Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Das schweinefleisch

Oh shit, pictures!? En garde, vagabondress!

For my inaugural visit to Costco, I decided to avail myself of their farcical pricing in the form of that most irresistible of commodities, flesh. Porcine, in this case, and plenty of it. A ~7 pound raw loin, to be exact, for just under $15! (forgot to take a picture of this part; imagine your arm, but made of pig meat)

So, I hacked off about 1/3rd of it to serve 2 with 1-2 servings worth of leftovers. I blended up a dry rub of fresh black pepper, brown mustard seeds, rosemary, oregano, and a pinch of salt, and coated the piggy nice and good like:

This goes in the fridge to set up the crust. Meanwhile, contemplate sides. I happened to have a big bag of fresh-from-Mom's-garden green beans (and some red ones?). Into a heavy pot (this one has a nice thick SS-clad aluminum bottom and cost around $10 at Saver's) with loads of butter, a couple halved cloves of garlic, a diced slice of extra thick, extra yummy, uncured bacon, (from Kramarczuk's, and only $4.49 a pound!) bay leaf, and some salt:

Low temp and covered while you do everything else. Lillian will likely interject some public service announcement about the magic of pressure cookers, but it takes longer to finish the pork than for these guys to get nice and tender so just ignore her, or maybe mention depression-era home food preservation techniques as a diversion. Meanwhile, a big dose of olive oil was getting hot in my other SS thrift store pan (not sure if this one has any aluminum in it, but it heats evenly enough), and the piggy was ready for the sweet embrace of the flames:

Kept this on medium high, and thought sauce. I assessed my pantry, and decided upon a honey mustard demi-glace, with a spicy twist from the fresh horseradish they now carry at Cub. Peeled the radish, and readied it for grating:

I got about 1/4th of the way in with the microplane before realizing that was stupid, and Osterized it as god intended:

After maybe 40 minutes, with some turning as it blackened, the pork looked like this:

Meaten sie hier! I am currently bereft of thermometers, but I made sure it was done by slicing a corner off. It wasn't, so I turned it down, covered it, and gave it another 15 or so. At some point the green beans finished, and for some reason all turned green. If only I had a plant biologist in my immediate family to explain why. After a dash of white wine to loosen up the yummy on the pan, they got to sit in their sauce and ruminate while the rest came together:

The loin leaves the pan for some R&R (at least 15 minutes under tin foil, so all the juice doesn't shuffle off its meaty coil when we get our carve on). Pan sauce time.

Out drains the excess oil, and while a deglaze is effected via white wine and stock, some shallots, mustard seeds, and grated horseradish (not that whole amount I ground; just a good handful) make their appearance. At this point, I believe In The Midnight Hour was playing, so Wilson Pickett receives partial credit for the end product.

Simmer and reduce, until the mustard seeds start to get kinda mushy, indicated you've extracted their flavor as much as necessary. Strain, reduce some more, give it a splash of cider vinegar, and a big dollop of honey at the end so it doesn't caramelize:

I was really hungry since conflicting schedules conspired to have me in Costco at dinner time, so I didn't reduce this anywhere near the demi-glace consistency I had wanted. Oh well, tastes more or less the same; just doesn't stay put on the plate. Remember kids, always slice meat on the bias (slanty like), and garnish is for flavor and presentation (here, some dried tarragon and a little dab of that freshly grated horseradish):

The result was a strong bacon and garlic flavor in the beans, while the pork was very sweet from the shallots and honey, with a hint of heat from the horseradish and black pepper. Bold flavors, while retaining subtlety, I paired it with a nice hoppsy brew (Summit EPA).

And for dessert, a motherfucker of a storm!


Marjorie Magidow Schalles said...

I may not be a plant biologist, but I can tell you that them beans is called Purple Pole beans and they are especially considered to be magic beans on account of they turn green when you cook 'em! Bon Appetit!

Lillian said...

Heheh looks like those 'Sconnies got wet. This looks like a very tasty recipe, though I have no access to arm-length pork loins here (but of course I could make it with a more normally sized one). I made a similar recipe, but where I stuffed the loin with cornbread crumbs mixed with mustard and sage, and it came out well. You might consider a stuffing next time, just for kicks. I wish I could find fresh horseradish here!

Regarding the beans, I believe that the purplish color is made up of anthocyanins, a large group of plant pigments that are typically reddish or purplish. It looks like these are transient in cooking, and when they break down they leave the underlying chlorophyll green. What I don't understand is why the opposite thing happens to trees in the fall: the chlorophyll goes away and the anthocyanins are left behind. I imagine that's the difference between cooking and the arrival of fall.

Thanks for the recipe Joe!

Lillian said...

*groan* Oh man I sound like such a know-it -all :P