I'm really, really bad at winging recipes.
I mean, I'm pretty good, since the food always disappears and everyone says it tastes great; I just never seem to have all the ingredients on hand, or I change the prep or cooking techniques, I make substitutions and changes on a whim and on the fly, just because.
Chris says that means I'm just a good cook that's totally adaptable to any given situation.
I kinda like the way he looks at things.
I'd come across a recipe for pork and apple skewers on a paleo forum, where others raved about it. But of course I had to wing it; we don't keep onions on hand and we were totally out of oranges, and it was too blasted hot to grill anything….so, I winged it.
I thawed a sliced pork loin we had in the freezer and cut it into chunks, letting it sit in the marinade….from which I omitted the orange juice … for a couple hours.
With the heat index over 100, I opted for broiling the pork and apples, and didn't bother with the skewers. The broil pan worked just fine holding everything, squishing it together like it would be on skewers.
I'd doubled the marinade recipe somehow, so I reserved half of it and coated the apples with it before stuffing the apple chunks (I used Fuji apples, BTW) in between the chunks of pork loin. I stuck the pan under the broiler, on the second rack down, letting it cook until everything had that faintly charred look to the edges, but by that point, I was worried that turning all the bits of meat and apples them would not only be time consuming but could possibly overcook the meat, so I just flipped the oven off, leaving the broiler pan in the oven.
Unfortunately, even with the long marinade time, I didn't find the flavor as strong as I would have liked, but I had a solution. You know that extra marinade I'd reserved? I microwaved it, 1 minute at a time, until it was thick and syrupy, and then just brushed it over the pork and apples as glaze before serving. Winging for the win!
The apples were still crisp-tender, though the pork a shade overdone (I should have taken it out of the oven sooner after I turned it off, or propped the door open a bit), but we loved it- no leftovers to be had.
Pork and Apple Skewers Recipe
1 ½ Lb. boneless pork loin, cut into 1-to2 -inch cubes
1 firm-fleshed apple cut into 1-inch cubes, (skin on)
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
juice from 1 medium sized orange + 2 teaspoons orange zest
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves, smashed + 1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup raw honey; (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6-7 bamboo skewers
In a non-metallic container (otherwise the metal will react with the acid in the marinade), combine 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, orange juice, smashed garlic, and 1/4 cup honey (if using any).
Season to taste with sea salt and ground pepper.
Add the pork cubes to the marinade, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, soak bamboo skewers in water.
Once the meat has finished marinating, heat up the BBQ to medium-high.
Skewer the meat with the green apples and the onions. Try to place the meat between the onion and the apple to give it extra flavor
Season the skewers to taste with sea salt and black pepper, and place on the grill.
Combine remaining balsamic vinegar, honey, orange zest and minced garlic. heat in microwave-proof bowl in 1 minute increments or over medium high heat in a small saucepan until mixture is thickened (3-4 minutes), stirring fequently.
Cook skewers each side for about 3 to 4 minutes (a total of 12-16 minutes).
Brush with glaze when removed from heat.