What does a grape say
when you step on it?
It just lets out a little wine.
I have no idea to whom we should attribute that pithy bit of humor but it was wine that was on my mind recently as I strayed from my favorite Boeuf Bourguignon and the classic Coq Au Vin and applied the technique to the 'other white meat'. Braised pork with red wine turned out to be a luscious pot of pure comfort food studded with carrot slices and petite peas then ladled over smashed potatoes. The leftovers reheated nicely, the flavors had the opportunity to marry well which makes me think preparing this a day ahead of serving would be smart. This is not a 30 minute Rachel Ray type of dish. It takes time to slow cook. Making it on a weekend would be a good idea - great for a Sunday dinner and then the re-heated leftovers will make a fast supper later in the week. I used lean boneless spareribs but a boneless pork shoulder would work well, too.
Braised Pork With Red Wine
2 pounds boneless pork, cut into large chunks
Salt and pepper and 2 Tbs flour
2 cups fruity red wine, like Beaujolais or Pinot Noir
1 cup good chicken stock (water will do)
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 lb of carrots, peeled and cut into chunks on the diagonal
8 - 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup petite peas - defrosted if frozen
Place pork chunks with salt, pepper and flour in plastic bag. Shake to coat. Heat 2 tbs olive oil in dutch oven over med high heat and sear pork chunks, browning on all sides. Do not overcrowd pan. Sear in batches removing seared pieces to a plate. Add a little more oil if needed. Reduce heat to medium. Add carrots, onions and garlic to pot stirring to deglaze, getting up all those nice brown bits. As the garlic and onion become fragrant, return pork and accumulated juices to pan, adding wine and stock. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until pork is fork tender and falling apart. (1 1/2 - 2 hours)When done, remove all solids with a slotted spoon and reduce pan juices to about one cup or less. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return pork to pot, add cooked peas , warm through, then add chopped parsley for garnish if desired. Serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes enjoying the remainder of the bottle of wine!
Never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink and NEVER succumb to purchasing that foul product on the grocery shelf referred to as cooking wine. This doesn't mean you have to use your best vintages...but by all means use a good tasting medium priced bottle to bring out the best in any recipe. It's flavor you are seeking and a bad wine will only give a bad flavor. Reminds me of. . .
Charles Frank and Ella White, of the Boston Irish Whites, were married early in the 20th century, around 1908, I think. As with most young married couples then, they initially lived with Charles' folks until they had enough money saved up to rent a flat of their own. Living with your in-laws is a tough start for any young couple but the clash between the frugal Mrs. Frank and the young bride, Ella, came to a head one morning as Ella, descending the stairs for breakfast overheard her mother-in-law complaining to Charles about his young wife's extravagance in using too much butter when she made a cake, in throwing out left over coffee and buying expensive cuts of meat. "She'll have you in the poor house, son" wailed Mrs. Frank. Ella took a deep breath, marched into the kitchen and politely proclaimed to her mother-in-law, "Nothing you put in your gut is wasted."
She told me this story to emphasize the importance of serving good food whether it was a lowly fried egg, which she often had for her lunch to save money, or the wonderful roast with all the trimmings she served to her family on Sundays. Ella Frank nee White was a marvelous cook and a generous woman with a heart of gold. She was my maternal grandmother.
Guess what? Had a note from Lisa Unger in response to my email congratulating her on Beautiful Lies and she reports the sequel will be published in 2007. Looking forward to that. Meanwhile this week I indulged in some fun light reading. Finished up Tough Cookie, a Diane Mott Davison culinary mystery. Those are always good fun and I glean new ideas for food prep. I have her new one, Dark Tort, waiting for me. Gave the new Mary Higgins Clark, Two Little Girls in Blue, a whirl. It's been decades since I read any of her books. It was an engaging fast read. Interesting material on the phenomenon of telepathy between twins. Cage of Stars, Jacqueline Mitchard's newest is a page turner, too, offering insight into the practices and beliefs of LDS members (Latter Day Saints) with a story line that stretches believability but nevertheless holds your interest . This has been a week for light fare, to round it off, I'm halfway through John Sandford's Dead Watch.
I was a little ashamed of myself for indulging in so much popular fiction this week but quickly justified my lapse by reminding myself I watch no TV tripe. Looking forward to the Fringe Festival selections I've chosen to see later in the week. Maybe I'll see some of you there. Till next time...keep on cooking!