This is one of those recipes born of tossing around ideas - I told my husband the theme, I was thinking lamb, he'd rather pork. He suggested cognac or wine, I went with wine. I love red wine and orange combined, he suggested some chilis, then it needed the balance of some bitterness from coffee. From there it was just a matter of test and taste. I considered naming this Date Night Pork but that sounds a bit like porn, am I right? —aargersi
4 - 6
Brine The Pork - DO THIS IN THE MORNING!
Pasilla chilis (you can sub ancho or guajillo if you can't find pasilla)
Cut the pork into bite size chunks. Bring the water, salt and sugar just to a simmer to dissolve. Turn off the heat and add the ice.
Put the pork in a gallon ziplock bag. Pour the cooled brine in. Press out any extra air so all of the pork is fully submerged. Put the bag in a bowl in case of leaks and put the whole set-up into the fridge for the day. Save the rest of your coffee, you will need it tonight.
Make the date sauce: Remove the stems and seeds from the chilis, peel and slice the garlic, pit the dates. Heat 1 tbs oil in a heavy large pan. Add in the garlic and chilis and cook a few minutes until they soften a bit. Add the paprika and cayenne and cook for just another minute. Add 1 c. wine, the coffee, zest and juice from the orange, salt, and the dates. Let this all simmer until the dates ad chilis are very soft. Cool the mixture slightly then put it into the blender and blend to a smooth paste. If it's too thick you can add a splash of water.
Take the pork out, drain the brine, and pat the pork dry. Clean out your pan and add the remaining oil, heat to high. Working in batches (yes, I know, I hate that, but it's worth the trouble) brown the pork. If some of the pieces have a little fat cap focus on getting that browned and rendered because you know what's better than crispy fat? NOTHING, that's what. Once all of the pork is browned, deglaze the pan with the remaining 1/2 cup of wine, then add the pork and juices back in. Add your date sauce, stir everything together, and simmer away. After a few minutees taste for salt (though the pork is brined so it likely won't need any). Let the stew simmer for 30 minutes or so, and it's ready! We served ours over Israeli couscous but rice or noodles or potatoes would be good too. Serve forth!
I work in databases by day, but creativity is my outlet. Food - imagining it, making it, sharing it. And art, I come from a family of artists and have been collaging in my garage studio. You can see my work on Etsy in my shop AbbiesGarage https://www.etsy.com/shop/AbbiesGarage?ref=search_shop_redirect