Fun with Leftovers: Figs

Dinner:  September 27, 2007

As expected, the hectic pace I’ve been keeping over the last few weeks at the office in in preparation for our party last weekend caught up with me. Wednesday night I got home from work and was too exhausted to do much of anything; dinner that night was a platter of cured meats and cheeses left over from the party, along with cherry tomatoes, crackers, and a very quaffable red Mike brought home. I was still very stiff and achy when I woke yesterday morning, so I stayed home and spent most of the day in bed with the cats watching a fine selection of food shows on the DVR.

I often worry about dinner on sick days, but yesterday, I didn’t have to – I could smell it cooking all day long. Before he left for work in the morning, Mike seasoned a bone-in pork shoulder and put it in the crock pot, bathing it in a mixture of water, applejack, cider vinegar, chopped fresh figs (left over from the party) and chipotles in adobo. The aroma was heavenly.

By the time we were ready to eat, I was feeling well enough to put together a couple of sides – cannellini beans cooked with tomato and fresh sage, and Tuscan kale sauteed with a bit of garlic, chile flakes and lemon zest. The pork was so tender it was falling apart, so I carefully transferred it to a baking sheet and kept it warm in a 200 degree oven while I reduced the strained cooking liquid. I let it bubble away until it was reduced down to about 1/2 cup, whisked in some cold butter and plated everything up. We opened a lovely Sangiovese which highlighted the flavors of both the pork and the figgy pan sauce, and toasted to a great team effort.

7 thoughts on “Fun with Leftovers: Figs

  1. wow – that really does sound amazing. not sure how you guys keep it up on a near daily basis – even when not feeling so great. btw – i hope you feel much better soon. really. pain is bad.

    i’ve never ventured to the land of crockpots… always fearing a big near mush…

    your dinner sounds fabulous and rich and interesting. just beautiful.

    again.

  2. AlanC says:

    I really enjoy your blog – I find myself always figuring out what I can make with leftovers. In addition, I try to keep every meal under 600 calories per serving – as I am trying to keep my figure looking decent.

    Figs are one of my favorite items to throw in with pork. I like to sear a pork tenderloin for a few minutes on each side and then pop it in the oven at 350 for another 10 minutes or so. Then, I add some onion, 10 figs or so, and two tablespoons of honey. After a few minutes I deglaze the pan with a cup of red wine and let it reduce for a few minutes. The sauce is a sweet, but low calorie, and takes only about 30 minutes start-to-finish.

  3. Jennifer Hess says:

    claudia – thank you. :) I will admit, I was a huge crockpot-phobe. I was always so worried that the thing would set the house on fire or one of the cats would get on the counter and knock it over or SOMETHING, so it has taken a lot of coaxing on Mike’s part to get me to use the darn thing from time to time, but let me tell you, this pork was so good we’re already talking about what we’ll cook in it next. I’m thinking brisket…

    AlanC – Thanks and welcome! Pork and figs are such a wonderful combination, aren’t they? Your tenderloin recipe sounds delicious and easy – thanks for sharing it!

  4. I’m not a meateater, nevertheless the idea of using figs with something succulent sounds fabulous. Now you’ve gotten me trying to concoct a fig-based sauce that I can use with salmon. Or maybe trout?

    Love your blog, Jennifer! And feel better :)

  5. Sally says:

    Jennifer,

    the pork shoulder – could you clarify for me if the meat was seared before cooking in the crockpot? Or maybe run under the broiler?

    the picture is mouthwatering…. I can only imagine the smell in the house, whole day….

    No wonder you were feeling better by dinner time! :-)

  6. Jennifer Hess says:

    Hi Sally – I just checked with my husband and he said he did not brown the shoulder before putting it in the crock pot, so it’s not an actual braise, though that would have added another layer of flavor. He was basically just concerned with getting it cooking so he could get out the door, but if he had had more time he says he would have taken the time to sear it first. :)

  7. SallyBR says:

    Thank you, Jennifer

    nice to know it is possible to skip the searing and just get it going quickly. Some mornings are so frantic, I understand your husband approach very well!

    Thanks again

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