Rainbows and roundabouts. That’s how it feels. When I started to blog it was merely to record recipes I had on file, and also those I might just cook in the meantime. And to push myself into photographing the results – regardless. The latter has turned out to be the most difficult aspect of photography I’ve ever tried. Partly as the light is as dull as the depths of winter right now. That aside, this is supposed to be fun, isn’t it? The fact I’m even raising doubts and questions about blogging speaks, for me, far louder than any answers could. And there isn’t, ultimately, an answer – certainly not one that I would be happy with. However, what always fascinates is the creative process behind particular recipes. Last weekend is the perfect example where I had cooked a very firm peach in a little water to test if it would be possible to go with within a dessert I’m developing. Yes, it tasted great. So, that was nonchalantly chucked in a salad I was having for sups, only to bite into a stem of rocket (arugula) with a chunk of cooked peach – seriously, who knew they were so good together? Unlike me and blogging!
Boneless Pork Shoulder Steaks, with lemon and sage gravy
FOR THE GRAVY:
- 2 x carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into chunks
- 1 or 2 x celery stalks/ribs, washed, trimmed and cut into chunks
- 3 x organic garlic cloves, root end cut off and discarded, garlic kept whole
- 1 x dried bay leaf, split
- 1/4 x teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 x teaspoon dried sage + the same again (see instructions)
- 5 x whole black peppercorns
- 400ml (0.84 US pt lqd) x cold water
- 1/2 x organic vegetable stock cube
- 2 x tablespoons plain (AP) flour
- 2 x tablespoons oil, half olive oil and sunflower
- 1/2 x lemon, freshly juiced
- 1 x tablespoon sour cream
- 1 x teaspoon set honey
FOR THE PORK STEAKS:
- 2 x boneless pork shoulder steaks, about 200g (7.05 oz) or more for larger portions, marinade in the lemon juice overnight or for at least a couple of hours
- 1/2 x lemon, freshly juiced
- 1 x tablespoon cold water
FOR THE BONELESS PORK SHOULDER STEAKS AND GRAVY:
- Add all stock ingredients to a large saucepan and put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6) with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to No 2 and simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes. Set aside.
- Before marinading the steaks rinse them and pat dry. Place them in a non reactive bowl or container and add the freshly squeezed lemon juice, pouring that through a sieve if necessary to collect pips and pith. After the steaks have marinaded put a heavy-based saucepan or pan/skillet on heat No 3 to seal the meat. When pan is hot add a little oil, then carefully place the steaks in. Do be careful with them at this stage as the lemon can cause the steaks to spit hot oil. Give them at least 5 minutes each side to get them golden in colour, and longer if necessary. Add the tablespoon of cold water, reduce heat to No 1, cover with a lid and cook for up to an hour, depending on the size and thickness of the steaks. When the meat starts to fall apart you’ll know it’s cooked.
- Using a small saucepan add the oil and flour and put on heat No 1. Stir often, and if any bubbling occurs take off heat and allow to cool before putting back on heat to cook out the flour. Repeat this process several times, without allowing the flour to turn brown. When flour is cooked out set aside.
- Add the extra half teaspoon of dried sage to the stock. Put back on heat No 3 and slowly add the flour mixture, stirring constantly. With most stocks I would strain them and then continue with the gravy. This time I decided not to and go with a more rustic approach, which I’m glad of as I actually enjoyed eating the carrots and celery within the gravy itself. If making this do what you think is best. When the stock, now gravy, starts to thicken heat can be reduced to No 2. Add the sour cream and stir through. Then add the honey. My advice is not to season the gravy at this stage. Wait until it’s ready to be served before tasting and adding any seasoning as there’s already black pepper within the stock itself. When the gravy is needed pour it into the pan with the steaks and stir through slowly, trying not to break up the steaks. This will allow the gravy to darken slightly and grab all of the sediment from the pan as well, leading to a much more flavoursome gravy. At this stage do taste and add more dried sage if necessary. It’s flavour can be very pungent and overpowering so only add a pinch or two, allow to infuse before adding any more.
FOR THE SALAD
- 2 – 3 x medium peaches (firm or otherwise), washed, cut in half, stone removed and discarded
- 1 x bag rocket (arugula) leaves
- Feta cheese, small cubes – optional
- extra virgin olive oil – optional
FOR THE RADISH AND DARK CHERRY SIDE:
- 300g (10.58 oz) x onions, halved, peeled, trimmed and sliced crossways into quite thin slices
- 1 x teaspoon dark muscovado natural unrefined cane sugar
- 300g (10.58 oz) x radish, washed, topped and tailed
- about 8 – 12 or more x whole pitted dark Morello cherries
All measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
FOR THE SALAD AND SIDE:
- Put a heavy-based saucepan on heat No 3 and when hot add some oil. Add the onions, put on a lid and allow at least 15 minutes to cook, stirring through very occasionally. Any signs of scorching then do reduce heat. Continue to cook, adding a little more oil if necessary, until the onions are nicely golden. Sprinkle over the sugar, stir through and lower the heat to No 1 to keep them warm.
- If peaches are firm then do allow at least 15 – 20 minutes (if not longer, according to size) for them to cook. Simply add them to a pan with a little oil on heat No 3. Pan-fry on both sides until they start to turn golden.
- With the radishes, put them on heat No 2 or 3 with a little oil. Pan-fry those until golden on both of their cut sides. They should be soft enough to be able to pierce with a fork.
- Prep the rocket leaves if necessary and set aside.
- When the salad and side are needed simply combine individually, as in salad in one bowl and side in another.
- When steaks and gravy are cooked serve with creamy mashed potatoes and the salad and radish side.
All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
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