Sunday, February 22, 2009

Not Dead, Just Skiing

by Mike Pardus

Summer is for traveling and doing things at the farm, but when winter sets in I become a ski-dad. My daughter races on the junior circuit in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, so almost every weekend is a road trip for practice or to a race. We're lucky enough to have friends whose daughter skis with mine and who own a weekend place near the mountain - a big, rambling ex B+B with a commercial kitchen and plenty of prep space.

Apres ski lends itself to braising - I can make something unctuous on Wednesday in New Paltz, and have it ready to re-heat on Friday or Saturday at the mountain. Usually it's something pretty basic - see past posts on the subject - but this weekend Vietnam met New England. Vietnamese Style BBQ Berkshire Pork Belly Braised in Fish Sauce and Caramel. Served with plain jasmine rice, stir fried cabbage, and plenty of beer, it was a big hit.

Here's how:

Tuesday:

5# Fresh Pork Belly (butt or shoulder would work also)

4 Tablespoons Chinese 5 spice powder
1 cup Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce
1 cup Hoisin sauce
1/2 cup Fish sauce

Combine Sauces
Rub Pork with 5 Spice Powder
Slather sauce combo onto pork
Let marinate over night

Wednesday:
Set oven at 300F
Place marinated pork on rack over drip pan
Slowly roast pork until meltingly tender (about 2-3 hours)
Cool Pork

Thursday:

Make caramel from 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water - combine, bring to a boil, simmer until deeply amber, add 1 tablespoon of cool water to arrest browning, remove from heat but keep warm and fluid

Cut cooked Pork into lardons about 1"x 1/2"
6 Shallots, sliced thin
8 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 quart Chicken (or pork) stock
4 oz caramel
4 oz fish sauce
1 Tablespoon cracked black pepper

Sweat shallots and garlic in a bit of vegetable oil until pale golden
Add black pepper
Add all of the other ingredients
Bring to a simmer and cook slowly for about 1/2 hour.
Cool in the pot

Friday:

Pack the kid in the car with the dog and the skis remember to keep dog away from Pork pot
Drive to ski house
Open Beer #1
Reheat contents of pork pot while consuming beer #1
While pork reheats, make steamed rice and cabbage stir-fry
Plate Rice, and cabbage, spoon generous amounts of pork and sauce over both
Sit with friends in front of fire place
Open more beer
Eat

It turns out that the Ski house is just down the road from Dan Barber's Blue Hill farm...haven't been there yet, but race season is almost over......I'll be looking for new things to explore.

Hey BdG - See ya tomorrow at CIA!