My mother-in-law has been telling me for years about the butcher shop close to her house, and somehow I had forgotten all about it, until yesterday. I was driving by and had some time on my hands, so decided to check it out.
It was not very exciting on the inside, no big fancy displays enticing me to buy, no cheery greeting upon entering the premises, nothing. The overall feel was brown, drab and uninteresting.
When I stepped up to the counter I decided to ask for things that I can never find around here, like a bone-in ham that is still uncured and uncooked, the kind my mother used to boil all day to make her Bacon and Cabbage dinner. I also inquired about pork belly and pork bones. I really wanted to try my hand at making the pork buns from the momofuku noodle bar in New York City (see post, “Pork Buns Anyone?”) and use the pork belly in a noodle soup and sandwiches.
They had the ham, and cut me a lovely 4lb piece which included the bone, and, they had just run out of pork belly but could get me some if I wanted it, oh my! They also smoke their own streaky bacon and I bought a pound of it, along with a ring of their apple sausage. All in all, I was pleased, and was more than happy to forego the fancy interior, for a good quality product with no nonsense service.
I went home very excited about the prospect of boiling my big ham and making one of my mother’s best dinners. It would have to wait for a day or two as I needed time to boil it, then let it rest before slicing, and last night I didn’t have hours to lolly-gag in the kitchen.
I cooked the apple sausage and bacon instead, and seasoned the whole dish with some lovely smoked paprika I had purchased from a fantastic spice shop in New York City this past weekend.
The dish had amazing depth, and the cream I added brought out the smokey flavor of the paprika to the fullest. I had a lovely head of cauliflower and fingerling potatoes from my crop share box (see top right of my blog of more info), and decided to cook them separately and add to the dish last-minute.
Along with using herbs and peppers from my garden, this was a very locally sourced dinner, and that made it taste all the nicer!
You will need: 1 lb apple seasoned sausage, removed from casing, (another flavored sausage would work such as mild italian or garlic), 1/2 lb smoked streaky bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces, 1 large onions, diced, 2 long green seasonal peppers, sliced (or 1 green pepper, small dice), 4 cups spinach leaves, 3 stalks of parsley with leaves, roughly chopped, 1 apium leaf, with stalk, roughly chopped (apium is a herb which is a cross between a parsley and celery leaf), or, 2 tbs chopped celery leaves, 4 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 1/2 cups mushroom or chicken broth (I used 1 Telma brand mushroom stock cube and water), 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 1/2 tsp smoked paprika,2 tbs all-purpose flour, freshly cracked black pepper and sea-salt to taste. 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets, 2 lbs small fingerling potatoes or baby potatoes, cut in half or quartered if on the big side.
1 – Prep all ingredients. Put a big saute pan on medium heat and add the sausage, (use your fingers to pull off bite-sized pieces and put directly into the pan), bacon, peppers and onions. Cook until onions start to soften and meat is browning (about 15 minutes). Add the herbs and continue to cook for another 5 or so minutes.
2 – While meat is cooking, put potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until nice and soft (but not mushy). Drain and set aside. At the same time put a pot of water on for the cauliflower. When the water boils, add the cauliflower and 1 tsp of salt, and boil until it is soft but still firm (5-7 minutes). Drain and set aside.
3 – Add the paprika and flour and stir until incorporated.
4 – Add the broth and cream and stir. Cook until it starts to get hot and thicken slightly.
5 – Add the spinach and cook for a minute before adding the cauliflower and potatoes. Turn heat off.
Serve in warmed shallow bowls as is, or with a little bread or rice.