No, this is why I’m fat. Dot-com.

Inspired by PDX restaurant research, I made a Paisano's run and came home with pork belly & boudin noir for dinner. Stay tuned for dinner...strawberries are involved! #homecooking #CasaPuerco

While researching food things for our Pac NW trip this year I came across Raven & Rose in Portland, OR. Their menu has everything I love – offal, seasonal things, and an interesting selection of entrees including (currently) rabbit prepared two ways, lamb, and black cod. All my favorites.

On their appetizer list I spotted “Blood Sausage & Pork Belly; Rhubarb, Grits.” I figured since it was a seasonal spot it wouldn’t be there come September, so I decided to make it for dinner. I usually try to replicate dishes I’ve already eaten at restaurants but this was a stomach emergency – we won’t be there for three more months!

I’ve only seen rhubarb at the farmer’s market, so I decided to substitute balsamic strawberries, and to serve shaved asparagus ribbons on the side.

So here’s how I made dinner from a menu item, without a recipe.

Blood sausage: Paisano’s sells boudin noir. Just grill that shit. However, don’t make the mistake I did. You’re supposed to poke little holes in the casing with toothpicks to let the steam escape. Since this was my first time making it (and surprisingly, Chef RayRay had never made it in culinary school) I didn’t know, and one of the sausages popped and all the bloody fatty filling escaped. WAAAAAAAHH. The other one was fine until I tried to slice it on the cutting board and it flopped onto the floor leaving a trail of mealy black mess. Not to worry, I scooped it back up and promised to not eat the casing.

Pork belly: Paisano’s also sells that. I cut it into more manageable pieces and used my leftover 5-spice/brown sugar rub, which I added a bit more salt to. Then I slow roasted it in the oven at 300 degrees for about an hour. I also added some cayenne pepper and paprika to the rub.

Rhubarb-now-strawberries: Dice strawberries and add some good balsamic vinegar and fresh black pepper. Set aside. You can also top good vanilla gelato with this mixture.

Grits: prepare according to directions. I brought some water to a boil and added salt, then the cornmeal. Add milk and butter. Freshly ground pepper.

To serve, grits on the bottom. Then top with sausage and pork belly. Then the strawberries. The blood sausage becomes the sauce, and the richness from the meat is cut by the balsamic and strawberries.

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For the asparagus on the side, I made a dressing with lemon juice, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, and smashed roasted tomatoes. I made this ahead so the asparagus could marinate a little bit.

Lots of beer for drinking. I have Innis & Gunn and Shiner Ruby Redbird. I still cannot drink that Redbird but Innis & Gunn never disappoints.

Despite the one busted sausage, everything turned our really yummy. The blood sausage is made with pig’s blood, jowl, peppers, and spices. It’s fatty and savory and I definitely want to get more, now that I know how to cook it properly.

We had quite a bit of pork belly leftover, so I made a Vietnamese dinner out of it using rice noodles, chopped peanuts, scallions, and homemade nuoc mam. Fish sauce, rice vinegar, water, sugar, thai chile, and sugar:

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