Monday, 14 May 2012
Because I really want to go France: Normandy Pork
It has been too long actually. For someone who has visited France quite regularly it has been three years since I last took a little 'vacances' to a place that I really quite like. Anyway, come the end of the month, we will be wending our way south for a hop across the channel and a few days in Northern France, and whilst arrangements are not quite firmed up just yet, if we end up in Normandy then that will be just fine. Then I will have to brush the cobwebs off my A level French and see if I can get by without resorting to gesticulation and the horror of uttering "Parlez-vous anglais?" Hopefully, all will be well.
So, in premature celebration of our trip, I figured that something a little French might be in order. You will notice that much of my cooking of late has been Spanish or Italian in origin, and the country with the biggest gastronomic gravitas has been neglected somewhat. Here I aim to put it right.
I figure this dish is so called because of its apple content, and Normandy being the place of which I have memories of drinking the local cider and the glorious Calvados. I know that the region is famous for its use of butter and cream, the lush meadows and the happy cows producing the most beautiful dairy fare. Their use in this dish is what makes it so unctuous. In fact, 'unctuous' is the adjective I would use to describe Normandy, if I was being forced to.
Finn, the fussy one, loved this. Lola too, but Lola is easier to please. Getting Finn to eat a new dish without complaint doesn't happen often but in this case it did. I think he just 'got' the appley creaminess of the sauce and he ate the whole lot. He is my harshest critic, and to please him is a bonus!
The recipe is adapted slightly from the one in the brilliant 'Avoca Cafe Cookbook'. An Irish gem of a book...
Normandy Pork, adapted from 'Avoca Cafe Cookbook' by Hugo Arnold and Georgie Glynn Smith
Feeds Mum, Dad, Lola and Finn
1 1/2 lb diced pork (leg or shoulder)
1 tbsp of plain flour, seasoned generously with salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
a splosh of vegetable oil
2 onions, peeled and diced
2 small to medium cooking apples, peeled and chopped
1/4 pint apple juice
1/2 pint strong chicken stock
1/4 pint of double cream
chopped parsley, to garnish
Toss the pork in the flour.
Melt the butter and the oil together in a large frying pan or casserole and add the pork in batches and saute until golden brown. Transfer to a plate. When all the pieces are browned, return the meat to the pan.
Add the onions and the apples to the pan and cook on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes or so until the onion is translucent but not coloured and the apple pieces have started to lose a little of their firmness.
Pour in the apple juice, scraping up any residue from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock, and then season up with salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, allowing the meat to cook gently for about an hour or until the meat is tender. If you want to reduce the sauce more at this stage then turn the heat up and boil the sauce to reduce a little.
Stir in the cream before serving and taste the sauce. Adjust the seasoning as required. Stir some parsley into the sauce if you like.
I served this with new potatoes and peas. Il était un excellent repas. J'espère que vous l'essayer!