a less thrilling braise

first frost

Happy November! I’ve decided not to do NaBloPoMo this year, but I do intend to try posting a little more often. I have enough other writing/photography projects going on that I’m not feeling up to the post-a-day commitment, but we’ll see how it goes.

dinner

We’re trying to work more new recipes into our menu planning, after what seems like  several months of making old standby-type stuff. We’re experimenting with pulling out a cookbook at random, then opening it and pointing to something. This is quite dangerous, as it can lead to strange meals of onion sauce or rice pudding, so we’re keeping it flexible. Last week I pulled out Falling Cloudberries, a book that I was wildly excited about when it came out but have never actually cooked from. I chose a promising Cypriot recipe for pork marinated in red wine and braised with coriander seed. It was, I’m sorry to say, kind of meh.

marinating

coriander

pork braise

There was nothing wrong with the pork – a roast of well marbled meat from our last pig (which is nearly gone, except for several pounds of pork belly), which I whacked up and put in a bowl with two cups of red wine the night before. I had some issues with the cooking instructions, which optimistically say to sear all of the pork in a casserole until golden. Well, first, it’s soaked in red wine, and even if you dry it off first it’s not going to sear at all unless you do only a few pieces at a time in a very hot pan. Second, it’s soaked in red wine and is dark purple, and is not going to turn “golden” no matter what you do to it at this point.

I knew what she meant, though, so I fried the pork, added in the marinade, some garlic, bay leaves and five teaspoons of lightly crushed coriander seed, cooked it until the meat started falling apart, and served it with roasted pink fingerling potatoes and some lightly wilted arugula. It was…okay. The pork flavor was overwhelmed by the wine, and the coriander was incredibly strong and acrid, not to mention kind of a weird texture. The potatoes (which turned out fantastically) and greens helped to balance, but I didn’t really like it all that much.

leftovers with an egg

The leftover pork was improved by chopping it up finely with the rest of the potatoes and cooking it up as hash with some sweet onion, then serving with an egg on top. That wasn’t bad at all.

Anyone else made this recipe, or anything else out of that book? I want to give it another chance but not sure what to try.

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One thought on “a less thrilling braise

  1. I’ve been trying to think through exactly what made this dish a flop and what could make it better. The pork was meltingly tender, which I think can be attributed at least partially to the wine soak, but you’re right that the flavor of the wine was too potent for the pork. Perhaps a shorter marinating time in less wine? The lost braising liquid could be regained by adding some chicken broth, or maybe even just water. As for the coriander, decrease the total amount somewhat to tame the flavor, and replace some of the lightly cracked coriander seed with ground coriander to help the texture.

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