Now that the heat has left us for this year and the eating season is upon us, it seemed time to bring the Chef's Table back. Late summer and fall have traditionally been the seasons for putting up food for the winter...canning, butchering, smoking, curing...you know, a la Little House on the Prairie. It seemed fitting that a dinner honoring that exercise in survival would be the best way to revive our monthly dinners. To that end, Pork 'N Greens Farm has graciously partnered with Urban Kitchen to create October's (S)Wine Dinner: A Tribute to Pork featuring the premium pastured pork of our favorite local farmer, Stephen Green. When he's not tending to his precious piggies, you can find Stephen at most of the Farmer's Markets with a booth full of bacon (a crowd favorite), handmade sausages, pork chops and shanks and much more.
I am particularly excited about this event because it affords me the opportunity to make something besides pasta. Don't get me wrong...I love pasta and I love to teach people how to make pasta but there comes a time to branch out and that is what my chef's table allows me to do. So...you will find the menu with my comments listed below (it may go through a few more permutations but the players will remain the same...pork, pork and more pork!).
We will open with an amuse that harkens back to the '50's. I love retro food especially when I can update it. For those of you who keep up with Food Network, that is my Culinary POV (Point of View). I take retro/country-ish food and drag it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. So, for your gustatory pleasure, we begin our evening with Devils on Horseback. Little bite-size morsels wrapped in some exceedingly delicious bacon. Over the years, the devils have been everything from chicken livers to prunes but I'm not going to ruin the surprise by telling you what I'm stuffing in there...just think yummy, dark, dried fruit.
We open the sit-down portion of our dinner with a little surf and turf...Braised Pork Belly and Pan Seared Diver Scallop. Pork and seafood just happen to be in love with one another so who am I to stand in their way. The creaminess of the belly braised in mustard plays off the sweet, buttery brininess of the scallop to perfection. They'll be bedded down on wilted Swiss chard to offset the richness.
Next and this is a fun one, Sweet and Spicy Asian Meatballs with a Stir Fry of Morning Glory Greens. Morning glory is a very common Asian ingredient. Also known as water spinach, it is indigenous to Thailand where it grows like crazy. The meatball portion of our program...well, suffice it to say that I love meatballs and, having just served 700 of them at Tulsa Garden Center's Wine and Roses benefit, let me say...I know from whence I speak.
We'll have a little palate cleanser of a salad at this juncture to get you ready for the really pork-y portion of our show.
Deconstructed Chile Relleno. Yes, all the parts of a chile relleno, none of the breading or frying. Chile braised pork shoulder will be pulled and then served over a bed of fire roasted poblano rajas (poblanos are the traditional chile relleno vessel and not the more commonly seen Anaheim) finished with Mexican crema and queso fresco. The dish is topped with a housemade chicharron...you got it...pork rind. A little homage to David Chang and it's awesome!
The entree, last but certainly not least, is a Pan Roasted Tuscan Pork Chop with White Bean Agrodolce. You know I can't do a dinner without at least a little Italian! Nice thick pork loin chop luxuriating on a bed of cannellini beans that have been treated to a sweet and savory brothy bath with bacon, sweet onions, Peppadews and tomatoes.
We, of course, can't finish this without a dessert...so bacon will not only open but close our evening. Bacon Baklava with Housemade Maple Ice Cream. Just like having bacon and waffles except without the waffles...
The dinner is Wednesday, October 19 at Urban Kitchen on Cherry Street (imagine that). Starting at 6:30, you will be in pig heaven! Click here to go to Urban Kitchen