Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Simply - a comfort food....at kitchen! kitchen!

Taking a trip down memory lane to revisit this traditional
comfort food cooked in an untraditional way, but just
as delicious as I remember it.

The choice of vegetables for my untraditional comfort food.
I have this left over ham bone from christmas that I saran wrapped and stored in the freezer.
Then, remembering my mother, or maybe it was one of my sisters who made a very scrumptious dish we call "pochero," a dish of a variety of boiled meat derived from the Spanish cuisine. I don't quite remember how it was done, except that it includes a ham bone and Spanish sausage for an added layer of taste. Only the taste of this dish lingered in my memory. But, instead of just boiling the meat, I briased the pork and short ribs (beef) and put everything in a braiser along with the rest of the ingredients, let it boil, removing any scums that floated on top and slowly braised it in the oven at a low temperature (275 - 295 F)for 4-5 hours. It rewarded me with an incredible dish of a truly comfort food that brings the past to the present.

My ingredients: Serves 6
2 pkg. of beef short ribs (try to get the ones with with some marbling of fat in it)
2 lbs. of pork belly with skin on
1 medium to large smoked pork shoulder (or double smoked bacon slab)
1 medium size Spanish sausage
1 ham bone (optional: the smoke pork shoulder should take the place of the ham bone)

For the Vegetables: Cut all the vegetables in same size (at least try to!)
1 head of Savoy cabbage or Chinese cabbage (I used baby bok-choy - about 10-12 small ones)
4 large carrots cut in large pieces
3 large Parsnips cut in half
3-4 small golden potatoes (peeled)
4 stalks of celery cut large pieces
1 large onion quartered
Herbs: thyme and sage
Salt and Black Pepper

Season all meats with salt and pepper except for the smoked pork shoulder and sausage
Sear all sides ( short beef ribs and pork) to brown in a pan with olive oil and set aside until completed.
In a braiser, put all the seared meat; smoke pork shoulder, sausage, and (ham bone ); add chicken/beef stock or water just half way without submerging the meat. Add 2 stalks of the celery and 2 pcs. of carrots, herbs, and  let boil while removing all the scums that float on top. Add the smoked pork shoulder and the sausage and transfer the braiser to slow cook in a preheated oven of 275-295 F for 4-5 hours. Check the pork belly after 2 hrs. if it is fork tender, remove and set aside and you do the same thing with the short ribs and smoke pork shoulder, sausage, and keep warm. (Don't allow the meat to get too tender that they are falling into shreds. Make sure all the meats are still whole but fork tender). Add the potatoes, the rest of the carrots, celery, cabbage quartered if you are using cabbage and parsnips until fully cooked. Take them out; set aside and keep warm. Next will be the bok choy and cook for about 10 minutes or so. Slice the pork belly and the smoked pork shoulder in serving pieces along with the short ribs, arranging the meat in a separate platter and garnish with some of the vegetables, and sliced spanish sausage. Serve the vegetables separately and serve with cilantro salsa verde (posted 9/28/11) or chimichurri sauce. You will be skipping along memory lane with a big smile on your face!!

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