Monday, February 25, 2008

Pork chops, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, apple compote

Last time I was out at Red Sun farm I bought a couple of pork loin chops, and since the weather was sleet, snow, or rain all day long I decided it was a perfect day for a wintery meal. I didn't bother with a photo since it was basically beige-on-a-plate, but maybe I should have. Maybe I should find the beauty in the muted colors of a local winter meal.

I put some lacto-fermented sauerkraut purchased from Nourishing Provisions, a local cottage business that produces traditional foods, into my soaked Romertopf clay pot, topped it with the pork loin chops (thermometer inserted), and topped that with more sauerkraut. Then into a cold oven and set the oven to 450.

The mashed potatoes I thawed and set into the crockpot on low. The apple compote, onto the stove on the lowest setting.

I've been promising my make-ahead mashed potatoes recipe forever. Which is ridiculous, because it's so simple! Here it is:


5 # potatoes, cut into 2" chunks (peel first if you prefer -- I like to use skins and all.)
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 T salt
4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz sour cream
4 oz butter

Soak potatoes overnight in water to cover. In the morning, drain, rinse until the water runs clear, and place along with the stock and salt into a large pan full of cold water to cover by 2". Bring to a boil and cook until falling apart, about 20 - 30 minutes. Drain and place into the bowl of a stand mixer along with cream cheese and sour cream. Beat until any lumps are gone, maybe five minutes. Turn into a foil-lined crockpot insert, cool, and freeze. Once frozen, you can remove the potatoes from the crockpot liner and rewrap for longer storage if you need your crockpot insert (or just to save space in your freezer.) This will keep in the freezer for at least a couple of months if wrapped well. I generally freeze then wrap in foil, then vaccuum seal in plastic, and it keeps for several months.

On serving day: Unwrap, insert into crockpot liner, and allow to thaw completely. Three hours before serving time, cover and set to low. The mixture may be very stiff, so as it gets close to being heated through you may need to mash in milk, cream, water or stock (your preference) to get the mixture to the right consistency. Just before serving, add the butter, allow to melt, and mash or stir in. Correct seasonings and serve. (For large crowds, I find setting the crockpot on low and serving from it keeps the potatoes from getting cold.)

We drank a very nice Kinkead Ridge Cabernet Franc 2005 which we bought at Dilly Deli, which carries a large number of local wines. Kinkead Ridge, whose wines are also available at The Wine Store, is an award-winning vineyard and winery in Ripley.

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