Braised Kale with Bacon

Braised Kale with Bacon

Braised Kale with Bacon

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Braised Kale with Bacon served in a shallow white bowl resting on a wooden trivel and blue checkered kitchen towel.

Bacon has its own food group for a reason, it makes people actually want to eat Kale, LOL! At least in my world it does, and autumn is the perfect season to enjoy plenty of robust braised greens. While this recipe has been made with kale, other greens like Swiss chard, beet greens or collards will work very well also. Braised Kale with Bacon is a great side dish with roasted meats, and if by chance you have any leftovers, it’s perfect to add to a frittata, baked pasta or simply topped with a runny egg. The latter being my personal favourite because I’m a firm believer that a runny egg makes the world a tastier place and the bacon is already included, so it’s a win-win scenario.

Ingredients for Braised Kale with Bacon nestled in a shallow white tray.
Sauteed onions in an off white dutch oven in preparation of Braised Kale with Bacon.

Eating kale doesn’t have to mean you’re on a diet. The ratio of bacon and parmesan cheese in this recipe tips the healthy scale a little, but it’s also the reason it’s so tasty. Don’t be skimpy on the cheese my friends. Enjoy!

Can’t eat kale, even with bacon? Here’s a few more veggie sides to choose from.

Cranberry Almond Roasted Broccoli

Garlicky Buttered Beans

Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips

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Braised Kale with Bacon

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 1/2 cup servings

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces kale about 6 ounces trimmed
  • 4 ounces bacon, 3-4 slices, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 medium juice of 1/2 a lemon

Instructions

  • Trim kale of ribs and stems and tear them into bite-size pieces.
  • Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until rendered and crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Add enough olive oil to the remaining bacon fat to equal 2 tbsp (you may not need it).
  • Add sliced onions and cook over medium heat until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add sliced garlic and chili flakes and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Toss in trimmed kale and salt and pepper and cook, stirring often until kale is starting to wilt 3-5 minutes.
  • Pour in broth and water, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring once or twice until kale is soft. Remove lid and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked out.
  • Add parmesan cheese and bacon and toss to combine. Add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve immediately.

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Grilled Lamb Chops

Grilled Lamb Chops

Grilled Lamb Chops

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Grilled Lamb Chops garnished with fresh herbs and served on a wooden board.

Moving sucks!! It’s not only an awful lot of work, it has also kept me away from food blogging for a couple of months now. Today I am getting back into the swing of things and quickly realizing that my hiatus has taken its toll. Lagging page views and technical issues are at the forefront today, but I am back and excited to share these delicious Grilled Lamb Chops with you. Don’t worry there’s a little bit of summer left to fire up the grill for this quick and easy elevated dinner.

Lamb chops, lemon, Dijon, garlic and fresh herbs on a wooden board in preparation for Grilled Lamb Chops.
Lamb chops coated with a herbed mustard paste are ready for the grill in preparation for Grilled Lamb Chops.

Lamb chops are my absolute favourite way to enjoy lamb. They’re mild tasting and get a nice char on them from their extra bit of fat. The mustard rub used on today’s Grilled Lamb Chops is a variation of my go-to favourite grilling/roasting rub. A good dose of garlic, Dijon and rosemary are perfect to compliment the lamb. Sadly, lamb is quite expensive in my area, so these delicious chops are not usually on regular rotation, but they are a fantastic option for a special dinner or entertaining occasion. Enjoy.

Grilled Lamb Chops arranged on a wooden board and garnished with fresh lemon, herbs and red pepper jelly.
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Grilled Lamb Chops

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 3 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 each rack of spring lamb
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 each juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Trim any excess fat from the rack of lamb. Cut the rack into chops by cutting evenly between each rib. A medium-size rack will yield approximately 8 chops.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the Dijon mustard, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, oregano, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
  • Arrange the lamb chops in a shallow dish and evenly coat with mustard paste. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high. Grill the lamb chops 6-7 minutes per side for medium-well.
  • Remove from the grill and cover with tin foil and allow to rest for 3 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with red pepper or mint jelly.

Notes

The grilling time per side may vary depending on the temperature of your grill.

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Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

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Prepared Mediterranean Pasta Salad served in a clear bowl on a wooden tray.

Go ahead and skip the mayo with this Mediterranean Pasta Salad that is bright and briny with a wonderful array of ingredients. The zesty dressing made with Dijon and fresh herbs is a burst of flavour that takes this salad to the next level. Olives and pancetta add a nice texture and brininess to the pasta, while the spinach, cherry tomatoes and red onion keep it light and fresh. Mediterranean Pasta Salad is great for picnics, potlucks, backyard BBQ parties and your July long weekend. This salad holds up wonderfully the day it is made so there’s no fear of a soggy salad. The pasta and pancetta can be cooked up to two days ahead so tossing this salad together at the last minute is a cinch. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Mediterranean Pasta Salad arranged on a wodden tray.

This recipe was one of the first posted to my blog back in 2016 and I forgot how delicious it is. I felt it deserved a little revival just in time to enjoy for summer.

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Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces gemelli or fusilli pasta
  • 4 ounces pancetta
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil see note
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano see note
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley see note
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced and roughly chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until pasta is cool. Drain well and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a small skillet cook pancetta over medium heat until crispy and fat has been rendered, about 5-7 minutes. Drain well on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil, oregano, Dijon mustard, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Toss together pasta, pancetta, spinach, cherry tomatoes, black olives, red onion, parmesan cheese and dressing until combined. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Notes

-fresh herbs are lovely in this recipe, however, if you need to use dry herbs use 1/3 of the amount stated for fresh.
-this salad is best served the day it is made but leftovers will keep for 2 days covered in the refrigerator.

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Wor Wonton Soup

Wor Wonton Soup

Wor Wonton Soup

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Wor Wonton Soup served in a shallow black bowl on a bamboo mat with a broken fortune cookie in the background.

You’ll want to skip the takeout when you can make flavour-packed Wor Wonton Soup at home. It’s incredibly easy and quick once all the components are ready. I prefer to make homemade wontons and pork for this recipe because both are just so much better than store-bought in my opinion. I’ve included links for both, so I encourage you to be adventurous and try both. For this soup, I’ve chosen to use broccoli and carrots for my vegetables, however, feel free to sub in baby bok choy, water chestnuts, snow peas or baby corn to suit your liking.

Prepped pork wontons, pork char sui, shrimp and vegetables ready for Wor Wonton Soup.

The biggest trick to Wor Wonton Soup is the timing. I’ve dabbled with several different timing arrangements and found that the vegetables will cook in the same time it takes the wontons to cook. Therefore, adding them to the simmering broth at the same time is essential. Overcooking either is undesirable, to say the least. The same can be said for the shrimp and pork too. The shrimp will cook in no more than 2 minutes and the pork only needs to be warmed as it’s already cooked. So be sure to stick around the pot, the whole process takes only 4-5 minutes, so it’s not the time to do even the quickest of choirs.

Wor Wonton Soup served in a shallow black bowl on a bamboo mat with a broken fortune cookie in the background.

I’ve included links for the Pork Char Siu and Pork Wontons. The extra pork can be tightly wrapped in a sealable bag and frozen for up to two months. The wontons can also be frozen in a single layer and then placed in a sealable container for up to a month. Extra wontons are easily cooked in a little broth, deep-fried or pan-fried. Trust me, they will not go to waste!! This is a wonderful soup that eats like a meal and it’s easier than you might think. Enjoy!

Pork Char Siu

Crispy Wontons

Wor Wonton Soup served in a shallow black bowl on a bamboo mat with a broken fortune cookie in the background.
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Wor Wonton Soup

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2-2 cups large bite-size broccoli pieces
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 16 each pork wontons see note
  • 12 large shrimp, deveined and tail removed
  • 6 ounces Chinese BBQ pork (Pork Char Siu), thinly sliced see note
  • 2 tbsp green onion, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • as needed sesame oil

Instructions

  • In a large pot heat broth and soy sauce to a gentle simmer. Add broccoli, carrots and pork wontons and maintain a simmer. Cook for 4-5 minutes until wontons are cooked and vegetables are just tender. Add shrimp and sliced pork when about 2 minutes of cooking time remains.
  • Divide soup into shallow bowls and garnish with green onions and a drizzle of sesame oil.

Notes

-The prep time noted does not include the time to make the wontons or pork char siu if making either from scratch.
-You can use store-bought wontons and pork char siu, however homemade is so much better and I've included a link to both in the post above.

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Pork Char Siu

Pork Char Siu

Pork Char Siu

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What’s your favourite Chinese dish? I can’t seem to narrow it down to just one but wor wonton soup and pork dumplings are definitely at the top of my list. I also enjoy dim sum with its array of steamed buns, rice rolls and dumplings. But today’s Pork Char Siu was made in preparation for wor wonton soup, which is soon to follow!! Wor, meaning “everything” in Chinese means the soup can be made with any combination of your favourite foods such as broccoli, baby bok choy, or shrimp. I personally believe that Pork Char Siu is a must to include. The sweet and salty meat is great together with the broth and vegetables and helps to make the soup a meal on its own.

Pork shoulder roast on a black cutting board with a bowl of marinade in the background in preparation for Pork Char Siu.

While wor wonton soup is one of my favourite ways to use Pork Char Siu, it’s also great in fried rice, ramen, or sliced and served with extra sauce over rice. Heck, cold pork buns are great too! The cooked pork freezes well in an airtight container for up to two months. Having three cooked pieces gives you Pork Char Siu for at least three meals if frozen separately. It makes for easy weeknight meals when you’re short on time and energy. Enjoy!

Reduced marinade in a stainless steel skillet ready to glaze the roasted pork for Pork Char Siu.
Pork Char Siu sliced and presented on a black cutting board garnished with fresh parlsey.

Pork Char Siu sliced and presented on a black cutting board garnished with fresh parlsey.
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Pork Char Siu

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 22 minutes
marinating and resting 1 day 10 minutes
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 52 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pound pork shoulder roast
  • 5 tbsp honey, divided
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup sherry or Chinese Shaohsing Wine
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 1/2 tsp red food colouring paste see note
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Instructions

  • Trim pork shoulder of excess fat and cut lengthwise into 3 even pieces. Place pieces into a sealable bag.
  • Whisk together 3 tbsp of honey and the remaining ingredients. Pour marinade over pork and seal bag. Lay bag flat on a small tray or shallow baking pan and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, flipping at least once.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F and place rack in the middle. Line a baking tray with tin foil and parchment. Drain marinade into a shallow skillet and place pork onto the baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes, turn pork and continue baking for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 tbsp of honey into the marinade and reduce over medium-high heat until it coats the back of a spoon, about 7-8 minutes.
  • Increase oven temperature to 350°F. Generously baste pork with sauce and bake for 10 minutes. Turn pork, baste and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Turn oven to broil and remove parchment paper from under the pork to the clean tin foil beneath (see notes). Baste pork and broil for 1-2 minutes, turn pork, baste and broil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven, cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Notes

-I used a food colouring paste, more food colouring may be required if using the liquid variety.
-Lining the pan with tin foil and parchment is important because the sugary drippings from the pork tend to burn when broiling.  Removing the parchment gives a clean surface for broiling.

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I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com