The Gastronomist Manifesto

Chefs of the World Unite!

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Iberian Pulled Pork

The other day I made bigos, the national dish of the Polish people (pierogi be damned.) And I had this nice big steak of pork shoulder leftover that I wanted to use as soon as possible. The resulting creation…

Pork shoulder roasted/confit over yellow split/green peas and a spicy tomato sauce. A dish I think would be loved by the old comrades of the Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo.

For the Pork:

1 pork shoulder steak, bone in
seasoned vigorously with: salt, pepper, paprika (the real kind), garlic powder, fennel seed and a bay leaf or two.

1 Roma tomato, sliced
a few slices of onion
1 jalapeno, sliced

1. Preheat an oven to 250 degrees.

2. Rub pork generously with seasonings. Transfer to a sheet of tinfoil. Place tomato, onion and chili over top and fold the foil over to seal. Lay on a baking sheet and place in the oven.

3. After about 4 hours remove the package, open carefully! (steam burns!) and remove vegetables and juices from the foil packet (don’t spill!) Re-fold the foil over the pork and return to the oven for another 40 minutes. Meanwhile…

4. Add the contents of the the vegetables and juice to a small sauce pan and begin to reduce while breaking up the large pieces (the tines of a fork work perfectly.) Stop when you get to a “sauce” consistency.

5. When the time is up on the pork, remove it from the oven and let it rest AT LEAST 15-20 minutes. Once it’s rested, transfer to a plate or cutting board and begin pulling the meat into shreds (two forks, hand in hand, do this perfectly.)

THE LEGUMES

1. Cooking yellow peas, lentils or rice according to their nature. For simplicity and the health benefits of steaming, toss the green peas over the mix 10 minutes prior to the other thing being finished.

2. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil.

PRESENTATION

1. Bed of legumes/rice, shredded pork, sauce. Done.

The real great thing about this dish is it utilizes simple, cheap ingredients for the proletarian budget. Pork shoulder is one of the cheapest cuts of meat there is. Lentils and peas are pennies. Add a tomato, onion and a pepper, plus a few spices you’re likely to have, and you’re set. Did I mention this is also really easy to make?

Bigos: My Easter Tradition

Well, technically, bigos was a tradition at my holidays on my Polish side. This year I just needed that comfort of home, so I whipped up a huge batch of it today for Easter.

After Mass I came home and started right into the preparations. I was so excited that I forgot to make any notes about quantity or time with the ingredients! Well, that’s going to make for a shitty recipe. But nonetheless I am going to at least explain the process. Bigos is one of those things that has almost unlimited variations. Technically, it is a soup made with a variety of meats and cabbage/sauerkraut. Legend is Polish hunters would make this and throw whatever they caught/killed/carried while on hunting trips. They would just keep the stew on a low simmer and continually add to it, which leads to another trait–very long cooking time.

For meats, I used pork shoulder, kielbasa and beef (beef is uncommon, but worked with my budget.) Pork belly, bacon, veal are more traditional inclusions. They were given a quick browning (not to cook!) and added to a pot with sauteeing onion, lots of sauerkraut and seasonings: garlic powder, caraway seed, juniper berries and bay leaves. Immediately the heat went down to low, a dull simmer, with 60-40 chicken broth and apple juice, plus a can of tomato paste.

Then comes the Herculean effort to just let it sit. After a few hours of low simmer I added sliced kielbasa. Another hour I added sliced mushrooms. Over-all I let it go for over six hours, and it’s still simmering now, seven hours later.¬† But the wait is worth it…

 

 

NOTE: I used a large wok-like pan to make mine. That is not a good way. Use a large soup pot or a slow cooker. But to my horror this morning that was all I had that was large enough so I had to make do.

 

My (Famous) Spicy Coconut Hash

I used to make this all the time for people I’ve lived with. At least once a week. It was rather popular, not to mention cheap for us college students.

For a single serving breakfast for myself I am taking:

1/2 russet potato, diced (I hate using half because they store poorly, but so it goes)
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 Roma tomato, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1/4 cup of black beans (not pictured, but when I make this for more people it’s worth adding for color, taste and good health)
cumin, mustard and fenugreek seeds
half a handful of shredded coconut
1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Dice your vegetables.

2. On a medium heat add oil in a thin layer to a wide frying pan. When hot add your onions and your spices. I recommend whole seeds if you have them–cumin is almost essential; mustard, coriander, fenugreek also add a nice “pop,” but you can substitute powder or even just curry powder. Either way, add them right away so they have time to open up and develop. Give it about 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the potato and jalapeno (if using.) I would lower the heat. My electric stove has a 1-10 heat level and I cooked this on level 3. You have two basic choices with hash, low and slow or hot and with lots of oil. I prefer the first. Takes a long time, but doesn’t come out slippery. Stir frequently to prevent the potatoes from sticking.

4. Cooking time is going to vary by the size of your dice on the potato. After about 15 minutes I start testing pieces. When you are satisfied, crank the heat up to medium high and add the coconut, green pepper, lemon, tomato and black beans. Here, it’s like wok cooking, you want to bring those flavors out fast, but keep stirring or you’ll have potato crust on your pan. Just a couple minutes is all.

5. Season with salt and pepper. The red drizzle in my picture is sriracha sauce. If you like heat it adds a nice brightness too.

It’s been years and years since I made this but it is just as amazing as I remember. Sort of like hash browns you’d expect in the Caribbean. Now I remember why people were always begging me to make this.

Also, this is a totally original dish. I’m afraid that if I Google it I’ll find other people have done the same; but, this is one of my prouder inventions.

Also, also, I need to get a camera that is able to focus on an inanimate object  in plain daylight. All my pictures look like crap here.

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