Holiday Leftovers

I know, you expect me to be talking about some investment idea (SNTA is working, after all).

No, this is my frugal nature combined with my inner chef at work.

I had friends over on Sunday and I made a nice batch of mulled apple cider for the occasion.  Nothing fancy, though I did have real cinnamon sticks and nutmeg around to grate into the pot.  I added a small handful of whole cloves, and a good time was had by all, with the simmering cider adding to the atmosphere all evening.

Sunday night, I had a quart or more of the somewhat reduced cider left over, and couldn’t bring myself to throw it out.  On Monday, I came up with a real winner to use the cider and it turned out to be a dish I had never heard of.

Still, this was truly excellent, and it’s going into the permanent menu after I try a couple of variations.

I happened to have a cryopac of pork ribs around, so that’s what I used this time, but I intend to see how it does with boneless loin or tenderloin cuts, as well.  Given the high fat content in the ribs, I started them in a roasting pan at high heat, 20 minutes on a side, dusted lightly with ground cardamon and cumin.  Note that I used a roaster with a cover so I could braze them in the second half of the cooking.

(Aside — why do so many great spice names start with the letter “c” and so many great composers names start with “b” — ?).

Anyway, after the side of  ribs was browned, I removed them, drained the fat from the pan, and cut them into individual ribs.  I added a half a bunch of celery, roughly cut into bite-sized pieces (about 2 cups), and a half a bermuda onion, diced into one centimeter (3/8 to 1/2 inch) cubes (about 1 cup) to the pan, and put the ribs on top of them.  I poured in the apple cider (strained through a colander to get the cloves and remaining cinnamon sticks out) until it just covered the ribs.

Into the 275 degree oven it went, covered, for the next hour.  I checked on it then and the ribs had shrunk a little and the liquid had come out of the onions and celery, so I just turned the ribs in the liquid, and put it back, uncovered, for about another 90 minutes.

When I was almost ready for dinner, I made mashed potatoes with a pinch of cayenne and a dash of sea salt, adding a bit of butter, a healthy dollop of sour cream.  The mashed potatoes were pretty “dry” , because I wanted them to be ready for the veggies and liquid that came with the pork ribs.

Served over a nest of sour cream mashed potatoes, the pork with apple cider, celery and onion sauce was as good a winter one-plate meal as I’ve ever had.

Next I’m going to try it with a smaller Le Creuset oval baker and pork tenderloin.  I won’t need to remove any fat from this one, so I’ll probably just sear the tenderloin before brazing, and plan on cutting it into medallions just before serving.



5 Responses to Holiday Leftovers

  1. W.Kinsolving says:

    Gheez, Howard, I’d’a come back from Spain for that!!!

    I mean, y’can only eat so much tapas.



    • hhill51 says:

      Hi, William!
      I think we can still get apple cider in the summer. I think this one has the potential to become a classic. It was just so good, with the sweet apple-based sauce to sop up with the potatoes.
      Let me know when you’re back at the homestead.

  2. Bill says:

    Mind on Money…and Food, I become a bigger fan of this blog with every post! I like trading and I like cooking, what are the chances I find this blog and it covers both, Happy New Year to me…and you too Howard!

  3. duckedape says:

    sounds yummy. There might be an opportunity to incorporate some shredded red cabbage, which is cooked with apples (tart like Boskoop) and cloves in some Flemish (and Northern French) recipes. I’m not sure, but I suspect it would be better instead of the celery, not in addition.

    Suggestion: blanch some shredded red cabbage about 10-15 minutes; soften the onion in the reserved fat until soft (duh!) but not brown, add the drained red cabbage, then proceed as you did.

  4. Larry says:

    Try coming up with a rub that will harmonize with your cider and apply it to the pork a day ahead of time. Cider BBQ! I’m definitely going to give this a shot.

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