Posts Tagged With: black pepper

Black Pepper Enhances Flavor and Health

In the world of spices, black pepper is considered royalty. Often referred to as the “King of Spices” a pinch of black pepper is added to just about every savory dish.  Like salt, black pepper is a flavor enhancer, adding a depth of flavor and providing a multitude of health benefits.

Black pepper is the fruit of the black pepper plant from the Piperaceae family and is used as a spice and medicine. The chemical piperine, present in black pepper, causes the spiciness. It is native to India. Since ancient times, black pepper is one of the most widely-traded spices in the world. It is not a seasonal plant and is, therefore, available throughout the year. When dried, this plant-derived spice is referred to as a peppercorn. Because of its antibacterial properties, pepper is used to preserve food. Black pepper is also a very good anti-inflammatory agent.

Black pepper is a rich source of minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and vitamins like riboflavin, vitamin C, K, and B6. Black pepper has a high content of dietary fiber and has a moderate amount of protein and carbohydrates.

Black Pepper is a Healthy Ingredient

Black pepper stimulates the taste buds and stimulates the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion. Hydrochloric acid is necessary for the digestion of proteins and other food components in the stomach. When the body’s production of hydrochloric acid is insufficient, food may sit in the stomach for an extended period of time, leading to heartburn or indigestion, or it may pass into the intestines, where it can be used as a food source for unfriendly gut bacteria, whose activities produce gas, irritation, and/or diarrhea or constipation. Pepper also helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas.

Black pepper improves weight loss by assisting with the breakdown of fat cells.

Black pepper provides relief from sinusitis and nasal congestion. It has an expectorant property that helps break up mucus and phlegm in the respiratory tract.

Because it is antibacterial, black pepper helps fight against infections and insect bites.

Black pepper helps keep your arteries clean by acting in a similar way to fiber and scraping excess cholesterol from the walls, helping reduce atherosclerosis, the condition highly responsible for heart attack and stroke.

Antioxidants in black pepper can prevent or repair the damage caused by free radicals and thus help prevent cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and liver problems. Free radicals are by-products of cellular metabolism that attack healthy cells and cause their DNA to mutate into cancerous cells. Antioxidants neutralize these harmful compounds and protect your system from many conditions and even symptoms of premature aging like wrinkles, age spots, macular degeneration, and memory loss.

Using Black Pepper

For cooking and for adding at the table, it’s better to buy whole peppercorns, not the powdered black pepper. Look for peppercorns that are compact, round, heavy, and wholesome. Peppercorns can be stored for months in a dry air-tight container at room temperature, in a dry and dark place. And you can keep the ground black pepper in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life.

For the best flavor, add pepper that you have freshly ground in a mill at the end of the cooking process. Since it loses its flavor and aroma if cooked for too long, adding it near the end will help to preserve its flavor.  Here are a few more  ideas:

  • Coat beef and pork with crushed peppercorns before cooking. For two of our favorite peppercorn recipes (and they actually go together), please read my blog posts: “Peppercorn Crusted Pork Loin Roast” and “Zesty Peppery Parmesan Aioli.”
  • As the pungent taste of black pepper is a natural complement to the deep, berry-like flavor of venison, use it to flavor this meat when preparing venison steaks or venison stews.
  • Keep a pepper mill on your dining table so that you can add its intense spark to all the food on your plate.
  • Olive oil, lemon juice, salt and cracked pepper make a simple, quick and delicious salad dressing.

Adding a pinch of black pepper to every meal helps to improve both taste and digestion. It also improves your overall health and well-being. So, use more black pepper in your cooking and at the picnic table!

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Categories: Under the Lid | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Zesty Peppery Parmesan Aioli

Pepper_Aioli_600w_IMG_0754Aioli is a Mediterranean mayonnaise that usually includes olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. This one also has black pepper and Parmesan and goes wonderfully with the Peppercorn Crusted Pork Loin Roast. If you’re slicing the roast and serving it hot, you could use the aioli like a sauce for the pork. If you’re slicing the roast for making sandwiches, you could use the aioli in place of plain mayonnaise. Either way, it adds a whole new level of yumminess to the roast.

Equipment
Medium mixing bowl

Ingredients
1 cup mayonnaise
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced or powdered
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup Parmesan, finely grated

Prep
In a medium bowl, stir together all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Pour into a container and refrigerate.

Pepper_Aioli_600w_IMG_0761

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Categories: Recipes, Sides | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peppercorn Crusted Pork Loin Roast

Pepper_Pork_Roast_600w_IMG_0752My husband and son are black pepper freaks. They put pepper on just about everything, and no matter how much I pepper a dish, they add more at the table. When my son and I ran across this recipe, my son demanded we make it, and God bless him, I’m glad he did. I am not a pepper fan, but I love this peppercorn crusted pork loin roast. It has amazing flavor and makes a great, versatile camp dish.

The pork can be sliced and served hot for dinner (I’d pair it with a pile of mashed potatoes) or you could allow it to cool and slice it thinly and make sandwiches for a lunch or a dinner. You could also wrap it up and throw it in a cooler for sandwiches later, but I’d make sure I could do that without compromising the chilling abilities of my cooler(s).

You can bake it in camp and serve it fresh or you could bake it at home and bring it to camp chilled and sliced ready for sandwiches.

Our plan was to chill it and make sandwiches, but we did taste it hot and it was delicious. For sandwiches, we chose a rustic French bread; however, you could use any type of bread. We also spread on some homemade Zesty Peppery Parmesan Aioli and piled on some arugula, which has a peppery and mustard-like flavor.

Pepper_Aioli_600w_IMG_0759

Equipment
12-inch Dutch oven
Small saucepan
Brush or spoon
Tongs

Ingredients
3½-pound pork loin roast with the fat cap left on
½ teaspoon sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon canola oil
5 tablespoons butter
6 cloves garlic, minced or powdered
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons thyme

Prep
At home, mix together the sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt and rub it all over the roast. If the roast is too big to fit in your Dutch oven, just cut it in half. I did, and it came out great. Wrap the roast in plastic wrap and place it in your cooler. It can be “refrigerated” for 1 hour or as long as overnight.

Before you leave, crush or grind the peppercorns. (I have a coffee grinder that I use only for spices). You’ll want a medium to coarse texture. It should be a cross between ground black pepper and cracked pepper. This can be loaded into a small resealable bag or a plastic container.

At camp, Start 27 coals.

Blot the roast dry. Working on a plate that will collect what pepper falls off, rub the pepper into the roast. What doesn’t stick to the roast, save for the marinade.

Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add the butter and garlic. Cook until the butter bubbles. Stir in the vinegar, thyme and remaining black pepper, and remove from the heat.

On a propane stove or over a bed of coals, heat the canola oil in a 12-inch Dutch oven. Sprinkle the pork with 1 teaspoon salt and brown the meat quickly on all sides in the hot Dutch oven. If you cut the roast into two pieces, you may have to brown the two pieces separately.

Once all pieces are browned on all sides, place all the pieces into the Dutch oven and brush or spoon on the pepper marinade. Place the lid onto the Dutch oven and move it to coals. Bake in a 375°F oven, using 18 coals on the lid and 9 coals underneath, for about 50 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the roast reads 145°F. If you’re making this at home, use a cast iron skillet and brown it on the stove top and then put it in the oven.

Every 15 minutes, you’ll want to lift the lid and roll the roast pieces, basting them with more of the pepper marinade. Depending on your outside temperature and how quickly you work, you may want to have a second set of coals prepping because every time you lift the lid of the Dutch oven, you will lose heat so you may want to add some coals after every lid lifting to help your oven stay hot.

Transfer the meat to a platter or leave it in the Dutch oven but remove the oven from the coals and take the lid off and let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes, continuing to turn the pork in the pepper marinade.

Serve hot or chilled. Serves 10-12.

This post has been shared at Homestead Bloggers Network. If you like this post, don’t forget to subscribe to Chuck Wagoneer and follow us on Facebook or Pinterest for the latest updates.

Categories: Dutch Oven, Main Dishes, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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