Eight different vegetables and such heady spices as cinnamon and cumin all contribute to the wonderful flavor and aroma of this hearty stew. Feel free to add other vegetables but avoid adding any strongly flavored vegetables like cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower, or any vegetable that won't benefit from the extended cooking time, often associated with clay pot cooking. If you have preserved lemons on hand, mince them and sprinkle on top of the stew just before serving.
Makes 6 to 8 Servings
2 large carrots, 3/4 inch pieces
2 stalks celery, trimmed, 3/4 inch pieces
2 tablespoons golden or dark raisins
2 cloves garlic, bruised with knife
1 medium leek, trimmed, 3/4 inch pieces
8 ounces peeled, seeded and cubed (3/4 inch) winter squash (butternut, acorn or other type)
8 ounces Yukon gold or other white potato, cubed (3/4 inch)
8 ounces rutabaga, trimmed, peeled and cubed (3/4 inch)
8 ounces turnips, trimmed, peeled and cubed (3/4 inch)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 can (28 ounces) Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish
2 tablespoons minced preserved lemons (optional)
1. If using a clay pot (3-quart) for this recipe, soak the unglazed portion for 30 minutes in cold water, if it's new. If the pot has been used before soak it for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry before using.
2. Combine the carrots, celery, raisins, garlic, leek, winter squash, potatoes, rutabaga, turnip, and olive oil in the bottom portion of the clay pot, or a heavy oven proof casserole. Add the tomatoes, cumin, paprika, and salt. Fold together until blended. Tuck in the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
3. Cover and transfer to a cold oven. Turn the oven to 450°F. and bake for 1 hour 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before removing the cover. Sprinkle with cilantro and preserved lemons. Excellent eaten warm from the oven or at room temperature.
Chinese five spice rub and smoking with wood chips are the perfect antidote for the relatively mild flavor of the pork tenderloin. Because it's so lean brining for 2 hours in salted water is recommended, but not essential. (Read about Brining, page 00). Suggested wood chip flavor are cherry, pecan, or apple.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 pork tenderloins, each about 1 pound
2 quarts water
1/2 cup coarse salt
3 star anise
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons five spice powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons honey
4 strips (3 by 1/2 inch) orange zest, finely slivered
1. Remove the silver skin from the pork tenderloins: Lay the pork out on a cutting board and trim any excess fat. Locate the silver skin which is a long narrow shiny white membrane that runs along the surface of the meat. With the tip of a thin sharp knife make a small cut at the top of the silver skin long enough for you to hold onto the skin with the finger tips of one hand. With the other hand pull the knife, its blade leaning toward the skin, along the skin and parallel to the meat to separate it from the meat.
2. Make the Brine: Combine the water, salt, and star anise in a large bowl and stir to dissolve the salt. Add the pork and a cupful of ice cubes. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, but not longer or the pork may get mushy. The pork can be brined a day ahead, drained and reserved for smoking the next day. Discard the brine and pat the pork dry with paper towels.
3. Set up the smoker: Follow the manufacturer's instructions. Each smoker is slightly different.
4. Place 2 tablespoons of the desired wood chips in the center of the pan (consult manufacturer's instructions to confirm). Place the tray directly on top of the wood chips and then place the rack on top of the tray.
5. Rub each of the tenderloins with 1 tablespoon soy sauce. In a small bowl combine the five spice powder, salt, and pepper and using your finger rub half the mixture into each of the tenderloins. Place on the grilling rack in the prepared smoker folding under the narrow end so the tenderloin will fit. Drizzle each tenderloin lightly with 1 teaspoon of the honey. Sprinkle half of the orange slivers on top of each tenderloin.
6. Close the smoker and place over medium heat or follow manufacture's instructions. Set the timer for 25 minutes.
7. Turn off the heat when the timer goes off and let meat rest in the smoker for 5 minutes. With mitted hands remove the lid and transfer the meat to a cutting board. Cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch diagonal slices and serve.