Showing posts with label yellow onions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yellow onions. Show all posts

Monday, April 11, 2016

Pork Chop with Caramelized Onions and Cinnamon Rice Pilaf

Pork Chop with Caramelized Onions and Cinnamon Rice Pilaf

Last September, I published a pork chops dish for #SundaySupper that was not satisfying from the standpoint of it's plate presentation, so I decided to replicate it again.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

I remember reading in Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio with Catherine Young, Lori Silverbush and Sean Fri that Chef Colicchio doesn't change the proteins on his restaurant menus very often, but he will change the vegetable accompaniments depending on what's in season and what is at it's peak. Using this theory, I consulted The Flavor Bible to re-pair pork chops for spring produce. Spring onions are obviously in season around now and onions were strongly suggested as a pairing with pork. I knew caramelized onions were sweet and thought it would be a good substitute to apples that are in season in the autumn.

Dish Details

I prepared my pork chops using a tried and true method from Chef Tyler Florence. In addition, I utilized the guide to making rice pilaf and my love for caramelized onions can be traced back to this recipe on epicurious which I found about six years ago. I'd imagine this dish would be at home on any casual chain restaurant, however I'm unsure if one would go through the trouble of brining their chops.


1 gallon water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt plus more as needed
Thyme sprigs
4 pork rib chops with the bone frenched
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut in half lengthwise, then sliced thin
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup white rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
Italian parsley leaves, chopped (for garnish)


1. Prepare the pork chops. Brine the chops by combining the water one cup kosher salt and brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the thyme sprigs and the pork chops, then cover and refrigerate covered for two hours.

Once the two hours have elapsed, drain the brine and discard the brine. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels, then season on both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, sear the pork chops in the skillet, approximately three to four minutes per side, then remove and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm while the onions and rice are prepared.

2. Caramelize the onions. In the same skillet used to prepare the pork chops, melt two tablespoons butter in an additional two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions and stir, coating them in the fat. Continue to cook the onions until they reduce, soften and turn a golden brown, stirring occasionally, approximately twenty to thirty minutes. Stir in the granulated sugar, then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

3. While the onions are caramelizing, prepare the rice. In a medium saucepan, melt one tablespoon unsalted butter in one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot to sweat, then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, approximately two minutes. Perfume the shallots by adding the cinnamon, then the rice. Stir the mixture until the rice is toasted and coated in the oils, approximately 3 minutes. Stir in the wine and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let it steam until the rice has absorbed, approximately twelve to fifteen minutes. Once the rice is finished, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. To plate, spoon a portion of the rice off center on a warmed plate, then rest the pork chop on the rice so that the frenched bone is raised. Drizzle some caramelized onions over the pork, then garnish with parsley leaves.

Final Thoughts

If you look closely, you'll find that I seared the pork chops in a stainless steel skillet in the picture above yet I instructed to sear them in a non-stick one. I made this change because I thought the onions might be able to pick up some of the pork fond but I found the sear on the pork a little too dark and I didn't want my onions to have a charred taste when they were supposed to be sweet so I switched pans. Additionally, Chef Florence instructs to finish the chops off in the oven and I did in this case but I omitted it from the instructions because I found them to be a little dry, despite the fact that they were brined. If the pork chops are one-inch thick or more, roast them in the oven at 350° Fahrenheit until their internal temperature reaches 140° Fahrenheit, approximately thirty minutes. In the end, I found the onions a very good substitute for apples and am surprised it isn't more common.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Autumn Panzanella for an Unprocessed #SundaySupper

Autumn Panzanella for an Unprocessed #SundaySupper

Personally, I had difficulty choosing a dish for this week's #SundaySupper event because I found the theme too broad. Let's put aside the argument of what's considered processed for a moment and specify that processed food as convenience food (i.e. boxed macaroni and cheese, spiced ham, cheese out of a can, etc.) I'd have to look but, outside of boxed pasta, I use these types of ingredients so infrequently that the possibilities were almost endless. That's not to say my diet is completely free of processed foods, but the difference is that I don't publish the processed foods here.

Panzanella is a traditional Italian tomato and bread salad eaten in the summer when tomatoes are in season but Chef Michael Chiarello has adapted the concept for the other three seasons of the year.

The Challenge

Prepare a dish that uses as close to unprocessed food as I can get.

The Source

Adapted from page 95 of Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking by Michael Chiarello with Janet Fletcher.


1 tablespoon plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
6 cups day-old bread, crust removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 yellow onion, chopped coarsely
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
5 tablespoons plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons warm water
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh mushrooms of different varieties, coarsely sliced or quartered
1 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced*
2 ounces baby arugula


1. Make the panzanella croutons. Using the bread, parmesan and4 tablespoons butter, make the panzanella croutons as described in step 1 of my other panzanella dish. Set aside.

2. Prepare the dressing. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small skillet over medium-low hear. Add the yellow onion and sauté until soft, approximately 15 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the red wine vinegar. Empty the contents of the skillet into a blender and pureé. While the blender is still on, slowly add in 5 tablespoons olive oil. Transfer the dressing to a bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

3. Prepare the mushrooms. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet and place over high heat. Once the oil starts to smoke, add the mushrooms in a single layer, however do not touch them for approximately 2 minutes so they may caramelize. Once caramelized, stir, reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until well browned. Add the garlic and thyme to the pan and stir for an additional minute to release their fragrance. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then remove from heat. Add the mushrooms to a large bowl along with the croutons and the dressing, then toss. Add in the red onions and arugula and toss again. Season with salt and pepper if necessary, then serve.

*Note: Peel the 'paper' off the onion and slice off both the root and stem ends, then cut in half lengthwise and thinly slice each half lengthwise.


Hopefully, you'll agree that this is a dish of unprocessed foods. I did have an issue when tossing the salad, however. Chef Chiarello instructs to toss the ingredients with the croutons which left them soggy and me a little confused. Is the bread in the panzanella supposed to soak up the other flavors in the dish or provide a contrast in texture? Any Italians reading this that can shed some light?

Meanwhile, check out the other dishes of unprocessed foods participating this week:

Alluring Appetizers and Stunning Sides
Enticing Entreés
Decadent Desserts
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Lamb Shanks Roasted “a la Matignon”

Lamb Shanks Roasted “a la Matignon”

Happy 2014!

Before I proceed, I must first apologize for my extended absence last month. It wasn't planned but I found myself too busy to prepare a presentation-worthy dish. One issue I have been wrestling with over the course of the last few months is one of evolution. I'm still inspired by unusual cooking techniques, but I'm becoming confident in my execution. I've also discovered in this past year that pairing food and achieving balance of flavors has inspired me which takes time to plan my dishes.

I learned of this dish back in September when Chef Thomas Keller prepared it for Williams Sonoma during a live Google+ event. I was fascinated by it because I have never roasted lamb shanks and wanted to see for myself if the meat will break down enough to become tender. Also, the sauce intrigued me because I imagined it was extremely flavorful given the size of the mirepoix.

The Challenge

Successfully execute a cooking method I had never attempted.

The Source

The recipe for this dish can be found on the Williams-Sonoma website.


4 lamb shanks, approximately 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 pounds
Kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 large yellow onions, diced
4 large carrots, diced
2 large leeks, cleaned well and diced
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
6 thyme sprigs, 6 parsley stems and 2 bay leaves tied together to form a bouquet garni
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chives, chopped fine
Cooked polenta for serving


1. Finish the mise en place: Preheat the oven to 275° Fahrenheit. Rinse the lamb shanks with cold water, then pat them dry and let them come up to room temperature, approximately 30 minutes.

2. Brown the shanks: Season the shanks with kosher salt. In a large sauté pan, heat 1/2 cup oil over high heat and, once hot, sear the shanks, on all sides and in batches of two until brown. Adjust the heat to prevent burning, if necessary. Once browned, remove the shanks and discard the oil.

3. Sweat the mirepoix and roast the shanks: Return the pan to medium-high heat and deglaze it with chicken stock, loosening any fond from the bottom with a wooden spoon. When the stock has almost evaporated, add the onions, carrots, leeks, garlic, bouquet garni and the remaining tablespoon oil, stirring frequently. Season the vegetables with kosher salt. Once the vegetables have softened but before they have browned, add the red wine and bring to a boil. Add the shanks back into the pan and cover it. Once the fluid starts to simmer, transfer the pan to the oven. Roast the shanks until the lamb is tender and the meat is almost falling off the bone, about 3 hours.

4. Finish the dish: Once the lamb has roasted, remove from the oven and let it rest to allow for any carryover cooking, approximately 30 minutes. Turn the temperature down to its lowest temperature and remove the lamb shanks to a serving platter, cover with aluminum foil, then put in the oven to keep warm. Strain the vegetables into a fat separator, and once separated, pour back into the original sauté pan. Add the red wine vinegar, then bring to a boil. Taste the sauce for desired consistency and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve with polenta and garnish with chives.


I shouldn't have been surprised but the sauce yielded incredible depth of flavor and balanced the lamb well. Despite my skepticism, the lamb was very tender and cook all the way through. My only criticism? The portion size is a little too big.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Spicy Beef and Sausage Ravioli with Roasted Tomato Onion and Garlic Marinara

Spicy Beef and Sausage Ravioli with Roasted Tomato Onion and Garlic Marinara

Within my first month of food blogging I went looking for a chicken parmesan recipe after I saw an advertisement while I was channel surfing one evening. I don't remember what the ad was trying to sell, but I remember it noting chicken parmesan. I ate the dish a few times during my trip to the Philippines to meet my wife's family and I immediately wanted to replicate the dish. I found a recipe from Pam of For the Love of Cooking that used a marinara sauce from scratch, but it required some equipment I didn't have at the time (an immersion blender and a Dutch oven), so I used store bought sauce.

With time, these issues have resolved themselves so I wanted to return to this recipe, in part, because I felt the original was incomplete without it. This also represented a perfect opportunity to show my appreciation for Kaitlin of I Can Cook That and use an item I won in the giveaway she hosted.

The Challenge

Successfully prepare the second half of a dish I cooked previously.

The Source

I used store-bought ravioli, but the sauce is adapted from For the Love of Cooking.


5-6 tomatoes (fresh from the garden if you can)
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced into chunks
5-6 cloves of garlic
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of crushed red pepper (or more)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Dried oregano, to taste
fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Parmesan cheese
1 package Buitoni Spicy Beef & Sausage Ravioli (or any other desired pasta)


1. Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit and heat a large pot of water to a boil. Score the tomatoes by removing the stems, then gently cut an X on the bottom of the tomatoes. Blanch the tomatoes by adding them to the boiling water for 10-15 seconds. Remove from water and immediately put into an ice bath to stop any carryover cooking. Once the tomatoes have cooled, gently peel off the skin.

Scored Tomatoes

Blanching Tomatoes

Shocking Tomatoes in Ice Bath

2. Halve the tomatoes and put on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Arrange the onion chunks around the tomatoes. Put the garlic cloves inside the tomato halves so the tomatoes will help prevent the garlic from burning and infuses the tomato with the roasted garlic flavor. Season the tomatoes, garlic and onions with the dried basil, oregano, Kosher salt, and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30 to 40 minutes or until the tomatoes, onions and garlic are tender, sweet and juicy. Do not over cook them because the tomatoes will dry up.

About to be Roasted

3. Remove the roasted tomatoes and onions from the oven and put in a large Dutch Oven with the crushed tomatoes and pureé with an immersion blender. Taste and re-season with sugar (if desired), basil, oregano, salt or pepper, if needed. Cover with a lid and simmer for 2 to 4 hours

Roasted Vegetables about to be Pureéd


4. During the last 30 minutes, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Drop your pasta in the water and cook until 1 minute less than the box suggests, reserving 1 cup pf pasta water. Drain the pasta in a colander and place in a large saute pan over medium low heat. Add spoonfuls of the marinara and toss to coat. Thin out the sauce with the reserved pasta water if necessary. Garnish with parmesan and fresh basil. Serve immediately.

Ravioli Boiling


The specific flavor of ravioli was a request by my wife. While I don't think I'd eat this specific ravioli filling again, the extra work with the sauce was definitely worth it, when compared to Michael Chiarello's recipe.

Lastly, I wanted to note here that I normally don't advocate the use of dried herbs but in the case roasting vegetables in step 2, fresh herbs would burn so this is an exception.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Food Unchained: Vinegar Brined Baby Back Ribs

Vinegar Brined Baby Back Ribs

Somebody check the temperature in hell...

I'm a little embarrased by all this good fortune but I was chosen the winner of a giveaway sponsored by Kaitlin of I Can Cook That. Thank you very much!

Now onto the food...

When my wife and I were first married, we would eat at chain restaurants about once or twice a month. Often, we would end up at .

Fast forward to late 2009 when my wife took me there for my birthday. I hadn't started a food blog yet but I had found a baby back ribs
recipe by Dave Lieberman (using store bought barbecue sauce) I really liked after my brother-in-law demonstrated his version he brought with him from the Philippines and I wanted to find something that originated from Southern barbecue. I figured baby back ribs was a signature dish, so it would be a pretty safe choice.

I was wrong.

The ribs I made at home were so much better by comparison and cheaper too. In short, I felt ripped off. In fact, my first recipe for Food By DB was the recipe above, which served as one motivation to start blogging in the first place. About a year ago, I updated my recipe using Chef Michael Chiarello's recipe using his barbecue sauce. The best way to prepare ribs is to smoke them but this is apartment living folks, and I am not able to due to space constraints. Also, these two recipes used a similar cooking method and needed to mix things up a bit.

The Challenge

Not only recreate, but improve a dish served at a restaurant chain, in this case Chili's baby back ribs with original barbecue sauce.

The Source

Adapted from this Guy Fieri recipe for several reasons:

1. I've already reviewed the benefits of a brine with my chicken & rice recipe I published a couple of months ago, but I've never brined pork ribs. If I can't smoke my ribs, can I enhance flavor with a brine? Going in, I was a little skeptical that a short time in the brine would be effective.

2. This recipe is different than the cooking methods I've used in the past but it is very similar to rib recipes used by Bobby Flay I've tried in the past.



1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced serrano pepper Anaheim pepper, minced (I'm not much of a spice fan.)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger teaspoon, grated ginger
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups frozen raspberries
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam preserves
3 tablespoons molasses maple syrup


1 cup apple cider vinegar
4 cups water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly cracked black peppercorns
10 garlic cloves, smashed
3 pounds baby back ribs, silver skin removed, racks cut into 3 to 4 rib sections
6 fluid ounces beer
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered


Prepare your barbecue sauce:

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and Anaheim and cook until the onion is translucent. Stir in the garlic and the ginger and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer, being cautious not to burn.

2. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and then add the frozen raspberries, preserves and maple. Stir to combine, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Puree with an immersion blender, then strain through a sieve into a bowl or jar, to remove the seeds, pushing the sauce through as much as possible. Can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Raspberries Pureed
Straining the Puree

Cook the ribs:

4. Preheat a grill to high and an oven to 400°Fahrenheit.

5. In a large resealable bag or nonreactive container; combine the vinegar, water, 1 tablespoon of the salt and 1 tablespoon of the pepper, 4 of the garlic cloves and the ribs. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes only.

6. Remove the ribs from the brine and season both sides with the remaining salt and pepper. Sear the ribs on an indoor grill or outdoor if available, until lightly browned.

7. In a large roasting pan, fitted with a rack, arrange the ribs on the rack and pour in the beer. Add the onion and remaining garlic cloves. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and put into the hot oven. Reduce the heat to 300 and roast for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the foil and baste the ribs with the BBQ sauce. Roast for 7 minutes, then turn the ribs over, baste again and roast for another 7 minutes. Remove the ribs from the oven to a cutting board and slice between the ribs. Arrange on a serving platter and serve.

About to Go into the Oven
After 90 Minutes


The raspberry sauce was a little too sweet and I liked Chef Chiarello's better but it still was an improvement over Chili's. The brine also was effective in keeping the ribs succulent.

And finally, I'll leave you with...

(Think they were singing about my ribs?)