There’s still a chill in the air.
Freezing in the mornings and warming up to the 50’s in the afternoon. People are pushing warm weather. At work, I look out over a main drag in Middle Tennessee, home of the Bradford Pear, which is in full bloom. Giant puffballs of white moving in the wind..in the totally unpredicted snow flurries Monday. Bending and swaying yesterday in the sunshine while ladies of a certain age drive their convertibles with the top down and all the windows up and the heat on. Kids from the neighborhood high school doing their p/e run in shorts and cut off tee shirts. Legs and faces red with the cold, but they wouldn’t put on a sweater to save their lives.
Thinking about dinner, hoping to find something that will fit the bill: warming, spicy maybe a bit of something to make you think spring is just around the corner.
Then I remembered this recipe that I had saved from sometime last fall, Cloves, oranges and red wine. That’s a bit wintry. Pork and cannelini, red bell pepper, onion. Then comes the smoky paprika and garlic and lots of Italian parsley.
There’s the hint of spring.
Whatever it is, it works.. Warming, spunky, makes your nose tickle type spicy with lots of character and flavor and cooled with a splat of sour cream and a squeeze of orange at the end.
Spicy Pork Ragout with Cannelini and Orange
Adapted from a recipe I found in the New York Times with absolutely no credit given to the cook.
2 14 ounce cans cannelini beans, or 1 cup dried, cooked cannelini
2 good swirls extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, in 2-inch chunks
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
3 branches fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small pinch red chili flakes
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley.
Heat a couple of swirls of extra virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven and lightly brown pork without crowding over medium-high heat. Remove. Add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Sauté over low heat until soft. Stir in paprika, cloves and zest. Stir in orange juice and wine, scraping bottom of pan. Return pork to pan. Drain and rinse cannelini and add. Add rosemary, black pepper and chili.
Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer and let bubble along for about an hour. Season with salt. Serve with a blap of sour cream, grated orange zest and more Italian parsley.