Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pork, Apple & Rice Jumble (or Beef or Chicken..)

We are born believing. A man bears beliefs as a tree bears apples. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is actually a jumble, but a good one...
What’s in your ‘fridge? That's a question most of us ask ourselves come mealtime. What can I make that's good and not too boring? If you’re looking for a recipe that’s a little unusual you’ve found it. It's a conglomeration of a lot of things. I honestly didn’t know what to call it at first – except tasty.

Flexibility. That’s what this recipe is all about. If you have some meat you can probably use it in this. Any of the three meats listed above can be substituted with great success. Apple goes well with all of them. The rest of the ingredients are pretty much kitchen staples.

Granny Smith Apples. Photo: artizone, Flickr ccl
I was looking for something to do with a pound of pork I had thawed out (yes, pork again…) and thought of making a stew. But what can you do with stew? Put together some vegetables, liquid and meat and away you go.

Although stew is excellent it's kind of run-of-the-mill. There had to be some way to inject some excitement into dinner, so I started to think (always dangerous...).

Apple goes very well with pork. The other ingredient that is often used with pork is sage. Those three together were a good start.

Believe it or not I first thought of using beer as part of the liquid but I dismissed that notion. Beer and apples? Maybe not so good. So I settled on apple juice. It would boost the apple flavour and it's good for you to boot. Not that the occasional beer isn’t…

Why the unusual name? Truth is, I didn't really know what it was. Almost all of the liquid is absorbed by the time the rice has finished cooking. So this is not a stew, it’s not a soup certainly, and it’s not a jambalaya for the obvious lack of spices.

But I like the sound of the word jambalaya, and "jumble" is akin to a stew, or mishmash, or olio. So jumble it is. Pork Jumble.

So what does it taste like? The apple adds a hint of sweetness that goes incredibly well with the meat. Sage adds the necessary herbal flavours to counteract the sweetness. The apple juice also acts as an acid to tenderize the pork as it cooks. That was an added bonus. And the rice rounds it out to a filling one-pot meal.

This is a delicious dish that can be ready in about 35-40 minutes. I may make Jumble again soon…maybe with beef.

Almost all the liquid is absorbed by the rice.
Pork, Apple & Rice Jumble
Prep: 10 min  |  Cook: 25 min  |  Serves 4
1 tbsp butter
1 lb your chosen meat, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium carrot, small dice
1 celery rib, small dice
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups apple juice
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup basmati rice, uncooked
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp pepper

Heat the butter in a large stock pot or Dutch oven.

Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Fry in the butter until slightly browned. Season with some salt as it cooks. Remove to a dish.

Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and sauté until the onions begin to soften. They have to be small enough to cook in 15 minutes, so not too big. Then add the pork back in.

Add the stock and apple juice and bring to a boil. Then add the sage and pepper. Stir in the rice, reduce the heat to medium and let cook for 15 minutes.

When the rice is done most of the liquid will be absorbed. There should still be some glistening broth in the mixture. Taste and adjust the salt.

Serve in bowls with crusty rolls with butter.


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