Real Food for Real Life

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Inspiration from Emeril

Tonight's dinner was all planned- grilled ginger sesame pork loin chops, steamed broccoli, and brown rice tossed with sliced scallions. Very easy and very good for us. After assorted chores, I ventured upstairs and turned on the television while getting ready, catching a portion of an episode of Emeril Live. Emeril was cooking dishes from Spain, and the particular dish I caught the end of was an apple cider braised chorizo - "hmmmn," I said to myself, "that certainly sounds good." Later in the kitchen,with the broccoli prepared for steaming, the scallions sliced,and the rice measured out into a pan, it started to rain. As rain and grilling are not happy partners, my thoughts turned again to chorizo. No Spanish chorizo was to be found in the house (we generally eat that up as soon as we get it), but I did find in the freezer a package of Johnsonville chorizo links (it's kind of like chorizo anyway), and in the fridge we had almost two gallons of cider - it was destiny.
Now, how to recreate it with only seeing the end result...a search of the internet revealed only an Emeril recipe for cider glazed pork butt with chorizo seasoning- not quite what I was looking for, There were various recipes involving sausage and hard cider, not the kid friendly kind I had so much of, so the thinking cap went on. First thing, defrost the chorizo in the microwave, then brown it in the oven- easy enough. Butter or olive oil? Butter sounded better for the cider so I went with that. I remembered onions in the served dish so that was easy. Being an Emeril recipe, garlic was a given, as was the use of alcohol, so out came the sherry (which is also very common in Spanish cooking). To cut the sweetness- a bit of apple cider vinegar and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes (yes, I do like to use those in cooking).
For serving I found two baguettes to crisp up in the oven, perfect for those tasty juices I was imagining. In the fridge I also found a wedge of manchego, a Spanish sheep's milk cheese- things were looking better and better. An easy salad of romaine, red onion and grape tomatoes, tossed lightly with a bottled Italian dressing (we like Kraft Tuscan House Italian). Now for the wine (and this meal seemed to call for wine)- I had two Italian whites (Fiano and Pinot Grigio), a dry Italian rose, an Argentienian Malbec, a French Beaujolais, and a cheap American Shiraz- no Spanish rojas, and my sherry was not of a quality that I wished to drink. Not being able to decide, I went with pragmatism and chose the Beaujolais (I had four bottles of this and only one or two of the others). The adventure was about to begin...

Cider Braised Chorizo

1 pkg. Johnsonville fresh chorizo links
1 large onion
2 tbs. butter
minced garlic, to taste
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flakes
2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
crusty bread to serve

Brown the chorizo links on the grill or in the oven; cut thinly on the diagonal and set aside. Peel and cut the onion in half lenghwise, then slice into thin half rounds. Saute the onions in the butter over med-high heat until they turn golden. Add the minced garlic (I used two spoonfuls from a jar of minced garlic), salt, pepper, a sprinkling of peper flakes, and the reserved chorizo slices; saute for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the cider, sherry, and vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the liquid is reduced by half and syrupy. Ladle into bowls and serve with a crusty bread to sop up the juices. Serves 4.

This was absolutely delicious, and the bread was a must for the juices. I think I might be on to something with this one for a Johnsonville recipe contest! Sorry for the lack of pictures with this post, my camera battery died, so these were taken on Ben's phone.

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