This is a wonderful dish, warm and spicy. It’s also really easy to make, and a makes a good dinner on a busy weeknight. I really like this dish in the cold winter. When you make this, don’t crowd the pan. If you have more than 4 thighs, cook them in batches, whilst keeping the others warm. You can use any dry white wine, Chardonnay is a good choice. I served this with baked potato fries because I could dip the fries in the great sauce.
You can buy Red Pepper Sauce at Armenian or other Mediterranean stores. It’s basically paprika peppers, so there’s some small kick. A little bit is great with a dollop of sour cream on your scrambled eggs. I always have Armenian Red Pepper Sauce on hand just to jazz things up a bit.
Many years ago before the Food Channel because the Food Network, I happened to be watching some show and the guest chef made this most wonderful stew with country pork ribs, tortillas and a blender. I was so impressed with what he did that I went out, bought the ingredients, and made it the very next day. It was delicious, and became one of my favorites. It’s been so long that I don’t remember what it was even called, but I called it Green Chili Pork Stew.
It’s funny who your life changes over the years, different relationships, different priorities. You put your favorites away in some dusty mental attic to make room for all the other new and exciting foods. Then you find yourself on a cold, rainy day about to make Chili Colorado, when you spy some tortillas and decide at the last-minute to make that wonderful stew from so very long ago.
When I made this, I didn’t have country pork ribs, I had pork stew meat, which was just as good. However, now that I’ve had it again, I’m going to go out and get some country ribs. Country-style ribs are cut from the blade end of the loin close to the pork shoulder. They are meatier than other rib cuts. They contain no rib bones, but are instead contain parts of the shoulder blade (scapula).
I am so happy that it is finally getting cooler in Southern California. As a matter of fact, there was thick cloud cover this morning, and I had to wear a sweater. It was a good day for soup.
After making Crab Salad with Thousand Island Dressing, I had a half a package of crab left over. I also had some cream left over from making something else. I knew I needed to use that crab, I needed to use the cream, and I wanted something warm. I have always liked crab bisque, so I decided to make that.
I had this brilliant idea when looking in my pantry and spying a can of Great Northern white beans. I didn’t have that much cream, and I really wanted the soup to be filling. To compensate for not using real crab, or real crab stock, I added a little anchovy paste for flavor. Both additions worked beautifully. Honestly, if you wanted to, you could omit the cream completely, as the beans do a fine job of thickening without all those calories.
Why would anyone want to write about Thousand Island Dressing? It’s yucky! It’s that reddish stuff that sits on the salad bar and congeals because no one wants it, and rightly so. It’s the “secret” sauce on the Big Mac, and has become so common that you probably don’t even notice it on your sandwich anymore. That’s a pity, because this is a grand dame of salad dressings with an interesting and honorable history.
Thousand Island Dressing is named for the archipelago of 1,864 islands that straddles the Canada-U.S. border in the Saint Lawrence River. Some of the islands are very small indeed. The one pictured above supports a single tree and two bushes. The dressing was popularized by May Irwin, a Canadian vaudeville star in the 1890’s. She had a home in Grindstone Island, one of the Thousand Islands. She said that the dressing reminded her of the Thousand Islands, and enjoyed the dressing so much that she requested the recipe from Sophia LaLonde, a fishing guide’s wife who frequently made the dressing for her husband. Miss Irwin then gave the recipe to George Boldt, the proprietor of the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, who instructed his the hotel’s maître d’hôtel, Oscar Tschirky, to put the dressing on the menu. In 1950 the dressing became a standard, and started its decline into the gloppy mess we have today.
One of the things we do at The Good Plate is to reconstruct packaged foods, so they taste better, and don’t have the preservatives common in packaged foods. I knew that venerable Thousand Island Dressing deserved a better place, and making it from scratch would make it one of my favorites, especially for sea food salads.
I made a crab salad for the dressing, and some Balsamic Toasts to go with them. This was in the midst of Spane and his friend making Play Dough on the stove. There are little bits of homemade Play Dough all over the place. Time to clean!
When I was a little girl, my mother had the entire collection of The Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cooking, and there was a recipe in for Hungarian Porkchops, which I have been making for many years. Today, I decided to change the recipe a bit, and came up with Pork Chops Paprikash.
In Glendale, California, which has a large Armenian population, we have Red Pepper Sauce. It’s basically paprika peppers, and I use it quite often, in sauces, eggs, and other dishes. There are many brands and you can probably find it in ethnic European stores. I highly recommend it.
Paprikash dishes call for sour cream. I have probably talked about this before, and I will say it again. When you buy sour cream, please only get the kind that has cultured cream. The other stuff has gelatin and other ingredients as fillers, and they just are not real sour cream. The Alta Dena brand has a wonderful saying on the top of the tub, “Those cravings you feel are totally natural”. I love that because it’s true – there is nothing in that sour cream except cultured cream, the way sour cream should be.
Mis en Place – Sour Cream, Red Pepper Sauce and Beef Base
Every year, Glendale, California closes off its main street, the Brand Boulevard of Cars. Beautifully kept antique cars park up and down the street, some with their hoods up, so everyone can enjoy them. Spane and I have been going to Cruise Night since before he was born – I say that because I even went when I was pregnant with him. As usual I like to cook something special for Cruise Night dinner, mainly because even though there are hamburgers and hot dogs available, I would rather have my own fresh food, and save money for a treat for Spane.
I love beets, I mean I really, really love beets. So does Spane. We like them plain, pickled, cold, hot, red beets, orange beets, any beets! Beets are very good for you, and studies have shown it can prevent liver, heart and muscle diseases. This is not the same thing as a Sugar Beet, which although is in the same family, almost all sugar beets are genetically modified, and used to make sugar.