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June 29, 2014

Food Thread: The Vagaries of Cooking [CBD]


Last week I posted my standard brined pork chop recipe, which I have often used with mostly excellent results. But there are other brine recipes for pork that call for much more salt, and I have used them as well, with varying degrees of success. One in particular, from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home, calls for an 8:1 ratio of water to salt, and that is quite salty indeed!

What is frustrating is that sometimes it is spectacular, and sometimes it is simply too salty. But there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the amount of salt the meat absorbs. Obviously the amount of water in the flesh at the start wlll affect the outcome, and the amount of salt in that water will too.

But these are not easily measurable quantities, so what's an earnest amateur to do?

It's obvious: go to dinner at somebody else's house. Have an absolutely spectacular pork roast and steal the recipe.

Wined And Brined Pork Rib Roast

[from TasteFood ]

For The Brine:

4 quarts water
1 bottle of dry white wine (my friend used Sauvignon Blanc)
1 cup light brown sugar
6 ounces Kosher salt
8 Sage leaves
4 Rosemary sprigs
4 Bay leaves
1 teaspoon Juniper berries
1 teaspoon black Peppercorns
1 pork rib roast (I like the rib end)

For the Roast:

2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh Rosemary
1 tablespoon black Peppercorns
4 Sage leaves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine 1 quart water and remaining brine ingredients (not the pork) in a pot large enough to hold the roast. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat, stir in remaining 3 quarts of water and cool completely. Add pork. If pork is not entirely submerged, add additional water to cover. Cover pot and refrigerate at least 24 hours and up to 4 days.

3 hours before roasting, remove the pork from the brine and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and refrigerate, uncovered.
Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before roasting. Smash garlic, rosemary, peppercorns and sage leaves in a mortar with pestle. Whisk in mustard, lemon juice and olive oil. Smear the paste all over the pork. Place on a rack in a baking pan. Roast in a preheated 400 F. oven until an instant-read thermometer registers 140 F. Let the pork roast rest 20 minutes before carving. Serve garnished with sage leaves and lemon wedges.

[This is a very dilute brine, and the addition of some alcohol is another variable that confuses the hell out of me. But it worked wonderfully, so I will give it a try. And....our host cooked this on a rotisserie, not in the oven. (CBD)]

The Casino Cocktail

Gin seems to me to be the quintessential summer spirit, but if I have a Gin & Tonic for breakfast I will need something different for lunch.

This seems to be a more contemplative cocktail, more appropriate for a quiet evening at home rather than a boisterous summer afternoon barbecue.

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posted by Open Blogger at 04:15 PM

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