I found myself putting this together the other night and when I had finished I realised that it was very similar to the sort of food my mother cooked, when she cooked, which wasn’t often. Her food usually involved some sort of lean meat, pork was a favourite, paprika, and cream and a slosh of sherry.
For cream I substitute creme fraiche as this doesn’t trigger Brian’s asthma like sweet cream does. I like the tangy taste it contributes to the sauce as well.
It helps if you have a jar of home made biber salcasi to use up and some skinny pork in the freezer which you forgot you had…
To make biber salcasi the way I like it, which is not too hot, you can do one of two things.
- Use cheap red peppers if they are in season or buy a jar of already roasted and skinned peppers from the supermarket or middle eastern store.
- If you buy fresh ones. Put the oven on and roast them on a tray until the skins blister and soften. Then peel the skins off and remove the inside white parts and seeds. Save the liquid that comes out from the middle and add it to a stock or a soup as it is delicious.
- Puree the roasted peppers with salt to taste, start with a teaspoon for about 6 large peppers, and as much or as little fresh red chilli as you prefer. I use relatively little, but I am a wimp.
- Spread the pureed mixture on an oven tray and put it back in the oven on a low temperature. This is to evaporate the liquid and thicken the sauce. If you live somewhere hot, you can of course just put it out in the sunshine.
- Store in a clean jar, covered in olive oil in the fridge. Make little and often and you should use it up fairly quickly.
You can add this simple sauce to all manner of dishes, soups and vegetable dishes in particular when you tire of tomato with everything, but still want the happy red colour that tomatoes bring to a dish but with the delicate bitter-sweet quality that roasted red peppers offer.
Pork with Creme Fraiche and Biber Salcasi
- 250 grams of lean pork cut into strips
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 5 – 10 tbsps of biber salcasi
- 1 chopped up fresh red pepper
- ¼ tub about 4 tbsps of creme fraiche
- pepper to taste
- Sweat the onion in a little oil or butter until it is translucent and just starting to colour
- Add the strips of pork and continue to cook gently for a few minutes, it shouldn’t take long
- Add the chopped up red pepper
- Add the biber salcasi and some water to create a sauce
- Put a lid on the whole lot and let it sweat away gently for another few minutes
- Just before you are ready to serve, stir the creme fraiche into the pan and make sure it is well mixed and everything is hot. Don’t let it boil.
- Sprinkle a little chopped fresh greenery on the top
- Serve with plain rice and a green vegetable of your choice. I used the last of the flower sprouts which are just about all we have left growing in our veg bed right now.
Just right for a wintery day and it doesn’t take that long to make either!
This is how I cook most of the time – no cook book, just a memory, I tend to cook most of our suppers that way, either from memories of food I have cooked before or been given. My evening meal tactics are pretty basic.
What needs using up? What is lurking in the fridge and the freezer? Are there leftovers that can be turned into a meal? That’s the first stage. The next one is to think what we have had in the last few days and what might be nice to have. If we have been eating too much of one sort of food then we choose something else. Speed plays a huge part in the process. If I have left it too late to think about supper then simple and speedy wins out every time, opening a book would slow me right down, so I rarely bother at that point. So we live on stir frys and steamed vegetables, baked potatoes and risotto, kedgeree. If my neighbour comes for supper I try a little harder, I might make Nigel Slater’s Thai Fish cakes, or a vegetable gratin. Occasionally I might see a lovely dish on a blog and I certainly book mark some amazing food that I see on the internet. But in real life, in real time, I make simple speedy food and try to waste as little as possible.
How about you?
I cook about the same way- left overs- frequently made- no recipes- just this added to this- tasted and tuned to fit our palates. Sometimes I use a recipe- but I don’t stick real closely to it- using it more as a guideline rather than following it closely. I tend to make a lot of soup- I like soup- and bread and then structure the meal around thoseH
Sounds very similar. I tend to shop locally for vegetables and fruit, as we have a greengrocer five minutes walk away, with a good range. I like soup too !
I love the simplicity of this dish. I’ve never heard of biber salcasi before so I’ve learnt something new today. I’m not sure why but roasting peppers is one of those kitchen jobs I love. Did you know if you seal the peppers in a freezer bag once you’ve roasted them, the resulting steam makes the skins lift off even easier? I used to make vast quantities of red pepper pesto and this little tip saved me a lot of time.
I’ve never made red pepper pesto but I have done the bag technique. I used to stand and painstakingly char the peppers over a flame and then bag them. The ones we get at the moment peel easily, maybe it is the variety?
We share cooking, alternating days. That means I only have to worry about dinner 50% of the time, which is a great help. I’d say taht in a week that I cook 4 days, 2 of those will be inspirational, or some dish I can make with my eyes closed. Or I might “cheat” and buy a rotisserie chicken as a main dish. The other two meals I try to go for a cookbook or a blog recipe. But only on weekends I try recipes that take more than 30 minutes to make.
Your pork sounds like a perfect weeknight meal – I like the use of creme fraiche, for some reason I almost never buy it.
I think I made this dish because we had all the ingredients already in and needing to be made use of. The creme fraiche had been bought for something else, and then we forgot for what. My forgetfulness and Brian’s too is a recurrent theme.
You sound like you have a good system going there, I like it !
I think all proper home cooks should cook this way, I find it really hard to meal plan for the week, it all depends on what is about and what I feel like and is the weather cold or nice, and … you get the picture. As well as leftovers, I often plan around what veg are about. I am funny about which vegetables go with different foods. For example, with fish, I won’t have anything cabbagey or any root vegetables other than carrots, so if there is nothing suitable, then I won’t have fish that day.
Is anyone else funny about food matching like that?
I am just interested in what people do on a day to day basis. We were trying to do a week’s food plan to see if would make things easier or more complicated. I suspect our habits are hard to change though.
I guess we all like some food pairings more than others. I haven’t thought about fish in that way I must admit.
It’s funny how you realise that you are cooking just like your mother. I know I am and it is no bad thing. ‘Course I learned a lot from my father, Henry – largely because he serves as a warning as how not to do things!
I love this recipe. I don’t cook pork very often unless it is in a very spicy sauce (say Chinese), but I love your use of biber salcasi. I have a jar of roasted peppers looking at me as I type, just begging me to make this recipe. I shall be having mine with red chard (the only thing left in the garden that’s edible apart from the wild leeks that are running amok!)
You could probably do this with chicken or mushrooms for a vegetarian alternative very happily. I have mentioned my mother’s strange cooking on other posts, but it is quite fun when you notice these things.
I made cheese on toast for a late lunch today and spread biber salcasi on the untoasted side before putting the cheese on top and back under the grill. It was really good!
I made your biber salcasi and it is dynamite. Delicious! I can’t wait to use it. Thank you so much for the suggestions.
Hey that’s great! i am honoured! We also use in that wonderful Enzo the Bride soup with a mixture of even more paprika, rice, bulgar and red lentils. Brian calls it ‘the red soup’.
What a delicious recipe! I love all the red peppers and the sauce, I’d never heard of it before, but it sounds like a very useful fridge staple. Thank you!
Lately, our cooking has been driven by what we pick from the garden that day. Almost every dinner has beans, tromboncino or eggplant in it lately.. :)
Your garden is so productive nearly all year Celia! Wonderful to eat really seasonally and not have to rely on imports in the cold and ‘hungry gap’ as it is called here.
What a great way to cook. I’m sure our grandparents cooked that way and that was considered ‘normal’. I haven’t heard of that capsicum sauce before. It sounds like it could be added to many different dishes xx
Now I am curious as to how you would describe the way you cook :) Yes, this sauce and its variants, are the base for many Turkish and other Mediterranean dishes.
This gets pretty close to the Hungarian stuff I did recently. When you find yourself using recipes as inspiration, my dear, you are becoming a real cook. One of our ‘real’ celeb chefs -think it was Thomas Keller- said a while back, ‘I love cooking the evening meal for the staff, for that’s when I can be my most creative – it’s then necessary to take a look at what leftovers we’ve got and decide what good dishes we can put together.’ (I sincerely doubt he cooks that meal, but he may ask about the leftovers and suggest what they can cook.) Did you know the big kitchens have one of their cooks assigned to do the staff meal? That’s their primary duty! One of the newbies I’d guess. What the hell – we get to do it 4, maybe 5 times a week!
The cream and choice of meat makes it Hungarian/middle European style doesn’t it? My mother grew up in Stockholm and the family had a cook, so she never learnt from her mother either. The cook wouldn’t let her in the kitchen – another world…. That must be a strange job working in a restaurant but feeding the staff, but a good way to learn !
We share the cooking after work – I tend to start planning our meal from the vegetables we have and work back and Peter starts his thinking with what meat or fish we have and starts that way. It has to be something relatively quick to put together. Lately we have been buying whole Atlantic salmon which Peter fillets and we freeze and then we also get all the salmon bits from the frame which goes into a quick pasta with lemon zest, pesto and/or finely chopped tomato. I get lots of inspiration for combinations from blogs. That is such a good thing to do with roasted capsicum, which I love, I’d never heard of that sauce before either. The flower sprouts look lovely, I’ve never heard of those before either. At the moment the roasted capsicum would dry out very quickly if I lay down and put it on my forehead, it’s so uncomfortably hot and steamy!
Still so hot – I should post about baths full of palest pink grapefruit ice cubes for you, not robust red meals to drive away the gloomy greys of a frigid February – I think buying whole fish is an excellent idea and you can do so many things with salmon. I love your pasta recipe Jan! Peter sounds more imaginative than Brian who loves to cook but hates to choose. Shh don”t say I said anything….
I love roasted red peppers and that sauce sounds wonderful – I hadn’t heard of it before either.
Being on my own, I often have things that need using up – eg a half cabbage takes several days to get through! The upside is that I can concoct some rather strange meals and there is no one to complain. My big failing is buying a special ingredient for a recipe I have read about and then forgetting where I read it! This sometimes results in it not being used until after its expiry date and consequent feeling of guilt.
I am with Lynne on the fish thing – the only leafy veg I will put with fish is spinach (or chard) – no idea why!
Ann I do that ingredient thing! I have about ten different sorts of lentils, a jar of pickled walmuts, which I finally found with much delight and have still not remembered what it was for, something beetroot and Ottolenghi, a packet of dried apricot paste, six packets of citric acid – though Brian says thst is for elderflower cordial – one mystery solved.
The sauce is very easy and very good and as it is relatively simple to make and stores well covered in a layer of oil in the fridge it is one I have made a few times now. I imagine if you want to make lots you would have to pasteurize it and I am not sure if it is acid enough, you might have to add acidity, but as I make only a jar at a time, it all gets used.
Brian reckons some people just buy exactly what they need for each dish or cake and then have mo leftovers or excess to store, but that can be expensive, so it is a question of weighing one against the other…
I have had a think and With fish I think we eat green beans, peas, carrots, spinach, probably broccoli, if baked, onion, herbs like tarragon, dill and parsley.
I tend to cook in the same way but unfortunately not always with the greatest success… I can’t bear to waste food so always use up what we have but I have been trying to plan my meals ahead a little better, even if it’s just round what is going to be in this week’s vegetable box. Instead of just eating pasta with whatever vegetables need using up!
I had a veg box for a year or so but ended up getting frustrated by having to use someone else’s choices so I do sympathize. We don’t cook like this every night. To be honest I thought everyone did the same sort of thing, but I have come to realize that lots of people don’t cook these days, I am getting old…
This looks like just the thing that Peder would love eating. Very Danish indeed! Scrummy.
Ah so you recognise this? I have spent so little time in Scandinavia in recent years I have no idea what gets served at home. Xx Jo
My mother-in-law used to make a lovely dish very similar to yours, and she added smoky paprika. It was so delicious. Yours looks very good, too. xx
Smoky paprika would make it just perfect xx
My MIL was a truly brilliant cook, a naturally gifted cook, I’d say. I’m hoping that she left me her cookery books.