Sunday, February 22, 2009

White Bean and Sausage Soup

This recipe is good...really good. It is also healthy and cheap.

Cheap healthy goodness.

Do I really need to say more?!?

This is a hefty soup, kind of a wannabe stew. The best part is that like most good hearty soups it only gets better with a little age. Cook it off and let it sit overnight or for a few days in the fridge. You can eat this three times in the course of a week, not get bored and be sad when it is gone.

The way to really get a bang for the buck on this is to soak and cook your own beans. Besides being dirt cheap they also taste a heck of a lot better. Just read the label on cans of beans and you'll quickly see that it is not just beans in there. Eat this with some great homemade bread (Halo, Saturday Night Live, or The Dark Knight can wait...I swear) and you'll be in heaven.



½ pound bulk sausage
2 onions chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 Tb fresh chopped parsley
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste
1 Tb chopped sage
2 c cooked navy beans
1 c water
1 ½ c chicken stock

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the sausage. Cook until the sausage has browned lightly, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped onions, carrots and parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, sage, beans, water and stock, and bring to a simmer, keep heat as low as possible while simmering lightly and let it be for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning as desired with salt and pepper. Serve with FRESH grated Romano or Parmesan.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stuff It

Due to the fact that today's pork is bred to be lean there are many parts of the pig that are a bit more difficult to cook. One such example is the loin. This sucker dries out quicker the super glue you "accidentally" got on your fingers when you were 8...or 28 (don't judge me...it was just sitting there and I wanted to know if it would still stick like it used to...it does).

One great way to cook this piece is by spiral cutting it, pounding it out, stuffing it, rolling it up, trussing it, browning it, and then cooking it off in the oven. Yes, it sounds a bit complicated. Yes, it is easier than you think.

Because I did this while at my parents house I have less pictures than normal, but you'll get the idea.



So here it is. The loin has been cut and then pounded to about 1/2 inch thickness. I decided to stuff it with craisins and herb chevre. Why? Well, cranberries go great with pork as does chevre. I also had them on hand. I would have come up with something else if I did not have them. Dried apples and vintage white Tillamook came to mind as well...shoot, now I'm getting hungry. The basic rule here is think about what you have liked on pork in the past and figure a way to get it inside the loin. Blackberries and green peppercorns with a bit of brie is going down for sure this summer. That idea came from a dish I had 10 years ago in Montana. Search those flavor banks in the brain and go wild.



So here it is all tied up. I'd just like you to note that the fat on the top of the loin is still in tact. Don't you dare take it off. This guy needs all the moisture help he can get.



Remember that color equals flavor. Keep the pan hot (get a cast iron skillet!) and move the loin when it no longer sticks to the pan. Make sure the whole thing is brown. This one is almost done.

When it is good and brown throw it in your pre-heated oven that is set at 350f.

I got a flash of genius half way through and decided to glaze it with peach nectar. Why? Per usual my mom had a can laying around. Cinnamon and brown sugar was the original plan, but the nectar worked perfect. I put it on when the center of the loin registered at 150f. The target with pork is 160. I figured this would glaze it, but not burn to the pan and thus making me cry because I would have no pan sauce. It worked like a charm.

After removing the roast I tented it under tinfoil on the cutting board and set myself to the task of creating a sauce that would make Abudantia weak at the knees (yes, I want to be as cool as C.S. Lewis and throw out random old school mythic characters).

Just a quick review of the components of the sauce thus far:

- Rendered Pork Fat
- Browned Bits of Pork Awesomeness.
- A Few Wayward Craisins.
- A Bit Of Cheese.
- Peach Nectar.

The only question is, what in the heck could this possibly use? What? A bit of salt and pepper? Done. What else? Bourbon? No!

Yes?

Yes.

1/4 cup of bourbon joins the pan sauce party.

Fire in the hole (Be careful, you'll lose your eyebrows quick!)

Reduce it all down over medium heat until it coats the back of a spoon and its gold.

Cut the ties that bind the loin.

Slice into rounds.

Plate alone or with other tasty sides. This one went with latkas (yes, its Jewish and it went with pork...have you ever eaten them? They would go well with worms or chalk or anything else in the world.), sauteed green beans finished with bourbon, Marjorie's amazing cheddar biscuits.

Money.

Been a long time

So we were living at Jeremy's parent's house for a week then we went to Tennessee for a bit and we haven't posted in a while!!!
About 3 weeks ago Jeremy made this pork tenderloin stuffed with goat cheese and craisins that was wonderful. My goal is to make him post that recipe tonight!