The Hubster’s newest cookbook acquisition was Milk Street Tuesday Nights by Christopher Kimball so he was anxious to try out a few recipes from it. The layout is unusual in that the chapters are broken down into uncommon categories such as Fast; Faster; Fastest; Easy Additions; One Pot; etc. The first one that caught his attention was this Spicy Pork with Leeks and Roasted Red Peppers from the Roast and Simmer section. Here, roasted red peppers, green olives and two kinds of oregano add bright accents to Greece’s tigania.
In Greece, when there are leftover meat and vegetables to use up, cooks have a solution. It’s called tigania, which simply means “from the frying pan,” a catchall term for a braised dish that varies widely by region, even season.
Tigania is traditionally made with small scraps of pork and whatever vegetables are on hand. Both are first seared, then simmered with some kind of liquid to tenderize the tough cuts of meat—normally wine or lemon juice, but also beer and sometimes ouzo. It turns up in bars as meze, casually eaten with toothpicks, but it also makes for a quick meal at home.
Wine-braised leeks build big flavor in this one-skillet dish from Greece. It calls for braising the pork with six large leeks, a seemingly staggering amount. But they simmer down with white wine, reducing into a creamy, rustic sauce that pairs well with the tender meat. A tip I learned a while back was to trim the leeks in stages as shown below. This way you utilize as much of the edible portion as possible, especially if the whites and light green areas are not as lengthy as you’d like.
Stirring roasted red peppers and olives into the finished dish brightens it by cutting through the leeks’ creamy richness. For an herbal finish, sprinkle on fresh oregano, a nod that highlights the dried oregano used in earlier steps. We served it over a bed of tricolor couscous.
This meal was DELICIOSO!!! Can’t wait to try more recipes from Milk Street Tuesday Nights… And coincidentally, we made this on a Tuesday night!
Spicy Pork with Leeks and Roasted Red Peppers
- ¾ tsp. red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2¾ tsp. dried oregano, divided
- 2 Lbs. boneless country-style pork spareribs, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks
- 3 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 Large leeks, white and light green parts sliced ½-inch thick, rinsed and dried
- 4 Large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 Cup dry white wine
- 1 7-Ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced (about 1 cup)
- ½ Cup pitted green olives, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- In a large bowl, stir together the pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and ¾ teaspoon of the dried oregano. Add the pork and toss.
- In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the grapeseed oil until smoking. Add the pork in a single layer and cook without disturbing until dark golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Stir and cook until no longer pink, about another 2 minutes (we had to do this in 2 stages).
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large plate or bowl.
- Pour off and discard the fat from the pan, then return to medium-high. Add the olive oil, leeks, garlic, the remaining 2 teaspoons dried oregano and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until the leeks begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Stir in the pork, then the wine. Bring to a simmer and cover, then reduce to low and cook until the pork is tender, about 30 minutes.
- Stir in the roasted red peppers and olives. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with fresh oregano. Serve with lemon wedges.
Tips: Don’t forget to wash and dry the leeks after slicing them. Leeks’ many layers trap sand and grit. After adding the pork to the skillet, don’t stir the pieces until they’ve formed a nice brown crust on the bottom.
Recipe by Albert Stumm found on 177milkstreet.com