Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cooking With Frank: Pulled Pork, Chipotle and Chèvre Lasagna

Who doesn't love pulled pork. In this household new pulled pork recipes are created every few months (we're saving them for "a rainy day"), but after awhile pulled pork on a bun (or baked potato) can get sort of ho-hum.

Additionally, in this household, pasta is something that is rare. Very rare. It's not a Frankie friend. But James loves pasta, so sometimes he has to be indulged. We figured what better time to indulge him than when Jesse (@cool_jesse) comes for his annual summer visit (then there's less that we "have" to eat).

This recipe is in three parts, like a play. It's really easy, and mostly 'set in and forget it' in nature. You can start it today and make it tomorrow.

Please note: The sodium content is if

you use store bought canned tomatoes (2,254 g).
The other major sodium source is from the pork (9,800 g).
The recipe is relatively healthy compared to other more traditional lasagnas, but with great flavors like pulled pork, spicy chipotle and goat seems so much more naughty.

  • It's sweetened with carrots instead of processed sugar.
  • If you use home canned tomatoes the sodium can be better controlled than if the tomatoes are store bought.
  • You can add whatever vegetables you want to make it super packed with vitamins and nutrients - if you want to "trick" your family and friends into eating healthier (peas, fresh peppers, leeks, asparagus, celery...since it just gets cooked and then blended up, the options are vast).

Plus, goat cheese is higher in protein, vitamins A and D and low in carbohydrates compared to part skim milk ricotta [but higher in calories, fat and sodium. More on goat cheese vs. part skim milk ricotta >>> Nutrition Search Engine]

Pulled Pork, Chipotle and Chèvre Lasagna
Serves 8-10 (at 9 servings the serving size is 3"x 4")

What You'll Need:
9 x 13 glass pan
crock pot
bender or immersion blender
aluminum foil.

FIRST: The Pork
1.5-2 pounds Pork butt or pork shoulder (you can use tenderloin, but the meat will be a bit chewier)
2 cups Carrot, rough chopped
1 quart Tomatoes, stewed
1 quart Water
1/2 Onion, Yellow, rough chopped
1/2 Onion, Red, rough chopped
3/4 cup Red Wine
1/4 cup Red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp Marsala cooking wine
2 Tbsp Worcestershire
Salt, to taste (but at least 1 tsp*)
Pepper, fresh ground, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot on high and cook for at least 12 hours. If part of the cooking includes overnight turn the crock pot on low, just to be safe.

After about 12 hours, remove the pork and set aside.
Puree the sauce mixture with a blender (but be careful, leave plenty of space in the blender, or you'll have a hot mess) or an immersion blender.
In a separate bowl or container, shred the pork into small pieces. Set aside.

- rough chop = large chunks
- if you are using canned tomatoes from the store, use less salt.

SECOND: The Red Sauce
All reserved sauce from the pulled pork [there should be at least 9-10 cups, or 72-80 oz]
2 Chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, removed from sauce and chopped*
1 tsp of the adobe sauce from the can*

Add the chopped chipotle peppers and adobe sauce to the reserved sauce. Blend with immersion blender. Set Aside.

This is a very spicy (hot) product. Use sparingly if you, your family, or your guest can't handle spicy food.

THIRD: The White Sauce
170-200 grams Chèvre  (goat cheese) [about 1 1/2 cups]
1/2 cup Half & Half
1 medium clove garlic, minced
Salt, to taste (keep in mind the saltiness of the cheese)
Pepper, to taste

Blend together with blender or immersion blender. Set Aside.

FINALLY: The Assembly
1 package lasagna noodles [you'll only need 12 of them]. DO NOT COOK BEFOREHAND
Marjoram, fresh, chiffonade
6 oz Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350° F
Top of bottom layer

Assemble lasagna:
Place 3 cups of red sauce in bottom of 9x13 glass pan.
Arrange 4 lasagna noodles on top of red sauce (3 by 1)
Spread half of the meat mixture
Lightly cover meat mixture with half of the white sauce
Sprinkle marjoram over white sauce
Arrange 5 lasagna noodles on top of sauce (4 by 1)
Put at least 2 cups of red sauce on top of noodles
Spread second half of the meat mixture over red sauce
Cover meat mixture with half of the white sauce
Arrange 4 lasagna noodles on top of white sauce (3 by 1)
Cover noodles with remaining red sauce.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 40 minutes.
Uncover and sprinkle mozzerealla cheese over top. Bake for 5-7 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly and browning.
Take out of oven and let sit for about 5-10 minutes. Cut into 9 pieces. Serve with a nice green leaf salad.


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