Fri 18 Sep 2009
That’s two things, the wine — Duck Duck Goose 2006 — and a dish, pork porterhouse chops, sort of super pork chop.
As she was going out the door yesterday, LL said, “Do something with those pork porterhouse chops. You know, marinate them in something.”
Well, who am I not to obey?
So, about 4:30, I took these thick, beautiful pieces of meat — vegetarians read no further! — and slathered on them the minced garlic from two cloves, a squeeze of lime juice on each, a sprinkling of Urfa pepper from Turkey, some dried Mexican oregano, a dusting of dried chipotles and, finally, from the mountains of Chile, some “Merken” mapuche spice, which contains ground Cacho de Cabra chili peppers and coriander. Pretty damned international if you ask me! (Urfa and Merken are available from Zingerman’s.)
When it was time for dinner, LL cooked the pork the way we usually do with chops, seared on top of the stove in the cast-iron skillet on each side and then put into a 400 degree oven. Since these porterhouse chops were so thick, they cooked a total of probably 20 minutes, 10 on top of the stove and 10 in the oven. They came out perfectly, moist and tender and flavorful and mildly spicy. That’s a picture of them (at top) in the skillet, right out of the oven.
Meanwhile, LL made a succotash from fresh corn, Lima beans, sliced Serrano peppers and chopped Nicoise olives. We sliced a tomato to add color to the plate. The pork, the corn and lima beans and tomatoes came from the Memphis Farmers Market, open every Saturday downtown from May through October.
For the wine, I opened — by grasping the neck and cap and twisting my hand — a bottle of the Duck Duck Goose Fine Red Wine 2006, South Australia, from Rocland Estate. A blend of 55 percent shiraz and 45 percent cabernet sauvignon, this wine defines the color “inky-purple,” and if inky-purple had smells and flavors, it would probably define them too. The wine is deep, dark and spicy, awash with minerals and humus and loam, bursting with notes of ripe black currants and plums with a earthy, slate-like edge. There’s a hint of cloves, of cedar, of blueberry cobbler, and before you say, “Whoa, F.K., this does not sound at all like your kind of wine,” let me add that all of these elements, so typical of over-the-top Australian red wines, are firmly held in check and balanced by vibrant acid, by the aforementioned mineral quality and by dense, cushiony tannins. And then come the violets and rose hips. Pretty is as pretty does, my friends, but this wine manages to be pretty and serious simultaneously. It ages 18 months in French and American hogsheads — large casks — about 10 percent new, so there’s no influence of toasty new oak, just a sheen of slightly spicy wood. Great with the pork chops, as it would be with other hearty (or hardy) fare. Very Good+ and a Real Bargain at about $13.
Rocland Wine Imports, Calistoga, Cal.