Saturday, September 26, 2009

Class #2 Melissa d'Arabian

Well I started my "Food Network Classes" with the first Food Network Star, Emeril and tonight our class features the newest Food Network Star, Melissa d'Arabian. I chose Succulent Braised Pork and Perfect Black Beans. These items are from Melissa's show, "Ten Dollar Dinners".

I thought the Pork was amazing, very tender - cooked perfectly. The ingredients created a beautiful, rich sauce with great flavor! The wine enhanced the dish extremely well.

I actually used two cans of black beans instead of the dried beans. Simmered with the onion and than followed the directions. I really liked the touch of sweetness with the tang of vinegar.

I made my own biscuits which were a very good addition to the meal - you could wipe up the sauce perfectly. We also had Cabernet with dinner.

We would definitely make again but with a green veggie. I give it 4 1/2 stars. Elena thought the pork was awesome and the beans were good. She loved the biscuits. Gianna said the beans were her favorite and she loved them. She thought the pork wasn't greasy and was very tender.

Maria said she liked the beans because it's "a little sweet, not too spicy". She loved the beans so much she forgot to try the pork. Once she tried the pork she said that she liked the "tender thing" and it was really yummy and she wants to eat it all the time. She probably would have had more but she went to a birthday party this afternoon and had four pieces of pizza??!! Fred loved the beans because they were different and but were a pleasant surprise - really liked them! He agreed the pork was very tender and cooked up very well.

Give both of these recipes a try and let me know what you think!

Succulent Braised Pork
2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 6 large chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
1 bunch parsley stems, tied with string
2 bay leaves
1 cup water
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Pat the pork dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, and working in batches brown the meat on all sides until a golden crust forms. Transfer the pork to a plate. To the pan add the onion, celery, and carrot and sweat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes to cook off the raw flavor and caramelize it. Sprinkle with the flour and cook another 2 minutes to cook off its raw flavor. Whisk in the wine and reduce it by half. Return the pork to the Dutch oven, then stir in the beef stock, parsley stems, and bay leaves. Add the water if liquid does not come up to the top of the pork. Do not cover the pork with liquid. Cover the pan and place it in the oven to braise until the meat is fork tender, about 3 hours. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.

Perfect Black Beans

Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Level Easy Yield 4 servings

1/2 pound dried black beans
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 fresh garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped scallions, for garnish
The night before, soak the black beans in a large pot of water. The next day, rinse the beans, cover with 3 cups of fresh water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes, skimming off any foam. Stir in the onion and simmer 30 minutes more. Add the garlic, oregano, cumin, and red pepper flakes, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sugar and vinegar, and taste before seasoning with salt and pepper. Turn out into a large serving bowl and garnish with chopped scallions.


  1. These sound delicious -- and what fun to do something like this. I wanted to let you know that I'm having an apron giveaway -- you entered my last drawing and I thought maybe you would want to participate again. Head on over and maybe you'll be wearing a new apron for your next cooking class.

  2. Thank you!! Definitely will be needing some new aprons in the kitchen!!