So, at the market I bought a pork shoulder picnic of about 4 ½ lbs. That day, I prepared about half the roast, boned, with a soy sauce and honey marinade. A new recipe for me and it was pretty good.
Comes the end of the week and the other several pounds of bone in shoulder are at their expiration date. Still OK to cook, but it should not wait until tomorrow. I had no particular plan, it was made up on the fly. I had done lamb shank with cinnamon and star anise but had never considered to try it with pork. Let’s give that a go.
Into the 3 1/2 quart sauce pan goes a small onion simply chunked up. The fat cap I scored with the dull knife at hand after a thorough rinse in the sink. On top of the onions it goes. A cinnamon stick is tossed in and I go in search of the star anise. After a quick search in my secondary storage location (actually on a shelf in my bedroom with the remnants of my restaurant kitchen) I find the fragrant spice in the cabinet with the other regular ingredients. There at the back in a neat zip-lock bag. One radial pod joins the pot. Course sea salt and fresh ground pepper atop the meat followed by a good glug of cider vinegar with the mother.
When I was searching for the anise, I pulled a baggie of dried Japonaisse peppers out so I tossed in a few of them as well. From the refrigerator comes the crushed garlic and I used the dull 7 inch santuku to spoon in several dips. For some reason it seemed reasonable to use my ice tea spoon to add one heap of brown sugar from the bag that had landed on the counter while I was rooting in the cabinet for my anise.
From the freezer I took a baggie of frozen ginger root and hacked a few chunks of it on the counter with the santoku. After including them with the rest I walked the pan to the sink to add enough water to half fill the vessel. Back to the stove on a full flame covered until boiling and reduced to a simmer for three hours I think. I returned several times to turn the meat in the pot and separate meat from the bone as it became tender enough. About an hour into the cook, I found a fairly large tomatillo in the crisper while looking for cheese to snack on so it got washed and quartered so it could join the party.
Spicy, different, unusual, and I like it. Not really sure what to call it except a list of ingredients but I’m O.K. with that.
The evolution of a new recipe in real time. After eating, I wanted to remember just what I had done ergo, 1,2,3.
- (What did I put in that?) Pork with anise ginger tomatillo cinnamon salt pepper japonaisse chile vinegar onion garlic brown sugar
- (O.K. Order of use) Pork with Onion anise cinnamon salt pepper vinegar ginger japonaisse chile garlic brown sugar tomatillo
- (How much of everything? I need measures)
|Pork||Anise||Onion||Cinnamon||Salt||Blk Pepper||Dried chile|
|2 lbs||One pod||one sml||1 stick||To taste||To taste||2|
|glug||2 tsp||2 tsp||1/2 fill pot||1 large||3 hours|
Evolution of a New Recipe
It is not unusual for me to cook this way. I take a look at what I have, consider what else I might have done with similar ingredients, and then just start to cook. As I have stated, sometimes it turns out less than wonderful, but often it is just what I am looking for. What has changed is trying to put down just what happened whether good or bad so I can either fugetaboutit or do it again.
There are ingredients that go in almost everything like salt and pepper. Aromatics like onion and garlic are on that list. I often like some heat and I have at least 6 or 7 kinds of dried or fresh chiles to use. Beyond that it can be a crap shoot. Try new things, new combinations. Experiment and eat well.
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