The secret ingredient? Marmalade
Grapefruits, navel oranges, Florida juice oranges, blood oranges, Seville oranges, Spanish or Moroccan clementines, Californian lemons and limes – all of these tropical fruits are in their prime and shipped to the north for our enjoyment and good health. Citrus fruits add a zingy sparkle to our winter weary Canadian taste buds not to mention necessary vitamin C for health.
If you think citrus fruits are relegated to the breakfast table only – think again. The rind and juice are essential ingredients in soups, stews and salads. Of course, slices and segments are integral parts of salads and desserts too. Long ago, when citrus fruits were a luxury for the rich, every scrap of the fruit was used in marmalade, and the rind candied to preserve for later use. Now we can use the vegetable peeler to extract the peel and freeze it in baggies for a future ingredient in soups, stews, cakes, cookies and muffins. (Yes, I did say peel with a vegetable peeler and freeze – ready at a minutes notice to add zest to countless recipes.)
Of course, January is the month of the Seville orange and marmalade making. Again, if you prefer to make the marmalade at another time, simply freeze the fruit whole in a freezer bag for up to six months for a later, more convenient marmalade session. Marmalade itself is a flavourful ingredient for recipes, both sweet and savoury, as you will see here. Enjoy a taste of sunshine with every tangy mouthful!
Citrus Pork and Fruit Ragout
Equally good for a weeknight meal or entertaining, this aromatic stew is enticing in colour and flavour. Serve with a brown rice pilaf flavoured with grated orange and lemon rind and a spinach- orange and almond salad.
3 lbs (1.5 kg) 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces lean pork such as pork butt (you could use a roast or pork chops and cut into pieces, trimming any fat)
1/4 cup (50 mL) olive oil
4 shallots, peeled and minced
1 L (4 cups) chicken stock
2 cups (500 mL) dried apricots (halved and soaked in boiling water; water discarded)
1 cup (250 mL) pitted prunes or figs (halved and soaked in boiling water; water discarded)
1 cup (250 mL) each, orange juice, white wine such as Riesling
1/4 cup (50 mL) white wine or cider vinegar
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh chopped dill
1/4 cup (50 mL) orange marmalade
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated orange rind
1 tsp (5 mL) each, ground cumin and thyme leaves and salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C).
In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat half of oil over medium high and brown pork in batches: set aside. Add remaining oil to pan and cook shallots over medium heat until softened about 5 minutes. Pour chicken stock into pan; bring to boil scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return browned pork to pan together with shallots, apricots, prunes, orange juice, white wine, vinegar, dill, orange marmalade, bay leaves orange rind, cumin, thyme and pepper. Stir ingredients well to combine and bring to boil.
Place pan with contents in oven and bake covered for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Remove lid and continue baking another 30 – 40 minutes or until meat is tender. Serve immediately or cover; cool and refrigerate. Stew may be made a day ahead of serving and re-heated. Makes 6 – 8 portions.
Marmalade Mustard Glaze
This versatile glaze may be brushed on fish, chicken, pork, lamb, ham or sausages then baked. Alternatively, it may be served as a condiment for these foods.
1/2 cup (125 mL) marmalade
3 tbsp (45 mL) liquid honey
3 tbsp (45 mL) orange juice
2 tbsp (25 mL) Dijon mustard
1 tbsp (15 mL) cider vinegar
1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger
In a stainless steel saucepan combine marmalade, honey, orange juice, mustard, cider vinegar and ginger. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer and simmer 1 minute. Cool slightly; pour into jar; cover and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. Makes 1 generous cup.