Pork Piccata – gluten free

This is the Secondi we will be making and serving, for the Halloween Italian Cooking Class/Pop Up Supper Club in Support of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry.

Secondi means second course in Italian. It is the main protein course which consists of meat, poultry or fish. I decided to create a play on the classic veal piccata, by using Berkshire Pork tenderloin supplied to me by our neighbors, Rose & James, at Peach Creek Farm. I like supporting our local producers and going straight from The Ranch to The Table. Couldn’t get any more local than the neighboring ranch! 👍😃

Berkshire pork is a gourmet product from a breed of pigs that originated in the English county of Berkshire. The meat has shorter muscle fibers than regular pork, making the meat more tender. The meat is also highly marbled with intramuscular fat, making the meat more succulent and flavorful. Rose & James treat their animals with care. The pigs are not caged and no hormones or chemicals are used in raising them.

In making classic veal piccata, the veal is pounded thin and dredged in flour. I decided to not use flour so I can make the dish gluten free and keto friendly. The flour dredging is traditionally used to protect the thin, lean veal cutlet from drying out, to create a golden brown crust and to thicken the piccata sauce. I will be using Berkshire pork medallions that are 1.25 inches thick and are higher in fat than veal, so they don’t need flour dredging to protect them from drying out. I will get additional flavor and a golden brown crust by coating the pork medallions with my Italian Spice Mix. I will be able to thicken the piccata sauce by adding and whisking in butter at the end. This is a French sauce making technique called Beurre Monte. Which means to mount with butter.

In the test recipe I used bone less pork chops. They turned out well, but I decided to use center cut pork loin medallions for the cooking class/supper club because it is a more tender cut of meat. I will be serving two 1.25 inch center cut pork medallions per person. The pork piccata will be accompanied by roasted squash medallions and seasonal vegetables. Click on the link in the previous sentence for the roasted squash recipe. It has turned out to to be my most viewed post. The recipe was posted on November 17, 2017.

Ingredients: for 4 servings

  • 8 – 1.25 inch thick center cut pork medallions
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (1 to coat the pork, 1 to coat the pan, and 1 for the piccata sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon of my Italian Spice Mix
  • 3 pats of the best unsalted butter you can find
  • 2 tablespoons of small capers
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of wine
  • 1 lemon
  • handful of Italian flat leaf parsley
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Prep:

  • Coat the pork with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the Italian spice mix. Rub the spices into the pork. Cover with plastic and set in the frig while you do the rest of the prep. If you marinate the pork overnight it will be even better.
  • Mince the garlic and parsley leaves
  • Zest and juice the lemon

Cooking the pork:

  • Coat a large nonstick skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place on medium high heat.
  • Once the pan is hot place the pork medallions in the pan. Cook on first side for 2 minutes and then flip.
  • Cook on the second side for 1 minute. Do not over cook the pork or it will dry out.
  • Remove the pork medallions from the pan. Set aside and cover to keep warm. I used a crockpot container with its lid on to hold the pork warm.

Making the piccata sauce:

Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pat of butter to the pan you used to cook the pork medallions. Turn the flame to medium.
Sprinkle in the chopped parsley.

Taste the sauce. Adjust for salt pepper and acid. During the cooking process, I added only 1/2 the lemon juice. If you need more acid you can add it at this time. Once you are happy with the way the sauce tastes pour it over the pork medallions.

When I am doing a cooking class or a party, I hold the pork piccata in a warm crock pot until I am ready to serve. This makes it easier for all my guests to have warm plates of food, served simultaneously, so we can all eat together.

I have been told many times that the best part of our pop up supper club event is the camaraderie generated by sharing a meal together while supporting our community. It brings me a great deal of joy to be able to hold these events. 💕

Next week I will be posting the final recipe for our up coming cooking class/pop up supper club. Be on the look out for it. Until then ciao! 🖐😃

Amritsari Masala Pork Chops

Here is the pork version, of the Amritsari Masala Lamb Chops that I posted last Saturday.

Pork Loin Rib Chops served with Curried Baby Turnips Feature

The pork chops are also made with my Indian Spice Mix, but I tweaked the flavor with additional warm spices which have a well-rounded, sweet profile to match the flavor of the pork.  I know that sweet things go with pork because Pork Chops & Apples is a classic American combination.

INGREDIENTS:

 

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  • 2 thick cut, bone in pork loin rib chops.  These very special Berkshire pork chops were provided by my neighbors, Rose and James, at Peach Creek Farm.
  • Enough Indian Spice Mix to coat the pork chops.  If you prepare 1/2 a cup of spice mix you should have plenty.
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 piece of mace
  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbsp of grape seed oil to coat the pork chops, and 1 Tbsp to coat the non-stick skillet.
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

A FEW NOTES ON THE INGREDIENTS:

Berkshire pork is a gourmet product from a breed of pigs that originated in the English county of Berkshire.  The meat has shorter muscle fibers than regular pork, making the meat more tender.  The meat is also highly marbled with intramuscular fat, making the meat more succulent and flavorful.  Rose and James treat their animals with care, they are not caged, and no hormones or chemicals are used in raising them.  For more information, you can go to their website at Peach Creek Farm.

Mace (on the left) is the outer covering of the nutmeg seed.  It gives a milder, more balanced flavor than nutmeg. It rounds out the flavor profile of the spice rub.

Mace & Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds (on the right) have a sweet slightly, licorice-like flavor.  They are often used in sausage making.  My husband likes it in the rubs I use for pork, because it makes him feel like he is eating sausage.

PREPPING THE PORK CHOPS:

 

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  • Remove the pork chops from their package and pat them dry
  • Place the mace and fennel seeds in a spice grinder.  Pulverize into a powder.
  • Add this powder along with the cinnamon to the Indian Spice Mix
  • Mix the spices to form a spice rub
  • Sprinkle the spice rub, salt and pepper over the pork chops
  • Drizzle with grape seed oil
  • Rub the spices and oil into the pork chops
  • Flip the pork chops, and season the second side with the spice rub and oil
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour

The seasoned pork chops can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.  The spices prevent the meat from going bad.  This is a good way to prep protein ahead of meal time.

COOKING THE PORK CHOPS:

  • Coat a large non-stick skillet with a Tbsp of grape seed oil
  • Turn the flame to medium-high and let the oil get hot.  When the oil is ready it will shimmer.
  • Place the spiced pork chops into the pan without over crowding the pan.  You should hear a sizzle.
  • Leave the pork alone to let a spicy crust form.  This should take 3 to 5 minutes.  When the crust is ready the pork will release itself, making it easy to flip without sticking.
  • Cook on the second side to get the meat to your desired temperature.
  • Transfer the cooked pork chops to a platter.  Loosely cover with foil.  Let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.  The resting period allows the juices to stay in the meat when you cut into it, thus keeping it moist.

Since pork chops go with something with a sweet profile, I have served them with Curried Baby Turnips (tops & all).

Pork Loin Rib Chops served with Curried Baby Turnips Feature

Turnips are a good low carb alternative to potatoes.  They are perfect for a Ketogenic Lifestyle!  1 medium turnip has 8 grams of carbs and 2.2 grams of fiber, making one whole turnip just 5.8 net carbs as compared to 33 net carbs in one medium russet potato.  They are also a good source of Vitamin C.

My husband likes turnips with pork because their sweet profile goes very well togehter.  Try them with your favorite vegetable.

I hope you enjoy this post.  Please leave me your feedback in the comments section.

I love to hear from you. 😃

 

Red Lentil Pasta -Napoli Style

Red Lentil Pasta-Napoli Style, is the second of two recipes I created to show how marinara sauce can be used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes.   The first one was Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan, which I posted last Saturday.  Casseroles like this are great because they can be made in advance, and actually taste better the next day.

Red Lentil Pasta Feature

To make things easy, you can buy marinara sauce at your local supermarket.  If you would like to make it, click on Marinara Sauce – An Italian Essential for my recipe.

Marinara Sauce Feature

INGREDIENTS:

Red Lentil Pasta Ingredients

  • 10 oz box of red lentil pasta (believe it or not, I bought this at Walmart.  It only has one ingredient listed on the box–red lentil flour.  That’s it, and water Of course.)
  • 1 lb of ground pork ( we are blessed to have this special Berkshire ground pork provided to us by our neighbors, Rose and James, at Peach Creek Farm.)
  • 2 lbs of ground beef ( this Austin bred & fed ground beef is from K & C Cattle Co.  which is owned by Patrick, an Army veteran of the 1st Ranger Battalion.)
  • 20 ounces of grated Parmesan (I usually grate my  own, but I found this grated Parmigiano-Reggiano imported from Italy at Costco.  It is the real thing with absolutely no additives.)
  • 24 ounces of marinara sauce
  • 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

COOK:

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  • Coat a heavy duty stainless steel pan with olive oil
  • Add the ground meat, break it up into bite sized pieces.
  • Saute until brown

Red Lentil Pasta Cook 4

  • Add the marinara sauce
  • Cook for about 10 minutes until the marinara sauce is bubbling

  • Add the pasta
  • Stir it in
  • Cook for 4 minutes.  At this point it will be par cooked.  It will finish cooking when we bake the casserole in the oven.
  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste

ASSEMBLY: the casserole is assembled in 4 layers using a 9 X 11 baking dish.

Layer 1 –  spread half the pasta mixture

Layer 2 – sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese

Layer 3 – spread the last half of the pasta mixture

Layer 4 – sprinkle 2/3 of the cheese

I like to make the top layer of cheese thicker so that I can get a really cheesy, golden crust.  Its the best part.

Cover with foil.  Bake in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil, and bake for another 15 minutes at 400 F to get the golden brown and delicious crust. 😋

Remove the casserole from the oven and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.  This a great meal to pack for lunch, or make ahead for a quick supper after work.  It is filling, nutritious, and yummy.

On days when my husband is working on the ranch, he gets very hungry and will end up eating a big piece as soon as he comes indoors.  Here is a piece he plated for himself.

Red Lentil Pasta Plated

I like the way it cuts into a sturdy slice.  It almost looks like lasagna.

Please try this and let me know what you think in the comments section.

Next Saturday, I will be posting an unusual and easy Indian vegetable recipe.  Be on the lookout for it.

Ciao for now 🖐