Braised Pork Shoulder (Ragu) with Fennel and Mushrooms

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 6 servings

2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1½ inch cubes

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced medium

3 celery stalks, diced medium

4 large carrots, peeled and diced medium

1 medium fennel bulb, end trimmed and diced medium

1 pound baby bella mushrooms, quartered

2 tablespoons tomato paste (preferably double concentrate)

10 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly

1/8 teaspoon crushed red (chili) flakes

1 tablespoon toasted whole fennel seed

1 cup red wine (red zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon)

2 cups chicken stock

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 cup water

2 dried bay leaves

7 sprigs fresh thyme

3 (4-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary

3 (4-inch) sprigs fresh oregano

4 teaspoons soy sauce

4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Ragu Base: pasta, polenta, gnocchi (your choice!)

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre grated

Season the pork (cubes) all over with the salt and pepper.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle-lower position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Open a few windows and/or turn on the oven hood/fan; it might get a little smoky!

Heat a heavy 5.5 quart Dutch oven over medium-high until hot, then add 1 tablespoon oil. It will most likely start to smoke. Evenly distribute the pork and brown on all sides, about 1 minute per side. (Work in batches if need be to not overcrowd the pan) Transfer the pork to a medium bowl. (You should have about 2 tablespoons of oil left in the Dutch oven. If not, add some extra-virgin oil to make up the difference.)

Add the onion, celery, carrots, fennel and mushrooms. Stir, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, chili flakes and toasted fennel seed. Stir. Cook uncovered for approximately 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid has thickened.

Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, loosening up any brown bits stuck to the sides and bottom of the pan. Cook for 5 minutes more; it will begin to thicken and you will see large bubbles.

Stir in the stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, oregano, soy sauce, Worcestershire, sugar and pork with any of its juices left in the bowl.

Bring the Dutch oven to a simmer throughout (not just the sides), cover partially (opening the lid about an 1-inch) and transfer to the oven. Cook for 90 minutes, stirring once after 45 minutes, until the pork is tender and can be easily shredded with a fork.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes, covered (lid on fully). Remove the pork and transfer to a large bowl. Shred the pork with two forks. Discard the bay leaves, thyme sprigs, rosemary and oregano. Return the pork to the Dutch oven. Stir and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle pork ragu over pasta, polenta or gnocchi. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Orange Fennel Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

fennel spoon

Yield: 4 servings

 

Vinaigrette:

1 small shallot, diced small (2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (from the orange used in the vinaigrette)

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

In a medium container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

 

Salad:

2 large oranges

3 small fennel bulbs (buy fennel bulbs with stalks and fronds still attached)

¼ cup picked fennel fronds (from the fennel bulbs)

 

Cut the ends off the orange. Next, cut the peel and pith off the orange. Then, segment the orange by cutting between the membranes. Discard any seeds, but reserve the juice for the vinaigrette. Set aside segmented orange pieces for the salad.

Cut off the bottom and the stalks of the fennel. Sit the fennel upright and cut in half lengthwise. Lay each half flat on a cutting board and very thinly slice the fennel widthwise. You should have about 3 cups of thinly sliced fennel.

Combine all ingredients (orange segments, fennel, fronds) plus the vinaigrette into a medium bowl and toss to mix.

Works well as a side salad or as the perfect bed for a piece of salmon, white fish or piece of chicken.

 

Grilled Halibut with Orange Fennel Salad and Grilled Peaches

It’s still grill season! This recipe might look a bit long, bit it’s honestly super easy. Just throw together a salad and put peaches and fish on your grill and you’ve got a healthy dinner which will definitely impress! (Don’t forget to use Seafood Watch to choose the best halibut.) (P.S. You can watch me grill this on TV for a segment I did for Seattle Refined to educate people about the Seafood Watch App and how easy and impactful it is to choose sustainable seafood.)

LYON Halibut2

Yields: 4 servings

Orange Fennel Salad:

1 large orange, supremed*

3 small fennel bulbs (buy fennel bulbs with stalks and fronds still attached)

¼ cup picked fennel fronds (from the fennel bulbs)

Vinaigrette:

1 small shallot, diced small (2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (from the supremed orange)

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

*Cut the ends off the orange. Next, cut the peel and pith off the orange. Then, segment the orange by cutting between the membranes. Discard any seeds, but reserve the juice for the vinaigrette. Set aside segmented orange pieces for the salad.

Cut off the bottom and the stalks of the fennel. Sit the fennel upright and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the core as needed. Lay each half flat on a cutting board and very thinly slice the fennel width-wise. You should have about 3 cups of thinly sliced fennel.

In a medium container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

Combine all ingredients (orange segments, fennel, fronds) plus the vinaigrette into a medium bowl and toss to mix.

 

Peaches:

4 yellow peaches, cut in half and pits removed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the grill

Preheat a grill to medium-high. Once hot, clean the grill, then, using tongs, lightly dip a cloth in olive oil oil and wipe to coat the grill rack.

Coat the peaches (all sides) with olive oil. Place peaches on the grill flesh side down. Cook for 2 minutes. Flip and cook peaches skin side down for an additional 4 minutes. Remove from the grill and once cool enough to handle, cut each peach half into thirds. Set aside until ready to eat.

 

Halibut:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1½ pounds halibut, 1½ inches thick, skin on, cut into 4 equal pieces

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 3 lemons), grated on a Microplane, chopped finely (reserve the lemon for the salad)

¼ cup packed fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped finely

¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves, chopped finely

¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped finely

 

Pat the halibut dry (all sides). Next, coat the halibut with the olive oil, then season the flesh side with salt and pepper. Finally, season the flesh side with the lemon zest and chopped herbs.

With the grill on medium-high, place the halibut on the grill skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes. Flip halibut and continue cooking until fish just begins to flake at the thickest point, approximately 1 minute. Remove fish from the grill.

To serve, evenly divide the salad onto plates, add some grilled peaches and top with the halibut fillets.

Apple and Fennel Salad

Stay healthy in 2017 with this crisp and bright salad!

apple-fennel-salad

Apple and Fennel Salad with Shaved Parmigiano and Black Currants

Yield: 4 servings

 

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 medium shallot, peeled and diced small (3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 large apple, unpeeled (preferably Braeburn, Fuji, or Honeycrisp)

1 large fennel bulb

¼ cup black currants

⅓ cup toasted, salted walnut pieces

¼ cup finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, shallot and olive oil, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

Slice the apple and fennel bulb into French-fry strips on a mandolin (or cut into matchsticks), for approximately two cups apple and two cups fennel.

Toss together the apple, fennel, currants, walnuts and parsley in a medium bowl. Add vinaigrette and gently fold to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide the salad among 4 large plates and drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over each salad. Lastly, using a vegetable peeler, top each serving with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.