French Fridays with Dorie: Lemongrass-Coconut Braise

As I sit here writing today’s post, all I can say is that if you live on the East Coast, what’s with this heat? We thought we were leaving the Boston area heat behind by escaping to the lake in Maine, but as I follow the temperatures today, it’s just as hot here as at home. Ugh!

I found this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie, Braised Lemongrass-Coconut Pork, to be a seasonal challenge. A stew with root vegetables just didn’t feel like the right thing to be eating when you’re stuck under a “heat dome”, temperatures in the high 90’s for days. I have eaten more ice cream this week, 4 times already, and, true confessions, I don’t even like ice cream that much. (I know, it’s not normal. I’m also not a huge chocolate fan.)

My version is more of interpretation on the theme than a strict following of the recipe, though it does have the same structure. I kept with spirit of Dorie’s recipe so the sauce and flavorings were the same. I used chicken thighs because Howard made ribs over the weekend, and I was just plain “porked” out. I also took inspiration from the season’s vegetables and used steamed green beans and raw red and green pepper along with cherry tomatoes instead of the more autumnal ones suggested. I just realized I didn’t add anything from the onion family. I think I should have included some diced onion chunks, briefly stir-fried. I served this stew over jasmine rice, in a bowl.

This one will go in the “OK” category. It was fine, but lacked excitement. It wasn’t quite Thai, it wasn’t quite Indian, it definitely wasn’t French. Even though I used hot curry powder, the flavors weren’t as strong or as interesting as they could have been. I’m not sure whether I will play around with this to try to make it more to my liking, but there are so many recipes out there to try, I think I’ll just move on. (To be fair to the dish, I don’t mean to dis it, but it just wasn’t 90-degree-weather fare.)

Next week’s recipe is intriguing: a mixed berry terrine. I’ve never made anything like it before. I know I’m the only one in my house that will eat this one, so I either have to figure out how to make a mini-version, or find someone who wants to share it with me.

For this cooking group, we don’t share the recipes, but if anything looks good to you, you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. Of course, you are welcome to cook along, any time you like. We’re here every Friday at French Fridays with Dorie. (Note that, this week, the server is probably down until the end of the weekend…)

If you are under the heat dome with me, stay cool this weekend. It looks like the temperatures will go back down on Sunday.

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Posted on 22 July 2011, in Farmers Market, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. When I first read the recipe I thought it would be better for a fall dinner,
    however, since it was picked for July I would join the rest of the
    Doristas and cook. Hubby and I really loved the stew even though
    many of the ingredients were not familiar to me. Every week I’m
    learning and trying something different. Tricia did not think the
    flavors were anything special and I was really surprised. Maybe
    its this terrible heat we are having here in Pennsylvania. Today
    registered 104. Ugh!

  2. I agree with this heat (I’m in Chicago!). But, I did enjoy this dish. Yours looks tasty!

  3. Hi, Betsy! I am so sorry you are experiencing the heat wave there! It cooled down enough for me to cook this last weekend and I am so glad that I did because it heated back up here the last few days. Crazy, crazy weather everywhere this year. I was wondering how this dish would taste with chicken and I like that you experimented with more seasonal vegetables. We really enjoyed this one. I hope you have a great weekend!

  4. Nice summer variation – just sorry you had to cook it in such heat. We were having unseasonably cool weather when I made this, so it was perfect for us. I’m looking forward to the terrine, too!

  5. I like your idea of using seasonal vegetables. I enjoyed this one quite a bit and will probably make it again — in the Fall.

  6. Betsy, we seem to be neighbors – in Southeastern, MA and obviously experiencing the heat too. I actually got mixed up and went ahead thinking this was the berry terrine week! Lucky for me because it was really refreshing. I will attempt the stew next week and will probably follow your lead and use what’s in season now.

  7. Oh, I am soooo under the heat dome right now. Gaaaaa….. I live at the base of the Adirondacks – and it is supposed to at least cool down in the evening. HA – it was +80 F all night long.
    If I hadn’t made this one the first weekend of the month, I might have had my first bail.
    The terrine was fun, so hope you enjoy it.

  8. I feel for everyone who is suffering through the heat wave. We had visit from Minneapolis at the office this week, and they said that it was not nearly as hot in Puerto Rico as it is in most of the US mainland. That said, I think that this curry could definitely be cooked all the way in the stovetop – no need to turn the oven on! The people in Southeast Asia are on to something eating these spicy foods in their tropical weather… I just need to figure out what that is!

  9. I was just in your region for work and wow…not sure I would even get near a kitchen with a hot oven right now! You are one dedicated Dorista!

  10. I love your seasonal additions! I’m going to have to make a micro version of the terrine, too…fingers crossed it works for both of us :)

  11. Hi Betsy, You are a trooper making a stew with root veggies in the middle of a heat wave! In answer to your question about serving the stew, I put the meat and veggies on top of some rice and just spooned on as much sauce as I wanted on each plate. I felt like there was too much liquid, one can of coconut milk was a tad too much! I hope you’re staying cool this weekend;-)

  12. Great idea to use green beans and red peppers – it really looks pretty! This one was only “OK” for us too. I would like to try it with chicken some time.

  13. You made this stew look so good – but unfortunately I really found the taste a bit “meh”. Stay cool – send some of that heat down to me!

  14. I like what you did with the recipe to make it work for you. I agree it was more of a fall meal but we pushed on and ended up really enjoying it. The heat is awful, isn’t it? I’m in Oklahoma and its a full time job to keep my plants and flowers alive!

  15. Love your veggie substitutes! I think it did need a little heat and will add some next time.

  16. I liked it a lot, but it didn’t seem right for a blistering hot day–on the other hand, it seems like a lot of tropical cultures eat hot food and drink hot tea in the summer.
    Let me know if you figure out how to reduce the terrine in size, and still keep it as a terrine. I also don’t want to make a “serves 10” recipe if I’m the only one who will eat it.

  17. frolickingnightowl

    Agreed that we should be making this in the fall or winter! And I agree that it needed a little something more. I’d like it to be more Thai-ish.

  18. Friday here in NJ, the temps hit 103…I was not going to cook anything that needed the stove. This dish does look good, I’d like to try it in the fall. Your interpretation sounds lovely…I love the idea of chicken.

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