Cerdo is Hero

by Dara Schwartz on May 3, 2013

Behind-the-Line Chef’s edition connects our favorite chefs with home cooks, weighing in on cooking methods and kitchen technique, favorite ingredients and kitchen resources to help grow your inner cook.

How one chef creates simple dishes with complex flavors
Executive Chef Jacob Hough is no stranger to Spanish cooking. Having studied under Barcelona veteran, Chef Paul, for three and a half years as Sous Chef, then taking over the reign of the Barcelona kitchen, this Ohio native brings a fusion of traditional Spanish flavor with home-style comfort food to the menu. Growing up in Ravenna, Ohio, Hough could always be found in the kitchen cooking alongside his mother, where he mastered country cooking and would often help plate homemade biscuits and meatloaf for an evening’s dinner. And while being exposed to Spanish cooking and traveling to Chicago where he had dined at seven different Spanish restaurants for inspiration, Mercat and Cafe Iberico being his favorites, Hough quickly found his voice in cooking. “I love experimenting with using just one protein and creating completely different dishes with it.”

Hough’s style of simplicity, yet strong-flavored can be found in his Cerdo dish (recipe below,) where the protein is star. Inspired by his New Year’s tradition crave of pork and sauerkraut, Hough built a dish around pork, which is often found on family dinner tables of Spain. The king-of-the-plate pork shank proudly showcases a crispy exterior (achieved by frying the shank for three minutes) and a tender juicy inside that was slowly braised in a cinnamon-spiced stock for two hours—married on top of a smoked-paprika potato purée and surrounded by crispy seared brussel sprouts and a creamy rosemary-infused mushroom sauce. As found in Hough’s food, the Barcelona kitchen hones in on something truly unique found in a restaurant kitchen. From the top down, there is a whole lot of love pouring through that kitchen. A kitchen where an apprenticeship begins with a hug. A kitchen where cooks have been self-made into superstars. A kitchen that is so contagious, you find yourself revolving back through that door for just one more fix. Welcome to the Barcelona love, welcome to Chef Jacob’s kitchen.

Join Executive Chef, Jacob Hough on June 12, 2013, at the North Market School of Cooking for a three-course meal with wine/beer pairings. Also, Barcelona’s sister, Sidecar Catering will be teaching a class on July 17. To sign up for this cooking class, call the North Market at (614) 463-9664, or register online here. 

Braised Pork Shank with Smoked Paprika Purée, Brussel Sprouts and Rosemary Mushroom Sauce
Serves 4

Pork Shank
4 volcano pork shanks
2 carrots chopped
1 onion diced
2 celery ribs chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 cinnamon stick
2 oranges (juice and zest)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
8 cups veal/ chicken/beef stock
Salt and Pepper

Brussel Sprouts
1-2 lb brussel sprouts
Salt and Pepper

Smoked Paprika Purée
6 peeled Idaho potatoes
1/4 pound of unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Rosemary Mushroom Sauce
1/4 lb unsalted butter
1/4 lb flour
2 cups of cremini mushrooms
1 sprig rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic minced
4 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Pork Shanks
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Season shanks with salt and pepper.  In a dutch oven, or large skillet, heat oil to high to get the pan smoking hot and sear shanks on all sides to form a caramelized crust. Remove shanks.

3. Heat oil over medium heat in a stock pot. Add carrots, onion and celery and saute for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add tomato paste and paprika and cook down for 2 more minutes.

4. Add rest of the ingredients and the shanks and bring the braise to a simmer.

5. Cover pot and cook in the oven for 3-4 hours, until shanks are fork-tender

For the Brussel Sprouts
1. Core and trim root ends

2. In a skillet, heat oil over high heat. Sear brussel sprouts until they caramelize and get nicely brown. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the Smoked Paprika Purée
1. Place peeled potatoes in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain.

2. Warm butter and cream in a saucepan. Add paprika.

3. Purée potatoes and heated cream/butter mixture with potato masher or a mixer with whisk attachment. Season with salt and pepper

For the Rosemary Mushroom Sauce
1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute mushrooms, rosemary and garlic for 5 minutes. Set aside.

2. Make a béchamel: Warm milk in a pot. In a separate pot, heat butter over low heat. Once melted, add flour and whisk together flour and butter until golden. Mixture should we like wet sand. Add warmed milk and continue to whisk over low heat until thickened. Simmer to cook out the flour. If it’s too thick, you can add more milk.

3. Fold together béchamel and mushroom mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

To Plate*:
1. Center a scoop of smoked paprika in center of plate. Ladle mushroom sauce around the potatoes. Individually place brussel sprouts in-between  sauce and potatoes. Place the shank directly in center of potatoes. Serve!

* If you want to fry the shanks, heat a stock pot with canola oil to 350 degrees F. Drop in shank and fry for 3-4 minutes, until the outside skin is golden and crispy. You can warm in 400 degree F oven for 8 minutes after frying.


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