin Noodles)

INGREDIENTS:
800 gr short rice noodle (banh bot loc) or known as rice pin noodles
8 oz pork tenderloin thinly sliced
2/3 cups hot water divided
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp cooking oil

MARINATE FOR MEAT:
1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce

AROMATICS:
2 cloves garlic finely minced
4 stalks green onion separate the white and green part

VEGETABLES:
2 cups sliced cabbage
2 cups fresh bean sprouts

SEASONINGS:
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar

MARINATE PORK AND GET THINGS READY:
Place the pork slices in a mixing bowl. Add the marinade ingredients and mix with your clean hands. Cover and marinate at room temperature for about 15 minutes while you prepare other things.

Mix all the seasonings ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Preheat a large wok or skillet that has a lid over high heat.

Separate the green onions into green and white part. Cut them into 3-inch pieces. Set aside.

COOK THE PORK FIRST:
When the wok/skillet is really hot. Add 1 Tbsp of cooking oil. Swirl the wok/skillet to make sure it covers the sides of the wok/skillet. Add the pork slices and let them cook undisturbed for about 1 minute and then flip to the other side and let them cook for another minute. Cook until you no longer see pink color and the pork is cooked through. Dish out to a plate.

COOK THE VEGGIES NEXT:
Scrape the bottom of the wok/skillet to remove anything that got stuck on the wok/skillet. Add another 1 Tbsp of oil. Add the garlic and the white part of green onion and stir fry for about 30 seconds.

Add the cabbage and stir fry to mix everything. Add about 1/3 cup of hot water. It will sizzle. Close the lid. We are going to steam the cabbage for a bit to soften them. Uncover after about 1 minute. Continue to stir fry until most liquid has evaporated.

Push the cabbage to the sides of the wok/skillet. Crack 2 eggs on the middle of the wok/skillet. Let them cook undisturbed for about 30 seconds and then scramble the yolks and continue to stir fry.

ADD NOODLES:
Add the short rice noodles followed by seasonings. Stir to make sure the sauce coats the noodles. The noodles may still hard and stick together, no worries. Once the noodles has started to pick up the color from the seasonings, drizzle in another 1/3 cup hot water. Cover with the lid for about 1 minute. This will soften the noodles.

Uncover the lid. Add the pork slices back followed by bean sprouts and green parts of the green onion. Turn off the heat and continue to stir fry to mix everything over residual heat. The bean sprouts are still crunchy but don’t taste raw anymore.
Serve immediately.

Vietnamese Rice Noodles with Lemongrass Shrimp (or other protein)

FOR THE PICKLED VEGETABLES:
1 cup finely julienned carrot
1 cup finely julienned daikon
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE:
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce, like Red Boat
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
1 medium-hot red chile pepper, such as Fresno, finely chopped
1 red or green bird chile pepper, thinly sliced, or substitute half a thinly sliced serrano pepper

FOR THE SHRIMP AND NOODLES:
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, preferably wild, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass, pale tender center part only
1 pound rice noodles, preferably rice vermicelli
1 or 2 small lettuce heads, with the leaves separated, rinsed and patted dry
3 cups mixed herb sprigs, such as cilantro, mint, basil, watercress and tender celery leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 scallions, slivered
4 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts
Handful of bean sprouts (optional)

Make the pickled vegetables: Put carrot and daikon in a small bowl and sprinkle with sugar and salt. Add rice vinegar, toss well and set aside.

Make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and chiles. Stir in 1/2 cup cold water and let mixture sit for 15 minutes. (Leftover sauce will keep up to 3 days, refrigerated.)

Marinate the shrimp: Put shrimp in a shallow dish. Add fish sauce, brown sugar, garlic and lemongrass. Mix well to coat.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Turn off heat and add rice noodles. Soak noodles, stirring occasionally, until softened, usually about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Leave in colander at room temperature.

Prepare a platter of lettuce leaves and herb sprigs for the table. Keep cool, covered with a damp towel.

Put oil in a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add shrimp without crowding (work in batches if necessary). Cook for about 2 minutes per side, until lightly browned.

To serve, divide noodles among 4 large soup bowls, then top each with hot shrimp, pickled vegetables and a tablespoon or so of dipping sauce. Sprinkle with scallions and peanuts (and beans sprouts if using). Pass herb platter and remaining dipping sauce at the table, and encourage guests to customize bowls as desired.

Grilled or wok-seared pork, beef, or chicken are fine too.

Shanghai Noodle Soup

8 ounces (225g) pork shoulder or boneless chicken thighs, julienned
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
4 ounces dried wheat noodles
3 tablespoons oil
5 cups chicken and pork stock or just plain chicken stock
8 ounces (225g) leafy greens, coarsely chopped
Salt, to taste
Ground white pepper, to taste
2 scallions, chopped

Marinate the julienned pork (or chicken thighs) with 2 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil, and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch for 15 minutes.

Cook the noodles in a pot of boiling water per the cooking instructions on the package. Drain and set aside. At this point, you can cut the noodles a few times by running a knife or scissors through them so they’re spoon-friendly, but this is optional. The reason for pre-cooking the noodles separately is to prevent the soup from becoming too starchy.

Preheat your wok or thick-bottomed pot until it just starts to smoke. Add 3 tablespoons oil, and cook the marinated meat until it turns opaque.

Add the stock and cooked noodles. Bring to a boil, and lower the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes, until the noodles are softened and expand slightly. Next, add the leafy greens and bring to a boil again. Add salt and white pepper to taste, and sprinkle with the chopped scallion before serving.

Kopitiam Noodles (Kon Loh Mee)

These are “dry” noodles. Despite the emphasis on the word “dry” to set it apart from the soup version, the sauce in Kon Loh Mee plays an instrumental part to bind all the good flavors and textures of the different ingredients together.

The sauce is a simple mixture of shallot oil, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. For one serving, start with:

—1/2 tablespoon shallot oil
—1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
—1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
—1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine the sauce in a bowl, toss the noodles in, taste, and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.

The next step is to pick your noodles. Thin rice noodles (mai fun), flat rice noodles (kuey teow), and yellow egg noodles are the common options at a typical Malaysian hawker stall. Depending on my mood, You can also combine two noodles together in one bowl.

The springy wonton noodles, which fall under the egg noodle category, are a popular choice and available either in thin or wide. Soba noodles, ramen noodles, and even spaghetti noodles are fine too. As a rule of thumb, 2-3 oz (55-85g) of noodles is a good portion for one serving.

Hawker-style Kon Loh Mee is often topped with Chinese barbecued pork, wonton dumplings, meatballs, shrimp or minced meat, just to give you some ideas. If you’re avoiding meat, tofu and tempeh make good toppings here.

There’s also always some kind of Asian leafy greens included, like choy sum, gai lan, or bok choy. The greens are usually just simply blanched. Here’s what you do: Bring a pot of water with a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a small glug of vegetable oil to a rolling boil. Then add the greens. You know they are ready as soon as the water returns to a rolling boil. Remove the greens, drain, and add them to your noodles.

Finally, serve your Kon Loh Mee with a side of chilies. In a pinch, a simple chili soy sauce dip will suffice but if you have the time, pickled green chilies are the way to go.

You can use either jalapeno or serrano for a bit more kick. In a nutshell, the chilies are sliced, deseeded, and pickled in a mixture of white vinegar, salt, and sugar until they turn a lighter shade of green, which takes about 1 to 2 hours, but it’s preferable if you can wait overnight as they get better with time. I have the step-by-step guide for you here.

Oh, and don’t forget to top your noodles with crispy fried shallots from the shallot oil!

Spinach Salad with Beets and Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the Salad
Optional: pecan halves (or walnuts, toasted)
2 to 3 slices bacon (diced, or about 3 ounces of diced pancetta)
1 pound beets (trimmed, cooked, peeled, and diced)
4 cups spinach
1/4 cup red onion (thinly sliced)
Optional: shredded cheese (or crumbled goat cheese or feta)
For the Dressing
1 clove garlic (crushed and minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or a similar gourmet mustard)
4 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil

Arrange the pecans or walnuts in a dry skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the nuts are lightly browned and aromatic.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the diced bacon until crisp or fry the pancetta until browned.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Dice the bacon and set aside.

Arrange spinach leaves on 4 salad plates. Top with diced beets, diced bacon or pancetta, red onion, and pecans or walnuts. If desired, top with cheese.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the diced bacon until crisp or fry the pancetta until browned.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Dice the bacon and set aside.

Arrange spinach leaves on 4 salad plates. Top with diced beets, diced bacon or pancetta, red onion, and pecans or walnuts. If desired, top with cheese.

In a bowl or blender, combine the garlic, salt, pepper, mustard, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Whisk or blend in the olive oil in a steady stream.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad or serve on the side.

Tips
Boiled Beets: To boil beets, first start by washing and trimming the beets, leaving about 2 inches of the stem and root ends. Place the beets in a large saucepan and cover with salted water (about 1 teaspoon of salt per quart). Add a few teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice to the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for about 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets.

Roasted Beets: To roast beets, first wash the beets and trim, leaving an inch or two on the stem and root ends. Rub the beets with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; wrap in foil and bake at 375 F for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. The time varies depending on the size of the beets. You can also roast the beets in the slow cooker.

Spinach Salad with Eggs and Warm Bacon Dressing

10 to 12 ounces fresh spinach, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup minced red onion
5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs,* 1 chopped, 1 sliced
2 to 4 slices bacon
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes.

Refrigerate the salad, tightly covered.

Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside.

In a small jar or measuring cup combine the bacon drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving.

When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on HIGH for 30 to 45 seconds, or until mixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly.

Arrange the salad on salad plates and top each with a few slices of egg and crumbled bacon.

*In a saucepan, cover 2 large eggs with water. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a full rolling boil. Cover the saucepan and remove the pan from the heat. Let stand for 12 to 15 minutes. Run cold water over the eggs and peel them.

Tips

Make Ahead: Prepare the spinach, onion, and radishes in a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate. Prepare the eggs and bacon and refrigerate them in separate containers. Prepare the dressing and refrigerate. Just before serving time, toss the chopped egg with the spinach salad mixture. Heat the dressing; drizzle over the salad and toss. Garnish with the sliced eggs and bacon.

Variations

Add about 1/4 cup of pine nuts, sunflower seeds, toasted slivered almonds, or toasted pecans to the salad for additional crunch.

Add about 1/4 cup of raisins or dried cranberries to the salad.

Add sliced fresh mushrooms to the salad.

Omit the radishes, if desired.?

Pressure Cooker North Carolina Pulled Pork

Pork

2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon English mustard powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup beer (such as lager, Pilsner, or amber)

Vinegar Sauce

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
4 teaspoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Mix first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add pork and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Press Warm; set timer for 30 minutes (add or subtract time as needed) and press Start to heat the pressure cooker. Heat oil in pot. Working in batches, add pork and cook until browned; transfer to plate. Add broth, beer, and browned pork, with any juices from the plate, to pot. Lock lid in place, making sure vent is sealed. Press Warm; set timer for 42 minutes and press Start to cook.

Release pressure manually by opening vent. Remove lid. Transfer pork to a platter and let cool. Discard cooking liquid.

Vinegar Sauce

Combine all ingredients in the cleaned pot. Press Warm; set timer for 15 minutes and press Start. Bring to a simmer; cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, shred pork with your fingers. Serve with vinegar sauce.

From Bon Appetit.

Cassoulet

Duck Confit:
6 duck legs
6 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 3 Tbsp. plus 2½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
4 sprigs thyme
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. juniper berries (optional)

Beans:
2 whole cloves
1 large onion, peeled, halved through root end
1 1/2 lb. dried Tarbais, corona, or cannellini beans, soaked overnight, drained
8 oz. pancetta (leave in 1 thick piece)
2 carrots, scrubbed, halved crosswise if large
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt

Pork Ragù:

1 1/2 lb. skinless, boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 1″ pieces
1 1/2 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large carrot, peeled, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
Assembly

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 lb. fresh pork sausage (such as Toulouse, sweet Italian, or unsmoked kielbasa)
3 cups medium-fine fresh breadcrumbs, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, halved lengthwise
1 lb. precooked garlic sausage, sliced crosswise ¼” thick (optional)

Two Days Ahead

Cure Duck Legs

Prick skin on duck legs all over with the tip of a paring knife. Rub legs with salt, making sure to massage into flesh and skin.

Place legs in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto legs. Rest a plate on top of legs and weigh down with several 28-oz. cans. Chill at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.

Note: If you’re going to cook the beans and ragout and combine tomorrow, soak the beans tonight. If not, just remember to soak them the day before you want to cook them.
One Day Ahead

Confit Duck Legs

Preheat oven to 250°. Evenly scatter thyme, garlic, peppercorns, and juniper berries (if using) across a large baking dish or roasting pan and add 2 Tbsp. water.

Remove duck legs from bowl. Rinse off salt and arrange legs, skin side down, over aromatics in baking dish. Cover dish tightly with foil and weigh down with a cast-iron skillet or a heavy baking dish. Bake until fat renders out of duck and legs are submerged, about 2 hours.

Carefully remove baking dish from oven and remove skillet and foil. Turn legs skin side up and nestle back into fat. Cover dish again with foil and continue to cook legs, unweighted, until duck meat is very tender and bones wiggle easily in joints, 2–2½ hours longer.

Let legs cool in fat until you can handle them, then transfer with tongs or a spider to a plate. Strain ¼ cup fat through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl and let cool. Cover and set aside for cooking the breadcrumbs. Strain remaining fat into an airtight container; cover and reserve for another use (like roasting potatoes).

Remove skin from legs, trying to keep as intact as possible; transfer skin to an airtight container. Cover and chill. Pull duck meat from bones, tearing into 2″ pieces; discard bones and cartilage. Place meat in another airtight container; cover and chill. You won’t need the skin, meat, or fat until you’re ready to assemble the cassoulet.

Do Ahead: Duck legs can be confited 3 weeks ahead. Transfer legs to a large nonreactive vessel; strain fat through a fine-mesh sieve over meat. Cover and chill. Let come to room temperature before using. Meat and skin can be prepared 3 days ahead; keep chilled.
Cook the Beans

Stick a clove into each onion half. Place in a large pot along with beans, pancetta, carrots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf; pour in cold water to cover beans by 2″. Season with several grinds of pepper and bring to a gentle simmer. Partially cover pot and cook beans, skimming surface occasionally and adding more water as needed to keep beans submerged and seasoning with a couple of pinches of salt after about 30 minutes, until beans are tender but not falling apart, 45–60 minutes for cannellini and 1–1½ hours for Tarbais or corona. Remove pot from heat; pluck out and discard onion, carrots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Transfer pancetta to a cutting board; let cool slightly, then cut into 1x¼” pieces. Add back to pot and let mixture cool.

Cook Ragout

Meanwhile, sprinkle pork with 1½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp. Morton kosher salt and several grinds of pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Working in 2 batches, cook pork, turning once, until browned all over, 10–12 minutes per batch; transfer to a plate as you go.

Reduce heat to medium and place onion, carrot, and garlic in pot; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 8–10 minutes. Return pork to pot and add thyme, bay leaf, tomatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover pot, and simmer gently, skimming fat occasionally, until meat is fork-tender, 1¾–2 hours. Pluck out and discard thyme and bay leaf. Let ragout cool slightly.

Combine Beans and Ragout

Using a slotted spoon, transfer bean mixture to pot with ragout. Add enough cooking liquid from beans just to cover. Pour remaining bean cooking liquid into an airtight container and chill; you may need it for finishing the cassoulet later. Let ragout mixture cool completely, then cover and chill at least 12 hours.

Do Ahead: Ragout and beans can be combined 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
The Day Of

Temper and Season Ragout Mixture

Remove ragout mixture from refrigerator and skim fat from surface; discard. Cover pot and bring ragout to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Taste and season conservatively with salt and pepper if needed (the duck will add considerable saltiness when mixed in).

Prepare Sausage and Breadcrumbs

Remove reserved duck meat and skin from refrigerator. Let meat come to room temperature.

Meanwhile, arrange skin in a single layer in an 8-qt. Dutch oven or other heavy pot (the same one you’ll cook the cassoulet in). Cook over low heat, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 20–30 minutes. Using tongs, transfer skin to paper towels and blot away excess fat.

Prick pork sausages all over with a fork and cook in fat in same pot, turning occasionally, until browned all over and cooked through, 12–15 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly. Cut into 2″ pieces.

Add breadcrumbs to pot and cook, stirring often, until golden in spots and starting to crisp, about 5 minutes. If breadcrumbs seem very dry or are sticking to the pot, add 1–2 Tbsp. reserved duck fat. Transfer breadcrumbs to a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Add parsley and toss to combine. Wipe out pot and let cool.

Layer Cassoulet

Rub inside of cooled pot with cut sides of garlic; ladle in one-third of ragout mixture. Top with half of pork sausage, garlic sausage, and duck meat, then another third of ragout mixture. Top with remaining duck meat and sausages, then remaining ragout mixture. Liquid should come to top of beans. Add reserved bean cooking liquid if needed.

Do Ahead: Cassoulet can be assembled 1 day ahead; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before proceeding. Store breadcrumbs and duck skin separately airtight at room temperature.
Bake Cassoulet

Preheat oven to 375°. Scatter two-thirds of breadcrumb mixture over cassoulet.

Bake, uncovered, until a golden crust forms, 25–30 minutes. Remove from oven and use a spoon to break up crust, pressing very gently so crust absorbs a little liquid; smooth surface. Bake until another crust forms, 25–30 minutes; break up again. Repeat process 2 more times (for a total of 4 times). If mixture starts to look dry, moisten with a bit of reserved bean cooking liquid when breaking up the crust.

Top cassoulet with remaining breadcrumb mixture; bake until golden brown, 15–20 minutes. Let rest at least 25 minutes before serving.

Divide cassoulet among bowls; crumble duck skin over.

Source: Bon Appetit

Pomegranate Jalapeno Glazed Ham

One 7-pound, bone-in, spiral-cut smoked ham
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
20 whole cloves
One 10-ounce jar jalapeño jelly (1 cup)
1 cup sweetened pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 325°. Place the ham in a large roasting pan and add the chicken stock. Stud the ham all over with the cloves.

In a medium saucepan, bring the jalapeño jelly, pomegranate juice and lemon juice to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, 10 minutes. Whisk in the mustard, cinnamon and ginger and simmer until reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, about 5 minutes.

Drizzle half of the glaze over the ham and cover with foil. Roast for 1 1/2 hours, basting frequently, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the ham registers 125°. Remove the foil and brush the ham with any remaining glaze. Roast for 30 minutes longer, until the top is lightly caramelized. Transfer to a platter. Discard the cloves. Pour the pan juices into a bowl and serve with the ham.

Maple Sugar and Ginger Roast Pork

2 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin roast, tied
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons maple sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Blood orange slices, red currants and sprigs of mint, for garnish (optional)

Using a small, sharp knife, make thin slits all over the pork loin roast and slip a garlic slice into each one.

In a small bowl, mix the maple sugar with the ginger, salt, red pepper and olive oil. Rub the paste all over the pork, wrap it well in plastic and refrigerate overnight in a small roasting pan; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Roast the pork for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 400° and roast the pork for about 35 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 135°.

Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Discard the string and carve the pork into thin slices. Arrange on a platter, garnish with the orange slices, red currants and mint and serve.

Standing Pork Rib Roast with Cracklings

One 8-rib pork loin roast with skin (about 5 1/2 pounds)—ribs frenched, skin scored at 1/2-inch intervals and tied
1/2 cup kosher salt

Place the pork loin on a rimmed baking sheet. Season generously all over with 1/4 cup of the salt, then sprinkle the skin with the remaining 1/4 cup of salt to create a thin layer of salt over it; be sure to push the salt into the crevices in the skin at each score. Refrigerate uncovered overnight.

Let the pork stand at room temperature for 3 hours. ?Preheat the oven to 275°. Set ?a rack in a large roasting pan. Using a damp towel, brush the excess salt off the roast, then transfer to the pan skin side up. Bake for about 1 hour and ?30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 115°.

Increase the heat to 450° and continue to roast for about 50 minutes longer, until the skin is crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 135°. Transfer the roast to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes. Remove and discard the ties. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the meat and serve.