A few days ago, I went through my classic “How can I make dinner using what I have without needing to make a trip to the grocery store” thought process. The night before, I found a package of pork finger ribs that I placed in the fridge and defrosted. I also found a bag of exceedingly old jalapenos in my fridge crisper. After throwing away the soft and wrinkly ones, an idea was formulated in my head.
First, I started out with the Pizza Dough. I followed a basic recipe from Epicurious. Two things went awry. First off, as the dough was mixing in my trusty old KitchenAid, I started wondering why it wasn’t coming together. The dough consisted of several dry, flaky lumps in my mixer that were being knocked around but not forming into a smooth homogenous ball. I determined that there wasn’t enough liquid. I checked the recipe to see if I made a mistake, and lo and behold, I had forgotten to put the olive oil in with the water (I thought it was just for greasing the bowl to make it not stick! Silly me for not reading thoroughly). I quickly threw it in, worked it a little with my hands to get it spread out, and let the kitchenaid rip. Slowly but surely the dough came together, at first with greenish streaks of olive oil running throughout it, but after a while I had a homogenous, smooth, and elastic ball of pizza dough. I put it in a bowl to rest, covered with plastic wrap, and set it on my warm countertop (my downstairs area is usually around 83 degrees F since I keep the AC running usually only in my room).
I then went upstairs, felt the exhaustion of my day hit me, promptly forgot about the dough I was supposed to let rest ONE HOUR, and fell asleep.
I woke up the next morning and frantically ran downstairs to check on my dough, fearing some yeast monster had spawned from my forgotten creation. Thankfully it looked fine but smelled rather alcoholic. I punched it down and threw it in the fridge, hoping for the best.
Coming home from work, my fridge smelled like I had spilled a bottle of beer in it. Hey, fermentation is flavor right? :).
Pork rib pizza with Roasted Garlic/Jalapeno Sauce
- 1 recipe Pizza Dough of your choice
- 1 lb pork ribs (any kind, I used pre-cut finger ribs)
- 1/2 lb fresh Jalapenos
- 1-2 bulbs fresh garlic (depending on size)
- 1 handful mini shallots or 1 large shallot (explained later)
- 1 cup vegetable oil (for Garlic Confit)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Roast the Jalapenos using whichever method is most convenient for you (I did them in a pan over the stove) until skin is charred and blistered. Cover, let cool, peel and deseed (use gloves!!). You can leave some of the seeds and membranes in to add spice, but jalapenos are so dang hot in the summer already so I find the spiciness in the jalapeno itself to be sufficient.
- Using a sharp knife, take the meat off of the pork ribs. Don’t worry about doing it super cleanly (you’ll see why later). Cut into bite size pieces, toss with some salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes, and 1 tsp oregano. Set aside pork, reserving bones.
- Roast the garlic. You can do it the traditional way in the oven, but I found an easier way that leaves you with a delicious byproduct! Slice the BOTTOMS off of the garlic, and separate it into cloves, removing excess papery husks but don’t worry about peeling them. Place them into a small saucepot, add 1 cup oil (or until covered), and turn on the heat to medium. Watch over the heat, maintaining a constant flow of bubbles but be careful not to burn the garlic. When they are done they should be soft and a light golden brown. Turn off the heat, scoop out the garlic using a slotted spoon/spider. When they are cool, you can squeeze the cloves right out of the skins easily. Plus, you now have some wonderful garlic-scented oil that you can use to cook a variety of savory foods. Searing meat, frying eggs, etc (yummmm).
- Peel and clean the (baby) shallot(s). I’m not actually sure if baby shallots are actually real. I saw these sitting in my house the other day (I’m guessing my mom pulled them out of the garden) and they looked somewhat onion-y so I decided to put them in my sauce. Here are some pictures I took of them:I mean they look, smell, and taste like shallots, but they are just so dang tiny! I have no idea where they came from. Again, they probably came from my garden but then again I highly doubt my mom even knows what shallots are. Anyways, they are a pain in the ass to peel and clean so most of you guys will probably just use 1 regular shallot instead. Dice it up.
- Make the sauce by loading up a food processor with your roasted and cleaned jalapenos, roasted garlic, shallots, and oregano. Blitz it up, add S+P to taste. A dash of chili powder won’t hurt either ;-).
- Heat a skillet over high heat until blazing hot, add some oil (garlic oil???), and sear the pork until golden brown. Remove from heat, set aside, and resist sneaking bites!
- Preheat oven to as high as it can go (mine was 550 F). If you have a pizza stone, great! I don’t, so I used a cast iron skillet turned upside down (yay for improvisation!). A metal sheet tray isn’t the best but it’s still an acceptable substitute if you don’t have anything better. Basically, you want something oven safe that you can pop in and let it absorb as much heat as possible, which will result in a better crust.
- Roll out your pizza dough to desired thickness (I like mine to be about 1/8 inch). Spread the sauce on, and sprinkle the delicious chunks of porky goodness on top. Sprinkle any additional toppings you would like (onions, cheese, w/e I just didn’t have anything else in my fridge :P). Make sure that there is plenty of flour on the bottom so that the pizza doesn’t stick. I don’t have a pizza peel either so I just used a wooden cutting board.
- Carefully slide the pizza into the oven on whatever surface you end up using. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the pizza is bubbling and the crust is puffed up and browned.
- Cut and serve! For breakfast when @MC3Christine came over, I topped it with a fried egg.
Not the best pictures, but they will have to do! It was DELICIOUS.
Stay tuned soon for more information on what to do with the bones and what that mystery vegetable on top is!