The Final Choice
I mentioned in my prior post the fact that I had the chance to review "Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef" and I promised to share the recipe I chose.
It wasn't easy to choose just one recipe. There was a cracker recipe I was interested in. I am beyond tired of paying almost six dollars for a four-ounce package of gluten-free crackers.
The cracker recipe contains cornmeal for sprinkling on the pan. Shauna mentioned that not all cornmeal is gluten-free due to manufacturing practices. I immediately checked my bag of cornmeal and read the dreaded words "contains flour." Ugh. I've been cooking with that cornmeal for a while now. While I will probably cook the crackers next, they were not the recipe I chose.
I then eyeballed the recipe for millet tabouleh. My husband loves tabouleh. I made it for him once about twelve years ago, but it didn't come out right. So I was eager to try Shauna's recipe. But I didn't pick that one either.
The recipe I finally tried was pork paprika. My reason for choosing this dish was I wanted to cook something the whole family could enjoy. The recipe itself was for veal paprika but the directions said it was okay to use pork. Pork butt was on sale for ninety-seven cents a pound that week. I only had to buy fourteen pounds to get that deal! Have I mentioned how grateful I am for my freezer?
The recipe called for pork, kosher salt, pepper, EVOO, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, smoked or sweet paprika, Piment d'Espelette (optional), dry white wine, chicken or veal stock, mushrooms, sour cream and chives (optional).
Shauna recommended making your own stock. I haven't done this in a while because I have been sacrificing flavor for convenience. Homemade stock really is better. I usually use carrots, chicken, onion and salt in my broth. If I have celery I add it also. But I added fresh rosemary from my friend Lhia's garden this time. It added a complex and delicious flavor my stock had never had before. It was the best stock I had ever made.
My prior rosemary experience was not good. A friend had made mashed potatoes with rosemary in them and they were disgusting. So I had sworn off rosemary, assuming it was a vile spice. However, rosemary was mentioned a lot in this cookbook so I decided to give it one more try. I'm so grateful I did. Rosemary rocks as long as it isn't in potatoes! Thank you, Lhia!
I had a few missteps with the recipe. The first misstep was when I made my stock. I used my soup pot to make it. It cooked for two hours and I was left with two cups of stock. I needed a quart. So I started another batch and made two more cups.
However, my daughter was coming down with a cold and I thought some chicken stock would be just the thing. She loved it, but then I needed more stock. Finally the light bulb in my brain came on and I hauled the STOCK POT out of the dusty cupboard it had been relegated to. Amazing thing, that stock pot.
After I had my stock, I could start my recipe. Hooray!
I seasoned and seared the meat and removed it from the pan. I sauteed my vegetables, except for the mushrooms and green onions. Then I added the paprika. I used sweet paprika, not smoked, and I left out the Piment d'Espelette.
Then I poured in the wine, scraped the yummy goodness from the bottom of the pan and cooked until the wine was reduced by half.
Next the stock went in the pan. I heated it to a boil and added my meat. Then I simmered the stew until the meat was fork-tender, about two hours.
But it wasn't done yet. After the meat was tender, I threw out the vegetables and set the meat and liquid aside. Then I sauteed the mushrooms, more carrot, onion and garlic for about ten minutes, added the liquid back to the pot and brought it back to a boil. I was supposed to simmer it for another fifteen minutes to reduce it more, but I had been smelling the stock all day and I was too impatient to wait anymore! I know, it was only fifteen more minutes, but I was HUNGRY from those good smells all day.
Rather than whisking in the (tofutti) sour cream, we each put an individual dollop in our bowls with chopped chives sprinkled on top. We served it over mashed potatoes.
The pork paprika was delicious, easily one of the best meals I have ever cooked. My husband commented on the fact he could taste how it had cooked all day, melding all the flavors together. I am excited to see if all the recipes taste this good. I will absolutely be making this dish again and I promise to let it finish the last fifteen minutes of cooking even if my husband has to restrain me with duct tape.
I recommend this cookbook if you are a foodie, gluten-free or not. If you had a dinner party, these are the recipes that would wow your friends. The only problem with a dinner party would be having to share. Thanks for reading!