Thursday, January 14, 2021

I'd Rather Write About Food

      Made the pork stuff last night.  It turned out unusually well.

      Our local grocer's often has "boneless country-style ribs," a cut with a bit more flavor than the usual pork chop. I'd had a couple in the freezer since December (it keeps) and marinated them overnight in a mixture of mostly soy sauce and a little balsamic vinegar, with powdered ginger, garlic powder, onion powder.  I use a gallon-size, press-to-seal freezer bag for marinating; it lays flat in the bottom of the refrigerator meat drawer with the sealed opening turned up (just in case) and the meat just barely awash in marinade.

      To start dinner, I snipped the meat into 1" or smaller pieces over my deep Always skillet, and poured the marinade in after them.  Once it was sizzling away over medium heat, I sliced, peeled and chopped up a large apple* and added the pieces as I chopped them, giving the dish a good stir afterward.  I sprinkled a little ginger on it, too -- but be wary, a little goes a long way.

      Onion next -- a nice, big yellow onion.  I took my time rinsing and peeling it.  There's a trick to all this, getting the pork fully cooked and all of the vegetables just cooked enough: you want to be working steadily the whole time.  I quartered the onion and added pieces as I chopped them into some section, then gave it a stir.  Carrots followed, cut for variety into thin pieces a bit more than an inch long. Same deal. add and stir.

      Celery next.  It was a new bunch, so after dicing a couple of stalks into the pan and stirring, I wrapped it tightly in aluminum foil.  It keeps much longer that way.  By then the pork was pretty done and there was a good quarter-inch of liquid in the pan, so I had a taste.  Nice -- the flavors had blended well and it wasn't overly sweet.

      I diced a red bell pepper and added it, then some really good button mushrooms.  They grow in tight clumps, with small to medium caps on long stems, and don't take much prep.  A quick rinse, slice off the bottom where they come together, and they break into individuals.  I put them on top of the contents of the pan, covered it, and spent five minutes chatting with Tam wile we set up TV trays, got out silverware and beverages, and got the TV on the right streaming service to watch the final episode of The Queen's Gambit† as we ate.

      The mushrooms were done by then; I mixed up a little cornstarch and cold water, added a teaspoon or so of soy and a dab of balsamic vinegar, poured that into the pan and turned up the heat for a minute while stirring to thicken the sauce.

      The end result was delicious, a thick stew or ragout vaguely akin to old fashioned Americanized Chinese food.
* Any apple works.  The different varieties will make the finished dish taste different, slightly more tart or sweeter, but I have never had one that did not not work well.
† The series holds up remarkably well on second viewing.  I read the book after the first time I saw it, and the TV version hews very close to the book.  The changes they have made are, remarkably, all improvements, which tighten up the story line and help the overall arc.

1 comment:

John Peddie (Toronto) said...

Amazing how much celery adds to home-made soups, stews and other good dishes.

Wish I'd learned that a lot sooner!