I am someone who does not believe in using a GPS. While I appreciate that not everyone has a natural sense of direction, I also think you will never learn an area or how to navigate if you are listening to a machine and blindly following the directions. The Office captured my thoughts on the use of GPS perfectly in the episode where Michael drives his car into a lake screaming “the machine knows, the machine knows”. Whether I’m in my home city or off traveling I enjoy the challenge of navigating where I am going, thinking their the direction I should be traveling in. However for some reason when it comes to cooking I don’t always apply that same reliance on intuition. A few months ago I even wrote on the importance of reading and following a recipe. Risking completely contradicting myself I will share a recent recipe failure with you all.
I had pork jowls and cheeks in my freezer that I wanted to use. Being the good wife I occasionally am I thought I would save the cheeks for T. and cook the jowls. Now, much like my absence from the blog, I would like to plead exhaustion and stress for the complete illogical decision process that I’m about to share… In searching ‘pork jowl recipes’ I came across this recipe for Pork Jowl Ragu. Weirdly the recipe now states Pork Cheek Ragu BUT I swear it said jowl before. Maybe I have been more exhausted than I realized :S Okay moving on. Reading the post they interchangeably use cheek and jowl – but it does comment that they are using the same cut used to make guanciale. So I went with the jowl. As I was browning all of the meat I had defrosted (aka enough to feed me for a week and then some) my intuition started nagging at me that a jowl isn’t going to break down to a ragu. The recipe and therefore I was wrong, it should be cheeks. Using jowls doesn’t even make sense, but I blindly followed that recipe right into the proverbial lake.
I guess I stand by my statement that reading a recipe is important BUT it is important to read it and recognize when the recipe is flawed. If not you will end up with a lot of useless meat…
Setting aside the meat mistake the ragu was really really good! Perfect for a
January Winter meal. While I may not have been blogging I have been still cooking and taking photos. So in the immortal words of Meatloaf “Two outta three ain’t bad”
- 2 pounds pork cheeks
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 stalk of celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tbs powdered shiitake mushroom
- Heat oil in a large dutch oven, season meat and sear in batches. Set aside.
- Add celery, carrots, onion and garlic and cook until soft.
- Deglaze the pot with the wine, allow to bubble and reduce.
- Reduce heat and add tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, bay leaf, and thyme. Return pork to the pot.
- Simmer on low heat for 3 - 4 hours.
- Once meat is tender, pull apart in sauce and serve.