Saturday, January 13, 2007

Traditional Irish

There's a new Irish restaurant here in St. Louis called The Dubliner. Before my office was moved out to soul-crushing suburbs this month, we ate lunch there a few times. I quickly became a huge fan of the boiled bacon with parsley sauce, and I think I'm finally approaching a quality reproduction at home. To begin with, it's not actually boiled bacon, like you're thinking. This was actually pulled pork loin, I'm pretty sure.

So I bought a pork tenderloin today, and went home and made a vegetable stock. I had to get rid of some old veggies anyway. I used baby portabella mushrooms, zuchinni, boston lettuce, a bunch of parsley, some celery, about 4 carrots, and three bay leaves. Covered it all with water, and then simmered it for about an hour. Then I strained, and threw away the vegetables.

Next, I put the tenderloin in with the stock and about a tablespoon of kosher salt, and started that on a boil for 30 minutes, covered.

I wanted some potatoes to go with this, so I peeled four russetts, and started cooking them like I talked about a couple posts ago.

With about 5 minutes left on the tenderloin, I got out my sauce pan, and started making a roux by melting about 1.5 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a tablespoon of canola oil. I brought that up to medium high heat, and started adding flour until it looked pretty thick (but not too thick). I'm still learning the whole roux thing. It takes practice. Anyway, here's where the magic happened... when the roux was ready for liquid, I took about three ladles full of the broth that the loin had cooked in, and put it in with the roux, stirring furiously to break up the ensuing lumps, and then added about three or four cups of milk, continuing to stir and stir to get those damn lumps out.

Once I had the sauce pretty well blended, I brought the heat up to bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, I washed off a bunch of fresh parsley and chopped it. Use a lot of fresh parsley here. After chopping it, it filled both of my cupped hands. About that time the milk came to a boil. I backed the heat off, and put the parsley in. Then I stirred and stirred and stirred until the sauce evaporated enough that I could turn off the heat to let it thicken by standing.

I pulled the pork by combing it with two dinner forks (one to hold it, one to comb it). Everything turned out really well, but I think the tenderloin would've been more flavorful if I had let it sit overnight in that stock before cooking it. I'll try that next time. Or, maybe an herb marinade with a dash of salt overnight would be better. It seems to be a dry meat, and needs some kind of flavor infusion beyond just boiling it in stock.

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