Category Archives: Pork

New Jersey Sloppy Joes

When you think of a Sloppy Joe, you probably imagine ground beef in a sweet tomato sauce. This is not that. New Jersey Sloppy Joes are a completely different animal. Town Hall Deli in South Orange

New Jersey Sloppy Joes

created this sandwich in 1935 and it came via Havana, Cuba. Seems the mayor of Maplewood, N.J. visited Sloppy Joe’s bar (a frequent hangout of Ernest Hemingway) and liked a kind of club sandwich they made there. The mayor came back home and persuaded the owners of Town Hall to recreate the sammie for their deli. It’s been on the menu ever since.

The key to this creation is thin sliced rye bread. You don’t want the bread to overwhelm the fillings. Originally this sandwich was made with beef tongue, but now is more often made with ham, roast beef, or corned beef, along with turkey. The crunch from the slaw and the savory/sweet flavors of the Russian dressing make this sandwich a mouthwatering delight.

Check out the Exit Zero Jazz Festival April 20-22 in Cape May where you can hear teenage prodigy Joey Alexander, a jazz pianist.

New Jersey Sloppy Joes

  • Servings: 2 sandwiches
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6 slices rye bread, ends cut off and trimmed into rectangles
  • 2-3 ounces deli ham, corned beef, or roast beef
  • 2-3 ounces deli turkey
  • 2 ounces swiss cheese
  • Cole slaw
  • Russian dressing

Instructions

Lay 2 slices of bread on work surface. On each slice, layer a quarter of the meat and cheese, then a generous dollop of coleslaw and Russian dressing. Add another slice of bread and then repeat with another layer of meat, cheese, cole slaw, and Russian dressing. Top with bread and secure with a toothpick.

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Pears with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto – Iowa

Iowa’s most famous product, Maytag blue cheese has been in business since 1941. Still a family farm at its roots, the Maytags are in their fourth generation of making cheese.

If you need a quick and delicious appetizer you cannot go wrong with this recipe. If it takes you longer than 20 minutes to put

An easy and elegant appetizer made with Maytag blue cheese, Iowa's most famous product

together, you are doing something wrong. The sweet pears play nicely with the sharp cheese and the saltiness of the prosciutto. Molto bene!

Brucemore, in Cedar Rapids, was built in 1886 by the Sinclair family for their large brood. You can tour this 19th century mansion and learn about the lions (yes, lions in Iowa!) later families kept as pets.

Pears with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto

  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 ripe pears
  • Maytag blue cheese
  • 8 slices prosciutto, sliced in half lengthwise
  • Arugula

Instructions

With a sharp paring knife, quarter each pear, removing stem and core. Cut each quarter in half. Slice cheese into 16 equal pieces. Place cheese on side of pear, add a few sprigs of arugula, then wrap prosciutto around the entire piece. Repeat with remaining pears. Serve immediately.    

Cubano Sandwich – Florida

Oh, Cubano sandwich, you make our hearts swoon. Besides being one of the best sandwich creations of all time, the Cubano sandwich has the distinct honor of hosting two types of pork. Before we get into the specifics, a little history.

Cubano sandwich - Florida

Miamians claim that the Cubano came from Cuba as it was on restaurant menus there dating back to the 1930s, but good evidence exists that it was created 25 years earlier in Ybor City, a Latin neighborhood in Tampa, at a place called the Columbia Restaurant, which claims to be Florida’s oldest restaurant. Tampa and Miami both have versions of this winning culinary creation. In Tampa, you will find the sandwich often includes salami, lettuce, tomato and mayo and is not pressed. In Miami, no salami and the sandwich is always pressed.

Our recipe here is a Miami version which is basically a gussied up toasted ham and cheese with both pork roast, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard and sliced dill pickles.  We used a bolillo which is a type of Mexican roll. Whatever roll you use, the exterior of it cannot be too hard or crunchy. Once the bread is compressed it will be too hard to chew. Also, make sure you put the cheese of both sides of the roll. When it melts, it will hold the other fillings in place. Don’t have a panini press? No problem. Just use your favorite skillet, and then take another heavy pan and place it on top of the sandwich. Press down on both with your hands to compress the sandwich by about a third.

Visitors to Miami should not miss Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a stunning waterfront mansion built by James Deering, owner of Deering McCormick-International Harvester. This Italian Renaissance villa was completed in 1916 and features the main house, beautiful gardens and a stand-alone barge once used for cocktail parties that sits in Biscayne Bay, just a few feet from the terrace.

Cubano Sandwich

  • Servings: 1 sandwich
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 soft roll (like bolillo)
  • 3 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese
  • 3 ounces sliced deli ham or Canadian bacon
  • 3 ounces sliced roast pork
  • Dill pickle, sliced
  • Butter

 Instructions

Slice open the roll and spread mustard of both slides. Lay cheese on both sides. On one side, add ham, pork and then sliced pickles. Close sandwich and butter both sides. Using a hot griddle, a plancha or panini press, toast sandwich on both sides, pressing down slightly until sandwich is compressed, cheese is melted and bread is golden brown.

Hot Tamales – Mississippi

Mississippi boasts a Hot Tamale Trail. Yes, you read that right. Tamales ― those delectable packets of corn-based dough stuffed with pork, beef, chicken, cheese or vegetables and cooked in a corn

Hot Tamales - Mississippihusk ― are usually more associated with Mexican culture. But the trail was created by the Southern Foodways Alliance to celebrate this ubiquitous dish, which finds its way from Tunica in the north, all the way to Lumberton in the south.

No one is really sure of the tamale’s origins in this area of the country. Some say U.S. soldiers brought them back from Mexico after the Mexican-American War which took place in the middle of the 19th century. Others think African-Americans adopted the recipe from Mexicans who labored alongside them in cotton fields early in the 20th century. Hot tamales are usually made with pork rather than beef or chicken, and are spicier than their Latin-counterparts.

Tamales are certainly labor intensive but this recipe makes a ton and they freeze beautifully. You can also make the meat on day one, and then make the dough and simmer them the following day. More hands make light work so grab a friend or two and make it a tamale party.

If a road trip to Mississippi is in your future, check out Southern Foodways Alliance Hot Tamale Trail Map.

Hot Tamales

  • Servings: approx. 36-48 tamales
  • Difficulty: difficult
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Ingredients

For filling:

  • 7-8 lb. pork shoulder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, sliced thickly
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 3-6 cups chicken stock

For dough:

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 cups MaSeCa brand masa harina
  • 5-6 cups reserved cooking liquid from meat

To finish:

  • 16 oz. package, dried corn husks

 Instructions

For the filling: Take pork shoulder and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large heavy pot on medium heat, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add the pork, searing on all sides until well browned. Remove the meat and set aside. Add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Return meat to pot, and then add enough chicken stock so that meat is covered. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until meat is very tender and falling off bone, about 2 1/2 hours.

While meat is cooking, take corn husks and separate them. Place in a large bowl. Add enough hot water so that they are completely submerged, adding another bowl on top of them if necessary to keep them underwater. Let corn husks soak for about 2 hours.

When meat is done, remove from it the pot and reserve cooking liquid, discarding skin, fat and other solids. When meat is cool enough to handle, shred meat from bone, again discarding fat and bone. Dice meat into smaller pieces. Add spices (chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt, oregano and cayenne pepper) and stir until well coated. Set aside.

For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add baking powder, then add salt. With mixer on low, add masa harina gradually, alternating with half cups of reserved cooking liquid. To test if done, drop a pea sized ball of dough into a glass of cold water, the ball should float to the top. If it does not, add a ¼ teaspoon of baking powder and continue mixing a few minutes more to incorporate more air into the dough.

To assemble: Remove a corn husk from the water and pat until dry. Fan out so that wide part is closest to you. Take ¼ cup of dough and spread thinly in an even rectangle, leaving about an inch of space on the left side of the husk. Add 2 tablespoons of meat in center of dough rectangle. Carefully fold the husk over so that the right side of rectangle meets the left side. Gently press to seal closed and then flatten tamale slightly to ensure even cooking. Tuck the thin end over. Stack tamales on a sheet pan and continue until you run out of filling or dough.

To steam tamales: Add one or two inches of water into a large pot. Add steamer insert. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low so that water is simmering. Stack tamales vertically, open end up, folded side toward the water, making sure they are not crowded. Place a few extra corn husks on top and cover with a lid. Steam for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, keeping an eye on the water so that it does not evaporate. Tamales are done when they easily peel away from the husks.

Ham with Redeye Gravy – Arkansas

Ham with redeye gravy is one of those regional specialties that probably came about in an effort to use up every bit of leftover food. It’s made with coffee which gives it a very distinctive taste. If you love coffee with your morning coffee, this will get your motor running.

Ham with Redeye Gravy - Arkansas

Food historians are not sure where the name came from. Some say it was because when the gravy cooled somewhat, the fat separated from the other liquid and formed a circle that looked like a red eye. Others attribute the name to former President Andrew Jackson who asked his hungover cook to make some gravy to go with his grits that was as red as the cook’s eyes.

Purists say that redeye gravy should only be made with ham drippings, coffee and a little sugar to counter the bitter of the coffee. But in our taste tests we decided that that version was too thin and runny and opted for a version thickened with a bit of flour.

Little Rock Central High School played a central role in the civil rights movement as nine African-American teenagers bravely battled angry crowds to attend school after the Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education. Still in use today, the high school can be toured by reservation.

Ham with Redeye Gravy

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2-3 ham steaks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup strong coffee or espresso
  • ¼ cup milk or cream
  • Pepper to taste
  • Sugar to taste (optional)
  • Ham
  • 3-4 fried eggs (for serving)
  • Buttermilk biscuits or grits (for serving)

Instructions

In a saucepan over medium heat, add ham. Cook until fat is rendered and ham is browned. Remove ham and set aside. Add butter to dripping in saucepan. When melted, add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until translucent. Add 1 tablespoon flour and whisk with onion mixture for about one minute. Add coffee and continue whisking. Add milk or cream. Keep on heat until desired consistency is reached. Season with pepper and sugar. Serve over ham and with fried eggs, along with buttermilk biscuits or grits.

 

Hoppin’ John – South Carolina

The year 2016 is just about one for the history books. What better way to ring in 2017 than with a heapin’ plate of Hoppin’ John. This classic Southern dish — which is really just gussied up black eyed

Hoppin' John - South Carolina

peas — is associated with New Year’s Day. Those who eat Hoppin’ John on January 1 will have good luck for the coming year, or so the legend goes. Often served with corn bread and collard greens, the peas represent coins, the corn bread represents gold and the greens, dollars or “greenbacks.” Some families add a coin to the pot while the peas are cooking, while others put a coin under each person’s plate.

Others say if you leave three peas on your plate, riches will come your way. Far be it from us to argue with potential wealth, especially when it’s this delicious. Hoping your 2017 is filled to the brim with all that is good.

Fort Sumter is in the middle of Charleston Harbor and is the site of where America’s Civil War began in 1861. Accessible only by boat, this former military post is now a national park.

Hoppin’ John

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried black eyed peas
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ham bone
  • 4-6 cups chicken stock
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped (to serve)
  • Tomato, chopped (to serve)

Instructions

Soak black eyed peas in water overnight, making sure that peas are covered by an inch or two of water. The next day, drain water and rinse peas well. Set aside. In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add onion, red pepper, celery and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent and other vegetables have softened. Add peas, ham bone, chicken stock, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 45 or until peas are soft, adding more chicken stock if necessary. Remove ham bone and shave off any meat that remains on the bone, adding to pea mixture. Season with salt, pepper and/or cayenne. Serve over rice with chopped scallions and tomato.

Year of Pulses: Slow Cooker Pinto Beans – Colorado

You’ve probably heard by now that the U.N. declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses. What are pulses? They are a group of 12 crops that includes dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans - Colorado

High in fiber, protein, vitamins and low in fat, pulses are heart healthy and a meat alternative you should consider.

Pinto beans are popular in the southeast and southwest and Dove Creek, Colorado, is the self-proclaimed pinto bean capital of the world. If you’ve got a leftover Easter ham bone you don’t know what to do with, this recipe is just the ticket but it’ll work just as well without if you are vegetarian or vegan. Soak the beans overnight, then rinse and drain before throwing them in the slow cooker with some onions, garlic and spices. Add some cornbread and an easier meal cannot be found.

Taste of Vail takes place March 30-April 3, 2016, and is considered one of the best spring food and wine events in the country.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry pinto beans, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 ham bone or 2 ham hocks (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4-5 cups water
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt (optional, for serving)
  • Scallions, chopped (optional, for serving)

Instructions

Pick through dried beans, making sure there are no stones. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with water, let soak overnight.

The next day, drain beans and then add to slow cooker. Add ham bone (if using), seasonings, onion, and garlic. Add enough water to cover beans. Stir well. Cover with lid and cook, approximately 5 hours on high or until beans are very tender. If you used a ham bone, fish it out and remove any meat. Shred and return meat to slow cooker. Season again with salt and pepper.

 

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler: Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya – Louisiana

Next week is Mardi Gras (February 9, 2016) so the folks down in New Orleans have been celebrating a while now with parties, parades and all manner of revelry.  Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) celebrations have actually been around for thousands of years as

Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

festivals of spring and fertility but when Christianity was established, the holiday became associated with the last day of merry making and eating rich food before Lent.

Many dishes are associated with Mardi Gras including crawfish etouffee, gumbo and this jambalaya, a rice based dish that is great for serving a crowd.

If you wondered about the difference between Creole versus Cajun food, one basic difference is that Creole food uses tomatoes while Cajun food generally does not. Since we opted out of tomatoes with this dish, I guess we made Cajun jambalaya but you can use tomatoes if you want to make it Creole. Just add them when the other vegetables go in.

The protein in jambalaya can vary but we went with the very traditional chicken, shrimp and sausage. Feel free to modify based on your tastes.

Mardi Gras will be reaching a full fledged fervor this weekend with parades from the so-called “super krewes” of Orpheus, Bacchus and Endymion which feature the most massive and detailed floats. Check out www.mardigrasneworleans.com for a full schedule.

Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil
  • 3-4 pounds chicken thighs
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 pound raw shrimp
  • 6 smoked sausages (Andouille or Polish)
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 ½ cups long grain white rice
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water

 Instructions

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil on medium heat until hot. Cook the chicken pieces with the skin on until golden brown on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside. Add the shrimp and sauté  2 minutes each side. Remove shrimp and set aside. Add all the vegetables into the pot and cook on medium until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the sausage and seasonings and cook until the sausage is browned. Add the chicken, broth and water. Stir gently, making sure chicken is submerged. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce to low, then cover the pot. Simmer for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring heat to medium for 10 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed. During the last 10 minutes, remove chicken. When it is cool enough to handle, remove meat, discard skin and bones and add shredded meat back into jambalaya. Add the shrimp and cook until heated through.

All Hail the Power of the Pig: Pulled Pork Barbeque – North and South Carolina

If you live in the Southeast or have traveled there, you have some understanding of the popularity of pork on the lunch or dinner menu. And the way to prepare this little piggy? Why, barbequed, of course.

Pulled BBQ - North & South Carolina

We’re talking slow-cooked – often over a fire – ‘til the meat is tender and falls off the bone. The Carolinas sit right on the Barbeque Belt of the Southeast U.S. by virtue of history and tradition, bringing to the table distinctive variations that foster nothing short of regional fealty. The eastern region favors a vinegary pepper sauce, while barbeque lovers farther west incorporate more ketchup or tomato bases to their sauces. South Carolina meanwhile, adds an additional twist in the form of a mustard-based sauce reflective of the German immigrants who settled there. We offer a recipe for oven-roasted pork – a little easier for many of us than finding an outside pit – with your choice of Carolina finishing sauces.

You can find barbeque fests and competitions all over the Carolinas virtually every month. A couple of upcoming ones include the 6th Annual Bands, Brews and Barbeque competition in Port Royal, SC, February 27-28, 2015 and the 37th Annual Pig Cookin’ in Newport, NC, March 27-28, 2015.

North or South Carolina Pulled Pork Barbeque

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For rub:

  • 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3/4 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin
  • 3/4 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 5- to 7-pound pork shoulder
  • Hamburger buns

For North Carolina sauce:

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

For South Carolina sauce (recipe courtesy of the South Carolina Barbeque Association, used with permission):

  • 1 cup mustard
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup vinegar (white, apple or wine)
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tablespoon sorghum or molasses

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all spices for rub in a small bowl. Rub the mixture over the pork, covering meat completely.  Roast meat until meat thermometer reads 170 degrees and meat is falling off the bone, 3 to 4 hours. Remove from oven and let cool. With clean hands, pull pork from bone and shred meat with two forks. Add North or South Carolina Barbeque sauce. Serve on hamburger buns with coleslaw.

 

 

 

Veni, Vidi, Vici: Chili Verde – Colorado

We came, we saw, and we conquered Chili Verde. Chili Verde is unique to the southwest states and especially popular in Denver.

Chili Verde - Colorado

Made with pork rather than beef, this delicious stew is quite green. Thank the tomatillos for that vibrant hue, along with poblanos and cilantro. Add a jalapeno or two if you want some heat, otherwise leave it out.

This chili is wonderful on a football Sunday. It holds well if you are having people over for the holidays and are not sure what time everyone will want to eat. Serve with homemade corn bread or corn tortillas.

Take a spin around the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park in Denver. Skate rentals are only $2 or bring your own and skate for free!

Chili Verde

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers (optional)
  • 1 ½ pounds tomatillos
  • 6 cloves of garlic (not peeled)
  • Cilantro, one bunch, stems removed
  • 2-3 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

Prepare a cookie sheet lined with foil and start the broiler. Slice peppers in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and stem. Smash with the palm of your hand so they are flat. Place on the cookie sheet skin side up. Remove papery husk from the tomatillos and wash them well. Slice in half. Place on cookie sheet cut side down. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves. Broil vegetables for about five minutes until the skin is blackened on the poblanos. Remove from oven. When peppers are cool enough to handle, place in a paper bag. Let sit a few minutes, then remove the blackened skins from the peppers and peel from the garlic.

Place peppers, garlic, and tomatillos into a blender. Blend on high until all ingredients are finely chopped. Add the cilantro. Blend again. The mixture will resemble a green smoothie.

Heat a large skillet or soup pot with olive oil. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook pork on medium heat until browned. When pork is done, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add onion and chopped garlic to the skillet. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits of pork from the bottom of the skillet. Add the pork back to the skillet. Add the oregano and cumin. Stir until fragrant. Add the verde sauce and then the chicken broth, making sure the meat is covered (add a bit of water if necessary).

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook on low uncovered for 2 to 3 hours or until meat is tender. Season again with salt and pepper before serving.