Le Menu

(Dinner party, T-7 hours and counting.)

Necessarily short post today as Mrs. E. has us giving a dinner for six to welcome out of town relatives of one of her colleagues. It is to be an early supper and that gives me roughly five hours to tune up the manse, rearrange the library (paperbacks were moved upstairs and the ever-expanding Easy and Elegant Life source books will finally get off the floor), set the table and get the food going. Oh, and I think we need another bottle of bubble as there was only one Fleuraison left at the store and a bottle of Côtes du Rhône Rouges for those who don’t drink white wine.

Thank goodness for Aesthete’s long ago suggestion to invest in a copy of “The French Farmhouse Cookbook.”

Tonight’s supper will be Rôti de Porc aux Pommes de Terre et aux Oignons.
2 cloves garlic, peeled, halved, germ removed
1 bone-in pork sirloin or blade roast about 3 1/2 – 4 lbs.
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt freshly ground pepper
2 medium onions, peeled, coarsely chopped
2 pounds all-purpose potatoes (Yukon Gold, I’m using the little multi-coloured fingerlings) peeled and cut into large chunks

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Thinly slice the garlic cloves lengthwise. Make slits in the roast and insert the garlic. Try to do distribute evenly. Oil the roast and season with the salt and generous amounts of pepper. Place onions in a baking dish. Set the roast on top of the onions and surround with the potatoes (in around and under if necessary.) Salt and pepper potatoes. Place on center rack of oven and roast about 2 1/2 hours (to an internal temperature of 165ºF at the thickest part away from the bone.) Remove from oven and let sit 15 minutes (keeps the meat from looking grey when you slice it as the juices are reabsorbed whilst it rests.) Slice and serve on a warmed platter or carve at the table.

Serve with hard cider for the most authentic experience.

That’s what I’m supposed to do. Except I can’t resist monkeying around with a recipe. Especially since I was in the mood for the hearty pork and vegetable stew with farz (buckwheat dumplings that resemble couscous) or a cassoulet. I imagine I’ll up the pork content with some sausage and flavour it more with a slab bacon/smoked pork jowl thing. I may even work up into a few white beans for good measure. If I do, they will be cooked with the sausage and some of the drippings from the pork.

The debate continues to rage over the white asparagus as a first course, since the onion soup that I originally had planned would put us over the top onion-wise. I may just stick with a green salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette, topped with croutons, goat cheese and a caramelized (ed: updated that. Actually caramelized walnuts from Spain) walnut or pecan.

Mercifully our guests are bringing the dessert and a cheese tray.

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