Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Pork and beans

I browned up a slab of ribs, then added carrot, celery root and onion to caramelize. After that dried porcini, star anise, vietnamese five spice, wakame, ume and balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, parsley sprigs, black pepper, cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, and a little honey followed by water to cover. Cooked low for a couple hours while lima beans cooked with the remaining fennel and roots from the roast chicken a few nights back. Removed the meat (falling off the bone) and strained the liquid. Reduced the liquid a bit and served meat on bean mixture with a ladle of liquid over all. Finished with the alder smoked salt for a hint of barbecue. Rich, delicate, complex, and yummy. The earthy beans and roots tied to the slightly sweet pork via the fennel/star anise connection and the other notes harmonized well. There's about a pint of the cooking liquid left to play with next time (unsalted, it can be reduced as much as needed), and a little bit of the root/bean mix.

Opened a Thackrey sangiovese from 2000 or 2001- the year they didn't get capsules or labels. A good match, but the delicacy and slight Asian leaning of the dish might have worked better with a funky Rhône or maybe a Cannonau from Sardegna.

This dish is a variation on the "Pork and peas" I made for a dinner party a couple of years ago, where the meat was similar, but cooked twice as long in the oven at 220˙ instead of just low on the stove like tonight. Instead of the roots/beans, I had made some split pea soup the day before with chorizo and duck broth, then strained and chilled it in a low container so it gelled. Brought to room temperature, cut into cubes, it was tender yet held the shape. Meat went on one side, and fresh peas in a pea shoot purée went on the other. The smoky rich soup connected the deeply rich ribs to the bright spring pea flavors. This was a good one.

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