Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Apple Pork & French Onion Soup

This semester The Roommate (who is, most sadly, technically no longer my roommate; but, like myself chose to stay in South Bend after graduation to, unlike myself, work on a Master's) I have been taking turns cooking on most Monday nights. Since this week is Notre Dame's fall break, our schedule was thrown off some and tonight is our shared meal night. We both decided to cook. I made "Apple Braised Pork." She made French Onion Soup.

The recipe I found here online is really terrible. It calls for stuff that it then doesn't actually use, and simply doesn't make much sense at all. So below is my tweaked version:

Apple Braised Pork

Prep time: 1/2 hour, Cook Time 1 hour
3 Pounds Lean Tender Pork Loin
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Ground Sage
1 Teaspoon Ground Thyme
1 Cup Fresh Diced Onion
3 Minced Garlic Cloves
1 Large Peeled Diced Green Apple
2/3 Cup Frozen Apple Juice Concentrate
2 Teaspoon Table Salt

Cooking Directions:
Mix together 1T salt, 1T pepper, 1T thyme, 1T sage and spread all over the pork loin. Pan fry meat in a skillet until thoroughly browned. Set meat aside. Using the same pan, fry the minced garlic and onion. Pour the thawed apple juice concentrate and 1T salt into the pan with the garlic and onion, and heat until it boils. (This was pretty quick for me). Now place the pork in the skillet with the juice mixture. Cover meat with thin apple slices. Put a lid on it and simmer for 1 hour.
Use the juices and apples in the skillet as a sauce. I didn't even have to thicken mine and it was quite excellent.

The recipe said make sure the meat hits 155 degrees - but I didn't have a meat thermometer so I just eyeballed it.

The meat was very tender and a little spicy...I really enjoyed it and it seemed that everyone else did too. Added bonus: It wasn't very hard to make at all.

The Roommate used this recipe for the French Onion Soup.

She had a little difficulty getting the cheese to brown, mostly because she chose the casserole dish option and she ran out of time to let it brown. She said that if you really want good soup you should do it in individual stonewear bowls - but alas, they are very expensive and we don't own them. A friend of her mom's who cooked for years in a restaurant also said that most restaurants bake the individual bowls, but this recipe and every other that the Roommate found said to broil them.

French Onion Soup Recipe

Preparation time: About 1 hour.

6 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
Olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups of beef stock or chicken stock
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
Salt and pepper
8 slices of toasted French bread
1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere with a little grated Parmesan cheese

1 In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30 minutes. Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the carmelization.

2 Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock, wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.

3 To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

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