Pork… Left… Over

Gloucester Olde Spot on the hoofPork… Left… Over, or

Fabulous Pork and Vegetable Saute  

The pork wasn’t that great to begin with. It was a so-called Country Rib, which is the first two ribs from the top of the loin. Carol almost always rubs and roasts that, and there are always leftovers. It tastes more like a pork roast than a tenderloin or pork chop, and it’s fatty enough to be nice and moist and juicy. Yum. But this one seemed like a different cut, with a different texture, more dry and chewy. It was okay, but not Yum.

It’s Saturday evening, not much goin’ on, “What’s for dinner?”

“I want to make this lettuce wedge with Roquefort dressing I saw on TV,” Carol said, “and there’s that leftover pork, but I don’t know what to do with it.”

“I’ll do something with it,” I said, “give me 20 minutes notice before you want to eat.”

I really didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but when it comes to leftover meat, my first move is usually to chop it into little pieces. That’s a good start towards hash, just chop onions and potatoes and stuff and you’ve got it… but that gets boring after a while. I’ve got these baby fennel bulbs that we haven’t used, maybe I’ll try a vegetable thing.

Whenever I’m dealing with leftover, I chop the main ingredient first to see how much I’ve got to work with, and then I can apportion the other stuff accordingly. I’ve got about 3/4 cup of pork.

I sliced two small fennel bulbs, chopped one onion and two green garlic, put them in a sauté pan with olive oil and started cooking. When it sizzled, I turned the heat really low. I want to make the vegetables really soft and caramelized without browning.

While that’s going on, I chopped about a cup of celery. Usually recipes call for “one stalk of celery” (or two or whatever). Lately, I’ve been just chopping from the end, so instead of eating from the outside in, I’m going from the top down. Oh, and the great way to store celery is to wrap it in aluminum foil and stick it in the refrigerator, anywhere. It doesn’t have to go in the crisper drawer. Never goes bad, never gets limp. Anyway, I want the celery to be crunchy, so I’ll add it to the other vegetables later, with the pork.

We’ve got some Sticky Fingers BBQ Sauce left from the Super Bowl Party. I’ll make a little sauce with that. I don’t want too much sauce; I want to taste the fennel. I take about 2 teaspoons of the BBQ sauce and mix in about 3 teaspoons of crème fraiche. Looks good, sort of a nice dusty rose color. I stick my finger in and lick it, tastes good, too.

By now, the vegetables have been cooking for about 15 minutes, so I stir in the pork and the celery for 3 or 4 minutes to get warm, then stir in the sauce to cook a little, while the plates are warming in the toaster oven. There. That’s good.

Recipe: Pork and Vegetable Saute

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small fennel bulbs, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 green garlic, white and green parts, chopped
1 cup celery, sliced
3/4 cup leftover pork
2 teaspoons BBQ sauce of your choice
3 teaspoons crème fraiche (or sour cream or cream)

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
Add the fennel, onion and garlic. When it sizzles, turn the heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft, without browning.

Stir in the pork and the celery and cook for 3 or 4 minutes to get warm. Combine the BBQ sauce and crème fraiche and add to the pan, stirring for about another minute, or until heated through. Serve hot on warm plates.

You know those cooking shows, where at the end the cook takes a taste and says, “Ummmmmm.” That’s what I just did.

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