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Ten recipes a high school grad should know
Though mostly Pear, we’ve gone and created something in the FoodNewsie Kitchen Labs that’s a keeper and wormed its way into the annual tradition of Easter dinner: Easter Apple Chutney. We don’t often have exclusive recipes, so this was a pretty big score made more so by the two other dishes we crafted that fell short by comparison (those are for other posts). This surprise addition to ham became an immediate sensation and it’s a delight to be able to share. Have a look at something new to pair with pork or ham that will moisten better than mustard and add more complex notes than apple sauce alone will and introduce texture like nothing else you’ve ever paired with pork.
Roasting beets is all about time and heat and oil and roasting a beet. It's one of the messiest food preps to take place in the Kitchen Lab, but it's a must-do when beets are in the ingredient list. Happily, no one was made too red from all the craziness this vegetable has to offer.
Many options exist that pair with pork that weren’t examined here like apricot, chestnut, coconut and grapefruit to name a few. Butternut Squash and Celery were used, but they arrived in a soup and still another food that pairs with pork, Beets, requires a quick glance because using it in the first place calls for some legwork. Beets are hard, ugly and make everything that looks at them bright red. In this case, working with beets called for adding some olive oil with the Beet in an aluminum foil wrap and 45-minutes in a 350-degree oven after scrubbing them well in the sink. Roasting beets makes them workable.
This being the inaugural run of the recipe, Apples, Pears and Beets came in at a pound and-a-half to start. From the beginning, a decision was made that Pear, the Red Pear variety in fact, would be the primary setting, so all of the peeled and cored Pear was used. There were two varieties of Apples tested; the variety to make the mix was Pink Lady (having made the grade over Braeburn). The roasted Beet was stewed revealing it to be a very dry vegetable. After more water was added and a top used on the pot and the Beets put to a potato masher, it was removed to its own bowl for taste testing where the Pear and Apple were each already waiting.
If one were to hurriedly make a sketch for cooking times, it might look exactly like the one below I hurried to make while typing this post. The lines aren’t straight, but the lesson learned is that the Apple and Pear could be dealt with at the same time while the Beet was enjoying its time in the oven. Once soft over LOW heat, the Apple and Pear can just wait around on even lower heat. Hindsight shows this pairing for pork and ham could take a total of about an hour and ten minutes maybe leaving your hands free for plenty of other cooking.
After giving it some thought, a diagram makes it look like an hour and about ten minutes would get you to a spot that's even more attractive than the result we got in a fashion that's smarter for roasting, stewing, seasoning and mashing. This illustration, with some luck, will help you make the best use of your time in the kitchen.
Each ingredient was cooked separately for tasting purposes and the final ratio then emerged. For a pound and-a-half of Pear, one would add a half pound of Apple and only about a quarter pound of Beet. In the unscientific way of things, the processed Pear was seen as One Whole unnamed unit – to this we picked a third of the processed Apple from a bowl the same size and a fifth of the Beet available in its own same-sized bowl. So, ONE, a third and a fifth of Pear, Apple and Beet. Along side this mix went a 4 oz package of Goat Cheese rolled in a blend of Four Peppers.
Three ingredients in their carefully taste-tested portions waiting to meet and heat again and get a little mashed once more to create the final product. Most of the liquid you see is from the Pear so there was little need to add water.
What became clear during the final mixing process is that the colors that appear just as the mixing begins are beautiful! With minimal mixing, the Beet pieces, Apple and Pear retain some of their individual colors, light and fresh like Spring pastels before the red beet begins to stain everything red. Best advice is to mix the Apple and Pear first perhaps even processing them together and then gently stir in the beet and stop before the colors homogenize. Just drew that timeline for cooking to better say what I’m saying here… All in all, what results is an addition to pork or ham that takes a turn away from the standard fare of sweet apple and caramel glazes and goopy covers that make “candies” the distraction from the fine flavor of pork and ham and introduces clean zings and Spring flavors and the smooth texture of Goat Cheese in their place.
Meant for every bite, the chutney and goat cheese were place dead center behind the spiral cut ham. They were close at hand but not stealing the show though according to two diners, they soon couldn't imagine a bite of ham without the chutney. Validation for an idea well done!
It was a solid hit at this table and could be a welcomed change of pace for your next pork-centered meal. Thanks for supporting FoodNewsie and enjoy!
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