Monday, July 22, 2013

Pork Steak - braised in a crock pot

My mother used to make pork steaks in a frying pan. It was an odd process. She'd cook it on low an let the liquid just about simmer away, then she'd add more water. She'd cover it, uncover it, turn the heat up or down. Add more water an let it simmer away.

It was almost like she couldn't figure out what she was doing. Or maybe she couldn't figure out when it was going to be done. I'm sure there was some logic to what she was doing, but I sure didn't know what she was up to.

Even though I thought the cooking was weird, I always liked the result.

Although she went about it in a peculiar way, what she was doing was braising the meat. It makes sense. Pork steaks aren't particularly tender.

I decided to use my slow cooker to do the same thing. I started with a frozen pork steak - it works fine since it's a thin piece of meat - but normally I'd use non-frozen meat.

When I was cooking this, I was looking around for something I could use as the braising liquid besides water. I didn't have any wine open. I thought about using beer. Then I decided to us some Dry soda. No, it's not actually dry - that's the brand name. It's got less sugar than regular soda, so it's a little less sweet and the flavors are a little cleaner.

Ginger is a new flavor of Dry soda, and it's got more of a real-ginger flavor than regular ginger ale. If you don't have the Dry soda, you could certainly use regular ginger ale, water, wine, or beer. Whatever you like.

This assumes you have a slow cooker with a browning function. If yours doesn't, you can do the browning in  a separate pan, or you can skip that step. You can also do this on the stove, but the slow cooker doesn't heat up the house quite as much

Braised Pork Steak

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pork steak
1/2 medium onion
1 bell pepper (your choice of color)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup Dry ginger soda
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water (optional)

Heat the olive oil in your slow cooking on the browning setting. Season the meat on both sides, add it to the slow cooker, and brown on both sides.

Add the onion and bell pepper, cook for a minute or so then add the ginger soda. Cover and cook on low until the pork steak is tender. I cooked mine for 3 hours - but it depends on how low the "low" setting on your slow cooker is.

Uncover and raise the heat to reduce the liquid. If you like, thicken the liquid with some cornstarch - mix it first with the water so it doesn't clump up, and then turn up the heat so the liquid for a minute or two.

Serve hot.

The nice people at Dry Soda recently sent me some samples of their new flavors, and their new packaging - it now comes in cans. I was not required to write about the product.