Monday, April 30, 2007
First, I brined the chops in my usual 1/4 c salt, 1/4 c sugar, 1 qt. water solution for an hour.
While they brined, I made the stuffing mixture: about 2T each minced onion and minced celery, four leaves of fresh sage, chiffonade, sauteed in a little butter. Stirred in about 2 T of dried breadcrumbs and eight slices of Canadian bacon, minced. A little salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
Then cut nice big pockets in the pork chops and filled them up with the cooled stuffing.
Browned them for about 4 minutes/side and put them in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes while we sauteed some romaine and finished a mushroom cream sauce for the chops. Not a bad dinner for making it up at the market!
And here comes the pig -- actually two halves, each about 122 lbs. Very big pig, and unwieldy. It just flops around, and of course it's somewhat slippery.
Turns out there was more wrong than just being cut in half. The pig had been skinned, and the trotters removed. Now, if you're planning to make prosciutto, or coppa, or many other cured applications of pork, you gotta have the skin on. So this pig just would not do. It had to go back, and my adventures in butchery will have to wait for another day.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I started by reading "Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco" by Paula Wolfert to get some ideas. I combined several recipes and some riffs of my own to get the result:
Honey Lamb with Apricots and Almonds
1 leg of lamb, boned, trimmed of connective tissue and fat, cut into 1" cubes (reserve bones)
1 T ras al hanout (you can use curry powder, but this is more authentic and exotic)
1/2 t ground ginger
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cinnamon sticks
In the morning, rub lamb cubes with ras al hanout, ginger, and garlic. Refrigerate for four or more hours. Use bones to make about 4 cups of lamb stock.
Brown lamb in batches in olive oil. Set meat aside, and cook onion and garlic until translucent. Add meat, cinnamon sticks, apricots, almonds, and lamb stock to barely cover. Bring to simmer, cook for 1 hour or until lamb is very tender, adding more stock if it gets too dry. Add honey and cinnamon and cook for another 30 minutes or until the sauce is very thick.
Garnish with cilantro. Serve over couscous.