Sowing My Caraway Seeds

After spending a good twenty minutes wrestling a chicken that was determined to take anyone intent on cooking it to the bitter end yesterday. (Being beat up by a bird carcass tends to wear one out.) So, for today, I decided that I needed to make something simple, and since the weather here in Las Vegas has turned rather brisk, I settled on having a nice stew with some warm bread for dinner.  Plus, I spent most of today rejunking an old coffee table I found at a garage sale for Kenny's den. Something about decoupage just makes me crave comfort food.

I came across this recipe in an old Martha Stewart food magazine from sometime in the early part of this century. Charisma was barely a toddler at the time, so I'm amazed I held on to this little guy for so long. I remember that the original recipe was pretty good, but a little bit bland for my tastes. (You can give both recipes a try for comparison. The instructions are almost identical since I suck at giving written instructions. I'd love to get your feedback!) I love a lot of complementary flavors, which I discovered during culinary school when a bunch of us held a study session at Whole Foods to practice identifying herbs and spices by sight and smell, so this version really shows that streak in me. 

Pork and Apple Stew

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/2 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1 ­inch cubes
3 tbsp flour
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
4 cups chicken stock*
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lb green cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
1/2 lb new potatoes
2 apples, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes**

In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium ­high heat. Toss pork tenderloin with flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 tsp thyme, and basil. Reserve the leftover flour. Add meat to the pan, and brown, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium ­low, add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, and caraway seeds,b and cook until onion softens, about 3 minutes. Stir in reserved flour. Stir in stock, mustard, garlic, cabbage, potatoes, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add apples, and continue cooking, covered, until apples are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Just before serving, stir in reserved pork cubes and any juices that have accumulated on the plate.

Everyday Food - Martha Stewart

*I used the bones from yesterday's chicken to make some nice chicken stock. It's actually super easy. For every pound of bones, add 2 ounces of onion, 1 ounce of carrots, and 1 ounce of celery to the stock pot. Toss in a bay leaf or two, some peppercorns, and thyme. cover everything with water and simmer on super low heat for a couple of hours. If you have to go to work, throw all of it in a slow cooker on low while you're at work.
**Good ol' Martha recommends Granny Smith's, but I had some Red Delicious's (God, I hope that is correctly punctuated.) in my Bountiful Basket this week, so I went with those. Just be mindful the mealier the apple the quicker it cooks. Also, leave the skin on.


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