Alberta Pork Recipes

by Mary Bailey

Consider this a sneak peek at what’s on the menu at Ampersand 27, Canteen, Hardware Grill, LUX Steakhouse + Bar, North 53, RGE RD, Pack Rat Louie, Red Ox Inn, Share (The Westin Edmonton), Solstice Seasonal Cuisine, The Marc, Rostizado and Zinc during Alberta Pork Month.

RGE RD Alberta Pork with Beans and Mostarda
Blair Lebsack, RGE RD

Mostarda is a piquant fruit and dried mustard condiment. Pretty much every region in Italy has its own recipe, depending on which fruit is grown there, but all mostarda has a robust sweet and sour character, what Italians call agrodolce. Traditionally it’s served with boiled meat. Chef Lebsack makes a western Canadian version and pairs it with pork tenderloin and beans. Start the mostarda mid-week for a weekend dinner.

2 apples
2 pears sugar
1 star anise
4 cloves
1 cardamom pod
2 bay leaf
¼ c dried bing cherries
1 c dry white wine
dried mustard
Riesling vinegar

Day 1
Small dice apples and pears, then weigh. Measure 165 grams of sugar per 1 kg of fruit. Sprinkle the calculated amount of sugar over fruit and let sit for a couple hours. Make a spice sachet with the cloves, star anise, cardamom and bay leaves. Chop dried cherries, put in pot, add sachet, cover with wine and cook for about 15 minutes to soften fruit. Cool. Pour over the apples and pears. Stir all fruit together and leave sachet in container with the fruit. Store overnight in cooler.

Day 2
Pour off liquid from fruit into a pot on medium. Reduce to a thin syrup. Cool slightly, then pour back over fruit and stir to combine. Do this for 2 more times (once per day).

Day 4
Mix together 25 ml of dry mustard into 60 ml of Riesling vinegar per 1 litre of fruit. Pour mustard into fruit, mix thoroughly to combine flavours. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Pork Loin

1-1½ kg pork loin
2 cloves minced garlic
1 sprig chopped rosemary
1 T kosher salt
black pepper to taste
canola oil

Pre heat oven to 475°F.

Rub the roast with garlic, rosemary, oil, salt and pepper. Place the roast on a baking pan and put in oven for 15 minutes. Baste pork with juices. Return to oven and cook for another 5 minutes, then turn down heat in oven to 350°F, cook another 10 minutes or until it reads 140°F on a meat thermometer.

Remove from oven, drain off liquid and reserve for beans. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Great Northern Beans

340 g (¾ lb) cooked beans
2 T canola oil
1 large onion, minced
3 cloves minced garlic
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs parsley chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 T butter cubed

In pot, heat oil and add bay leaves. Add onion and cook for 3-4 min, add garlic and beans. Cook for 5 minutes, add 2-3 tablespoons of reserved cooking liquid from pork. Allow beans to absorb the liquid, then add butter and parsley. Turn off heat and swirl to melt in butter. Season.

To serve: While the loin is resting, warm mostarda in a pot. Slice pork and serve family style with the beans.

Serves 4-6.

Mozzarella-stuffed Pork Meatballs
Larry Stewart, Hardware Grill

1 kg (approx 2 lb) ground pork
2 t kosher salt
2 t chili flakes
2 t fennel seeds, toasted and ground
2 eggs
½ c sour cream
1 large handful (approx 5 oz) chopped parsley
1 c grated parmesan
1 c toasted Panko bread crumbs
500 g (approx 1 lb) fior di latte or bocconcini balls

Place all ingredients except the cheese in a mixing bowl. Mix well until ready to form. Cut mozzarella into small pieces (about ½ inch). Divide meat mixture evenly into 20- 24 pieces (2 oz. per meatball is about 24 meatballs).

Form the meatball around each piece of cheese and roll in the palms of your hands until perfectly smooth.

Brown the outside of each meatball in a fry pan until golden.

Meatballs can be held in the refrigerator or baked immediately.

Place meatballs on a baking sheet lined with foil, bake at 350°F for approximately 15-18 minutes. Cut into one to test for doneness.
Serve with your favourite tomato sauce and grated parmesan cheese.

Makes 24 meatballs.

Pork Belly with Maple Bourbon Butter
“This is a great project to do first thing in the morning so that it is ready for your dinner party at night. You can also use whatever fruit juice you would like such as pineapple or orange.”
— Nathin Bye, Ampersand 27

Brine (for every 1 kg pork belly to be brined)

4½ c water
110 g kosher salt
1 g InstaCure (available at Barb’s Kitchen Centre)
15 g whole coriander seed
1 orange peel
1 lemon peel
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 juniper berry, whole

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When the brine is cold to the touch, add pork belly and refrigerate for 48 hours completely submerged in the brine.

After 48 hours, remove from the brine and rinse under cool water.

Cook the pork belly
Fully submerge the pork belly in equal parts apple juice and chicken stock (how much will depend on the size of the piece).

Cook at 240oF for 10 hours.

Glaze for pork belly

100 ml bourbon
1 lb butter unsalted
125 ml maple syrup

Melt butter in a small pot. Add bourbon and maple syrup and allow to cool.

To serve: Remove pork belly from braising liquid. Cut into portions. Glaze liberally with the maple bourbon butter and broil in the oven. Once the glaze is slightly caramelized and bubbling, repeat this process two more times so you get a nice thick coating of the sweet bourbon butter.

Braised Pork Shoulder with Pomegranate Molasses Sauce
Dave Omar, ZINC

3 lb piece pork shoulder (trimmed of silver skin, veins and excess fat) and cut into 2 inch pieces
½ T toasted fennel seeds
3-4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large onion (approx 1 lb) peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 c white wine
2 c water
1 t paprika
1 t dried oregano
¼ t black pepper
½ t kosher salt
¼ c cold pressed canola oil
4 c beef stock
2 T pomegranate molasses*

Rub pork with spices and canola oil and allow to rest in fridge for one hour. Heat a large sauté pan and sear all sides of the meat. Place into a deep oven-proof dish. Add carrots, onions, wine and water. Cover with parchment paper and tin foil.

Braise at 300oF for 3 hours, or until pieces are fork tender.

Carefully remove pork pieces to a parchment lined baking sheet to cool. Remove bay leaves and purée the braising liquid. Add stock and pomegranate molasses.

Cook for 25 minutes on medium heat.

Serve with roasted baby potatoes and a good hearty bread to make sure you get all that beautiful sauce.

Serves 6

*Pomegranate molasses is available at the Italian Centre Shops, or make your own using Dave Omar’s recipe, below.

Pomegranate Molasses

7 c pomegranate juice
1 c white sugar
1 c packed Demerara sugar
½ c lemon juice

Place all ingredients into a heavy pot. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugars. Reduce heat to medium low and reduce to 3 cups in volume.

Makes 3 cups.

Steamed Pork Meatball Lettuce Wraps
Atco Everyday Delicious

2 lb (1 kg) lean ground pork
¼ c oyster sauce
3 T finely chopped shallot
4 t fish sauce
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 t granulated sugar
1 t white pepper

Combine all ingredients. Shape mixture into 30 balls, each measuring about 1½ inches; set aside.

To steam meatballs, use a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and a heatproof steaming basket that will hold the meatballs above water in the saucepan. Bring water to a boil in saucepan.

Place only enough meatballs to form a single layer in the basket. Set basket over boiling water. Do not allow water to touch basket.
Cover and steam over boiling water until meatballs are completely cooked, about 10-15 minutes.

Repeat steaming procedure with remaining meatballs. Alternatively, meatballs may be placed on a rack in a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet and baked in an oven at 350°F until completely cooked, about 20 minutes.

Makes 30.

Lettuce Wraps

½ c hoisin sauce
20 butter lettuce leaves
20 fresh mint leaves
1¼ c julienned carrots
1 c julienned seeded English cucumber
¼ c fresh cilantro leaves

Place hot meatballs in a heatproof bowl. Add hoisin sauce and toss to coat; set aside.

Make ten stacks of 2 lettuce leaves each. Dividing equally, top each lettuce stack with mint leaves, carrots and cucumber. Place 3 meatballs on top of vegetables on each lettuce stack. Garnish with cilantro. Wrap leaves around filling to enclose.

Makes 10