Archive for the ‘Pork’ Category

Colcannon

29 July 17

Ingredients

3 lbs potatoes, scrubbed
2 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups hot milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head cabbage, cored and finely shredded
1 (1-pound) piece ham or bacon, cooked the day before
4 scallions, finely chopped
Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish

Directions

  • Steam the potatoes in their skins for 30 minutes. Peel them using a knife and fork. Chop with a knife before mashing. Mash thoroughly to remove all the lumps. Add 1 stick of butter in pieces. Gradually add hot milk, stirring all the time. Season with a few grinds of black pepper.
  • Boil the cabbage in unsalted water until it turns a darker color. Add 2 tablespoons butter to tenderize it. Cover with lid for 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly before returning it to the pan. Chop into small pieces.
  • Put the ham in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes until tender. Drain. Remove any fat and chop into small pieces
  • Add cabbage, scallions, and ham to mashed potatoes, stirring them in gently.
  • Serve in individual soup plates. Make an indentation on the top by swirling a wooden spoon. Put 1 tablespoon of butter into each indentation. Sprinkle with parsley.

Servings: 6
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

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Kielbasa

24 December 12

[Herself SEZ: The Ol’ Curmudgeon wants me to add the following CAUTION:

If you smoke sausage or keep it a long time you need to add cure: instacure or prague powder. About a teaspoon per 5 lbs. of meat will do it. Smoking is the perfect environment to grow certain types of bacteria that can make you very sick. If you add the cure you will be pretty safe.

Herself adds, this is to prevent severe food-borne illnesses – like botulism! Also, cook your homemade sausage to an internal temp of 178deg F and hold it there for 10 minutes. This will destroy the toxin which causes the poisoning.]

The people of the Middle East have a real thing about pigs. Unclean! Unclean! Is the cry of both Jew and Moslem. Notice that both groups come from the same neck of the woods. The reason they have problems with the porkers is actually rather practical, if you:

– keep your pigs in unclean conditions

– allow them to eat offal and rats (they’re as good a ratter as a cat)

– don’t have cold weather for slaughtering

– don’t have modern refrigeration

– don’t cook the meat done

You are probably going to have Trichinosis, a parasitic worm that encysts in the host. Gross! Yech! Not only can kill you, but also hurts! BTW – you can also get it from undercooked game.

However, when kept clean, properly fed, slaughtered in cool weather (not found in the Middle East), and properly refrigerated, the risk is non-existent. The noble pig is a staple of people of discrimination and good culinary taste around the world. Now, everyone except the Jews and Moslems has sausage recipes, but the two groups that have made the absolute most of the lovely creature are the Germans and Eastern Europeans. Volumes could be (and have been) written about the German and Eastern European pork recipes. There are umpteen thousand different sausage recipes.

Sausage, Swojska, Polish, kiełbasa

Sausage, Swojska, Polish, kiełbasa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I must admit that my all-time favorite is kielbasa. Now there are a slew of variations on the word (and the recipe), all the way from the Czech to the Polish to the Ukrainian, generally the whole neck of the woods of Northern to Eastern Europe and on into Russia. Mostly we get wiejska kielbasa when we get it from an American supermarket. The Hillshire Farms u-shaped stuff comes to mind. Now this is pretty good. Just slice it into rounds about 1/4” thick and gently heat in a heavy skillet until it is light brown to dark brown on both sides. Just serve it up and chow down. However, if you have access to some sort of Eastern European market, try some of the variations, they’re just about all good. But, if you want to roll your own, here’s a starter:
.

4 lbs. Clean, tender pork – butt is fine, chunk it into pieces

1 lb. Fatback, chunk it up

1 lb. Beef – if you want tender, use veal, chuck for a rougher texture, chunk it up

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tablespoon ground allspice

other spices to taste and to vary – try some marjoram for that traditional Polish taste

lots of garlic and pepper for the Krakow type

or any other spicing which suits

garlic is always good

brown sugar will give it a sweet taste

1/2 cup cold water

Sausage Casings

Pre-mix all the spices. Grind or mince the meat. Add the spices. Mix everything thoroughly. Stuff the sausages per directions of whatever stuffer you have.

If you’ve got the Kitchen-Aid mixer with the grinder and stuffer attachments then the whole process isn’t that hard. If you are really serious, there are good web sites for professional sausage stuffers. Traditional funnel about $10 (the hard way). Stuffer $75 to $100 (the easy way).

Remember, this isn’t what you get at the grocery in the bubble packs. That is pre-cooked. This is raw sausage and will take a bit longer to cook. Make sure you get it done. You can just fry it up and eat it. Bake it, broil it, boil it, smoke it. If you smoke it, fast smoking will wrinkle and shrink. If you smoke extra slow, the skin will toughen and you will get the kind of crunchy bite that is characteristic of Andouille sausage. You only need to smoke to 175°, the pork is fully done at that temp. The Germans do the sauerkraut thing. The Eastern Europeans frequently serve with horseradish. I like the purple horseradish, just take a slice of kielbasa and spread a little on. Heaven.

Now you know I’m not going to pass by the South, so here’s your Grandmother’s Southern Hot & Spicy Sausage Patties –

1 lb. ground or minced pork

2 tsp rubbed sage

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground marjoram

1/4 tsp ground thyme

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp mace

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix is all up. Shape it into patties about ½” thick. Fry it up slowly. Get it done through. If this is too hot, back out 1 or more of the last 4 ingredients. I personally use a lighter touch with the sage, I’m more interested in a balanced taste. And I like a little sweet basil, if fresh.

And, of course, we can’t ignore Basic American Sausage:

4 lbs. Good pork butt

1 lb good bacon (optional)

1 cup minced onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup sage

1 stick butter

1-1/4 tbsp kosher salt

1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper

1 tbsp marjoram

1 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp sweet basil

1 tbsp cayenne or red pepper flakes (optional)

Mix it all up. Stuff the casings. Enjoy. Twiddle the spices to suit yourself. Works well fried, grilled, smoked, cut up and used in various recipes.

Truthfully, just about any meat can be made into sausage. Deer sausage is popular with Southern hunters of the whitetail. Most of the spicing is optional. Even when you talk about sausage from a given area, every single cook has a different recipe. Many regional sausages get their distinctive flavor from slow smoking. The only thing that you can say for sure is that a sausage is totally up to the taste of the cook. You can’t even say that a sausage has a casing. Remember the Southern Patties? However, generally, a sausage has a casing, is usually ground or minced pork, and has various spices.

Marinara Gravy

7 December 12

2012-09-06 - Spicy Marinara Sauce - 0002

2012-09-06 – Spicy Marinara Sauce [Gravy] – 0002 (Photo credit: smiteme)

Kind of a funny name. You have heard of marinara sauce forever. OK – let’s clear up that little bit of linguistic mystery. To the Italians, sauce has no meat in it. If it has meat or meat juice it is gravy. So – this is a marinara with meat. You can make it without the meat, of course, and then it would be marinara sauce. You will find this to be totally superior to the heavy tomato paste based Americanized stuff.

 1/4
 cup
 olive oil
 1  small onion, finely chopped
 1  large garlic clove, finely chopped
 1  stalk celery, finely chopped
 1  carrot, finely chopped
 1  small handful mushrooms, rough chopped
 1/4  tsp  sea salt
 1/4  tsp  freshly ground black pepper
 1  28-oz. can diced tomatoes
 several fresh basil leaves chiffonade
 1  sweet Italian sausage, casing removed, crumbled

Chop up the veggies, heat up the oil in a pot large enough to hold all the stuff. Add the onions, mushrooms, and garlic and sweat until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. If you want to increase the garlic to a maximum of 5 cloves and gag your neighbors feel free. The Italians range from reasonable garlic use to totally ridiculous. Too much garlic and you can’t possibly taste anything else.

Oh yeah, chiffonade, just a French word for shredding or making rag-like. Easiest way is to take some sharp scissors and snip the basil up. Traditional chiffonade method is to stack the leaves, roll them into a tight tube, then cut into narrow strips. Either way is OK. The traditional method does produce prettier, more uniform strips. There are some good videos on YouTube and other places to learn good chiffonade technique.

Add the celery, carrots, sausage, salt, and pepper. Sweat until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and basil. Simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Don’t let it dry out, add a bit more water as needed. Serve over spaghetti or as a side dish.

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the true "par...

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the true “parmesan” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste only if needed.

You could shred a bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano, but don’t use the powdered crap in the can. I advise tasting before adding anything.

Ham Stuffed Bell Peppers

5 April 11
Grilled ground meat filled in bell pepper (231...

Image via Wikipedia

There are probably a million and one recipes for stuffing a bell pepper. Well, here’s mine. Or, more accurately, my mother’s. I hadn’t had this in years and had forgotten just how good it was/is.

First off, you need some ham. If you have baked a ham, then when you get down where it doesn’t slice so pretty, you are there. Alternatively, one of the best kept secrets going is that the Honey Baked Ham Company sells “soup bones”. If you have one of these stores in your area, check it out. Around here they sell for $3.00/lb. apiece.They seem to average about 3 lbs. of usable meat.

Anyway, wherever you get your ham, grind it up. When I was a kid we had one of those grinders that would clamp onto a table or counter top. Hand crank, it was. You can still get them, anywhere from about $25.00 up to ridiculous. Plus shipping, of course. Just look up meat grinder on the net.

Alternatively, if you have the Kitchenaid mixer with the grinder attachment, this is a winner. Whichever way, do a coarse grind on the ham, we don’t want a paste.

About one large bell pepper per person, maybe one and a half if they’re hungry and you don’t do a side. Cook up some rice while you are grinding the ham, figure about a quarter cup of rice per pepper. Don’t overcook the rice. Grind up enough ham to equal the amount of rice you have. Lightly fry the ground ham. If it is a salt-cured ham don’t add any salt, if it is not, add salt. Add fresh ground pepper. How much salt and pepper? I don’t know, taste it. When it’s right, you’ll know. That’s all the spicing it needs. But, if your taste buds want overkill, add whatever.

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and spines, and then par-boil them. Just get some lightly salted water boiling then drop in the peppers and boil the halves for two minutes. Drain them and lube the outside with a little olive oil – yes, they’re hot. Mix up the ham mixture and rice, then mound it up in the peppers. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and put a small pat of butter on each. Put it into a lubed dish, the spray stuff is fine, and bake for 30 minutes at 350ºF.

Enjoy.

You can add all kinds of things to the mix. Sweat some onions and add those. Add chopped bell pepper if you want more pepper taste. You can do this with beef, lamb, chicken, whatever. BTW – the way we used to have them was green peppers. I don’t do green anymore, I use orange or red. Better taste, less indigestion. See the discussion of peppers for more details.

{Photos coming later! – Herself}

Chả Giò (Vietnamese Spring Rolls) and Nước chấm (Southeast Asian Fish Sauce)

25 February 11
Chả giò

Image via Wikipedia

Chả Giò (Vietnamese Spring Rolls)

This is one of the most magical tastes in the world. Chả giò translates as minced pork roll. What we have here a basic kitchen sink recipe. You can put in whatever you have on hand that appeals to your taste buds. This is just the basic, jazz up or down as you like. You can make ‘em strictly vegan if you like. We like protein. Well, I suppose you could use some hard tofu for protein, but it is not quite the same.

2 oz cellophane noodles OR rice vermicelli
vegetable oil (peanut works well)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (your taste rules)
4 oz shrimp, raw, peeled, deveined and chopped
4 oz pork, minced OR fine chopped chicken
1 carrot, grated
3 green onions, sliced
1 oz mung bean sprouts OR 3-4 Napa cabbage leaves
2 tsp nước chấm (fish sauce)


2 Tbs Vietnamese chile sauce
2 tsp cornstarch (optional)
2 tsp water, cold (optional)
~32 spring roll wrappers

Boil the cellophane noodles for about 5 minutes. You can also use rice vermicelli if you can’t find the noodles. Drain and cool a bit and then cut into 1 inch pieces. You don’t need to get fancy, just dump them out of the strainer onto your cutting board and chop them up in 1 inch strips, then cut another path of 1 inch strips at right angles. Set aside on a plate.

You should use a wok if you’ve got one, if not, a large skillet will do. Put a little oil in the wok and when it is hot add the chopped garlic. You do know how to tell if the oil is hot enough, don’t you? OK, simple: shove the end of a chopstick into the oil, vertically, to rest on the bottom of the wok. If you see bubbles coming up the oil is hot enough, if no bubbles, it is not hot yet. When the garlic aroma starts to diffuse (about 45 seconds) add in the meat. Pork is traditional, but chicken is also good. When it is just about halfway done add in the shrimp. When they are done take them out and chop fine. Add everything to the pan – meat, veggies, fish sauce, chile sauce, and noodles. If you don’t have bean sprouts you can use 3 to 4 leaves of fine shredded Napa cabbage. Cook until the veggies, particularly the carrots, are softened. Immediately transfer to a plate and let it cool down.

Wrappers: What you want is the Chinese wrappers which are wheat based and need refrigeration; they are not rice paper. Rice paper is mostly for the uncooked party rolls and can be a whole lot of fun to handle. If you have trouble getting the flap to stick down mix up the cornstarch and water so you can glue it down. Keep a damp (almost wet) towel over your skin stack as you work, otherwise they will get dry and unworkable. (You could do something radical like follow the directions on the skin package.) If you can’t find them at the local grocery try to find an Asian store. They will have them. Our local Publix does not carry them, but they do stock egg roll skins. Not quite the same, but they could be used in a pinch.

If you’ve got square skins set with a corner pointing directly at yourself. If they are round, it doesn’t matter. Put a tablespoon full of cooled filling in the skin off center near yourself. Fold the bottom up and around the filling, fold in the sides, and roll from the bottom into a tight cylinder. For Vietnamese style they should be rather long and thin. The Chinese style rolls are shorter and fatter. Brush the edge with the cornstarch water mixture if you need it to seal. Chinese skins don’t always need the extra since they are wheat based. Square skins tend to seal a little better also. If you have trouble there are beau-coup videos on the web showing how to roll them.

You can fry them up with the same wok you used earlier. You will need enough oil to float the rolls about 4 at a time. I use a deep fryer, specifically a Cool Daddy, or an electric skillet because it is much easier. Anyway, get the oil between 325°F and 350°F. Cook them between 1 minute and 5 minutes, depending on the inside goodies and your individual taste. Let them drain and cool for a little while and then serve with nước chấm (dipping sauce).

Just for info: most of the stuff is actually made in Thailand or Taiwan and is quite satisfactory. Vietnam is still not exactly a favored trading partner.

Nước chấm (Southeast Asian Dipping Sauce)

This is the basic Vietnamese fish sauce the secondhand smell of which every GI shipped to Southeast Asia in the 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s learned to identify. The Vietnamese would curl up and die without their fish sauce. The smell gave away many an ambush in the jungle. You can get the basic ingredients on the internet or at a local Asian grocery. If your grocery has much of an international selection you may find it there. If there is a Whole Foods near you, you probably can find much (or all) of what you need there. Good luck.

You can’t say that there is any one way to make the dipping sauce that goes so beautifully with spring rolls and egg rolls and the like. I’ll give you the basic basic, but the variations are endless and are totally up to you. And when you get it to your liking it is now the dipping sauce known as nước chấm.

The basic ingredients:

2 parts water
1 part sugar
1 part lime/lemon juice. Fresh is best, but bottled juice will work in a pinch.
1 part fish sauce (nước mắm)
Optional additions:
garlic, minced
minced Serrano peppers or
minced small chili peppers or
chili paste
rice vinegar

It best to heat the water and stir in the sugar while the water is hot, then set aside to cool. You get much better combination this way. After things cool down add the citrus juice and the fish sauce and stir together. That’s it. You now have the basic dunking sauce. However, I do not regard the garlic or the rice vinegar as optional. I think the sauce is incomplete without it. My normal would be 1/4 cup water, 1/8 cup sugar, 1/8 cup fish sauce, 1 Tbs rice vinegar, 2 cloves garlic, minced. I’m not a big fan of peppers so mostly I don’t.

Also however – big time. There is no cast in stone way to make this stuff, the proportions and ingredients vary all over the map. If you want more or less of any given ingredient – fine. If you want to add something else or subtract something – also fine. The only constant is that there is fish sauce in there somewhere. And even so there are a million and one different kinds of fish sauce. Mostly the stuff I’m used to is fermented anchovy based, but there are many other variations. Experiment. Enjoy.

Let There Be Ham

25 January 10

In every civilized society that is not Middle-Eastern there are many and varied recipes for the noble pig. Basically, pig is quite safe and not at all unclean if there are several requisites met.

  1. You must raise the pig in relatively clean conditions
  2. You must not allow the pigs to eat offal and other contaminated food
  3. You must not allow the pigs to eat rats and other vermin (they are as good or better than cats)
  4. You must have cool weather (preferably cold) for slaughter
  5. You must have good refrigeration for preservation
  6. You must be very clean in the preparation of pork
  7. You must cook pork done – above 137°F and hold for killing any little vermin, around 150°F for flavor

Now if you follow all of the above guidelines pork is a wonderful and tasty food. If you do not, it may have trichinosis – a form of roundworm. You can also get this infection from just about any form of game that is undercooked. This is one of the reasons that – Edgar Rice Burroughs to the contrary – most primitive and rural people eat their meat cooked to shoe leather. That is not necessary if you know where the meat comes from and can trust your butcher. I don’t know why the Middle-Easterners got so flakey about pig as opposed to many other game animals – but they did – and are still really weird about it.

Actually – if you give them a chance to be clean – they will be. Cleaner than sheep or goats in many ways – as anyone who has raised farm animals should know.

This time around we will talk about ham. Ham is the thigh or rump of the pig. Most hams have been cured for most of recorded history.

My mother – and probably yours too – had ham when the special occasions seemed appropriate. Usually diamonds were cut into the upper fat side – spaced about 1” apart – and studded with cloves inserted into the center of the diamonds. Then some sort of dark brown sugar was pressed firmly onto the flesh about ¼” thick all over the upper side. Usually it was roasted at around 325°F to 350°F for around 20 minutes a pound, lightly covered with an aluminum foil tent. The foil tent was then removed and roasting continued until the glaze was nicely browned. You then let the roast rest for about 15 minutes or so until cutting into slices and serving. Wonderful.

There are tons of glazes which can be applied to your ham of whatever form. There are canned hams – some of which are pretty decent – and which will keep for a loooong time. Just be sure whether you have shelf ham or refrigerated ham, they are both canned. There is also the ubiquitous Spam. Some like it – herself does, the Koreans LOVE it. Some aren’t particularly fond of it in large amounts, but like it in small doses – I guess I fall in that group. Then there are those who just cannot stand it – or say they can’t – which amounts to the same thing.

Pre-cooked hams (most of what you get at the store) mostly only need about 15 minutes per pound. Then there’s the whole city ham vs. country ham business. Really – it isn’t all that complex. The hams called city cured are mostly soaked in a brine solution and then smoked or boiled and are probably what most are used to. The country hams have been salt-cured and then slow smoked and cured for a much longer period of time. They are drier and may need some soaking/rinsing so as not to be too salty. What we usually will not see are raw hams, sometimes called fresh hams – you don’t want this unless you intend to cure your own and know what you are doing.

A pre-cooked ham (most from the grocery store) only needs to get to around 150°F to develop full flavor. If you’ve got a canned ham or Spam, follow the manufacturer’s directions – probably around 15 minutes a pound.

Generally, if you use a glaze, you don’t want the oven much more than 350°F because you will get the glaze so hot that it liquefies and just slides off the slope of the ham. Not very satisfactory. If things are getting too much for your glaze either cut down the heat or tent with foil or both. You generally want a thick and sticky glaze so that it will stay in place long enough to crystallize and sweeten the meat.

Just about anything that tastes good with pork can be used. Cloves and cinnamon, brown sugar and honey, just about anything that goes with standard pork does well with hams. The basic Mama mix that I mentioned earlier – stud with cloves and pack with brown sugar works nicely.

A standard mustard and honey looks like this:

3 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey

A kind of Latinish sort of glaze is:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup dark rum
1/2 cup orange juice
1 Tbs grated orange rind
1 Tbs ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

You can add cinnamon to just about any pork that you like. Just use a small amount and it will enhance the pork nicely. For any of the dry glazes you will probably want to do the cut diamonds into the meat and/or stud with cloves to give something for the glaze to hold onto. For the wet glazes soak the meat in a light application for an hour or so before cooking, and dribble or brush on more layers every 15 minute or so. For real hams the tenting with foil is probably in order. For canned ham or Spam (or small hams) you may need to switch over to the broiler for a few minutes at the end of cooking to crust up the glaze. Do let the meat rest for a few minutes to re-absorb the juices before cutting. If any liquid glaze is left over you can just dribble it over the slices as you serve.

{{HERSELF SEZ}} Spam is a thing of joy. Reminds me of my childhood and going to camp. We’d go on hikes and carry a little sack lunch of 1 PBJ and 1 Spam sandwich. I’d trade my PBJ for another Spam sandwich! I don’t know why, but at that time the Spam just appealed more. Recently, Himself handily prepared a canned ham using the “Latinish” sort of glaze. It was delicious. I restrained myself from second helpings so we could have it for lunch the next day! Yumm!

Roast Pork Loin –

8 December 09

This takes a little while to get cooked up, but it is worth the effort. Try this with your next dinner and your guests will rave. Pfui – never mind the party, do a small one for yourself and your spouse. It will be appreciated.

Enough pork loin for the people at hand, maybe ¾ lb per person, fat still on. This is variable, usually a 6 pounder will feed 8 people. A 1.5 pounder will feed two. If you are lucky, you might have enough left over for a sandwich the next day or so. The cooking times will probably need adjustment up or down a bit depending on the size and shape thereof.

Cut diamonds or squares about 1” apart in the fat side. Roast at 350° for 1 hour fat side up. Lube the pan enough not to burn, you want to capture the juices below the cooking rack. I put some water in my pan and just deduct from the water in the sauce.

While it is roasting make up a paste. For every 1.5 lbs or so of loin:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 clove minced garlic. If you’ve got a garlic press with different meshes, use the largest, Otherwise, just smash and mince with the knife.
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves. It is really better not to use ground clove. It is better to use clove buds spiked into the center of each square or diamond. Just like mama used to do with a ham. The reason is that the paste is mostly going to slide off as heat softens it. The cloves help anchor the paste to the top. Just use your hand and thoroughly mold the paste around the clove anchors. Don’t worry, the flavor will get through just fine.
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 myrtle leaf if you can get it, bay leaf, otherwise. I like the subtle taste the myrtle gives. Don’t get too heavy, a little is good. A lot is NOT better. Kitchen scissors work well here. Clip the tip and the stem, chop the rest fine with the scissors.
kosher salt to taste, probably around 1/4 teaspoon per 1.5 lbs loin.
fresh ground pepper again too taste. Probably 8 to 10 grinds per 1.5 lbs loin.

Scale the paste up or down as needed. Just mix up the paste in a small bowl with a kitchen fork, then add enough dark rum to make a stiff paste – NOT a slurry, just enough run to help hold it together. Let the paste mellow in the bowl while the loin finishes the first hour of cooking.

When the loin has roasted, remove from the oven, save all the pan juice, pack the paste firmly onto the fat side, and roast another 30 minutes. Don’t overcook it, when your instant thermometer reaches 155° take it out and let it rest. It will coast up to 160°, which is just done pork.

While the roast rests make the following dip. Per 1.5 lbs of loin:

1/2 cup simmering water
1 cube chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon cornstarch

If the reserved pan juice has a layer of fat floating, just skim it off. Stir in all the pan juice and the bouillon. Add the cornstarch to just enough cold water to dissolve it and then stir that in to the simmering mix.

Slice up the pork and serve the sauce in dipping dishes.

Magical Mustard Pork Chops –

13 July 08

Sometimes in cooking the oddest combinations turn out to be wonderful. This is one of those things that at first glance doesn’t quite seem right. Mustard and cream? Well, yes – magic.

It’s really rather simple. Take some nice, thick, boneless pork chops. Dry them off with a paper towel. Sprinkle them with kosher (or sea) salt and fresh ground pepper and press it in. Do the same for the other side.

Coat a good skillet (preferably cast iron) with a splash or two of olive oil and a pat of butter. When it has gotten hot enough – about medium – fry up the chops, about 5 minutes per side. You only want to get them just past the pink stage – you do NOT want them shoe leather done and dried out. Nice juicy gray-white is what you’re aiming for.

When they are done, set aside on a warm plate and tent them with aluminum foil. Drain off the liquid except for about 2 tablespoons of the pan juices. Add about ½ cup of apple cider (hard). If you don’t have applejack – I usually don’t, just add some apple vinegar or unsweetened apple juice with a couple of splashes of good white wine or white vermouth. Add alcohol with the burner off. Turn the burner back on and whisk about to deglaze. When the alcohol has evaporated (or you can flame it) and the pan juices and bits are completely incorporated, add a tablespoon or two of coarse stone ground mustard – the German type works well. Then add about 1/3 cup or so of heavy whipping cream. Keep stirring over low heat until it thickens a bit. With cream you have to keep whisking or it can skin over to the detriment of the taste. When it is thickened you can either add the chops back in for a few seconds per side to coat it, or just pour the juice over the chops. What we usually do is serve the juice on the side in a dipping cup.

If you don’t care about food nazis, Pommes Anna goes nicely here. If you do worry about same, a good green salad might be your ticket.


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