Sunday, 4 March 2012

Pork steaks with onion (Μπριτζόλες με κρεμμύδια)

Peeling onions isn't everyone's favorite job, but I personally love it. it's relatively mindless and robotic, and although onion is considered a stinky vegetable that makes you cry, I personally find its aroma quite intoxicating. I find it difficult to cook without onion for this reason - every main meal I cook uses onion. Even though my kids complain about the strong smell when I'm peeling onions, they always ask me what delicious food I'm making once the onions start cooking. Onions are like salt - they add that special oomph to a meal.

A bit of trivia: new research using state-of-the-art laboratory techniques show that cheap onion waste (ie the bits that we throw away: the top, root and dry matter of the onion) has applications as a good source of cheap green synthetic anti-oxidant material (from a study conducted at MAICh.

The onion seller is a regular sight in Crete in mid-summer. We bought a couple of braids from this man in mid-July and hung them up under a balcony staircase. In a cool, airy spot, they won't sprout. These onion braids last us about 8 months.

Here's a simple no-fuss recipe for pork steaks in an onion sauce, which I made quite regularly throughout the winter. (I'd make it now too, because it's really simple, but it's nearing Easter, so we're clearing our freezer and not buying any new meat to make way for lamb.)

You need:
5-10 large onions (as many as you feel like peeling)
some olive oil to saute onions
4 large pork steaks
half a cup of olive oil
half a cup of wine
half a cup prepared mustard
salt, pepper and oregano

Peel onions and slice thickly. Saute in a pan till limp and transparent, but not for a long time. Transfer them to a baking tin (I use a round 30cm tapsi). Lay the cleaned pork steaks over them. In a bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients, and spoon over the pork steaks. Add half a cup of water. Place them baking tin in the oven and cook on moderate heat for 45-60 minutes. Then turn the steaks and let them cook for another 20 minutes or so. (That's it.)

The onion sauce makes the steaks quite heavy, so I don't usually serve carbohydrates with this dish, except bread, which we use to mop up the oily onion sauce. All it needs is a fresh leafy salad and some cold beer.

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