I have a wee announcement to make:
This is the best recipe in Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking!
There. Cue the debate . . . .
Here we are on page 419 of Marcella's Italian cookery 'bible' and I do believe that I have found the 'best' recipe. Sure, I have some more to go but for whatever reason I think that this is the favourite thing I have cooked to date and I'm not sure that the sauteed lamb kidneys coming up are going to top it.
This was a surprise. One reads the title and thinks . . . 'Pork with vinegar and bay leaves? So what?'
The ingredients listed don't really provide an inkling of the culinary delights ahead should one pull this together. In fact, the only ingredients NOT listed in the title are butter, oil, salt, and peppercorns. You wouldn't think that culinary genius lurks amongst that short, simple, list.
You would be wrong. 7 ingredients can work wonders.
That is it campers. 7 ingredients. Done. 7 ingredients that I bet many of you have in your home right now.
Hint, hint, hint . . . MAKE THIS!
Essentially (pun sort of intended) you are directed to brown the pork all over in butter and oil and then slowly braise it in the vinegar with bay leaves and crushed peppercorns until the pork is cooked through to perfection. Like all slowly braised dishes, this is not on the table in 30 minutes. I think that I spent about 90 minutes working in the kitchen until this served up to rave reviews.
I believe the comment was 'this is the BEST ******* Pork I have ever had!' (edited for our family friendly audience but you get the picture.) Note to self . . . don't start pouring the wine for dinner companions until AFTER their feedback on the dishes has been received.
Of course, the wonderful thing about braised dishes is that once they are in the pot and slowly cooking away you can work on other things while resisting the temptation to peek under the lid every 5 seconds at whatever in that pot is filling the house with the most promising scents.
In this instance, I took the opportunity while the pork was cooking to make the sunchoke gratin and baked red beets that I'll chat with you about on January 1st (thank god I did this one ahead because you just know I'll be nursing a headache on New Year's Day!) and March 26th respectively. I also roasted some fingerling potatoes and dinner, as they say, was served.