Dig Into My “52 In 22” Cooking Challenge!
Week #12 of my yearlong cooking project goes back to a show I produced for PBS in 2005, called “Cooking Under Fire” – it was the first ever cooking competition in the US, a year before “Top Chef.”
Here is the promo, with my friend Michael Castner’s terrific VoiceOver:
The “Cooking Under Fire” cookbook sits atop my stack of the latest ten cookbooks I am cooking from – in this show, twelve finalists cooked their way across the US, from Los Angeles to New York, one Chef being 86’d each week.
Chefs Ming Tsai and Todd English were the Hosts/Judges, along with Cookbook Author and Food Writer/Chef Chef Michael Ruhlman.
I loved making this show, and it was exciting to be part of this culinary adventure!
Our final four finalists were Katie Hagen-Whelchel, Katsuji Tanabe, Sara Lawson and Autumn Maddox McTaggert – and I’ve chosen one of Sara’s recipes to make this week!
As you can see, the book sits proudly atop the stack of the next ten cookbooks in this yearlong series…
Sara’s Recipe For “Pulled-Pork Pasta With Almond Cream Sauce!“
Sara was the runner-up to Katie, and this recipe is a deliciously rich treat – so let’s get cooking!
Here are the ingredients if you want to save this pic for later, but of course we will be going through it together as well:
First up, take the pound of pork butt and cut it into large cubes, to get it all ready for the delicious marinade:
As the recipe says, we will first make our pork marinade using crushed garlic cloves, 3 tbl. brown sugar, the same amount of soy sauce and hot sauce….I always tweak these amounts based on my own flavor preferences…
Combine all of the ingredients and mix it up well, then put the pork into a container like this one and let it infuse itself with flavor in the refrigerator:
Now that the pork is marinating, the leeks, onion and carrot now need to be diced – a large carrot, leek and onion ready to cook.
After marinading for an hour, I pulled the pork out and began to sear it in a large pot – turning them with tongs and liberally seasoning with salt and pepper as I go.
Now the fun part: after searing the pork a bit and letting the marinade bubble away in the pot, add the white wine:
Here’s what the dish looks like after adding the wine, sliding in the carrot, leek and onion, plus 3 bay leaves and some fennel seeds as well.
Now, cover the pot and put the entire thing in the oven, set at 325 degrees, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
After that, take the pork out of the pot and use a fork to “shred” it from these chunks into a bowl of shredded pork.
Next up, take some of this delicious sauce still in the pot and strain it….you will use some liquid to reduce into a rich sauce, and some will be added to the pork to keep it moist…
Reduce the stock in half – folks this is a delicious sauce that we’ll use later! You can discard the remaining aromatic vegetables in the pot….
Speaking of sauces, while your pork is in the oven, you can make your almond cream sauce!
You need heavy cream, toasted almonds and almond extract – well, I had Vanilla at the ready and love that flavor…
Combine a quart of heavy cream with 2 cups of lightly toasted whole almonds and slowly simmer for 30 minutes…strain out the almonds and simmer until the cream coasts the back of a spoon….here is where I added a teaspoon of Vanilla extract…
The final step is to make pasta…
I chose thicker noodles as I want the sauce to really have a place to hang out!
The last step is to add the almond cream sauce to the noodles and mix it together – and all that is left now is to bring the ingredients together:
Here Is Sara’s “Pulled-Pork Pasta With Almond Cream Sauce!”
There is so much to love about this dish: the rich creaminess of the almond cream sauce, the sweet richness of the drizzled pork marinade, and the delicious pulled pork – one big bite and it’s a winner!
After taking this picture in front of the cookbook, I added even more shredded pork and reduced sauce to the dish:
I literally devoured this dish…this is just a fun, filling dish any night of the week…so week #12 is in the books, did you see what I made last week?
These are “potato chip scrambled eggs!”
They were incredible, but it took two tries to get it right – click here for the recipe and to see what went wrong:
Michael Ruhlman was one of my terrific Judges on “Cooking Under Fire”, and I’ve already cooked from one of his terrific books:
Ruhlman’s “Egg” cookbook is incredible, but I almost butchered his “Crispy Mollet Egg With Asparagus” recipe – click here to see how I salvaged it:
This was week #12 of my “52 In 22” cooking challenge, so much more to come!
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