Magazine Street Pork Stew from Paul Prudhomme
In a couple of weeks I will be posting my 1000 recipe. While leading up to that, I wanted to publish a few recipes from some of my favorite chefs. This week is Paul Prudhomme. Both of these pork dishes can be found in his Louisiana Taste cookbook. Here are a couple of notes from the chef: "Don't worry if you can't find pork stew meat- just buy boneless pork loin chops and cut them into the correct size yourself. You will notice we call for "5 to 6 cups pork Stock" because if your stove puts out a lots of BTUs and your food cooks fast, you may need an extra 1/2 or 1 cup, but if your stove is not a dragon, you won't. The important thing is to have the liquid at the right "stew" consistency, thicker than a soup but thinner than a gravy."
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound pork stew meat cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 cups seeded and chopped green bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped celery
5 to 6 cups pork stock, in all
2 cups peeled yucca root cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup seeded and chopped red bell peppers
1/2 cup seeded and chopped yellow bell pepper
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl.
In a heavy 4-quart pot, heat the vegetable oil over high heat just until it begins to smoke, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pork evenly over the bottom of the pot and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix over it. Cook for 2 minutes without stirring, to allow the meat to release some of its fat, which helps keep it form sticking. Now stir well, coating the meat on all sides with the oil, and cook for 4 minutes. You'll notice that the oil has combined with the meat fat and that the mixture is brown and bubbling. Remove the meat from the pot and set it aside. Notice that the small amounts of ginger and mustard in the seasoning mix add a subtile hint of the exotic that really makes the meat taste great.
To the same pot, add the onions, green bell peppers, celery, and the remaining seasoning mix. If necessary to keep the browned bits from burning, add 1/2 cup of the stock and use it to deglaze the pot. Stir well, then cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, stir the mixture well, and scrape the bottom of the pot. The vegetables now have acquired that wonderful caramelized sweetness that I like to achieve by cooking over high heat to add a rich, complex taste to the final dish. Stir in 1 cup of the stock, re-cover, and cook until the vegetables wilt and stock slightly to the bottom of the pot and the liquid is absorbed, about 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover and add 1 cup of the stock and stir well. Re-cover and cook until the liquid is level with the vegetables, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in the yucca with a folding motion, mixing it with the other vegetables. Re-cover and cook until the mixture starts to thicken and bubble like little volcanos, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in the garlic, re-cover, and continue to cook, uncovering to stir and scrape the bottom of the pot every 3 minutes, until the liquid is very thick and sticking to the bottom, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add 1 cup of the stock and the red and yellow bell peppers. Scrape the bottom of the pan, re-cover, and cook for 5 minutes, at that time the peppers will have lost some of their bright color and"raw" taste. Uncover and stir in 1 1/2 cups of stock, the reserved meat, and any accumulated juices. Re-cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovering to stir frequently, until the yucca is tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover, add 1/2 cup of the stock, and cook, uncovered until the liquid is very thick and beginning to stick, and the yucca is cooked all the way through. To determine if the yucca is fully cooked, remove a piece and cut it in half - there will no longer be an opaque section in the center when it is done., fo the entire piece will be translucent. This last step will take between 8 to 20 minutes, depending on the freshness (and therefore the water content) of the yucca. if it takes close to 20 minutes for the yucca to be fully cooked, you may wish to add the final 1/2 cup stock. Serve hot.
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