With so many sources for dishes to make, have you ever found yourself with a stack of so many great recipes that you wind up in a fog, not sure which one sounds best, or may challenge you enough, or interests you enough to spend the time on? I am in that situation a LOT, given that I write a food blog. So many recipes, so little time. But what a great conundrum to be in!
While in the “old days” (like, 10 years ago) most people were still using hard bound cookbooks (which I admit I still use!), today it’s all about Pinterest, food blogs, Food Network and the Cooking Channel, Google, and whatever other finds we stumble over with friends and family. Heck, many times a recipe still comes out of good old ingenuity—whatever is in the pantry means it’s time to experiment (see my recent post on this particular topic). The mad scientist sometimes comes up with a winner, or sometimes winds up reaching for the phone to order pizza (yeah, I’ve done that more than I would like to admit!).
But whatever the source, I still find myself with too many recipes, and not enough brain power to finally decide which one to dive into. So last week I decided to crowd-source the problem; I put the question to all of you! The question was: what should I cook next?? The contenders were:
1. Osso Bucco
2. Crespelle (Italian Crepes) with Ricotta and Marinara
3. Wine-Braised Pork w/ Chesnuts & Sweet Potatoes
Well, thanks to those of you who voted via my Facebook page—you helped me decide what to make for Sunday dinner! The winning dish with the most votes was the wine-braised pork. And because your wish was my command (I promised, and I always keep my promises!), I dove into the recipe Sunday afternoon. And MAN the house smelled good! I’m sure yours will, too, if you decide to make this easy and tasty recipe. Let me know if you decide to make it, and share what you thought of the dish.
And don’t despair, those of you who voted for the other two recipes. I am sure that both of those will wind up as dinner in my kitchen very soon, too. After all, who am I to cast them aside without so much as a try?!
Wine-Braised Pork w/ Chesnuts & Sweet Potatoes
The original recipe was found in this month’s Food & Wine magazine. But of course, leave it to me to put a bit of a twist on the recipe. Instead of sweet potatoes, I used a butternut squash that I had in my pantry. And instead of regular chesnuts (those are hard to find!), I took a wild leap and used water chesnuts. I am quite sure that is not what the recipe developer at the magazine had in mind at all, but since I was looking for a similar enough ingredient on the fly, I picked these easy-to-find canned ones. I admit that I love the crunch that they give to most dishes, so why not, right?
• 1, 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder (the original recipe calls for a 4lb. roast, but seeing as there were only 2 of us for dinner…)
• 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 5 garlic cloves, crushed
• 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
• 1/2 c. dry white wine
• 5 parsley sprigs, plus chopped parsley for garnish
• 3 thyme sprigs
• 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces (I used butternut squash instead)
• 3 c. vacuum-packed roasted peeled chestnuts (I used whole water chesnuts in water since I couldn’t find the real thing)
- Season the pork with the 2 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of pepper.
- Heat a large cast-iron pot over moderately high heat. Add the pork, fat side down, and add 1/2 cup of water. Cook until all
of the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook over moderate heat until the pork is golden brown, about 8 minutes.
- Flip the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 5 minutes longer.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the stock, wine, parsley and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, turning once, until the pork is just tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
- Add the sweet potatoes (or butternut squash, in this case) and chestnuts, cover and cook until the pork and sweet potatoes are very tender, 30 minutes.
- Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sweet potatoes and chestnuts to a platter.
- Strain the jus (a fancy word for “pan juices) into a bowl and degrease with a spoon; season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Slice the pork and arrange it on top of the vegetables. Garnish with parsley and serve with the jus.