Sunday, October 10, 2010

Failure of an Epicurian

The crock pot carnitas turned out horrible. Not because I did anything wrong - it's just the recipe leaves a whole lot to be desired in the actual flavor category. Observe -

I don't cook much with powders. Not if I can help it. That may or may not be where this thing goes awry. Oregano, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. The peppers didn't add any flavor and the broth ended up a thin tomatoey mess. The pork, after being cooked for 8 hours on low in the crock pot, did turn out tender and juicy, but it tasted almost as if I cooked it in water. I tried to salvage it by pulling the pork off, scooping some of the peppers and onions and such into a large leaf of lettuce like a taco, then dipping it in some fresh salsa. No dice. It was far too watery to stay in the lettuce properly. So then I just stabbed pork and dunked it in salsa.

I'm Minnesotan. Born and bred. For ME to call something bland it has to be the flavor equivalent of licking plastic. Not even colored plastic. White plastic. The house smelled good, which was an even bigger let down when I went to eat it. Plus, the two pounds of organic pork ribs cost me about $20 which tweaked my nether regions.

Proposed fix - drop as much of the spice powder bullshit as possible. Fresh chopped garlic, fresh chopped oregano. Substitute a couple chili peppers or jalapenos for the chili powder. Cumin's not really something you want to grind yourself so I'll accept that as a powder. This dish needs heat and it needs depth. I think that'll fix it.

I don't know when I'll be able to afford to try this again. The cost difference between the natural pork and factory farmed pork is so great I might have to just knock pork off for a while. Same with the "better" cuts of beef. Sticking to chuck roasts might have to be all I make for a bit. Chicken is about the only good deal for organic stuff I can find. Chicken and eggs. I'm seriously starting to question exactly how large of a benefit natural meat is over supermarket meat. In principle it sounds like it's worlds apart. But can my body tell the difference? If so is it a 5% better-for-you difference? 10%? Is it even quantifiable? I'm having to buy cuts of meat one at a time because I can't afford to buy a quarter of a natural cow, or a half a natural pig, and keep it on hand. That's like a $300 - $500 investment.

I'm going to make chicken soup for myself today using a pack of legs I got from Valley Natural and just not adding the noodles at the end so it's Whole9 compliant. Otherwise all it's got in it is chicken, carrots, onions, mushrooms, celery, salt, pepper, and sweet basil. The way I make it you end up with a bit of of broth and a metric ton of vegetables per bowl, plus some chicken, so it sounds like it'll hit all the different areas I'll need it to for this challenge.

Day 6 - 24 to go.

1 comment:

  1. Not what I wanted to hear. I have carnitas going right now. Might need to add something? Will take a look!