I bought a small jar of Saffron a week ago and have been wanting to use it. Today, I woke up with a mission; to use Saffron in something.
I was watching a Good Eats episode with Alton Brown a little while ago and he made a Paella that looked really appetizing. It explained to me the difference between real saffron and the fake stuff. Apparently, the real stuff costs about a $1,000 per pound and takes about 50,000 to 75,000 flowers to produce. Additionally, the stuff can only be harvested in certain places in the world at certain times of the year. No wonder those Spaniards wanted to find the new world so badly.
So I went to the kitchen this morning and made breakfast. During my morning cup of coffee, I thought how cool it'd be to use coffee as a marinade for a meal.
Good ol' Alton never dissapoints. I found his recipe for Molasses-and-Coffee Pork Chops. I decided to couple that with a recipe I wanted to try for Butternut Squash Risotto and I had myself a dinner.
- 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
- 6 ounces molasses, by weight (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 6-to-8-ounce bone-in pork chops (1 inch thick)
I like to trim most of the fat from the chops before rinsing and marinating.
Marinate the Pork Chops in the coffee, molasses, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, ginger and thyme for at least two hours. The marinade will be used as a glaze once the meat is removed. Medium-High heat for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally will reduce it to about a half cup. Make sure to remove the thyme sprigs before making the glaze.
The recipe calls to grill the meat for 3-5 minutes on each side until the internal temp is 145°. I did -- they came out a bit tough and overcooked. Next time I'll remove from heat between 135-140.
Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash
- 1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 ounces pancetta, diced
- 1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
This was fun. I used Chardonnay in place of the dry white wine, but everything else was to a 'T.'