Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pork Cheeks Ragu

It's fall, there's a nip in the air, and I'm back to braising. Tonight's dinner, pork cheeks ragu & celeriac slaw.

I actually made both of these last night, but couldn't rally to get the braise finished by dinnertime. It was nice to just reheat and eat. Plus, I think this tasted better having sat overnight, too.

Here's the pork cheeks in the pot.
This is the celeriac slaw.
And, the pork cheeks, again, in a bowl.
I wanted to be able to link you to some information about pork cheeks, but sadly, I couldn't really find anything very helpful. It's not your ordinary cut of meat, but it's very tasty. Each piece was about 2-3 inches big. I had a package of about 6 pieces that was given to me as a gift from a friend who works on a farm that I order my meats from ( I have been waiting for the weather to cool down to cook them. Since we also got some cranberry shelling beans from our Oxbow Farm CSA last week, I knew it was time.
First, I cured the meat with just salt, pepper and crushed garlic cloves overnight. Normally, I would throw in sprigs of thyme and bay leaves, but I didn't have either on hand. Oh well.

To cook, I dried each piece of meat on a paper towel, then seared each side in a hot dutch oven. I removed the meat, & cleaned the pan with a paper towel. Then, I cooked cut up mushrooms in butter and olive oil in the same pan, and removed those as well. Next, I sweat diced carrots, onions and celery in olive oil until the onions became translucent, and deglazed the pan with white wine (chardonnay is what I had on hand). I let the wine reduce by half, the fresh cranberry beans, the mushrooms, and the pork cheeks. I just barely covered the ingredients with chicken stock, brought to a boil, then reduced to a simmer, and cooked covered for about 2 hours.
Tonight, I reheated the ragu, and finished it off with a tablespoon of butter to thicken things up.
That's it! It was so yummy. You could really taste the sweetness of the carrots.
For the celeriac ( slaw, I made it just like I would've made a regular coleslaw. Ingredients are: celeriac, carrots, celery, apples, shallots, mayo, and vinegar.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Works Tonight

Hubby took the kids to a class this afternoon, which allowed me to take the time to prepare a full meal.

First, the cheese plate. Seastack from Mt. Townsend Creamery The salad - a mixture of 3 different lettuces (I forget what they're called now), arugula, & basil, with red onions, homemade croutons, toasted almonds, sliced carrots, and sliced breakfast radishes. Tossed with fresh squeezed lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Main dish - Pan roasted pork chops from Thundering Hooves, roasted cauliflower with just a touch of curry, and sliced fresh peaches. The pork chops were nice and juicey and needed no sauce.
Dessert - Fresh baked peanut butter cookies with toffee and chocolate chips.