Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pork with Cranberry & Raisin Compote

I am obsessed with this month's issue of Food and Wine magazine. It was love at first sight at the newspaper kiosk. The magazine features "New Southern" recipes this month.

In the past week, I have made at least 4 recipes from the pages of the magazine....

Today's recipe is Pork Chops with Cranberry Compote:

One thing I find important in making recipes from magazines is to know exactly what I have on hand. That way I am not tempted by glossy pictures to buy crazy ingredients I will never use again. I have been there before, and it involved me buying a $10 jar of chestnuts that I never used again for a recipe that wasn't all that great. Now I consider much more frugally what I cook from magazines . The second thing to know is that most ingredients in magazines are unusual for their "wow" factor, which means they will either be hard to find or really expensive (or both). In that case, I think it's easy to substitute some other ingredient, and the dish will taste just as delicious. I used to insist on sticking exactly to the recipe, but now that I have some more confidence in my cooking skills, I am not afraid to substitute. 

That brings me to this recipe. The original recipe calls for "barberries." If you are a normal person like me, you probably will have no idea what that is. The recipe acknowledges this and suggests using cranberries. I still didn't have a huge bag of cranberries just floating around my house, so I used a combination of cranberries (picked out from a trail mix on the shelf) and golden raisins (which I did have). The recipe also called for spices which probably not found on everyone's spice rack. Instead of all  of those separate ingredients, I used chinese five-spice powder, which contains a lot of the anise and allspice already. 

Anyway, I would give this recipe a B+. I LOVE the topping - the spice mixture is interesting, and it is definitely hearty (it's thicker because you puree half of the raisins). I think the pork cooking instructions take way too long and the meat was tough. Cook it for less time and substitute cheaper ingredients. That's my take. 

No comments: