Recap: Swine & Dine at the Red Ox Inn
Last week, Chef Sean O’Connor and the team at the Red Ox Inn played host to the final Swine & Dine of 2016 in Edmonton. The event was limited to one seating at the boutique restaurant in Strathearn, and those quick enough to secure a table were treated to an Alberta Pork packed meal featuring locally-sourced pork from Bear & The Flower Farm.
Chef O’Connor kicked things off shortly after we arrived. I was pleasantly surprised to see he had added an amuse bouche to the menu and offered diners to a couples of bites of deep fried confit pork shoulder rillettes served with a herb aioli. It set the tone for a unique menu full of texture and flavour.
Next, Chef O’Connor plated a unique combination of a confit pork jowl with a cauliflower puree and prunes poached in a Sherry vinegar. While I really liked crunch and flavour of the porchetta from the previous course, I absolutely loved this dish. The cauliflower was smooth as velvet and the prunes brought such an interesting flavour when combined with the tender confit jowl; it was my favourite among a string of hits.
I’ve had some delicious pork dishes at Red Ox Inn over the years, so I wasn’t surprised when chef O’Connor agreed to hosting a Swine & Dine. The restaurant plays host to a variety of events and set menus throughout the year, and chef O’Connor was eager to create a menu featuring different parts of a pig throughout the whole menu.
When we started our meal our server gave us extra napkins, explaining that the chef intended us to use our hands; the main course was no exception. Chef O’Connor served up elevated comfort food with a delicious plate of dried cherry BBQ pork back ribs with leek bread pudding and kohlrabi.
For dessert, chef O’Connor decided to play on what a pig might eat. Using lard for the final dish, chef O’Connor combined sugar, oats, pretzels, graham cracker crumbs, coffee grounds, corn flakes, chocolate and butterscotch chips. The result was more finger food – a compost cookie and caramel ice cream sandwich. (And not just one ice cream sandwich – we all got two!)
Chef Sean O’Connor made serving up course after course featuring Alberta pork seem easy. He let all of the different cuts from the Bear & The Flower Farm shine, and it was a great way to finish off this year’s Swine & Dine season.
Thank you again to chef O’Connor, his culinary team and the front of house staff for serving up a very memorable Swine & Dine. Looking forward to another edition in 2017!
The Red Ox Inn
9420 91 Street
Tuesday to Sunday
Open at 5:00pm