Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Braised Pork Shoulder Chops With Leeks

After a weekend of shopping the local Farmers Market and picking wild blackberries, Monday night became a marathon dinner endeavor in my tiny little kitchen at home.

Poblano, Yellow Banana & Gypsy Peppers - All Sweet

I know to many cooking is a chore, but for me it's an absolute delight. I love chopping the vegetables with sharp knives. I love caramelizing onions until golden brown. I love the gorgeous kiwi and Martha blue colors of my cooking instruments. And I especially love sipping on some vino while taking in the wonderful aromas of a home-cooked meal. It's been awhile since I've been able to actually spend a couple hours cooking a really nice meal for two, mainly due to my work schedule and overzealous summer social-life. But after shopping the local farmers market and coming home with some of my absolute favorite veggies, I just had to take some time to be in the kitchen - finally!

As many of you might know, peppers are in season in abundance. Red, yellow, green, orange, purple. Not only are they beautiful, but so sweet and fragrant and absolutely delicious. They are so easy to work into a wide range of recipes and I just can't seem to get enough of them. And the corn! The corn is finally sweet! I've been waiting all summer for sweet corn and peaches and I finally found both. I also grabbed some gorgeous leeks, the first of the season.

So, what to make?

Braised Pork with Leeks

On a recent trip to the supermarket I decided to try a different cut of pork - the shoulder blade chop. I had never cooked with it before and since I have been trying to cook with a lot less beef and a lot more pork, I thought I'd give it a shot. So I found a recipe on MarthaStewart.com and modified it based on what I had at home. And thus, Braised Pork Shoulder Chops was born.

And for a side dish?

Leeks & Peppers Caramelized & Sweet

My favorite summer side dish is a corn succotash. My standby recipe is for Confetti Corn with Mixed Peppers by Ina Garten and it is fantastic!

Serve the Pork over Orzo and dinner is served!

Leftovers Will Be Made Into Soup!

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 small red bell pepper, 1/2-inch diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kernels cut from 5 ears yellow or white corn (4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Stir in the bell pepper and saute for 2 more minutes.
Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Over medium heat, add the corn, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the corn just loses its starchiness. Season to taste, gently stir in the basil or other green herbs, and serve hot.

Pork Rib Ragu Recipe:

  • 1 large leek
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 pounds pork spare ribs, cut into 4 sections
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Halve leek lengthwise and rinse thoroughly; dry well and coarsely chop. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Season ribs with salt and pepper. In batches, cook ribs until browned, 4 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer ribs to a plate. Add leek, carrots, and celery to pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables soften slightly, about 5 minutes. Add wine; bring to a simmer and reduce wine by half.
    2. Return ribs to pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, cover, then place pot in oven. Cook until meat is falling off bones, about 3 1/2 hours. Transfer ribs to a rimmed baking sheet and strain cooking liquid into a heatproof container; skim fat from liquid. When ribs are cool enough to handle, shred meat (discard fat and bones).
    3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add onion and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in flour to coat. Gradually whisk in cooking liquid and simmer until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add pork to sauce and heat through.

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