Dhansak is a famous Parsi dish. Little bit of history. The Parsis were from Persia and migrated to India to escape persecution in or around the 10th century. That’s the beauty of history. People move around. They bring their cooking with them. Don’t mean to oversimplify but immigration is good for food. Diversity. Variety. Ideas. Indian restaurant dhansak curry is adapted from the traditional. But lentils and a bit of sweet and sour remain.
Chile verde. Chili Colorado. Braised pork with tomatillos. Add some more green chilies and some cilantro and you have what might be the state dish of New Mexico. It’s all over the southern US. It’s nowhere up north. I don’t know why. It’s flat out comfort food.
OK – hands up. Who doesn’t love pork chops with mushroom soup? For me it’s a childhood memory. It’s what I crave when I’m home sick. When I want to just curl up and whimper. When I want my mommy. Pork chops with mushroom cream sauce follows pretty much the same recipe – just upscales it. The dinner party version of the Campbell soup classic.
I love beans. And these savory navy beans are near the top of my list. Rosemary. Thyme. Parsley. Onions and garlic. Shallot. What’s not to love? I also love how the house smells when I cook this. It’s a meal in a bowl. A stew really. Nourishing. Satisfying. Just good.
Mexican pork ribs. Chili. Tomato. Spice. Creamy cheese grits. It comes together beautifully on the plate. A deeply flavoured, mildly spicy sauce blends with the creaminess of the grits. Meltingly tender pork ribs add a touch of richness. This dish takes Mexican cooking into fine dining territory.
Sausage with peppers. A classic American-Italian dish. Fry some sausage. Add peppers and onions. A bit of garlic. Some dried oregano and basil. Pile it on a hoagie. Melt some cheese. That’s downtown.
Roast sausage for colour. Sweat peppers and onion slowly until melting. Add white wine. Reduce. Now the tomato. Simmer. Add the browned sausage. Simmer a bit more to bring the flavours together. Serve on polenta enriched with butter, cream and fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano. Simple, clean tastes. That’s uptown.