Thursday, 24 May 2012

The ham is dead, long live the sausages !

The devastating news is that our version of Serrano Ham has gone before it arrived. The flies got to it despite it being wrapped in a double layer of muslin and then surrounded in chicken wire. Emma noticed that it didn't look quite right and when I unwrapped a bit, it was like something out of Iain Banks' "The Wasp Factory". If you haven't read it, then suffice to say it was a writhing mass of maggots, casters and flies. So, lessons learnt for these wanna be smallholders; build a box that flies can't get into, then wrap it up but most importantly, start the curing in Autumn rather than Spring. The next piggies will be ready in late September and I'm determined that we'll get it right this time!

If only it looked like this!!

It's my Son & heir's 2nd birthday this weekend, so we're going to make a few sausages for the barbecue. Haven't quite decided between good old fashioned porky porkers or something a little more exotic; you'll be the first to know when we do!

It's been a scorcher in Sussex so it has been a few salads this week; Asian Beef Salad last night (thinly sliced grilled rump steak mixed in with bean shoots, peppers, coriander, mint and onion. I made a dressing from fish sauce, lime juice, light soy, chill sesame oil and chopped chillies).
We also had a salad with Asparagus, Bacon, Lettuce, toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, olives, soft boiled eggs and manchego. Yummy.

However, today's recipe goes back a couple of weeks but I've been meaning to post it because it was really tasty.

Pork Chops & Spanish Pearl Barley Risotto

Serves 2 as a main course

2 Pork Chops (we had them from our own Gloucester Old Spot).
Pearl Barley.
1 large Red Pepper - sliced.
Marinated red pepper (from a jar) - thinly sliced (can be omitted)
Small Brown Onion.
2 cloves Garlic.
Pimiento (Spanish paprika - hot or sweet, both are good)
Knob of Butter
Olive Oil
1.5 litres of Chicken Stock (I used Knorr Stock Pots).
Vermouth or Dry White Wine
300g Green Beans (or any other green veggies).
Handful of chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
Black Pepper
Sea Salt

  1. Finely chop the onion and the garlic.
  2. Trim the fat off of the chops or don't!! Depends how you want them. Rub with a little olive oil and season with salt & black pepper.
  3. Heat the stock in a saucepan, keep it on a low heat.
  4. Put the butter & a glug of olive oil in a thick bottomed saucepan.
  5. Add the onions and garlic and cook on a low heat until they soften, don't let them brown. About 10 minutes cooking will do it.
  6. Add about 250g of Pearl Barley and give it a good stir so that is coated in oil.
  7. Add 1.5 teaspoons of Pimiento and give it a good stir.
  8. Turn up the heat and then add about half a glass (100ml) of Vermouth or Dry White Wine.
  9. Keep stirring until the liquid has evaporated.
  10. Turn down the heat to medium / low.
  11. Add a couple of ladles of stock to the Barley and stir. Keep this going, just as you would cook a normal rice risotto.
  12. Keep doing this, adding stock every time the liquid has been absorbed. Cook this way for at least 20 minutes.
  13. Add the sliced peppers to the Barley and stir. Continue to add stock when it is absorbed and cook for another 10 minutes.
  14. Heat a heavy frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a little bit of butter; when it is very hot, add the Pork Chops. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side (they should be nicely browned), then let them stand in a warm place.
  15. Blanch the beans in boiling water for 2 minutes and then drain.
  16. Turn off the heat and add the chopped parsley to the Barley Risotto and then let stand for a couple of minutes;  then taste it. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
  17. Serve the Risotto, place the Pork Chop on top, beans on the side and place a few slices of the marinated peppers on the chops.

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