Monday, October 09, 2006

A Pork Filled Weekend

After an eye exam on Saturday (apparently all of this graduate schooling isn't good for the eyes), Stephanie and I stopped into a small Latin grocer and picked up a couple of pork cuts not seen at the yuppie markets. That night we roasted a saddle of pork with root vegetables. The saddle is the part on the top of the animal where the loins come together. It is like two very thick pork chops connected in the middle by the backbone. I had a bottle of Dr. H. Thanisch Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2004 open from the previous night that matched superbly. Kabinett is the driest of Germany's sweet rieslings, but it is still far too sweet for Stephanie's palate. It was an excellent wine, with stone fruit flavors, a wild honey sweetness, and a pleasantly lingering acidity.

Last night I braised a pork belly. Regular blog readers will know of our love for the pork belly sandwich at Blackbird, and, fortunately, I was able to locate a recipe online by Blackbird chef Paul Kahan. The belly is the same cut of meat that bacon comes from. It's enormously tender and flavorful, and a bit fatty. The pork is seared on both sides to render some of the fat and then mirepoix and white wine are added to deglaze. Finally, a bit of chicken stock and bouquet garni, and the whole thing is roasted uncovered in a 325F oven for 2.5 hours. Stephanie prepared a delightful side dish of wilted escarole with green peas. She even toasted some bread and smeared it with butter and mayonaise to imitate the Blackbird sandwich. Everything was supremely delicious. Earlier that day at Sam's we had picked up a bottle of J-P Granier Coteaux du Languedoc les essentielles 2001 on sale. Unfortunately, it tasted like something from California or Australia rather than the Languedoc we had hoped for. Far too ripe, alcholic, and glycerin-y to go well with pork. Another riesling, like the Wehlener or perhaps from Alsace, would have been a much better choice.

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