Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Just Pork Chops

It's almost year end and this is only my second posting for 2010.  I still can't qualify as a real blogger, can I?  Well, the best thing I can do is make every posting count.  Excuses, excuses.

I went shopping at S&R (our local Costco) the other day and as I was browsing through the chillers as I am wont to do, my son and I found thick center cut frenched pork chops that were screaming "eat me, eat me!"  My son, the budding foodie, got all excited.  (Pork chops, after all, is his all time comfort food.)  In the cart they went, priced just a little higher than regular chops.

We're not fans of apple sauce so after scouring a few cookbooks, magazines and a few sites for a recipe, I decided to wing it.  First, I made a paste of garlic, fresh rosemary and olive oil.  Then, I seasoned the chops generously with salt and pepper and rubbed them with the garlic-rosemary paste.  I allowed them to marinate for about an our.

I don't have an oven where I stay in Manila (I know, I know) so I had to improvise.  How do I cook a 2-inch cut of meat evenly in a pan?  I figured, sear the meat on both sides then lower the flame to allow it to cook slowly.  I heated the cast iron pan to just below smoking point, oiled it with some regular olive oil then got those chops in there.

Aren't they so yummy gorgeous?

After searing on both sides, I turned down the heat and allowed the chops to cook 15 minutes each side for a total of 30 minutes.  And this was how they turned out.

I wrapped them in foil for about 10 minutes to seal in the juices then transferred them to individual plates.

I was too hungry to bother making the plate pretty so what you see is a tender, juicy, unadorned, crusty slab of pork.  I served it with gravy but on hindsight, I'm thinking maybe a garlic sauce would have worked better.  Hmmm...I need to get a hold of a recipe of that Casa Marcos vinegary garlic sauce that was good with everything.  Next time.

The verdict: it was great but not perfect.  I'll try reducing the cooking time to 25 minutes the next time.  I'll also try brining it another time.  Check back for results.  But in the meantime, go ahead and go for it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Spanish Style Oxtails Braised with Chorizos

I find working with food - cooking, writing, and eating; truly inspiring.  Luckily, I was asked once again to edit the second Aboitiz-Moraza Family Cookbook.  The first one was published in 2005 and this second one in 2010.  It wasn't easy but a wonderful experience nevertheless.  Unfortunately, the book isn't for sale nor is it for public consumption.  You must be given one by a member of the family.  So if you receive one,  lucky you.

I liked some recipes better than most and the Spanish Style Oxtails Braised with Chorizos was one of my favorites.  The first time I made it, I brought it to my brother Ernie's house.  He insisted that I leave all the leftovers.  I've tweaked the recipe since then and specified the ingredients that I think work well.  I've also provided you with shopping suggestions in my usual control freak style.  So now, this is my version.

At the request of my cousin Mari, I posted a photo of the dish on FB.  She just wanted to see, she said.  Well, I didn't expect the reaction that I got from a lot of other friends who are eager to try it.  It's been a while since I've posted anything so I might as well make this the newest one.

So to all of you fellow foodies and avid cooks, prepare for a day of slow cooking.  Patience is key.

Spanish Style Oxtails Braised with Chorizo

2 packs (3 kg more or less) pre-sliced skinless New Zealand
     oxtails (available at the frozen meat section of S&R)
1½ tbsp good quality Spanish olive oil
½ pc chorizo Pamplona (available at Santi's), casing removed,
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 medium organically grown carrots (they are sweeter),
     coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf, fresh if possible (If you have no access to fresh,
     let me know.  I'll spare you some.)
½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika (available at Terry's)
1 cup white wine, Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc
     (available at S&R)
1 can (28-32 oz) whole Italian or Spanish tomatoes,
     crushed by hand together with juices
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
zest of 1 lemon, grated with a Microplane rasp
chopped parsley and cilantro for garnish
Rinse oxtails and pat dry with paper towel.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a heavy Dutch oven over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.  Brown oxtails in batches in pot without crowding, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes per batch.  Set aside.

In the same pot, cook chorizo, onions, carrots, garlic and bay leaf over moderate heat, stirring occasionally about 6-7 minutes.  Add paprika.  Stir for 1 minute.  Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits in the pot.  Add oxtails and crushed tomatoes with their liquid.  There should be enough liquid to cover beef.  Add hot beef broth if necessary.  Bring to a boil. Cover pot and lower heat so that it comes to a gentle simmer. Cook until tender, about 6 hours.  Stir in parsley, cilantro and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add lemon zest and stir.

Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with chopped parsley and sliced pimientos.

Serve with steaming brown rice and blanched haricot vert.

I don't want to say bon appetit and I can't think of a Pinoy translation.  Will "lasapin" work?