Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Grüb of pork, cabbage, apples, walnuts, and more

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The Wife really doesn’t like the term “grub” very much. I adopted the word to signify a meal made purely on nutritional principles—to combine nutritionally desirable foods to hit my standard meal template—without regard to what foods they are, other than they’re foods I like. I do often try to find some sort of theme, which indeed helps: the two flops were themeless meals.

So I decided to drop the down-home “grub” and go to the more uptown “grüb” (pronounced “groob“, accent on the “oo“). That’s a made-up word (can you tell?), derived from the phrase “GReens ÜBer alles,” denoting the importance of greens, the center of the meal in this style of cooking.

(The meal template is as follows: not more than 2 tsp oil, 3-4 oz protein, 1/3-1/2 c cooked starch (1/2 c is typically one serving), at least one serving of leafy greens, and vegetables, spices, and herbs to suit, always with allium well represented.)

Today’s grüb was made in the 4-qt sauté pan and has an obvious theme: the pork-cabbage-apple-walnut nexis.

1.5 Tbsp EVOO
1 c. thinly sliced shallots (I just happened to have a lot of already-peeled shallots—you could just as well use a whole large Spanish onion thinly sliced, or (as I originally planned) a sweet onion and a leek or two: but no leeks)

As that sautés, add:

good sprinkling crushed red pepper
big pinch salt
a couple of grindings of black pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Cook over low heat until shallots fully limp and starting to brown. Add:

2-4 Tbsp minced garlic
8 oz boneless pork chop, cut into chunks
3 oz extra firm tofu, small cubes (once I was assembling, I clearly needed more protein)

Sauté while stirring for a few minutes, then add:

1/2 c chicken stock
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Amontillado

And deglaze pan, scraping with spatula. Add:

cooked Minnesota wild rice (I cooked 1/2 cup in 1 c water, and used all that rice in this dish)
1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
1 bulb fennel, quartered, cored, and sliced thinly
2 apples, diced small (I used Gala. I throw away the stem, but use all the rest of the apple.)
1/2-3/4 c English walnuts
1/2 c raisins
1/3-1/2 c black garlic (see update below)
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (suggested by The Eldest—and it seems now essential)
zest and juice of 1 lemon

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until heated, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. I forgot celery again, but there’s little room. I think it’ll be good anyway. I’m going to try it topped with Greek yogurt.

UPDATE: Man, this is good! And I just added black garlic. I got this package.

UPDATE 2: The black garlic and raisins do that little trick I learned from The Son: little surprises. Another: chunks of green olives and coarsely chopped jalapeños (and, of course, jalapeños and green pepper); and so on. And they’re both sort of chewy and sweet, so the difference is more interesting.

The crushed red pepper works extremely well with the spices, which play well with the cabbage and apples and raisins and walnuts—altogether a very nice dish. Next time, understanding the volume better, I’ll get two 8-oz boneless pork chops: this thing is four meals easy. And the Minnesota wild rice was an excellent choice.

The Eldest suggested including Dijon mustard, and so I did and it works perfectly in the dish: essential. Maybe next time the zest and juice of two lemons, though.

UPDATE 3: Comment on the spices:

I thought about cinnamon, decided against it: wise, I think. This dish has a lot of sweetness (apples, raisins, cabbage, black garlic, and—if you use them—sweet onions), and cinnamon combined with sweetness produces a cinnamon-roll tendency unless chocolate is present, whereupon you are directed toward Mexican chocolate. Good idea to avoid cinnamon here.

As it is, the spices used are more ambiguous than cinnamon, often showing up in savory dishes, and the Dijon mustard helps a lot in pushing this more toward savory.

I wanted to start using more spices because of the health benefits. To that end, I’m thinking the next batch will include 1 tsp turmeric, a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 March 2012 at 12:49 pm

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