One dish

veggie and sausage sheet pan dinner


I had every intention of writing this earlier in the week.  I had Monday and Tuesday off and figured I would get a jump on things. I spent Monday putting my house back together; sending back returns of things I didn’t use or need from my sons wedding last Friday. I spent Tuesday doing absolutely nothing! Seriously I am embarrassed to say I did nothing but play video games on my phone and watch TV but what I should have done was some grocery shopping maybe some laundry, some baking or cooking so I had something to share on my blog but I didn’t and felt super guilty for it.

So I am writing this Thursday night because we are going away for the weekend and won’t have anytime to write. Current situation is sitting on the porch with a cocktail my husband and dog. It was a beautiful day and so far a beautiful night, not sure how many more evenings like this we will be able to sit out here. Winter is coming!

In my laziness; I know I deserve a break too but why do I feel so guilty about it? I wanted a hands off type of dinner and besides the slow cooker a sheet pan dinner is pretty hands off. I try to use up some things from the fridge so should you. I had some fresh beets; not from my garden thanks to the deer, I did use up the green peppers that we picked and our potatoes. This was the first time I have roasted radishes.  I heard you could but have never tried to. I would do it again; seems they became sweeter with just a little heat.

veggies sausage sheet pan dinner

great weeknight meal
Course Main Course

Ingredients
  

  • 3 potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 3 fresh beets peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 5 radish chopped
  • 2 green peppers seeded and diced
  • 3 sausage links diced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • crop dust seasoning

Instructions
 

  • pre-heat the oven to 400'F
  • slice up the sausage and place them around the veggies on the sheet pan
  • add all the veggies onto the sheet pan; trying not to over crowd the pan. If you do you will end up steaming instead of roasting
  • check on everything in about 20-30 minutes. I like mine brown so I put it back in the over for another 15 minutes.

Pesto & One pot pasta

Happy Father’s Day – I hope you are all safe and able to spend a little time with your some of your family today! It is a sunny day here in NH but it is a very warm and humid day. I am currently sitting on the couch writing this blog listening to Psych. That is one of my favorite TV shows to play in the background. I cannot tell you how many times I have been through the entire series. Enough to know pretty much all of the snarky little comments. Image

I don’t know how well your gardens are going, mine are a lot of hit and misses. I went to to local gardening shop yesterday, the same one i have been going to for many many years and was shocked at the lack on inventory they had on hand. I know I probably shouldn’t have been. I know a lot of people took up gardening this year but it was still a little alarming. They have always had a plethora of hanging plants and I could always find what I needed and sometimes things I didn’t know I needed.

Here are a couple of things I use up my basil in. Though basil is one of my favorite summer herb and can be used in so many dishes.  These two are worth checking out!

Basil Pesto 

6 Ounces of washed and dried basil leaves, stems removed
4 Ounces of pine nuts
6-8 Cloves of Garlic
2 Ounces of grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil – Salt and Pepper

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Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor or blender, pulse to combine. Add olive oil until you get the consistency you like, finish by adding the parmesan cheese a little salt and pepper pulsing until combined.  Enjoy with and/or on just about anything!

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One–Pan Pasta 

 1 lb. Linguine
1 lb. Cherry or Grape tomatoes halved
1 Onion diced
4-6 cloves of Garlic
½ tsp. crushed Red Pepper Flakes
6 Cups Chicken Broth
1 bunch of Basil
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper and the chicken broth in a large straight sided skillet

Bring to a boil over high heat, boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and broth has nearly evaporated.  About 9 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with basil.  Serve with Parmesan cheese.

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Chicken and Pasta bake

Late Friday afternoon my “co-worker” daughter from another company sent out an email to everyone in her company. She created a 30 day act of kindness calendar. Just a few ideas of how to show a little kindness in our area can go a long way! And it seems our country is in dire need of some kindness.
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Her only hesitation was sending it after closing time on Friday or wait till Monday morning. I told her send it, there are some who check their emails and it can’t hurt to sit there unopened until Monday either. Before she told me what she was working on I had planned to go grocery shopping for my in-laws who are 89 & 90 and finally arriving home from being quarantined in FL. My sister-in-law kept them safe for 6 months; now it is our turn.
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Browning all the meat in the same pot separately for several dishes I was making – less dishes

A friend of mine has been spreading kindness for several weeks now making fried rice and selling it with all the proceeds being spread out to some local charities, first responders, families in need you name it and she has touched a lot of lives. My daughter and I picked up some of the rice and then headed to the grocery store. While in the store my daughter was approached by a co-worker who proudly said she had already started on the list and shared with her what she had done just that day. My daughter was so excited to tell me about this. It’s working!
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When we got home and put away their grocery’s and ours I started making food. I wanted them to have a few things they could just pop in the oven, or take out of the freezer and re-heat. How to keep them safe is to keep them home. Which isn’t going to be that easy but we will try.
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I actually find it pretty easy to cook for an army; as they say. I am pretty organized in my thought pattern; say if I am making several dishes and a couple of them need onions I will cut up enough for whatever I am making. Basically I rock at mise-en-place (put in place). Yesterday I made a large pot of chili, a couple of shepherd pies, some bolognese and a I wanted to make a chicken and pasta bake of some sort. I had such a busy afternoon I popped one of the chicken bakes in the oven for dinner which I will share with you here.
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Chicken and Pasta bake

Donna Clark
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
0 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 box pasta cook to package directions
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 packets Sazon seasonings
  • 1 container mascarpone cheese small container or replace with 1/2 brick cream cheese
  • Kosher Salt, Black Pepper and your choice seasoning

Instructions
 

  • Cook your pasta to the package instructions
  • Dice your chicken breast into bite size pieces, season your pieces with your favorite seasoning liberally. I chose kosher salt, black pepper and Crop Dust all purpose seasoning from my local butchers shop The Flying Butcher.
  • In a saute pan add the olive oil and when hot add the chicken, sprinkle on the 2 packets of sazon. If you want the pieces browned do no over crowd the pan and cook in batches. Set aside.
  • In the same saute pan add the butter and flour making a roux. cook the flour for about a minute. Whisk in all the milk and keep whisking until the sauce thickens. Lower the heat and add the mascarpone cheese stir till all combined. Remove from the heat and add the cheddar and half of the mozzarella cheese stir till melted.
  • In a large bowl add the cheese sauce and the cooked chicken to the pasta. Stir till combined. Depending if you are saving for later or having now. Add to your baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is browned and heated through.

https://www.theflyingbutcher.com/

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and Be Kind

 

Ham bone soup

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Yesterdays lunch

It’s beginning to be a bit like groundhog day around here starting our 6th week working from home! At least that is what my daughter keeps saying. We both work for different companies albeit the companies share a parking lot but they couldn’t be more different. We also have different hours but I created a workstation for us both along one of the walls in the den. It is actually a really cool space but again it is kind of a little groundhog dayish. To break up the monotony a little we are having spirit week this week and there will be pictures.
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What do you usually do with your ham bone if you make ham for Easter? I usually give mine to my mother-in-law. She makes split pea soup which is probably one of the top things to do with a ham bone. But not with me; I love soup but split pea is not for me. I am sure it stems from my childhood not liking green vegetables. I do eat frozen peas on occasion but they are not my go to. So for me to add peas to any of my soups just doesn’t happen.
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My Mother-in-law is still in FL until we are able to get them home safely. Yes I could throw it in the freezer and save it for her but I wanted to try making a soup with the leftovers and make a bone broth with the ham bone. So here is what I made and I might have to fight my mother-in-law for my ham bone next year!

Ingredients

leftover ham diced
1 or 2 carrots diced
1 or 2 celery sticks diced
1 onion diced
2-3 garlic diced
1/4 teaspoon Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Cajun spice
3 tablespoon flour 
6 cups Broth
1 can Pinto beans or 2 Potatoes
1-2 cups Water
 2 tablespoons olive oil 

Instructions

In a stock pot add the olive oil over medium heat add the ham, celery, carrot and onions and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so. Add the spices cook for another minute. Add the flour and cook for 4-5 minutes. 

Add the broth and water bring to a boil. Add beans or potatoes and then lower the heat to low and simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Take a potato masher and break up some of the beans/potatoes it will help thicken the soup.  Season with salt and pepper if needed. 

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Ham bone broth in my slow cooker – cover with water turn on low and let it go!

 

 

Scalloped Potatoes

Good morning and Happy Easter!

I hope everyone is hanging in there, I know I say that every week now but I don’t know what else to say. I am going on week 5 of working from home, I think I have left my sanctuary maybe 5 times over the last month. The last time it was for my husband he injured himself and ended up having surgery; he is fine and not taking it easy as instructed insert eye roll here. 

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You can sprinkle a little of the cheddar cheese on top – I did not in this picture. My mouth is watering as I am typing and looking at them – they are SO good!

How will you be spending your Easter this year? How much different will it be for your family? Will you be having some sort of virtual Holiday? We have been doing virtual happy hours with some friends and family and it is fun for now but it will get old soon. Though I am sure we will continue to do so with the ones who live far away. We have always done pancake breakfast with my kids and in-laws. Then everyone would disperse and come back later for Easter dinner. This year will be a little different, no plans for breakfast and dinner will just be with the kids. I am still going to set the table so it will be a little special. 

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I used a mandolin to slice my potatoes but it is not necessary

Since this is a cooking blog I should probably talk about cooking a little right? We all like ham and don’t really have it too often so we will be having ham, these scalloped potatoes, carrots and roasted asparagus for dinner. I am still thinking about what to do for dessert; it will have to be something that I have all the ingredients for since all of our stores close to us are closed today. Yeah I know I should have planned better but I can be pretty resourceful when it comes to using what I have on hand.

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preheat oven to 350’F

Ingredients

4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions – making a roux

In a small sauce pan, melt butter and whisk in the flour. Let it bubble for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour taste. Add all of cold milk at once stirring with a whisk; season with salt and cayenne. Cook sauce on low until smooth and boiling, stirring occasionally with a whisk and it thickens a bit. Reduce heat and stir in cheese.
Place a half of the sliced potatoes in a lightly greased one quart casserole dish. Pour half of cheese sauce over potatoes.
repeat with second layer of potatoes and cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for an hour at 350°F

Chicken Chili in the slow cooker

I hope you are able to keep in good spirits during this trying time in our world. I know the local government in every state are having to make a lot of decisions they have never had to make in their lifetime as well as us as citizens. So the topic of conversations we have had all start with what’s going on. I am OK with discussing the world but my hope is there are other things that come up so we don’t wallow in it and able to keep some normalcy to our lives.  I am still going to be making food to feed my family and if it’s worth sharing I will. 

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I had some chicken breast I took out of the freezer and needed to use them up. There were four chicken breasts so I took three of them and put them in the crockpot and the last one I sliced up, seasoned and pan seared it for chicken salad. This chili has a lot of ingredients I keep in my pantry pretty much at all times.  When canned goods are on sale I load up on them and save them for a rainy day. In comparison to other states I feel NH is only misting right now. If you get my reference.  

img_4700This is a great meal to set it and forget it. I do wish it wasn’t so cold outside I would love to get out into the garden and turn the soil and start my list of what we are going to grow for the season.  I also hope the garlic I planted last fall will bring me joy. Every year is different for me, some years I hit the mother load and others is utterly disappointing.  Stay tuned I am sure I’ll share with you the results.
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Chicken Chili in the slow cooker

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
quick throw together warm comforting meal that also freezes well
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 8 mins

Ingredients
  

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cans of beans - great northern navy pea beans, black beans Or any combination
  • 1 can hominy
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 can chopped green chilis
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • Chicken broth

Instructions
 

  • Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker
  • saute onions and garlic till they are soft
  • Top with beans
  • In a medium bowl combine taco seasoning, Chilis, Rotel, soup and broth. Pour over beans
  • Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours
  • Before serving shred chicken to your liking.
  • Top with shredded cheese, sour cream and chives or green onions
 

Pantry and Freezer time

I started writing this morning about how I opt to play Switzerland and play nice in the sandbox on social media and mostly in “real” life. I learned that behavior very early on in my life. I had three paragraphs written and then deleted the whole thing. I am at a loss to what we are seeing in our world today. I don’t understand the whole TP buyout debacle of 2020.

 

I am going to keep my blog light and as positive as I can. We have a enough doom and gloom going on in the world today so I even though I didn’t make anything special this past week to share. I did meet up with a few girlfriends yesterday for a nice and pleasant visit and they thought I should share some tips and tricks to help get people through the next few weeks and hopefully not months. Time to put those packets of Ramen noodles to good use.

When I see what I use on sale I tend to buy several of them at that moment. My pantry is full of different kinds of pasta, several different kinds of beans and rice options. pasta sauce and San Marzano tomatoes to name a few. I feel we are in pretty good shape.

When I make meatballs I more than double the batch and freeze what we don’t eat. I do the same with chili and some soups. Frozen shrimp is so easy to make into a quick dinner. Butterball turkey burgers are in the freezer section and delicious. If you have never froze bread you are missing out. I will buy sliced bread on sale and freeze a loaf. When I am in Montreal I buy several loafs of there fresh baked bread and freeze all but one loaf to eat that night for dinner.

I do know personally quite a few of the people who read my blog and they have on occasion reached out to me to ask a food related question and I do not have all the answers but if you have a few things in your home that you are not sure what to do with; give me a shout out and I will try to help with suggestions if I can. Stay safe and strong!

Chicken cutlets in a sun-dried tomato cream sauce

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So today is already starting out by losing an hour; lets hope it gets better from here. I have never been a fan of daylight savings; it totally messes with my whole being. I have a hard enough time sleeping and twice a year having to jolt the system to a new schedule for what is now not really necessary seems to me we really don’t need to do this to ourselves anymore. Plus now I get to run around the house changing close to a dozen clocks.
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Since I love history and trivia I wanted to know a little more of the who and whys of daylight savings. We all know it was Benjamin Franklin; I learned that in school many years ago but I was surprised to read that he only mentioned the idea in a published essay in 1784. I was also surprised that the first country to adopt this was Germany but not until 1916 which was 132 years later. I will admit I thought it was only a US thing, that shows a little of my ignorance. The US didn’t start using it until 1918 and bully for Arizona to be the only contiguous state to stop observing daylight savings. Hopefully that was some fun facts for your morning reading now back to some food.
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I have been noticing a huge difference in the chicken I have been getting; to the point where I will not buy just any kind. I am sure some of you might not find this as such a surprise but I have been buying a certain brand for as long as I can remember and also store brand chicken when something strikes me. I don’t know if it is me or if they changed whats happening with the chicken but if I can’t find a Bell and Evans or a Misty Knoll roaster chicken, we won’t be having our usual Sunday roaster it has come to that.
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I made this recipe with store brand chicken cutlets and while the recipe I will make again as we all loved the flavor but I won’t be making it unless I can find the better chicken at the store.
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chicken cutlets with a sun dried tomato cream sauce

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound chicken cutlets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cupr slivered oil-packed sun dried tomatoes plus 1 tablespoon oil from the jar
  • 1.2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley - I didn't have any

Instructions
 

  • season chicken cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the sun dried tomato oil in a large enough skillet over medium hot heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, use an instant-read thermometer and insert it into the fattest part and it should read 165'F. roughly 6 minutes. transfer chicken to a plate.
  • Add the sun dried tomatoes and the shallots to the pan. Cook stirring for a minute or so, increase the heat to high and add the white wine. Cook, scraping up and browned bits, until the liquid has mostly evaporated. about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the cream, and any juices from the chicken plate. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 2 minutes. Return the chicken back to the sauce; turn to coat with the sauce. Serve chicken topped with sauce.

Notes

Adapted from Eating Well

roasted chicken breast acorn squash sheet pan

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Most of the time I go to the grocery store with a plan of what I need to pick up based on what we want to eat for the week. Or more like what I feel like making for the week. I do ask; sometimes what the house wants but really it’s mostly up to me.
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I also mostly go to the store alone but this time my daughter was with me and instead of a spaghetti squash we came home with an acorn squash instead. Guess she is not a fan of spaghetti squash I do try to have on hand a few fresh veggies for a quick side. Usually broccoli, cauliflower always carrots and I guess now acorn squash. It was easy, a great side and we all loved it. So much so my husband stated we will be adding it to the garden this year.
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Quick during the week meals are a must in everyone I personally knows world. We all work and time is tight and dinner needs to be easy to make, which means few ingredients and mostly hands off. This meal was just that and very satisfying. 

A few chicken breasts, an acorn squash, some seasonings, a sheet pan and your oven. You will be enjoying a nice warm meal in an hour.

roasted chicken breast acorn squash sheet pan

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
A quick, delicious, satisfying meal

Ingredients
  

  • Chicken Breast bone in skin on a piece or two per person
  • 1 acorn squash
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • maple syrup
  • crop dust or your favorite all purpose seasoning

Instructions
 

  • Spray your sheet pan with cooking spray or line with tinfoil
  • Preheat oven to 375'F
  • dry each chicken breast with a paper towel
  • season each breast on both sides with salt, pepper and your all purpose seasoning
  • wash and slice the acorn squash, scoop out the seeds.
  • place everything on the sheet pan, season the squash with the same seasonings
  • drizzle the squash with a little maple syrup
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
 

 

Portuguese Braised Pork and Clams

 

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I will be making this again – Soon!

Last weekend I made up for the lack of spending time in the kitchen. I almost made too many things if that is possible. We had leftovers all week long which for us is not a bad thing. I know so many people that do not like leftovers. I wonder why that is. Do they make things that don’t reheat well? What they ate didn’t taste good the first time around? Do they not know how to reheat things? Is it a childhood “thing” meaning there parents didn’t eat leftovers so they won’t eat them? With that being said there are some things that do not reheat well.

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I improvised with paprika and pimento peppers – use what you have on hand I say!

IMG_4946IMG_4947While I was making this I kept thinking about my friends SF and BF plus their family; the ones they share with us every Labor Day weekend when we become honorary Portuguese family members. SF you are going to want to make this; it is so good and reheats perfectly minus the clams; which we finished split those up before packing up the leftovers.

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I found it easier to put a strainer over a bowl and just pour the pork out of the bag 

IMG_4964 - CopyIMG_4965IMG_4967I will give you a heads up the pork needs to marinate overnight; I know some of you will stop reading and won’t even try this recipe but you can do this I promise; before you put the pork away after buying it slice it up and throw it in the marinade for tomorrow nights dinner. You got this!

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San Marzano whole tomatoes is my go to and I always hand crush them into my pot!

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Now it’s time for a confession. There is an ingredient I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t look it up before I went to the store. SO I made up my own version of what I thought it might be. I thought I might just stumble upon it at the store; I did not. I did look it up when I got home and now it makes sense so I will tell the ones who do not know what it is it might be in the spice section of your grocery store; if not substitute it with a smoked paprika that you can find and like. Not the pickle, olive mustard aisle. Pimenton de la Vera dulce.  I figured it was something to do with Pimento peppers obviously I don’t speak the language. It is actually a Spanish smoked sweet paprika yeah I know not even close!
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They used Cilantro for garnish – I didn’t have any so I chopped celery tops for added color

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Portuguese Braised Pork and Clams

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
A warm and savory soup
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lb boneless pork shoulder cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes. (I used pork butt)
  • 2 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 6 garlic cloves divided
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Pimenton de la Vera dulce smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion diced
  • 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes crushed by hand - recommend San Marzano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth divided
  • 2 lb baby Yukon Gold potatoes halved
  • 2 lb Manila clams or cockies scrubbed - I used clams I could find at my store
  • scalions diced for garnish - or they had fresh cilantro on theirs
  • serve with crusty bread for sopping up all the goodness

Instructions
 

  • Season pork all over with 1 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. In a large ziploc bag add the pork. Smash 3 cloves of garlic, add to the bag along with the wine, bay leaves and Pimenton. Seal and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350'F
  • Remove pork from marinade saving the marinade, pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Remove and discard the garlic and bay leaves. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pork and cook until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to pork to a plate continue with the rest of the pork.
  • Chop remaining garlic cloves. Add the onions and the remaining oil cook for a minute then add the chopped garlic continue cooking for another minute or two. You want them to be slightly browned but not burned stirring often. Add the tomatoes, red pepper and the reserved marinade.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer stirring often for about 3 minutes. Return cooked pork to the pot. Stir in 1 cup of stock until pork is mostly submerged. Cover and bake in oven until pork is fork-tender. 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Stir in potatoes and remaining 1 cup of stock, Cover and bake until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Transfer Dutch oven to the stovetop over high add the cleaned clams. Cover and cook until clams open. 3 to 5 minutes. (remove and discard any unopened clams) Season with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Garnish with diced scallions

Notes

Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
 

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