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Aromatic Porcine

February 1, 2012
Brassoi apropecsenye

If a cow is a bovine, a dog is a canine, and a cat is a feline, what is a pig?

The answer is porcine.  And to make it aromatic and tasty, why not use garlic, bacon and marjoram?  This is a typical Hungarian dish (brassói aprópecsenye; or Brasov-style roast bites), beloved at home kitchens and school cafeterias alike.  Since it’s reasonably fast to make, these roast bites make for a great last-minute dinner.

Proper Brasov roast contains its own side dish, in the form of homestyle potatoes (sometimes sold as “breakfast cubes”).  You can always use frozen ones, however, I prefer to make mine fresh from scratch.  In my experience, white or Russet potatoes work best with this, but yellow potatoes are acceptable, too.  Peel your potatoes, and cut them to small, 1/4-1/2″ cubes.  I made right around a cup and a half to two cups of the little cubes.

Potatoes

Potato cubes

Cook these potatoes in cold, salty water until they are almost done – it should take right around 10 minutes.  Drain the potatoes carefully in a colander, and let them cool a little.

In the meantime, prepare the base for the meat.  Cut some bacon to matchsticks – use 3 or 4 strips of the regular cut; 2 strips of the thick cut is just fine.

Bacon

Bacon makes everything better

Start rendering the bacon over medium heat in a large skillet, and in the meantime, chop up some onion really finely.  One tiny head of onion is all you need; or a half head of a medium or larger one.  Chop the onions as fine as you can – if you would rather do some extra dishes instead of crying, cut the onion into wedges, and pop it into the food processor, pulsing it until the desired fineness.

As the bacon renders some fat, add the onions to the skillet, too.  Salt them slightly to help release the water, and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes transparent.

Bacon and onions

Cook the onions over the fat rendering from the bacon

While the base is cooking, cut up the meat.  This time around, I used pork country ribs, but you can also use a shoulder roast, chicken breast, or even turkey breast for this dish.  Cut the meat of your choice into bite-size cubes or strips.  Also, peel 4-5 cloves of garlic and chop them fine, mash them in a mortar or load the cloves into a garlic press.

Pork

Pork bites

Once the onion and bacon are ready, add the meat and the pressed garlic to the skillet, and for a brief moment, turn the heat up to medium high.  Spice the meat with garlic salt, black and white pepper, and dried marjoram leaves.  (For the best flavor and texture, use the rubbed leaves rather than ground marjoram.)  Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to medium low.  Stirring every so often, let the meat steam out and cook through in about 10-15 minutes – chicken and turkey takes quite a bit less time than pork.

Cover up

Spiced and ready to cover

While the meat cooks, heat up a deep fryer to 375 degrees, or heat oil in a deep, heavy skillet or Dutch oven.  Fry the breakfast cubes or the pre-cooked, drained potatoes until golden brown and crispy.  Let them drip to drain somewhat, and slightly salt them.

Once the meat is cooked through, bring up the heat one final time to medium high or even slightly higher to brown the outside of the meat.  Add another 3-5 cloves of pressed garlic, and some more marjoram to the dish for a final kick of flavor.

Ready

Now it just needs potatoes

Once the liquid has evaporated, and the meat is browned, stir in the potatoes, covering them in the aromatic juices.  Serve it fresh and hot, or prepare the meat without the potatoes for a quick freezer-dinner; a fresh salad can make a great accompaniment for this flavorful dish.

Brassoi apropecsenye

Brassói aprópecsenye

Enjoy your meal!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 1, 2012 18:27

    Porcine. Yummo. What’s not to like?

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