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Cooking Off the Cuff: Once More Into the Braise

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We're traveling at the moment, but here's a little something more on leftover management and speedy sauce-making; not earth-shaking stuff, but delicious and quick to make.

Even after the cutlets/patties from a few weeks ago, there was still a bit of braised pork in the fridge a day or two later. No sauce; just a chunk of meat, perhaps five ounces (140 g) of it. As I said in the previous post, braised meat takes very well to reheating, and that's true whether it's in a big piece, a small piece, shreds or slices. Its tenderness and flavor are not compromised as they can be in roasted meat (whose leftovers are best eaten at room temperature, either on their own or made into some sort of salad).

What I came up with for the final episode in this tale of a Tamworth (the breed of pig from which the meat had been cut by a good farmers' market producer) was nothing more complicated than a sandwich on a bun, a nice, wet one in which the pork flavor was the focus. Especially given the modest quantity of meat, it would have been easy enough to overwhelm that flavor with elaborate sauces and/or distracting garnishes such as coleslaw, so I sought moisture in a two-ingredient mixture: stock and bottled neo-Korean not-too-hot sauce (my new crush, which seems to be delicious on everything). For a sandwich apiece for Jackie and me, it took a generous two tablespoonsful of that sauce and a good half cup (say, 125 ml) of stock. I used vegetable-mushroom stock, but chicken or pork - or anything tasty - would work fine.

I sliced the meat thin (I did this when it was cold and firm from the fridge, retaining all fat and any scraps that fell off as I sliced) and put it into a skillet along with the two liquids. Over low heat in a covered pan, it took no time for the slivers of pork to heat through and partially fall apart as I folded them into the sauce. I split a couple of sturdy hamburger buns, toasted them on a stovetop grill pan, and topped each with half of the sauce-permeated meat; remaining sauce and scraps I spooned onto the top half of each bun.

Served with french fries (cooked in this easy way but not presented on a folded napkin as they are in that post), this was a just about perfect farewell to a braise that had served us well for quite a few meals. And it just tasted of well-seasoned pork, not of all the extras that a more complicated design might have entailed.

Once More Into the Braise: Leftover-Pork Sandwiches