Monday, June 12, 2006

Pork in Tomatillo Sauce with Cumin Rice

Here's what I'm fixing for dinner tonight:

First of all here are the ingredients (more or less) – 4 boneless country style pork ribs, 5 tomatillos (peeled – does one peel tomatillos? and cut in half), 4 cloves of garlic, fresh oregano sprigs, juice of one lime, chicken broth, jasmine rice, whole cumin seeds, salt, and pepper, peanut oil.

And here’s what I did: put tomatillos, garlic, and oregano in food processor and puree the stuff. Let it sit on the counter. Take a small pot (or a small frying pan with high sides) and pour in a little peanut oil, not too much. Turn the burner on medium high and let the oil heat up. While the oil is heating, salt and pepper the ribs, back and front. Place ribs in hot pan/pot and sear for about a minute a side (I used tongs to do this). Since my pot was tiny, I did one rib at a time. When the last rib has been seared and is out of the pot, immediately pour in the lime juice. Be careful! Don’t burn your self. When the juice is in and bubbling scrape up the left-behind pork bits with a wooden spoon/scraper/spatula. Put the ribs back into the pot. Add the tomatillo stuff and pour in a little bit of chicken broth to barely cover the ribs. Wait for the liquid to boil, put a top on the pot and leave it askew, and then turn the heat down to low. Let it simmer for about an hour.

Make some rice to serve with this concoction. Get another pot. Pour in a small amount of peanut oil. Add some whole cumin seeds. Heat the oil and seeds over medium high heat and stir. After about a minute (don’t burn the seeds!), add a cup of rice (no Minute Rice, please) and stir. When the rice is coated with oil, add 2 cups of chicken broth. Let mixture come to a boil, cover and turn the heat to low. The rice should be done in about 15-20 minutes depending on your stove.

Serve rice and pork separately or serve pork over rice, depending on how picky your family is. This dreamed up dish is good for about two people. And the verdict? My husband liked the fact that the pork was tender to the point of falling apart, yet the tomatillos added a bright freshness even after being cooked for an hour.

One more thing...what to drink? We are, generally, die-hard red wine drinkers. Tonight was no exception. We had a 2003 Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Picotins from Burgundy producer Domaine Jean-Luc DuBois. Very light with bright fruit. When accompanied by the pork and tomatillos, the fruit increased and the mouth feel seemed fuller. The changes to the wine were amazing with this unorthodox pairing. Experimentation can be a good thing.

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