Sunday, November 4, 2007

“Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.” Francois Minot

Last month when Tom and I were in Memphis for the weekend, we ate at a small restaurant called McEwan’s On Monroe. I ordered Niman Ranch Pork Osso Bucco served over Cheddar Cheese Grits (it's the South, y'all).

The dish was more than delicious. It was, in a word, amazing to the very last bite. I ate every morsel. Everything else I had to eat that weekend was good, but paled in comparison to the Pork Osso Bucco.

I had never eaten, let alone cooked, Osso Bucco. Veal shanks are hard to come by here in central Arkansas. As a matter of fact, that first time I saw them was about a week ago at the newly opened Fresh Market in Little Rock. And, who would have thought to use pork instead of veal shanks? Certainly not me. I had to try to recreate the dish anyway. Shortly after we got home, I tried to put it together. I looked all over the internet trying to find one definitive Osso Bucco recipe. Of course, the internet being what it is, I wasn't able to find anything definitive. So I just took the ingredients I thought were crucial to the dish, recording each one as I added it and this is the final recipe. I am happy to report that the dish is very close to the original (sorry Mac).

Pork Osso Bucco
by Terri Powers

4 to 6 pork chops, 1-inch to 1-1/2-inch thick
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, medium diced
1 large carrot, medium diced
1 large stalk celery, medium diced
1 cup white wine
1 - 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
3 bay leaves
3 cups chicken broth

I don't know exactly what cut of meat Mac used, but I had a small pork loin roast in the freezer and I cut it into large chops, at least one inch thick each.

Dredge the chops in the flour mixed with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the chops. Brown on both sides and remove from pan to a plate.

Add the onion, celery and carrots to the remaining oil in the hot pan and cook on medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are nicely brown and caramelized, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the white wine, being sure to scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the can of tomatoes (liquid and all), the bay leaves, oregano, fennel, and chicken broth.

I have to admit here, that I didn't use the chicken broth you buy in the can or box and I didn't use chicken broth in this recipe. I buy Minor's Soup Bases at and for this recipe I used 3 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of Minor's Pork Base. I think, however, chicken stock would be the next best thing and would provide a dish very close to mine.

Add the chops back to the pan, along with any liquid that has accumulated on the plate. Cover tightly, turn the heat down to a slow simmer and cook for about 2-1/2 hours, turning the chops occasionally and stirring the sauce. The chops should be very tender.

Remove the lid and simmer for about another half hour until the sauce has thickened slightly. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Serve over Parmesan Grits (recipe follows), although this dish would be just as good over pasta or polenta.

Parmesan Grits
by Terri Powers

2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons instant grits
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Put the milk and butter in a saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium high heat. Remove from the heat and to the hot milk add the instant grits in a steady stream whisking constantly to avoid lumping. Add the parmesan cheese, whisking well. Return the mixture to the heat, turning it to a low flame. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes. It will thicken considerably. Serves 4.

Note: I did not add any salt to this because I think the parmesan cheese is salty enough.


eliza said...

hi Terri, thanks for visiting my blog! i'll come back in the future to read your posts about food from the South!

Nicole said...

omgosh, looks soooo good!

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