And there I was thinking this post would be about minced/ground turkey that’s on special offer in one of my local supermarkets. Couldn’t see it yesterday. Hardly surprising as it’s not on sale until tomorrow. Duh! Sometimes I just don’t bother to read the fine print. So, in the other supermarket I did my usual of, I haven’t got a clue…what to buy. Then, I spotted very white looking parsnips at half price. Those were grabbed with a small swede/rutabaga and then it was off to the meat section to see what I could find that would be sort of Autumnal.
Haven’t had these leg of pork steaks in months. Yet, they’re not only tasty but also very economical. Plus, they’re very low in fat. And easy to cook. OK, there is a certain amount of faffing around with the gravy. Especially as I don’t have a handheld stick blender (I think they’re called a stab blender in the US). That meant having to rub the gravy through a fine wire metal sieve, initially with the back of a stainless steel soup ladle. Then, rather tediously, the remainder had to be rubbed through with a wooden spoon. Seemed to take for ages, partly as I was starving last night. Worth it, though, as I didn’t even have to thicken the gravy with a beurre manié (a mixture of equal amounts of butter and flour, or in my case olive oil). As gravies go this was a tad too sweet for me – until I sat down to eat. That didn’t last long as I was soon up again to grab one of my favourite mustards, Dijon. Wow, that really did the trick. The only way to flavour this gravy is to add very small amounts of mustard (when it’s ready to go), whisk through and allow to infuse before tasting for any needed extra mustard. Less is definitely more!
Leg of Pork Steak in Gravy, with parsnip and potato mash and pan-fried swede
- rapeseed and olive oil
- 150 – 300g (5.29 – 10.58 oz) x onions (according how sweet the gravy needs to be. Next time I’m going with 200g (7.05 oz) ), peeled and chopped
- 1 x celery stalk, washed and cut into small dice
- 1 x dried bay leaf, ripped
- ½ x scant teaspoon dried thyme, preferably 2 or more stems of fresh thyme (not wooden stems, though)
- 1 x level teaspoon dried parsley
- pinch cayenne pepper – optional
- 1/2 – 1 x green jalapeño chilli (according to how spicy the gravy will be), washed, cut in half, deseeded and pith removed
- 200ml (0.422 US pt lqd) x water OR 200ml (0.422 US pt lqd) cooking liquor from boiling both the potatoes and parsnips
- 1/2 x organic vegetable stock cube
- single/light cream, for both gravy and mash
- Dijon mustard, for the gravy (I literally only used the tip of a teaspoon dipped into the mustard jar, whisked through the gravy and tasted. That was enough for mine.)
- 1 x 275g (9.70 oz) x pack of leg of pork steaks, or more if a lot of meat is needed
- 200g (7.05 oz) x new potatoes per person, scrubbed
- 200g (7.05 oz) x parsnips per person, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 x small swede/rutabaga, sliced crossways into steaks about 1 cm (½inch) thick, skin removed
- freshly snipped chives for the mash – optional
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Put a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 3 (out of 6). When onions are ready and the pan is hot pour in enough oil to cover its base. Add the bay leaf and allow to infuse. Add the onions and stir frequently. When they start to turn a pale golden reduce heat to No 2. Add the celery and jalapeño chilli, if using, and continue to fry, stirring often. When the onions are turning golden reduce heat to No 1. Push the onions to the sides, pour in a glug more oil if necessary and add the garlic. Allow several minutes for the garlic to cook out its rawness.
- In the meantime prep the stock. I used the cooking liquor from boiling both the parsnips and potatoes together.
- Pour the stock into the onion mixture, add the thyme and parsley and a pinch of cayenne pepper if using, up the heat to No 4, then simmer on heat No 2. Take off heat, remove the bay leaf and chilli pieces (and fresh herbs, if using), and allow to cool slightly before using a handheld stick blender to purée the gravy. When that’s done pour through a fine wire metal sieve into a separate saucepan or suitable bowl and gently rub the gravy mixture through. I used the back of a stainless steel soup ladle initially, then swapped to a wooden spoon, scraping off any purée from underneath the sieve. More cooking liquor or stock can be used to thin the gravy. I added a little single/light cream at this stage. Put back on low heat until the steaks are ready. Also, add the Dijon mustard: I literally only dipped a teaspoon into the jar of mustard, add that small amount, whisked the gravy and allowed time for the mustard to infuse. For mine that was sufficient. Go very sparingly with the mustard initially, adding more if needed.
- In the meantime prep the swede: they are brutes to slice into steaks so perhaps use a t-towel to cover the hand that isn’t using a sharp chefs knife. Trim them off their skins and rinse. Put a heavy-based saucepan or pan/skillet on heat No 2 with a little oil. When pan is hot add the steaks, cover with a lid and leave them for about 10 minutes before turning them over. Then I usually cook them on the same heat without the lid until nicely golden on both sides, turning heat down if necessary, and they are easily pierced with a fork.
- When potatoes are ready add them to a large saucepan with plenty of lightly salted cold water. Bring to a boil on heat No 4, then simmer on No 2. Meanwhile, prep the parsnips and carefully add them to the potatoes. Simmer until all are well cooked, but not mushy. Drain and allow time for steam to dry off. Mash, adding a little single/light cream and freshly ground black pepper and sea salt with a drizzle of evo oil (I don’t really want to use butter here with the Dijon mustard). When needed create a sort of bain-marie by adding about 5 – 6 cms (about 2 inches) of cold water. Add the mash to a suitable bowl (I used a Pyrex bowl but either stainless steel or porcelain should be OK), place inside and put on heat No 4 with a lid. When boiling point is reached reduce heat to No 2 and simmer, checking on the level of water occasionally, until potatoes are piping hot. Take off heat, carefully lift out the bowl and stir well. This is a great way of reheating mash, to the extent that it tastes like freshly made.
- With a kitchen mallet tenderise the steaks by clobbering them until a desired thickness (preferably equal) is achieved. Apart from that the steaks are exceptionally easy to cook: put a heavy-based pan/skillet on heat No 4, allow to become hot before adding any oil. Add the steaks and reduce heat to No 3. Put on a lid and pan-fry for about 5 minutes before turning the steaks over. Continue to do this, without the lid and reducing heat if necessary, for a further 15 minutes, turning them over ever 5 (as this is pork I prefer to overcook rather than under). When nicely golden on both sides take off heat, wrap in tinfoil and let rest until gravy, mash and swede are ready. Add a little of the gravy to this pan, once the steaks have been removed, and stir well with a wooden spoon to grab all of the sediment – that flavour goes a long way. Pour back into the gravy, adding a splash of water to the pan to remove all of the sediment. Stir well before serving.
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