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Maple-glazed rosemary pork patties with fried plantains
Maple-glazed rosemary pork patties with fried plantains

What do you serve at a 150th? My dog is approaching that age but overcooked rice and bread pap doesn’t seem quite right for the occasion

I thought about all things Canadian and how to combine them in one meal, but that just seemed silly. So I picked one flavour we all know, added a few ingredients our friends and neighbours from around the world might bring to our party, and this is my menu.

Fry plantains until golden brown on each side.

Maple-Glazed Rosemary Pork Patties with Fried Plantains
Eclectic though this might be, it works on every level. There’s a little heat and a little sweet, some meaty and some crunchy, but all easily accomplished by any downhome cook in this country.
The pork is tender and juicy, with the intensely savoury flavour of rosemary to balance the sweetness of the maple syrup in the glaze. It makes a great pork burger with the usual condiments.
Speaking of the glaze, it goes nearly as well with ground turkey, chicken or beef. Double the recipe and slather up a big serving bowl full of your favourite meatballs.
If you’ve ever travelled south you probably had plantains in some form or other—they are favoured even above fried potatoes in many countries. They are fairly easy to find in the bigger grocery stores and even easier to cook. They are ripe when they have lots of black spots all over.
Serve 8 or so with all this.

Maple Glaze:

1 small yellow onion, minced
1 tbsp. each butter and olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. smoked, hot or sweet paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 cup maple syrup—not table syrup
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce, optional

 

Rosemary Pork Patties:
2 lbs. lean ground pork
1 small yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. smoked, hot or sweet paprika

 

Cut both ends off plantains and slice through the skins lengthwise — try not to cut into the flesh. Slice into thick planks on the bias to maximize the surface area.

Fried Plantains:
4 ripe plantains—deep yellow with some black splotches
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper
Start with the glaze. It holds until you are ready to serve it and heats up perfectly in the microwave. As an added bonus it keeps in the fridge for a good week.
Fry onion in butter and olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over low heat until golden brown—don’t use high heat because it won’t caramelize properly. This step takes 10 minutes and you have to watch closely.
Add garlic and cook another minute or two.
Add the rest of the glaze ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick and syrupy. Remove from pan and set aside.
For the patties, combine ground pork with onion, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and paprika and mix to distribute the ingredients evenly. Form into 8 patties, making sure the middles are a bit thinner than the outside edges so when they puff up they will be flat at the end.
Start on the lowest possible heat, or on the cool side of the barbecue, and cook about 8 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown and a little crusty. Flip and cook until the other side is just as brown—it won’t take quite as long.
To serve, add the glaze back to the pan and flip the patties to coat them completely.
In the picture you’ll see I sat them up on a mound of cole slaw and they seemed to like that.
For the plantains, cut both ends off each one and slice through the skins lengthwise so you can open them up—try not to cut into the flesh. Slice into thick planks on the bias to maximize the surface area. Heat up the oil in a non-stick pan until it is shimmering. Add the plantain slices and fry until golden brown on one side. Flip and finish them on the other. Watch carefully because they stick like the dickens with all the starch in them. Don’t be tempted to add much more oil, though, because they absorb it and can get greasy.

Maple Panna Cotta
How better to end a Canadian celebration than with a dessert that is both satisfyingly creamy and just a little bit indulgent but at the same time refreshing?
The taste of maple is not cloying, especially with fresh fruit to offset that sweetness.
This makes 8 servings but double or triple the amounts for a party. You can spoon it out of a big serving dish but it looks so elegant in small serving glasses it’s worth taking up the fridge space.

2 cups whipping cream, divided
2 envelopes plain gelatin
1 cup milk
2/3 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp. amber rum, optional
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, freshly ground if possible
1 cup fresh mixed berries

Pour about half the cream in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes or so. This allows the gelatin to soften and bloom.
|Place the remaining cream, along with milk and maple syrup, in a small heavy-bottomed pot and bring nearly to the boil. Add the cream and gelatin mixture and stir, off heat, until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in rum and nutmeg and divide among 8 serving glasses or bowls. Refrigerate until firm, at least 6 hours but overnight is better yet.
Serve with berries on top.

Cynthia Stone is an information manager and writer in St. John’s. E-mail questions to her at cynthia.stone@nf.sympatico.ca.

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