Braised Pork with Onions and Apples; and True Confessions

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I was a scrawny, scaredy, weakling as a child; flunked first year swimming twice because I was scared to put my face in the water (well, it was the 'Muddy Mississippi', can you blame me?) and always last choice on the softball team (the bat was sooooo heavy).

When I started playing golf I had high hopes of achieving mediocrity. 

Then, for a number of rather boring reasons, I joined a gym; started lifting weights and working out 3 – 4 times a week.  Miraculously my golf game improved: I had the strength to actually swing the club and smack the ball!  I now had hopes of achieving  competency!  (Being 'good', I knew was beyond me.)

Fast forward to living in Andorra.  We joined the one and only Andorran golf club when it opened (which was in Spain – Andorra didn't have enough flat land) and started playing 3 times a week. 

It was a lot different playing at Aravell (name of club) than in Minnesota: it was in the mountains so it was damn hard work and the Brit's we played with were absolute sticklers for the rules (for you golfers out there that meant no mulligans, ever; no gimme's, ever; and long arguments over whether or not the movement of a leaf constituted a 2-stroke penalty).

For you none-golfers let me explain one thing: In golf there is a system (handicap) that levels the playing field, so to speak.  This would allow me to play Tiger Woods in a tournament and win – theoretically.  (I SAID theoretically!)

Okay, here's the confession:  See the trophies?  They're all mine! (Sounds of raucous applause, me smiling modestly…)

See the big silver cup?  That's a first place trophy.  I won that because I was the only woman to finish the tournament.

See the one with the golfer and the flag?  That's a third place trophy.  I won that because I was one of 3 women to finish the tournament. (Yes, obviously, I came in third…some would say last but that would just be mean)

See the little one in front?  I won that because I entered the tournament.  Get the picture?

Along with the trophies I duly got the recognition of the local Catalan newspapers…which meant that non-golfers, who saw the trophies, thought I was really great.  Golfers, who saw the actual tournament, knew I was a fraud.  Then more and more women started entering and my trophy days were over. 

Flash forward 2 more years.  Now we get to the plaque on the left.  I won that! 

It was one of those days when I could do no wrong.  (Golfers, most anyway, have experienced these days, albeit rarely).  If I hit the ball to the right it bounced off the outhouse roof and landed perfectly.  If my putt was off line a mouse jumped up and pushed it in the cup.  In golf parlance I was 'playing out of my mind'.  I played better than I ever have, before or since.  I knew I had won – at least second place.

Back at the clubhouse I was so excited I could hardly stand it.  Finally, my name would be announced as a winner and I would actually deserve it!  There were around 120 men and  70 women in this tournament, so there would be a first, second and third place winner announced for each.  They started with the men, naturally. 

I waited.

Then it was the women's turn. 

I held my breath.  They announced the score and name of third place….it wasn't me.  My score was better.

I got more excited.  They announced the score and name of second place….it wasn't me.  My score was better.

OMG!  I won!   I was dancing around, waiting for my name, getting ready to rush the announcer… 

They announced the score and name of first place….it wasn't me. 

Thankfully, mon mari was there to hold me back.

How could this be?  I knew I had won.  I played fantastically.  I deserved to win.  I deserved to have the announcement of my greatness.  I had worked and striven my whole life for one moment of earned recognition….Where the F*** was it!!!!

I went to have a calm chat with the tournament powers-that-be.  They couldn't find me listed.  After much calm foot-stamping, and quiet conversation we discovered that they had, somehow, put me with the men. (I'd only been a member for 5 years.)   So sorry. 

So sorry, but they had already made the announcements, and they couldn't take the trophy back from the woman they had given it to.  That would be mean. (She was a local Andorran, not an expat like me).  She would lose face.  (Vitally important to Andorrans).  But they would get another trophy for me…and even engrave my name on it! 

I could, quietly, pick it up at the trophy shop in town next week.

No one but me would ever know that I had won.  Well me, and all the people who had to suffer through the telling….

The real kicker?  I had come in fourth in the men's division, one point behind the third place winner.  Wouldn't it have been a hoot if I had actually one the men's trophy?

And, if they had announced my win, and awarded me the trophy and presents, I wouldn't have this story to tell, now would I?  That must be worth something…

OvenOn to the food – comfort food, of course.  I feel the need for comforting.

Swirling Notions tagged me for my favorite braise a few weeks ago.  Anything braised is my favorite; I love slow cooked meats of any and every kind, but this one with just-pi.jpgcked apples,  seems perfect for the season.  Plus it's the most recent one I've made 😉

I do them on the cook top in this gorgeous oven that is not Le Creuset.

  Braised Pork Loin with Apples and Onions

1 pork loin roast, 1 1/2 – 2 lbs (1000gr)Pork

1 large onion, sliced or 2 smaller
1 large apple
1/4 cup Calvados, brandy or white wine
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs cornstarch (corn flour, maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs chicken stock or apple juice

In heavy pot or oven with tight-fitting lid, brown pork in olive oil for about 10 minutes.  Slice onion.  After turning pork, add sliced onions around the side.  Add Calvados, juice, stock and herbs, turn heat to low, cover and braise for 45 minutes.  Peel apple, cut into quarters and cut out core. Cut each quarter into 3 or 4 slices and add to onions.  Cover pork and cook for 30 – 40 minutes longer or until done.  Pork is done at an internal temperature of 160F (70C).  If you don't have a thermometer, cut a slit in the center and look, slightly pink is okay.  Remove pork and keep warm.  Using a slotted spoon remove onions and apples to a platter, cover to keep warm.  Turn heat up under pot, dissolve cornstarch in juice and stir into pan to thicken.  Slice pork and add to platter along with some Oven Roasted Potatoes.  Serve, sauce on the side.

Have you ever noticed how un-photogenic pork is?

Now, who wants to pick up the torch for braising?  How about Riana at Garlic Breath, Ilva at Lucullian Delights, Peter at Kalofagas, Ruth of Once Upon A Feast and  everyone else who has a favorite braise. 

Come on…show us your braise – the pass the torch!   

28 thoughts on “Braised Pork with Onions and Apples; and True Confessions”

  1. Oh I’m feeling so wicked:
    First, I so wish you’d won the men’s! Gad that would have been just so over the top!
    Second, because I still haven’t done the reading list.
    Love that blue pot, such neat handles. And the braise looks wonderful but it’s those potatoes I’d really pile high on my plate!

  2. Sorry you missed your moment in the sun, but it was fun reading about it. Love the pot, and love the sound of this recipe!

  3. Tanna, I would have enjoyed that sooo much, they were such a group of testosterone-high guys…
    Thank you, Peter…. I accept!
    Ah, Mike… too much Oliver Stone I think – or, maybe not…
    Kalyn, it does make a better story this way – and Yay! Pot Roasts!

  4. I love your golf almost-trophy story. How wonderful to get recognition. My father (76 years old) runs marathons and almost always wins in his division – usually he’s also the only one in his division.

  5. Hooray for the quiet foot-stamping. At least you followed through and got the recognition you deserved even if you didn’t get the trophy you should have gotten. Whew! What a sentence.
    I love this braise. And I think it looks beautiful too!

  6. Meat in general is un-photogentic, I have had a really hard time to make appetizing photos for that food guide job I am doing. Wonderful story, do you still play golf?

  7. What an adventure!!! Congratulations, we all know you are the best golfer there 🙂
    I’m still saving up to buy a good heavy pot with tight-fitting lid…

  8. Damn! I was rooting for ya! I wanted to hear about your acceptance speech 🙂 The pork looks very nice 🙂

  9. I wish you had won the men’s too…just to prove to them! Ha! But first place in the women’s is damn awesome, even if they don’t know. It doesn’t matter – it is what YOU know that counts.
    The pork looks yummy, even if pork is not photogenic. 🙂

  10. Oh Katie I love that story! Damn if you just could have been announced with the men…that would have been just tooo cool! But a big Congrats from me on being the winner!
    And your pork looks like a winner also! What is the name brand of your pot? I am in the market for one but they are so expensive!

  11. Amanda, I sulked big time! The next weekend I had to play with the woman who got my trophy – and she was mad – at me!
    Thanks, Margot, that’s sweet!
    Thanks, Pam, braising is good!
    Lynn, I’m beginning to think that’s the best way to win – out last them all!
    Christine, always a challenge to try and argu in another language..foot stamping is universal!
    Ilva, if you can’t make meat pretty I’m giving up! I played until we moved to France. Now I have to much to do in the garden. I look forward to your braise 😉
    Thanks, Nora, the ovens are reasonable priced here, thankfully!
    Thanks, Lannae
    Maryanne, no accpetance speeck (I didn’t do Catalan) but I would’ve gotten kissed bu everyone..
    Kevin, I agree, apple and pork were made for each other!
    Chris, it’s the easiest thing in the kitchen…honest!
    Jeni, I really, really would have liked that – esp. after getting short-changed …
    Gattina, the pork always comforts – along with the onions and apples.
    Thanks, Deb. It’s from the local big supermarket store (Target-type) the name on it it Paul Bocuse. It’s really heavy, I love it and it’s last than half the price of the ‘other’

  12. Oh, I would have loved this story even more if you’d won the men’s trophy. But good for you for sticking up for your score — and now the entire cyberworld knows that you won!

  13. There are truly more stories in losing than winning, yes? PS Where along the Mississippi? We should exchange notes, I think I swam in that muddy water that you wouldn’t enter. 🙂

  14. Lydia, Yup, now they know….But do they care? Just joking, and I did get a lovely backpack as a consolation prize…
    Alanna, and much better stories in losing, too! Half way between Mpls and La Crosse!
    I spent a lot of time in that river…

  15. What a story! I’ve never golfed (beyond some mean put-put, that is), but I’ll tell you, you had me on the edge of my seat! Makes me want to send a nasty e-mail to those Andorrans.
    Thanks for the braise Katie — I’m so glad I tagged you! Rianna, Ilva, Peter and Ruth . . . I can’t wait to see what you all come up with! I’ll do a roundup in a few weeks on swirling notions.
    I think I’m going to call this the Braisy Chain . . .

  16. swirlingnotions, it’s a tough game, and sooo fickle: one day you have it; the next it’s gone…and no one ever knows why!
    I look forward to all the braises…Great idea!

  17. Hi Katie . . . just wanted to let you know I included a link back here on my “Braisy Chain” roundup. Thanks for playing!

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