My grandma Marian is no exception to this rule. For all of her married life, she routinely put huge dinners on the table at noon--first for her family and in-laws; then for family and the occasional hired man; and then for family, the occasional hired man, and a growing pile of grandchildren. However, no written recipes exist for the succulent beef roasts, heavenly mashed potatoes, delicious fried chicken, creamed carrots, mouth-watering sweet corn, and various other midwestern traditional dishes which made a seat at her dinner table a coveted thing indeed. Therefore, there is no written recipe for the meat dish that I'm going to share with you here, but this is one of my favorite main dishes that Grandma makes. Even though Grandma had given up her wood cookstove about fifty years prior to concocting this recipe, this is a main dish that is particularly well suited to the wood cookstove.
One of the reasons that I like this recipe is because I am a raisin lover. Some of my earliest food memories involve those tiny boxes of Sunmaid raisins that are the perfect size for a pre-schooler. I like cooked raisins, raw raisins, raisins in salads, raisins in cookies, raisins in breads, raisins in cakes, raisins in sauces, and raisins on meats. This recipe is the reason that I like raisins in gravy. Everybody looks at me like I'm crazy when I say that, but trust me, this recipe is good. Here is what you do:
You are going to first be browning some pork chops or pork loin slices. If you know that your meat is lean, start with a little butter (I think a little bit of bacon grease tastes better) melting in the bottom of a skillet. You just need enough to cover the bottom of the pan.
|Butter melting in a skillet on the wood cookstove. Excuse the ugly splotches|
on the cookstop; we had fried doughnuts for our breakfast the morning before this.
I cooked these directly over the firebox because I wanted that high heat which produces a good browned flavor.
While these are browning, mix a few tablespoons of flour into a cup of cold water.
Once the chops are nicely browned on both sides, transfer them to a baking dish and put them in the warming oven so that they will stay hot while you make the gravy.
Pour the flour and cold water mixture into the skillet, stirring constantly with a fork or whisk to keep it from getting lumpy. Season the resulting gravy to taste and let it boil rapidly.
Add a couple of generous handfuls of raisins. Grandma's preference is to use golden raisins, but I like any kind of raisin.
Slice an apple or two into the gravy, too.
Pour the gravy over the chops in the casserole dish and pop the whole thing into the oven.
|The finished dinner would make Grandma proud.|