ciderpulledpork1

I love slow cooked pulled pork, and it’s quite simple to make in a crockpot. Many pulled pork recipes call for bottled barbecue sauce, though, and it’s tough to find a brand that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup (which we should all stay away from).

This recipe features a much less sweet, yet tangy and delicious, homemade sauce based on apple cider. If you don’t have hard cider on hand, use an additional 12 oz. of regular sweet cider instead. Get the recipe started in the morning and it will be ready in all its glory by the evening, though it’s even better reheated on the next and subsequent days.

For the healthiest pulled pork, use organic, pastured pork in this recipe.

Apple Cider Pulled Pork

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

*1 1/2 cups sweet apple cider plus 1 1/2 cups hard apple cider (or just use 3 cups of sweet cider
*1 cup organic or low sugar ketchup (look for one without high fructose corn syrup)
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*1 Tb. cumin
*1 Tb. paprika
*1 Tb. garlic powder
*3 Tb. hot sauce
*4 onions, peeled and sliced
*4 pounds pork shoulder, preferably organic (you will want to remove the layer of fat on the pork; I find it easiest to do this once it has cooked and before you shred it, but you can do it before you cook it, if you like)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix together both ciders, ketchup, brown sugar, cumin, paprika, garlic power and hot sauce.

2. Place half of the onions in the bottom of a 4 1/2- to 6-quart crockpot/slow cooker.

3. Put the pork shoulder on top of the onions and pour the sauce over the pork. Top with the rest of the onions.

4. Cover slow cooker with lid and cook pork mixture on high for 4 hours (or on low for 8 hours), or until pork is very tender.

5. With tongs, carefully transfer pork to large bowl. Turn crockpot to high, cover, and heat sauce to boiling to thicken and reduce slightly (alternatively, this can be done in a pan on the stove).

6. While sauce boils, use 2 forks to pull pork into shreds. Return shredded pork to crockpot with the sauce and allow to cook for an additional 30 minutes on the high setting.

7. Serve pulled pork with or without whole grain sandwich buns; I love it with braised greens, cole slaw and/or cranberry chutney!

Thanksgiving has now come and gone. At my home, we enjoyed a great dinner; I hope that you did, too.

I made these Roasted Vegetables with Cardamom as part of our Thanksgiving feast. They were a last minute addition to the table, but turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the meal.

I adapted this dish from the recipe for Roasted Turnips with Maple and Cardamom in the October/November 2009 issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. I was intrigued the moment I saw the recipe because I hadn’t ever used cardamom like this before.

Cardamom is not inexpensive; I held out on purchasing it for quite a while because at more than $13 for a small jar, I figured I could surely get by without it! But once it joined my spice collection, I quickly succumbed to cardamom’s charms and won’t be able to go without it again. Since cardamom has a very strong flavor and most recipes (including this one) call for small amounts, I’m hoping my jar will last quite a while…

As far as cooking with cardamom goes, it is used frequently in dishes of Indian origin. It is also traditionally used in Scandinavian countries, as both an addition to breads and pastries and as one of the ingredients in the mulled wine known as Glogg. Cardamom is also favored in the Middle East; in fact, much of the cardamom harvested in the world is exported to Arab nations and used there to flavor coffee.

Medicinally, cardamom is used much like cinnamon, to aid digestion.

Though this dish it is perfectly holiday-appropriate, there is nothing about this recipe that screams Thanksgiving…I’m definitely making this again, and soon.

cardamomveggiesinpan

Roasted Vegetables with Cardamom

adapted from the recipe for Roasted Turnips with Maple and Cardamom in the October/November 2009 issue of Fine Cooking Magazine
Serves 8

Ingredients:

*3 1/2 pounds (about 10 cups, diced) mixed winter squash/root vegetables (I used a combination of butternut squash, carrots, turnips and parsnips), peeled and diced
*3 tablespoons olive oil
*course salt
*2 tablespoons unsalted butter, preferably organic
*3 tablespoons maple syrup
generous pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
*5 cardamom seeds/pods (the original recipe calls for 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom and 1/4 tsp. ground coriander)
*1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
*2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Directions:

1. Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F (note that the original recipe called for a 475°F oven; this seemed really hot to me, and I was afraid I'd burn the veggies, but you are welcome to try the recipe at this temperature). Line two large, heavy-duty rimmed baking sheets with foil.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the vegetables, oil, and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Toss to coat well. Divide the vegetables between the two pans and spread evenly in one layer. Roast for 20 minutes. With a large spatula, flip the vegetables. Swap the pans’ positions and roast until tender and nicely browned on a few sides, 15 to 20 minutes. (The vegetables on the lower rack may be done sooner than those on the upper rack; watch that they do not burn).

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla, and the red pepper flakes. Add the cardamom seeds and allow to infuse over very low heat for 1-2 minutes (if using ground cardamom and/or coriander, whisk in after the red pepper flakes). Remove the pan from the heat.

4. Transfer the vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Gently reheat the sauce, if necessary, and stir in the lemon juice. With a heatproof spatula, toss the sauce with the roasted vegetables. Add half of the cilantro and salt to taste and toss again. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the remaining cilantro.

More information about and recipes using cardamom:
The Herb Companion’s Article on Cardamom
Xacuti, a Goan chicken dish, from Healthy Green Kitchen
Kalyn’s Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew
Tartelette’s Cardamom and Saffron Ice Cream

whblogo2-150x150This entry for Roasted Vegetables with Cardamom is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Marillyn from Just Making Noise. WHB is managed by Haalo!

pho2

I had plans to do a Thanksgiving recipe round-up earlier today but with parent-teacher conferences to attend, the kids home from school, and all the cooking and cleaning that needed to happen before tomorrow, a recipe round-up was not in the cards.

I’m guessing that by now, you’re pretty settled on what you’re making tomorrow, so it’s kind of late for a recipe round-up anyway!

In fact, even though Thanksgiving hasn’t happened yet, I see some of my fellow bloggers are already posting their recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers. Kalyn from Kalyn’s Kitchen is way ahead of the game (she’s already posted at least 2 recipes for leftovers to my none) and Elise from Simply Recipes posted this really interesting turkey soup recipe. I am certain there are many many more leftover ideas floating around the blogosphere…and Food52 has an entire contest going on for this theme right now!

So here is my contribution to the pool of turkey leftovers recipes: Turkey Pho.

As you may recall from my first experience making pho, pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup typically made with beef. It can also be made with chicken (which is known as pho ga), seafood, or in this case, turkey (which is definitely not traditional).

Apart from toasting the spices (very important…don’t skip this step), this is very simple to make, particularly if you use store-bought chicken stock. It’s a little austere with just the kale (perfect for the days after Thanksgiving as far as I’m concerned, though), and you are welcome to add additional vegetables. Traditional pho uses rice noodles but I prefer it with cellophane (bean thread) noodles.

This recipe was inspired by Jaden Hair’s recipe for Chicken Pho (if you aren’t familiar with Jaden, she’s the genius behind the blog Steamy Kitchen and the author of The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight’s Dinner).

Recipe for Turkey Pho

Makes 2 big bowls of soup

Ingredients:

* 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
* 4 whole cloves
* 4 whole star anise
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 1 quart homemade turkey stock (or homemade or store-bought chicken stock)
* 1 bunch green onions (green top parts only) chopped
* 1 3-inch chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
* 1 teaspoon brown sugar, or more to taste
* 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or more to taste
* 1-2 cup kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces
* 1/2 pound leftover turkey breast, shredded
* 1 bunch (approx. 2 oz.) cellophane/bean thread noodles (or enough flat dried rice noodles to serve 2)
* 1-2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped- for garnish (optional)
* 1-2 tablespoon chopped green onions (white parts only), minced- for garnish (optional)
* 1/2 lime, cut into wedges
* Sriracha chili sauce to taste

Directions:

1. Heat a cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon stick and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices into a bowl to avoid burning them and set aside.

2. In a large pot, add the toasted spices and all ingredients from stock through fish sauce and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.

4. Taste the broth and add more sugar or fish sauce, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Add the kale and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Remove from heat.

5. Add the shredded turkey and the cellophane noodles. Allow to sit for a few minutes while the noodles soften.

6. Ladle the broth into bowls. Divide the kale, shredded turkey and the noodles evenly into each bowl.

7. Sprinkle on the garnishes and add sriracha to taste. Squeeze lime juice to taste over the top of your bowl before eating.