2010 Trash Bag Party

Every year we host a Trash Bag Party the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The basic premise is that our friends come over to do a bit of seasonal volunteer work and we provide an assortment of tasty treats. Below is what we served this past year.

Roasted Celeriac Soup

We received a lovely, um, head I guess, of celeriac in the CSA box last week. Little did it know that it’s destiny was the soup pot. A bit of snooping around online and I found this recipe for Roasted Celeriac Soup. The end result was quite delicious.

Roasted Celeriac Soup
Serves 6 to 8

4 cups peeled and cubed celeriac
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 leek, white and light part only, chopped
1 Russet potato, peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 tsp dried
3 tbsp fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup low fat milk
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Toss celeriac with 1 tbs oil and roast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. In a large saucepan, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, celery and leek; sauté for 4 minutes or until onion is soft.

3. Add potato, stock, thyme, tarragon and parsley; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add celery root and cook for 10 minutes more, or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

4. Puree soup in a saucepan using an immersion blender, or transfer soup in batches to a blender of food processor and blend until smooth. Return to saucepan and add milk. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until heated. Add more milk or water for a thinner consistency.

The recipe was apparently appropriated from For the Love of Soup by Jeanelle Mitchell (2002, Whitecap Books)

Apple Cider Braised Pork Belly

I found some nice looking pork belly at Silva’s Market this past weekend and then didn’t get a chance to do anything with it for a couple of days. We watched the Next Iron Chef on Monday night and Chef Tio made a pressure cooker braised pork belly which made me want to give it a try.

After a search of various online resources I had a general game plan. Sear the meat, add some aromatics & soften, add a liquid & seasoning, return the pork belly and cook for 20 minutes. I decided on apple cider as the braising liquid. The result was fairly tasty.

We had some leftover rice from arroz con pollo so I used that as a base for the pork belly. Ted suggested that I sear the cooked pork belly and in hindsight that would have been a good finishing touch. Fresh from the pot the pork belly was still had streaks of fat. Searing would have cut that down some more.

I didn’t do anything with the resulting liquid left from the pressure cooking process. I did taste it and it was good. I think next time I’ll strain out the solids and then reduce the liquid to make a glaze of sorts.

Any way here is the recipe.

Apple Cider Braised Pork Belly

2 lbs. pork belly
1 large onions, halved & sliced (1/4″ slice)
2 carrots, peeled & cut into largish pieces (2″ for the thin end/1″ for the thick)
1 lemon, halved
2 cups apple cider
1 star anise
1 2″ piece of cinnamon
3-4 cloves
1 tsp. celery seed
salt & pepper for seasoning
oil for searing

Slice the pork belly into 3″ x 1.5″ pieces. Season both sides with salt & pepper.

Heat your pressure cooker over high heat and coat the bottom with oil. Sear both sides of the pork belly until browned. Work in batches if necessary so you don’t crowd the pot. Set seared pieces aside as they finish searing.

Remove most of the oil from the pan, leaving about 1 Tbsp. Lower heat to medium. Add the onions & carrot. Stir to coat with oil and saute for 5-10 minutes until slightly softened.

Squeeze the lemons into the pot and toss the lemon pieces into the pot for good measure. Scrape the bottom of the pot to release any tasty bits left from the searing. Add the cider and spices and mix to combine.

Return the pork belly to the pot. Raise heat to high and let it come to a boil. Put the cover onto the pressure cooker and lock it in place.

When the pressure cooker starts to release steam lower the heat so you get a slow & steady release. Start the timer for 20 minutes at this point.

After 20 minutes remove from the heat and allow the pot to cool until pressure is released.