Mushroom Pork Escalopes with Sweet Red Cabbage and Diced Roast Potatoes

On a Saturday morning not too long ago I decided I would make escalopes for a nice late lunch. So off I went to the supermarket. I set off to buy veal for this recipe, but when I got to Tesco I quickly realised they had no veal, looked for lean pork steaks, and couldn’t find those either, so resorted to buying small lean pork medallions and flattening them at home. Pork meat works just as perfectly as veal in this recipe so that’s fine. I was actually quite excited about getting medallions in the end as that meant I’d get to use the very, very, very old meat pounder I nicked from my Grandma’s kitchen over Christmas. Here it is:

vintage meat pounder

If you don’t have one, you could always use a small metal pot or saucepan.

What you’ll need:

For the roast potatoes

  • 3 medium-sized Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Mixed herbs
  • 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh lemon thyme

 For the sweet red cabbage

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbs oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ red cabbage
  • 2 tbs raisins
  • 2–3 tbs balsamic vinegar (ideally aceto balsamico di Modena)
  • About 100 ml water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbs butter
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

For the escalopes

  • 6 small lean pork medallions
  • 5 tbs flour
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2/3 of a mushroom stock cube
  • 100 gr mushrooms
  • ½ to 1 glass of hot water
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh lemon thyme

Preparation:

Preheat oven to gas mark 7/425°F (220°C). Wash, peel and chop the potatoes into fairly small cubes (about 2 in). Place them into a roasting tin and add the oil, herbs, lemon thyme and a generous sprinkle of salt. Place the tin in the oven and cook them for at least ½ hour, or until they are all golden, soft inside and crunchy outside.

While the tatties cook away, peel off the outer leaves of the cabbage. Now slice the half cabbage thinly (between ½ and 1 cm thick) and set aside. Slice the red onion and place in a pan where you’ve been heating the oil. Gently fry the onion until it’s soft and add cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook for another minute to let the spices release all their flavour, then add the cabbage, raisins, bay leaves, vinegar and water. Cover and bring up to the boil, then turn the heat down and let simmer until the cabbage is soft, which should take about 40–45 minutes. If the contents of the pan become dry and the cabbage is not yet soft, just keep adding water little by little to keep it simmering. When the cabbage is about five minutes from being ready, add the butter, salt and pepper and stir well to mix all the flavours.

While the cabbage simmers, it’s time to get started on that pork. Flatten the medallions to a thickness of between 0.5 and 1 cm thick. Flour them and place them in a large frying pan with the hot oil where you’ve been lightly frying the garlic. Sear them and cut the mushrooms into small pieces (if they are small enough you can slice them vertically so they’ll retain the mushroom shape and look pretty). Crumble the stock cube and add it to the pan with the mushrooms, the lemon thyme and a little bit of water. Let cook for five minutes or so and then turn the heat right up. Pour the wine in and let evaporate. Turn the heat back to medium and cook until the mushrooms are soft and the pork is done (which shouldn’t take longer than ten minutes, as the meat is rather thin).

Plate up and go.

 

Mushroom Risotto with My (Not So) Secret Ingredient

As I mentioned in my last post, I have recently got back from Genoa, my Italian hometown. I brought back over 10 kg worth of extra luggage and no, it wasn’t all clothes and shoes, thank you very much. I also took to Blighty a few kitchen utensils from my Granny’s kitchen and a whole load of food and wine: a bottle of Barolo, one of Bonarda, one of Prosecco, a huge bottle of excellent extra virgin olive oil, a big Pandoro for the joy of my colleagues, a small pandoro, a Pandolce Genovese (a typical Genoese Christmas cake), some chocolate, gnocchetti al basilico (basil baby gnocchi) and . . . my secret ingredient, STAR porcini mushroom stock cubes. As one would expect, the wine and prosecco bottles are long gone already, and so are the two pandori and the chocolate. The basil gnocchi have also been cooked and will be thoroughly featured in another post. The star of today’s post, however, is the mushroom stock:

I love the fact that this famous Italian brand hasn’t practically changed their logo and box design since pretty much the ‘50s, but most of all I love the flavour these cubes give!

I couldn’t wait, I had to pick a packet of mushrooms on my way home and cook some risotto right after my flight. Who needs unpacking when you have il dado ai funghi porcini?

Here is my very personal recipe (well, the one my mum taught me years ago with the helping of the special stock) for two portions.

The pictures were taken by me but edited by my two favourite picture experts, Rol and Sara.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 180 gr Arborio (risotto) rice
  • A medium glass of dry white wine
  • 150 gr of fresh mixed (or, if you find them, porcini) mushrooms or 75 gr of dried ones
  • 1 and ½ porcini mushroom stock cubes to be dissolved in 750 ml of water
  • ½ tbs of butter
  • 4 tsps grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Preparation:

First of all, if you are using dried mushrooms, soak them in lukewarm water for at least half an hour, drain them and set them aside. Chop the garlic and onion finely. Heat the oil in a wide frying pan and add the chopped aromatics. Cook them until they’re soft and golden. In the meantime prepare the stock and keep it simmering very gently on one side. Add the rice into the frying pan and stir it thoroughly into the onions and garlic, letting it ‘toast’ for a minute or two in order to sear (coat) it. Turn the heat right up and pour in the wine. The heat needs to be very high at this stage because you want the alcohol to evaporate fairly quickly, as you don’t want to boil the rice into it. Once the rice starts drying off, turn the flame back down to medium heat. It’s now time to add in the mushrooms and a ladleful of stock. Keep stirring the rice; make sure you do not leave it unattended as it takes a split second for the whole content to go super dry and burn. Keep adding the stock gradually until the rice is completely cooked, which shouldn’t take any longer than 20 minutes. Now taste the risotto and see if it lacks any salt. It really shouldn’t as the stock should be sufficient for flavour – although better safe than sorry! Once ready, add the butter and a couple of teaspoons of grated cheese (remember, you are cooking Italian food so please, refrain from adding cheddar . . . you know who you are!), stir to allow all the ingredients to hobnob and the butter and cheese to melt and finally plate the dish. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, some extra Parmigiano if you so wish and garnish with fresh or dried flat-leaf parsley or coriander.

You’re going to love this!