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.