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Food & Cooking

Milk & sour cream braised pork

Made this tonight, riffing on a recipe I stumbled across a while ago. I changed it up a lot (it originally had no sour cream, onions, or garlic), so I’m calling this my own! Woo!

Ingredients

  • pork loin roast, 2-3 lbs
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2-3 cups milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 c vermouth (optional)
  • 10-20 fresh sage leaves, torn into thirds
  • 3 tbsp butter

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F.
  2. Generously salt & pepper the pork & let sit at room temp for 20 mins or so.
  3. Heat olive oil in a smallish dutch oven or stock pot (with a lid!) large enough to snugly hold the roast & liquids. (Mine’s a 5 qt oval cast iron pot.)
  4. Brown the pork on all sides, and set aside.
  5. Let the pot cool a little so the butter doesn’t burn, and add the butter. Throw in the onions and saute those for a bit over med-low heat ’til translucent.
  6. While the onions are doing their thing, mix the sour cream and milk together in a bowl until well blended. This just eliminates any sour cream lumps. Add the chicken stock to this mixture as well.
  7. Back to the pot of onions — add the lemon zest and garlic, and saute those for 4-5 mins.
  8. Turn up the heat a bit and add the vermouth if you’re using it. Let this cook down and reduce for a bit.
  9. Throw in the sage leaves, and stir until wilted.
  10. Put the pork back in the pot, and pour the milk/sour cream/chicken stock mixture over top.
  11. Cover and transfer into the now heated oven.
  12. Braise at 325F for 4-5 hours, checking every hour or so to make sure it’s all nice and happy.
  13. About 30 mins before you plan to eat, take the lid off the pot, give the sauce a nice stir, then stick it back in the oven to reduce and thicken (leaving the pork in there…the pork is happy).
  14. Remove from the oven, move pork to a plate to rest for 10 mins.
  15. Slice pork, put it on some egg noodles or rice or mashed potatoes or something, and spoon over a generous amount of the sauce. Yum.

Food & Cooking

Beef Rendang recipe

Like most things, there’s a story behind this recipe, but I’ll keep it short and sweet: Rob and I both lived in Ottawa for years (separately, then together). We also both went to a Malaysian restaurant in the East end of Ottawa that served this blow-the-top-of-your-head-off beef rendang recipe (separately, then together). We left Ottawa and never had beef rendang again. Until a few months ago, when I stumbled across a recipe on the interwebs. Then another, and another (I was Googling at this point). I delved in.

The first attempt was awful. The next, less so. Then I kept at it, basically taking a hack at it any time stewing beef was on sale. Tonight, I finally nailed it. Or at least my version of it. This is the recipe.

Note: this is effing spicy. I love spicy food and this is damn near the top of my current tolerance. Adjust the number of chiles you put in the spice paste to slightly-more-than-feels-sane-for-you. It should be hot. The Ottawa version would make you break out in a sweat. Make it hot, but you do you. Ok, the recipe.

Ginger, garlic, shallots, peppers.

Ingredients (this makes a huge double batch — it’s worth it)

SPICE PASTE

  • 6-7 good sized shallots, peeled and halved
  • 10-12 peeled cloves of garlic (to taste — basically however much you think would be a sane amount of garlic, then double it)
  • 3-4″ peeled ginger, chopped into chunks
  • 12-16 fresh thai chiles (cut off the stems, leave the rest — again, tone this down to what feels sane…this is A LOT OF SPICE)
  • a good-sized pinch of dried chile flakes (1 tsp or so)
  • 1/2 tsp or so of salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp or so of pepper (to taste)

EVERYTHING ELSE

  • 3.5 lbs (~1.5 kg) stewing beef
  • 4-5 tbsp cooking oil (I use peanut oil, but sunflower, canola, safflower…etc. Olive oil doesn’t really work.)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 4″ long)
  • 6 cloves
  • 6 star anise
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 5-6 stalks lemongrass — cut down to the bottom 4-5″, peel the top layer off, leave the root, mash lightly to release oils. You fish these out later, so don’t chop them up.
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (this stuff is thick and normally separated in the can — I dump the can into a mixing bowl so i can whisk it back to being milk-like rather than chunky)
  • 1.5 c water (whisk this in with the coconut milk…it’s just easier)
  • Zest & juice from two limes mixed with 3 tbsp brown sugar (this replaces the tamarind paste and kaffir lime leaves that are in most rendang recipes…it’s delicious)

Method

  1. Put the garlic, ginger, shallots, thai chiles, chile flakes, salt and pepper into a food processor and process until very finely chopped. BE CAREFUL, it will try to blow your face off when you open the lid.
  2. Heat the oil in a stew pot and toss in the cinnamon, star anise, cardamom pods, and cloves. Let these heat on med-low for a bit, then plop the spice paste in on top. Turn up the heat and stir-fry the whole mess for 6-7 minutes. Your house will now smell insane.
  3. Add the beef and lemongrass stalks, stir well to combine. The beef should all be covered with the spice paste. Let that cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour in the lime juice/zest/sugar mix and stir to combine. Add the coconut milk/water mixture and stir to combine. It will be alarmingly soupy at this point. Do not be alarmed.
  5. Once it all comes up to a simmer, cover (leave a gap so stuff can evaporate) and simmer on low for 1.5 hours, stirring every 20-30 mins.
  6. Take the lid off and continue simmering until the sauce reduces by at least half (another 1-1.5 hrs). It will turn into a lovely rich, thick, glossy gravy, and the beef will be super tender. Remove the lemongrass chunks and obvious spices towards the end of cooking – you will miss some, but that’s ok. Also, keep an eye on it as it thickens — the bottom can get a bit crusty, so stir more often, scraping at the bottom, until it’s as thick as you want (it should be thick, but not dry).

Yeah, that’s it. It takes a while to simmer down, but prep is pretty quick once you get the hang of it. Serve with rice and naan. A cooling yogurt chutney never hurt (have yogurt on hand either way, in case you overdo the spices a bit.)

The end. Send me a note (@dria on Twitter) if you have questions or feedback! *kissyface emoji* *thumbsup*

Lemongrass chunks