Cabbage and pork

Ready for the oven

I guess it’s the cold weather, but seem to be craving simple, warm meat and vegetable dishes. Not very long ago I was making fårikål–lamb and cabbage stew because I found lovely shoulder chops in the meat case.

This week on my stroll around the meat case looking for bargains I found a lovely package of pork butt steaks–perfect for making another of my favorite winter dishes: braised pork and cabbage with an unusual twist to the seasoning, thanks to Jacques Pepin (and his wife).

A whole pork butt is just not in the picture when you are cooking for one! Even when you freeze part of what you make–and this does freeze well, and I do want some in the freezer for quick meals, I still really prefer making most things in quantities NOT for eight people. This recipe is one that is SO easy to adapt for cooking for one. Chops or steaks are a good alternative to a whole pork butt.

I almost made this recipe just as it was posted in the original–except I browned only one side of the pork since it was going to finish in the oven. My other modification, was to add just a touch of coriander seed to the spice mixture. For chops or steaks like this, about 30 to 45 minutes with the rub is enough.

This is a great mix of a little spicy, a little sweet, a little sour–not what you usually expect when you hear pork and cabbage!

Not photogenic, but very tasty


In cold weather–or even just chilly, grey, rainy weather–I love making braises in the oven. I’m heating the house, so the added heat is fine. The aromas of a good oven-braised dish warm the soul too.

A son gôut!

—Ô¿Ô—

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Christmas dinner

I’m having my usual lazy Christmas day–just me and Frankie (the cat). After having brunch of scrambled eggs with truffle butter, I turned my attention to fixing supper.

It seems that I’ve inadvertently created another Christmas tradition (aside from the oysters): chicken (or at least fowl) in a pot. I guess it has something to do with it being an easy and tasty dish that I really like. This year, though, there was a variation–it’s pheasant in a pot. It’s been awhile since I’ve had pheasant so that’s what came to mind for this Christmas supper. After-holiday sales, and sometimes specials in between, are great for eating higher-on-the-hog with lower prices–so there was a plump McFarlane pheasant, just a bit shy of 2.5 pounds, lurking in the freezer.

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…giblets removed

I toyed with cooking the pheasant with milk as I had done before with cornish game hen, but somehow I just couldn’t picture the pheasant-milk combination. So, just plain pheasant in a pot.

I couldn’t think of any reason that pheasant wouldn’t work just as well as chicken for this treatment–but since a pheasant isn’t a chicken, I thought there would have to be a little adjustment.I little skulking about (via Google) suggested that my pheasant should cook in less time than the bigger chicken (duh! About an hour or a little more). Cook’s Illustrated has a basic recipe for chicken in a pot; that seemed a good place to start since there’s always a rationale included that should make the recipe easy to modify as needed though it seems that none of that series (Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, or America’s Test Kitchen) addresses pheasant.

So, next, seasonings for the bird. Pheasant may be considered one of the “other white meats”, but it’s still more like the dark meat of the chicken: bay leaves (certainly), onion (can you cook without onion?), garlic (often used with pheasant), thyme, sage, and juniper berries (good with game) were the final seasonings that went into the pot. I also added some sliced button mushrooms with the onions while they were sautéing. These are eye-ball measurements:

  • one large onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • one basket sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • large pinch rubbed sage
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon minced garlic

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After browning the pheasant breast-side with the onions and mushrooms, the pheasant was flipped, seasonings added, and the pot  covered with foil and the tight-fitting lid, and it went into a 250ºF oven. Time to consider what I wanted for sides to this lovely bird.

My peasant side is showing–well, right along with bird-in-a-pot which isn’t exactly haute cuisine unless you are eating in in a US restaurant–I  rummaged through the vegetable bin and decided that something with cabbage and rutabagas would fit with the dark meat.

After some more Google use and letting my imagination run wild for a bit, it seemed something quick and easy would be a sautéed combination of those two vegetables, spruced up with a bit of a sauce of some sort. Something sweet-tart–maybe some dark buckwheat honey and lime juice and zest of one lime). I did a little shredding, julienne work (mandoline), and zesting  I left those veggies sitting in water to await cooking time; the buckwheat honey and lime zest melding; then I was off for some more quality time with the cat for an hour (until time to check the temperature of the meat (one of J.J. Salkeld’s  Lakeland mysteries).

While the bird rested (about 15 minutes or a bit more), I put the drained cabbage and rutabaga in a sauté pan with a dollop of butter (salted) and covered them–sort of a steam-sauté–until almost tender then removed the lid to let moisture evaporate while I tossed this mixture around a bit with my sauce (about 10 or 12 minutes altogether).

After scraping up all the good brown stuff from the pot, the juices from the roasting pot were strained, and enriched with a blob of truffle butter. End of cooking–time to eat!

Just a word about en coquette cooking: the meat is absolutely luscious, but don’t expect the same kind of browning that you’d get with dry-heat roasting. I can attest that it works very well–as well as braising–with farm-raised pheasant. I’ll most likely do it again with the next pheasant I decide to eat.

The cabbage/rutabaga combination turned out to be even better than I had expected–always a pleasant surprise–even before the sauce went on. Just with the butter it would have been an admirable side to the pheasant. The mandolin made short work of both the shredding and the julienne work and the cooking time was only about about 10 or 12 minutes. I have to admit that there are leftovers from the 1/2 rutabaga and 1/4 head of cabbage. (I’m thinking that they could be turned into rösti or fritters for a main course since I didn’t add the sauce to the entire batch of cabbage and rutabaga.)

Wine? Of course, but since I had some of the Les Hérétiques left from last night, I decided I’d just go with that–it’s a good all purpose wine–maybe not what I’d have chosen were I giving it a lot of thought, but sometimes it’s a needs-must situation–I love my wine vinegar but there’s a limit to how much good wine I’m going to pour into that jar. So–I finished that bottle this evening. The “leftover” wine was quite good with this combination of food–the blackberry was a nice contrast to the other flavors here.

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If I want to sound really fancy, I guess I just ate pheasant en coquette with truffle  au jus–whatever you call it it was a fine meal, even if I can’t get the cat to say so though I’m not that modest. I’m still listening to Christmas music and enjoying a another glass of wine. The other half pheasant has been boned and stashed, and the carcass is in the slow-cooker making pheasant broth. I’m not sure what is going to evolve out of the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day leftovers, but I would guess that there is going to be some pheasant soup, among other things.

The kitchen is tidy–only the roasting pot left to soak with baking soda overnight–and only clean things to put away from the drainer in the morning. Altogether a most pleasant day with the cat, low-intensity, undemanding cooking, music, and reading.

I was contemplating starting to filter my chocolate/cardamom/ancho/golden rod-aster honey liqueur this evening, but I’m just too full and lazy. I decided it would be better to start that in the morning since it is a long process–so now to quality time with the cat and Kindle since I’m happily fed and still enjoying wine.

I hope all of you had as pleasant a day as I did. A final happy holidays to you if you happen to be celebrating something just now.

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Snow day. . .

Well, not really a snow day (I wish!), but an ice and wind day, the second in a row here. It’s a grey day with a few snowflakes fluttering around. It’s not so far been a productive day. I’ve been wandering from room to room, fighting the urge to take a lesson from the cat. Neither did he go with me to make morning coffee nor did he get out of bed when I started rattling around in the kitchen. He simply got under the duvet instead of on top.

Cat looking into refrigeratorSo I’ve resisted the lure of book and duvet to try to accomplish something, even if not useful or productive, just something I can say that I did. The motif today seems to be opening, peering inside, and closing doors, figuratively and literally, including internet browsing–opening a site and then just passing on to another. I’ve peered into the cabinet where all the plastic storage containers live and close the door tightly and firmly, then opened the internet door (Google search) on organizational ideas for empty containers.

Peering into the refrigerator led to the conclusion that I didn’t want to eat anything that was already in there. The threat of power outage led me to follow a link on what foods were safe after a power outage, but that didn’t catch my interest either (no new information, and no power outage here yet). My list of blogs that I follow l did provide something that held my attention: posts on one taste at a time caught my interest–food waste and eating mindfully. After reading (and reblogging those) my meandering led me back to the kitchen with thoughts of something warm and cozy to eat this afternoon.

This recurring theme eventually led to the freezer compartment of the refrigerator which has been needing organization and sorting for a while. Gazing at a container of stock finally got my interest. What better way to start sorting and organizing that to make something from what I found in the freezer that was approaching its end-of-life-even-if-frozen state.  Thus: mostly freezer soup happened–with additions from the crisper drawer.

Ingredients

  • pulled pork (from a large pork butt, slow-roasted in the Schlemmertopf)
  • two packages of stock (one pork, one chicken)
  • the last package of sofrito (a staple, but needing to be used and replaced)
  • carrots (the last of a bag that had been vacuum packed for later use)
  • 1/2 small rutabaga, diced
  • two handsful of cabbage, in bite-size pieces (a crisper staple)
  • about 1 cup yellow split peas
  • about two teaspoons Hatch red chili powder
  • a dash of dried oregano
  • (a retained bay leaf from the pulled pork)

Preparation

  • thaw and sauté the sofrito to brown lightly (frozen with olive oil)
  • add chili powder and oregano to bloom in olive oil
  • add frozen stock
  • add pork
  • add rutabaga, cabbage, and split peas
  • simmer until rutabaga and split peas are tender (about 40 minutes)

Supper is on! IMG_8880

As is typical of all soup making, there is more than I’m going to eat, but some will go back into the freezer for a quick meal on another grey day–carefully labeled, and dated.

Ò¿Ó

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Slow-roasted pork

It’s a day that shouts that fall is finally, really here–steady, gentle rain, cool breeze, a bit dreary–the kind of day that says cook something savory and warming.  As the weather has been getting cooler, I’ve been anticipating this kind of day, so on yesterday’s trip to the market, I had the butcher cut me two extra-thick, bone-in, loin end pork chops.  When I got home, I “prepped” them for roasting–a generous sprinkle of salt (for a dry brine) and let them stand overnight in the fridge. Though it’s not cool enough to turn on the heat, just what I get from the oven while these roast will be cozy, and the smell of roasting pork….almost as good a baking bread.

I’ve gotten two chops because I actually want to have extra meat. Leftovers in this case are welcome (which is, admittedly, unusual for me).  This kind of weather brings out a desire for soup-making and other hearty fare, and roasted meat is a good starter!

Slow-roasted loin-end pork chops

Note: The pork was roasted in the clay cooker–with very simple seasoning. I just wanted some big roasted pork flavor. I used loin-end chops here, but thick-cut shoulder chops, or country-style spare ribs will also work. I love the Schlemmertopf/Romertopf for cooking, but you can do this in a Dutch oven if you don’t have a clay cooker.  It will still taste good!

loin end pork chopIngredients

  • 1 or 2 extra thick (1-1/2 to 2 inches) loin-end pork chops
  • a generous tablespoon kosher salt (for the two chops)
  • 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes scrubbed, cut into large chunks (eighths)

pork chops and potatoesPreparation

  • Pat chops dry and sprinkle kosher salt evenly over the chops.
  • Refrigerate overnight or for about 8 hours (up to 24)
  • Soak clay cooker for at least 20 minutes, add chops and place in cold oven set for 295 °F until easily shredded with a fork (about 3 hours).
  • Serve with roasting juices from cooker.

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roasted pork and potatoesI made the spicy grilled cabbage from The Kitchn, to go with this. The weather didn’t permit grilling (and lack of planning the oven, therefore the broiler, was in use) so I did a thinner wedge on a smoking hot cast-iron griddle. It was fantastic–no doubt this would be even better on the grill. The spicy lime sauce is yummy (and the bit that found it’s way onto the pork was good there, too).

I did make a couple changes to the sauce: since I was lacking the “smoky” grill, I added chipotle chili powder as well as the cayenne, and I used honey instead of sugar. (I would love to try this sauce with buckwheat honey in it, but none in the house today.)  Definitely a keeper of a sauce!

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There are leftovers–but I’ve planned how to use them. The pork is seasoned only with salt at this point–deliberately so that I have lots of flexibility in using the rest of it.  I want to try a pasta dish with the “pulled” pork, sage and brown butter sauce. There are roasting juices that will contribute to some good soup–maybe hot and sour soup, or maybe something with hominy and sort of southwestern flavor. I suspect that a serving of basic roast pork is headed to the freezer for a quick comfort-food meal in colder weather.

pork, potatoes, cabbageA son goût!

Lentil, cabbage, and bacono salad

I’m on about under-appreciated vegetables this evening. I just reblogged a post on beet soup so now it’s on to cabbage (which I think is also under-appreciated–just relegated to “slaw” which is often just horrible). This is a great modification of this recipe. Thanks!

Al dente adjustment to a Jacques Pépin lentil, cabbage and bacon salad

Corned Beef for St. Patrick’s Day

Though it’s too late to get your corned beef this way, you can be prepared for next year! Corned beef is easy, and really good it’s DYI!

Stefan's Gourmet Blog

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Happy St. Patrick’s day! It’s an Irish-American tradition to eat corned beef with cabbage on St. Patrick’s day. I usually don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s day (most people in the Netherlands haven’t even heard of it), but when I came across a recipe for corned beef with cabbage I thought the cooking technique was very interesting. You see, beef brisket is first cured in salt and spices (similar to the first curing of pancetta or gravlax), and then it is cooked. What finally won me over is that the recipe requires saltpeter (potassium nitrate, KNO3 or E252). Ironically, this ingredient is not available in Ireland, and so I bought it for Conor so he could make spiced beef. Although Conor only needed 12 grams, the smallest amount I could order was 2.5 kilograms.

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I mailed enough of the ‘dangerous substance’ to Ireland for Conor to make spiced beef twice, and…

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Fårikål (Norwegian lamb and cabbage stew)

Cold, rather dreary day so I’m making some warm, cuddly, comfort food from my most recent cookbook, The Kitchen of Light by Andreas Viestad.

I made the lamb and cabbage stew–well, sort of–I had goat meat in the freezer so I substituted that for lamb.  As I’m writing, I’m smelling it cooking–and practically drooling on my keyboard.

The stew is in the oven in my “small” Dutch oven (did not make the whole recipe). It smells SO good. I’ve been reading posts from a friend on Facebook singing the praises of this stew–reheats well–which means I can make a batch and freeze some.

The seasoning of this stew is bay leaves and black peppercorns–a lot of black peppercorns, cooked with the meat and cabbage.  This surprised me when I read the recipe because I’ve seen sources saying that black peppercorns will be bitter with long cooking, so it’s not usually added until late in cooking, though this is not dry heat, so that may make a big difference. This recipe calls for 1 to 2 tablespoons of black peppercorns.  (From tasting so far, I think I’m going to want to add more black peppercorns.)

Product.DisplayNameReally good, fresh-ground black pepper is one of my favorite spices.  I’ve gotten hooked on the India Special Extra Bold Tellicherry  and that’s what I’m using in this recipe.  Regular Tellicherry or Malabar pepper should also work.

Fårikål (Norwegian lamb and cabbage stew)

This recipe is adapted  from The Kitchen of Light (Andreas Viestad)–It’s easily adapted for single-serving cooking, but also suitable for making the full recipe and reheating/freezing.

Ingredients

  • 6 pounds of bone-in lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces.
  • 4 pounds of green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups cold water
  • fine sea salt (to taste)

Preparation

  • Layer the meat and cabbage in a large pot
  • Add black peppercorns, bay leaves, butter, and sprinkle in flour
  • Add water
  • Bring to a simmer, covered,
  • Cook about 2 hours over medium-high heat about 2 hours
  • To increase spiciness, add 1 more tablespoon peppercorns and cook an additional 15 minutes
  • Season to taste with salt

plated lamb and cabbage stew

Lamb and cabbage stew (from Wikipedia)

My first adaptation was the use of goat meat since that’s what I had in the freezer–as well as goat brown stock.

The goat meat was excellent, but in the future  I’ll use bone-in lamb shoulder chops, cut into appropriate-sized chunks.  My other adaptation of this recipe was to put it in the oven to cook at 300°F until the meat was very tender. It’s unlikely that I’ll want to make full quantity  of this recipe–more likely half, which will still give more than one meal, and  some to freeze.

This is NOT a pretty dish.  By the time the meat is really tender, the cabbage is NOT going to be pretty and bright green.  There’s more discussion of this dish on My Little Norway.  I like more peppercorns than that recipe uses–I actually added a lot more–and finished my serving with carefully roasted black peppercorns, coarsely crushed.

This has me looking for other recipes using cabbage–which I think is an under-appreciated winter vegetable. Too often I think it’s thought of as “slaw”.  After reading Viestad’s cookbook and North: The New Nordic Cooking of Iceland  by Gunnar Karl Gislason and Jody Eddy,  I want to explore more Scandinavian cooking.  I found lots more recipes on New Scandinavian Cooking, too–and the manifesto of the “New Nordic Cuisine”.

For a beverage with this dish? Well, a porter would be excellent. If I were doing wine, I think I’d look for something really robust–something that has at least some alicante bouchet in it, or maybe a Minervois–I think this calls for some research!

A son goût!