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Friday, October 24, 2008

Pork And Sweet Pepper Stew With Fried Colcannon Cakes.

This is a typical 'clean out the 'fridge' dish. I had no idea what I was going to do for dinner tonight until i started poking around what was left in the 'fridge. I first found some pork that I had bought in bulk and portioned and froze a while ago. Then I went into the the vegetable drawers and found the rest of what I needed, some yellow ,red and green peppers and some mushrooms. An accompaniement was the next challenge, I had eaten enough rice this week and mashed potatoes seemed too mundane. I thought of doing a puree of celeriac for a change. I saw some beautiful big roots yesterday in Safeway. I then remembered that they were $3.00 per pound and these were big roots. I would have spent at least seven dollars on a starch. ......... I went rooting in the fridge again and found some baker potatoes and some collard greens. I then thought of that old irish dish called 'colcannon' and then I thought of a variation on an old french potato we used to do and the whole thing came together..................... in the end dinner cost me absolutely nothing and it was very good. These are the kind of hearty stews that go down well on these 'getting chilly' evenings. The pork is sauteed at mid heat until golden brown all over. You then add some sliced onions and cook them with the pork until they are translucent and then add the peppers. Repeat the process until the peppers are soft but not too well cooked. Deglaze the lot with a little vinegar to counter the sweetness, add some tomato paste and then cook until all the tastes are combined. Add some chopped garlic, bay leaf and thyme and then a little flour. Finally add some water or stock bring to the boil and put in the slow cooker on a low or high heat. When cooked, remove the meat and vegetables , put the sauce in a pot and reduce to a nice consisitency , combine the dish and at this point ,add the mushrooms, allow to rest and voila.
The moral of this dish is that even though you may not think you have anything in the house for dinner you almost always do. If you have eggs and vegetables you can make omelettes and fritatas; there is almost alway dry pasta in the cupboard and some kind of vegatable in the fridge so a pasta dish is easy to make. A good freezer is important because you can buy chickens and things like that on sale then portion and freeze them. Once you have a chicken you invariably have the makings of some kind of dish or soup. There is always the possiblitly that you have what you need to make something and most of the time the biggest ingredient is a sense of adventure and a little bit of imagination

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