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?