Tag Archives: seared

Seared Filet with Roasted Butternut Squash & Blue Cheese Ravioli

My husband and I do not get a lot of “date nights” as we have two young boys, rarely a babysitter and he has the craziest schedule working for the railroad.  No set schedule actually.  All that combined leads me to craving fancy-dressed, wine-filled nights out even more!  That being said, I knew I could do it!  Not the literally leaving my house to enjoy a quiet kid free atmosphere, but create that upscale dining experience here at home!

I already knew I could make a fantastic steak, so I wanted to try my hand at homemade pasta.  Like REAL homemade pasta, no attachment to my Kitchen-Aide or anything.  So out came my flour coated rolling pin and I finally attacked the somewhat scary mound of welled flour and eggs.  You know what?  It wasn’t that hard.   I’ve been scared all these years for nothing!  Now, if I’m making a crockpot meal asking for the filled pasta, then frozen is fine, but for this meal all the slight extra work was sooooo worth it!!

So please, next time you can’t get away, or maybe your budget is a bit tight, please give this a whirl!

The Starting Lineup

Dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
    3 eggs
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Filling

  • 1 small butternut squash
    2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
    1 tablespoon olive oil 
    5-6 sage leaves, minced

Protein (optional)

  • (2-4) Filet mignon or Ribeye Steaks
  • Fresh ground black pepper and kosher salt
  • 2 vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), softened

 

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Roasted butternut squash and blue cheese filling!

 

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To begin…..

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Next, (this is a great tip!) prick your butternut squash with a fork all over.  Cut off the ends of the squash and place on a plate in your microwave for 4 minutes (if you don’t, this vegetable is extremely hard to cut).  Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin and then cut in half length-wise.  Discard of the seeds and then cut into rough cubes.  Place on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil, salt & pepper and place in the oven for 30 minutes until fork tender.

Meanwhile…..

Mound the flour on a clean work surface and make a well with a fork in the center, creating almost a “volcano” in appearance.  In the well, crack the eggs and add in the salt and oil.  Using your fork, slightly beat together while gathering a bit of flour at a time until it forms a dough ball.

Using your hands, start needing the dough until it forms a perfectly smooth ball with a shiny appearance (10 minutes).  Add more flour if it seems sticky or a tbsp. at a time of water if it feels too dry.  Wrap your dough ball with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.

Now that your butternut squash is roasted, transfer to a large bowl along with the blue cheese crumbles and the salt & pepper.  Mash together with a fork to your desired consistency. Cover and set aside.

With your dough ball, unwrap pasta and cut into four sections. You will work with one section at a time. Wrap the remaining three up in plastic in the mean time. Flour your work surface liberally. Roll out dough with a floured rolling pin, working from the middle and rolling out. Try to get the thinnest and longest piece of dough you can. Keep rotating and turning the dough to prevent sticking. Once your dough is rolled very thin, place a small amounts of the filling {about a teaspoon} onto the dough about 1 1/2-2 inches apart. Fold the top of the dough over the filling. Press the top piece of dough over and around the filling to remove any air bubbles. Now using either a ravioli stamp, pastry cutter or a pizza cutter, cut into perfect squares {you will need to crimp the edges with a fork if using a pizza cutter}. Place on a floured tray and cover with a tea towel as you make these. Form any leftover dough into a ball and place in the plastic wrap to rest. Continue this pattern until all the raviolis are filled and cut out.

To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drop in your raviolis (4-5 at a time) and stir gently. Raviolis will be finished cooking once they float to the top. Drain.  Once finished add to a warm sauté pan of melted butter, oil and sage that is slightly crisped.  Toss gently to coat.

Now you can eat these delish ravioli’s as is or pair with a great steak!  If you choose the steak route, here is my favorite way..

Set the steak out of the fridge to come to room temp for 20-30 minutes {I did so while I’m preparing the ravioli’s} and heat oven to 400 degrees, rub the steak all over with oil and coat in freshly ground pepper and kosher salt.  Heat your cast iron pan on med-high heat till about smoking.  Add in the butter and then the steaks, let cook (do NOT move) for 4 minutes on each side.  Transfer the skillet with the seared steaks to the oven and let cook for 5 minutes (for medium-rare).  Remove the steaks to a platter and cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  {Here is where I cooked and sautéed the ravioli’s.}  ***Make sure you have a well ventilated kitchen as cast irons smoke something crazy.  You can absolutely grill your meat too if preferred.

So, whether you decide to make this a vegetarian inspired meal or are a true carnivore like myself, you will not be disappointed!  Serve with a great red and you have a true 5-star restaurant meal!  Enjoy!!

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Hard Cider Pork Chops

Here’s a real hearty, German, bring-me-back-to-the-Midwest sort of meal!  It’ll fill your family’s bellies and also be on the table in 30 minutes!!

Kids also enjoy this meal with the sweet apples, potatoes and mildness of the pork…now for the adults, go ahead and pour yourself a glass of hard cider to go with and enjoy!

*GlutenFreeMeal (though MANY are, just double check the apple cider/Hard cider)

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg pork chops (4 at about 1″ thick)
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 apples, sliced
  • 1 cup hard cider (or regular non-alcoholic)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage 
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt & pepper 

Side

  • Potatoes, (fried or baked)  

Begin this simple Midwest influenced dinner by seasoning both sides of the pork chops with the sage, thyme leaves, salt and pepper.  Set the pork aside and slice up the onion and apples. 

   Heat a large pan to medium-high and add in the olive oil and butter.  Sear each side of the pork chop for 3-4 minutes (a nice brown color) and set aside again.

In that same pan, add in the sliced apples and onion and saute for 6 minutes (till onions start to soften and turn translucent); add in the hard cider and the apple cider vinegar and bring to a simmer. 

   Return the seared pork chops to the pan, cover and cook for 5 more minutes.  Serve along with potatoes with the juices from the apples and onions drizzled overtop, enjoy! 

 
Potatoes

Feel free to make your spuds as you wish or maybe change it up everytime you prepare these chops, but here’s how I did ours.

First put the potatoes into a large stockpot of salted water till just covered.  Bring to a gentle boil and the cover pot with lid.  Allow to cook for about 15 minutes.  Till JUST soft when you stick a fork in them, not falling apart.

Drain and remove from pot and when just cool enough to handle, dice up into cubes and season with kosher salt & pepper.  *sometime I’ll sprinkle on seasoned salt or smoked paprika, etc.

Heat up a cast-iron pan to medium heat and then add 1-2 tbsp (canola) oil.  Add in cubed potatoes and allow to cook, not stirring to often, to create a nice “char” on them.  Enjoy!

Cola Carnitas

I often say that simple ingredients can make the most delicious meals.  This recipe is yet another that helps make that thought true.  Given there are no complicated add-ins or cooking techniques, you REALLY taste the sweetness of that Coca-Cola, the brightness from the fresh oranges and the savoriness of the seared and braised pork.  I’d eat this delish delight off of a shoe…but a warm tortilla is better. 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 2-3 lbs pork butt/shoulder
  • 2 oranges, quartered
  • 12oz Coca Cola (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp cumin, to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp evoo
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil  

We’ll start this Mexican food favorite by mincing the garlic, quartering the oranges and heating the canola oil to a medium high heat in a large dutch oven.  Also sprinkle the entire pork with a liberal amount of cumin, salt and pepper and the extra virgin olive oil.  

    Working in small batches (you do not want to overcrowd the pan..no, no, no…), sear each side of your pork in the hot dutch oven.  Once seared nicely, set aside as you finish the rest of the pork.  This will take roughly 20 minutes for the entire pork butt/shoulder to brown.  

  

  

Next, add all of the seared pork back into the pot along with the Coca-Cola and water.  You will now also squeeze in those fresh oranges!  After each quarter has been squeezed dry, toss the whole thing into the pot. 

  
 Bring to a boil, while scraping up the yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.  

Lower the temperature to a simmer and add in the Bay leaves, garlic and a pinch or two more cumin, salt & pepper.  Simply cover and keep on that low temperature for 2-3 hours…just walk right away and relax! 

 ….I do believe that time is now up!!  Carefully uncover that pot (steam hurts!) and remove that tender, fall-apart pork to another dish.  Pull apart with two forks or let cool slightly and use your own two hands!  *I like to sneak a bit straight into my mouth too, sshhhh…. After its fully shredded or chopped up, ladle in a bit of the juice from the dutch oven to keep warm and not dry out. 

 Serve this as you wish!  However, around here we top warmed tortillas with this sweet and citrusy pork, along with a bit of cilantro, chopped white onion and thinly sliced radishes.  Enjoy!! 

 

Pork Chilé Verde 

Does everyone know that I just adore mexican food by now??  Yes, we eat this Latin culture’s goodies at least thrice weekly.  Salivating now.

What seems like a complicated, difficult and time-consuming dish, actually isn’t.  I prepped this meal in 30 minutes and then was free to walk away for hours.  HOURS my friends…all while my house took on the most heavenly aroma…

The Starting Lineup

  • 3-4 lb pork butt/shoulder
  • 1 1/2 lbs tomatillos 
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 8 cloves garlic (divided 5/3)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp mexican oregano
  • 2 Tbsp cumin (divided 1/1)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • EVOO   

Alright, let’s rinse and prep those veggies!  Mince the garlic cloves, chop the onions….rinse and pat dry the hot peppers and husk and rinse the tomatillos (these are actually kind of ‘sticky’, just an fyi ;)) 

 Set your oven to broil and line a baking sheet with foil.  Cut each husked tomatillo in half horizontally.  Lay these cut-side DOWN onto the sheet, along with the poblanos, jalapeños and 5 of the garlic cloves (leave the skin ON the garlic here).  

 

^^^Watch closely while broiling.  Turn the peppers as needed, let ‘blister’ all over (the peppers are often done before the tomatillos).  Also, if needed, turn your sheet pan 180 degrees occasionally during the broiling period.^^^

When peppers are good and done, place in a paper lunch sack and close.  Allows to steam in bag for 10 minutes, while tomatillos finish broiling.

Onto the blender!  Add in the roasted tomatillos (skin and all), cilantro, roasted garlic (squeeze out of the papery skin), the roasted and steamed peppers (waxy skin removed), 1 tsp cumin and 1 tsp salt.  Blend!! 

  

Your verde sauce is now complete!  Easy right??!  We’ll keep this in the blender and set aside.

Ok, pork prepping time.  Chop up the two onions and mince the remaining 3 cloves garlic. 

 

With a sharp knife, carefully cut the pork into rough 1″x1″ cubes.  Season liberally with kosher salt & pepper and a bit of cumin.

Heat a large heavy bottomed pot with 2 Tbsp’s of EVOO to med-high heat.  Once hot, add in the pork (about 1/4 at a time, do not overcrowd).  Sear the pieces on each side for 1 minute and set aside. 

 Once the pork is finished searing, add the onion to that same pot.  As it starts “sweating” and releasing its juices, scrape up to those delicious brown bits from the bottom of your pan. *please use the proper utensils to not scratch your cookware.  Toss the seared pork back into the onion filled pot along with the minced garlic. 

 
Ok, we’re almost ready to walk away for a few hours…just a couple more steps!

Pour in the verde sauce you made just minutes ago…looking and smelling good, isn’t it?? 

 

Next, add in the 2 cups of chicken stock and the mexican oregano.  Stir.  

   Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover.  Let the Pork Chilé Verde simmer on low for at least 3 hours…the longer the better really!!

I like to serve ours with a dollop of sour cream, garnish of fresh cilantro and warm tortillas..enjoy!! 

 

Beer Braised Pork 

I must of had an idea the other night that I wanted to feel fuller than ever before while enjoying some flavors of the south.  Those ‘fat thoughts’ made me think of a real gooey cheesy mac n cheese.  I then thought if it could possibly get any better than that….and it could!  Why not top the already decadent dish with some braised pork and maybe a tangy & sweet bbq sauce?!!  Genius!

…and yes, I am full.  Had seconds. Thirds.  And I am now onto ‘skinny thoughts’.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 3-5lb pork shoulder/butt roast (excess fat trimmed)
  • 1 12oz beer.  (Your pork, your choice)
  • Low sodium chicken broth/stock (at least 24oz)
  • 2-4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tbsp unsalted butter
  • Onion, quartered
  • Serrano Chili, cut long vertical slit through half (stem to tip) but leave intact
  • BBQ sauce of your liking.

Dry Rub

  • 2tbsp chili powder
  • 2tbsp ground coriander
  • 1tbsp brown sugar
  • 1tbsp paprika
  • 1tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1tbsp cumin
  • 1tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2tbsp black pepper

Take out your pork roast and trim off any excess fat if needed.  Set aside.  In a shallow dish combine all of the spices thoroughly together to make the dry rub.  Place pork roast in dish and evenly distribute the spices and gently press into the meat on all sides.  Cover the roast in dish with plastic wrap and let sit in fridge for at least an hour if not overnight.  Take the roast out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you’re ready to start cooking.

*Preheat oven to 300degrees* On med-high, heat an oven safe Dutch oven on your stove top (I love my enameled Lodge cast iron for this).  Add in the EVOO & butter.  Once the butter has melted place the roast in the pan and sear on all sides.  Typically takes about 8-10minutes.  Set roast aside on plate and pour in the chicken broth.  With a wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of pot.  This is the GOOD stuff.  It will greatly enhance the flavor of your meal.  Like one of my favorite chefs, Carla Hall, always says, “there’s flavor in the brown!”.  Add the pork roast back into the broth filled pot along with the onion, Serrano and pour in that can of beer.  I personally like to keep a swig or two for myself ;). The liquids should come up to a little over half of the meat.  You do not want it completely covered.

Cover the pot with its lid and place into the 300degree oven.  After 30 minutes I drop the temp down to 250 and 30minutes later down to 225degrees.  Now you can walk away from the oven for a good 4 hours and let that pork roast get flavorful and ridiculously pull apart tender!

We like to serve ours over my easy, creamy Mac n Cheese with a drizzle of Franklin BBQ sauce!  You can purchase it here in Texas at your local HEB Grocery Store (my fave!!)

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