Saturday, March 21, 2009

Jeopardy and Chimmichurri

I have proof that my husband is one of the smartest men I know. First, there's his ridiculously high SAT score (somewhere in the 1500's, if I recall... he's a little shy to talk about it). Then there's the fact that he just seems to know all kinds of stuff, and gets things. There's the way he picks up smatterings of languages and can noodle on numerous musical instruments, the way he does complicated math in his head, and that he's currently in the contestant pool for Jeopardy. Any minute we could get the call, and WHOOSH he's on a plane to LA to battle it out with the latest Ken Jennings.

But if ever I doubted his intelligence, it was put to rest with Carnitas Empanadas with Beet Green Chimichurri. It's almost too hard to say, let alone come up with off the top of your head. However, three minutes or so after being presented with golden beets, country ribs, passion pear nectar, puff pastry shells and farmer cheese, this is what jumped to the forefront of his busy brain. I was, and still am, impressed.

The country ribs are boneless and pork, and I've looked at them in the store multiple times and just wasn't sure what to do with them. Darling Husband (whose real name is Adam) braised them for hours in the passion/pear nectar, which he had punched up with a can of chipotle in adobo. Once everything was falling apart, he pulled the pork with forks. Oooooh, let me tell you, that would make the most kick-ass pulled pork sandwiches!

Adam then baked the puff pastry shells, which end up looking a lot like the bamboo baskets in which they keep cobras in Indiana Jones-type movies. The pork mixture went into the shells, to be topped with some of the farmer cheese and popped under the broiler.

The beets? Well, apparently he considered just using the beet greens and not the actual beets, but was worried I might disqualify him for not really using the ingredient. The greens became a rockin' chimichurri that was drizzled over the empanadas. He used a mandolin to thinly slice the golden beets, then fried them like chips to serve on the side. They were, of course, amazing.

I wish I had a picture to post, because everything even looked scrumptious. The cheese on top of the pork, already a bit on the dry side, toasted to a lovely honey color and dried out a bit more like feta. The chimichurri was bright and herbaceous, the pastry was sort of sweet (the way bread can be sweet, but not sugary at all) and buttery and crispy/chewy all at once, the pork was spicy and smoky but balanced by the passion nectar. The cheese provided just the right counterpoint to cut through the sauce. The beet chips were savory and salty and yet with a bit of sweetness, too. All and all, it looked great, it tasted even better, and he clearly won this chopped round.

Bravo, darling honeybear. You can be my chef any time...


Apparently we did take a picture! It's not fantastic, because it was on a cell phone, but...

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