Pork fillet fricassé in a Chablis sauce

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Growing up with parents who were both passionate about food, it’s no wonder that my brother’s and I are involved in the hospitality industry in some way. My eldest brother studied viticulture, I have been a chef for over 15 years and my older brother is the proud founder of Airoldi Fine Wines, through which he imports some the finest specialty and premium French wines into Australia.

As part of his ongoing passion to educate Australian wine lovers about some of the best wines our motherland has to offer, he regularly holds intimate dinners, often hosted by the winemakers themselves. This month I was lucky enough to attend one such dinner, hosted by Benjamin Laroche of La Manufacture Wines, Chablis, France.

The Chablis region, located within Burgundy is classed as an appellation, meaning that only wines from that geographic area may be called Chablis. The prominent wine variety is a chardonnay, which makes it perfect for pairing with leaner meat like pork.

Inspired by La Manufacture’s exquisite Chablis wines, I’ve created this pork dish which heroes the fruity and crisp flavours that they are known for.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pork fillet, about 500g and diced
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 brown onions, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoon crème fraîche
  • 400ml beef stock
  • 250ml Chablis wine
  • 10 button mushroom, quartered and sautéed
  • 100g smoked bacon, diced

 

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Method:

  1. Heat up a casserole pan with some olive oil and a nob of butter.
  2. Seal the pork on all sides until it start to carmelised. You may need to do it in 2-3 batches to avoid boiling the meat, then keep aside.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat then add the thyme. Now you can add the bacon to the mix.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine, making sure to scrap the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to unstick all the delicious bits. Then add the mushroom.
  5. Put the pork and juices back in the pan and pour in the stock. Bring the sauce to the boil and then add the mustard. Cook on medium heat for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Add the crème fraîche and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
  7. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and finish the sauce with some chopped parsley.

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A delicious side of glazed baby Dutch carrot slowly cooked in butter and sautéed Tuscan Kale with a touch of garlic is, I think the perfect match!

As a matching wine I suggest “La Manufacture” Chablis from Benjamin Laroche available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

Watch the how to video here or visit my Youtube channel here for more videos.

France Culinary Travel Diary – Carcassonne and Toulouse

Le Fermier

France Culinary Travel Diary – Carcassonne and Toulouse

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Though it’s commonplace for French kids to grow up being surrounded by chateau-a-plenty countryside, and villages filled with wooden shutters and terracotta tiled roofs, even I was in awe when I laid eyes on the medieval fortress city of Carcassonne. With a history dating back to Roman times, full of sieges, ruin and renovation, the city walls still hold many secrets.

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What’s not a secret though, is that some of the best Cassoulet in the world can be found here, and because it’s a regional specialty it won’t cost you an arm and a leg either. It’s hard to find somewhere to eat within the fortress walls that isn’t “touristy” but I couldn’t have been happier with my choices, which were a little more tucked away. The first was L’Adelaïde and the second was Le Chaudron. The cassoulet at both ticked all the key boxes: crispy top layer, stewed Lingot beans, confit de canard & saucisse de Toulouse, while Le Chaudron’s version also featured pork to their dish, which was the point of difference for me to declare theirs my favourite. A word to the wise, Cassoulet is incredibly rich and filling so it’s best enjoyed at lunch and in the cooler months.

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After Carcasonne, The Madame and I stayed in Toulouse so we took the opportunity to try another variation of the Cassoulet. I could taste the difference immediately between each towns’ version. My Toulouse Cassoulet from Cave au Cassoulet, was saucier (with a hint of tomato), richer (thanks more duck fat being included in the recipe) and, in my opinion, used more delicious sausages (as I’d expect considering the city of Toulouse is the sausage’s namesake). Though I heartily enjoyed every Cassoulet, my overall favourite remains Le Chaudron’s in Carcasonne. It’s all a matter of personal taste though, so if you’ve found somewhere you think serves better, let me know in the comments below! And, if you can’t head to France anytime soon, but are craving something hearty for a cold winter’s day, check out my recipe and try your hand at it.

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For lunch on the go in Toulouse that’s a little lighter on the stomach and the pocket, you can’t go past Pikanik, a super trendy but equally delicious sandwich and salad bar that was packed by lunch time with students, office workers and tourists alike. For under 10€ you get your choice of salad or baguette, drink and dessert, and it’s even less if you don’t want all 3.

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The true gem of Toulouse though, as a coffee lover, is La Fiancée, a Salon de Café that served coffee to rival the best Melbourne cafés, including perfectly poured lattés! The staff were friendly, the decor justifiably hipster and the location perfect for people watching. A must visit!

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My Carcassonne & Toulouse Picks:

  • L’Adelaïde – 5 Rue Adélaïde de Toulouse 11000 Carcassonne
  • La Chaudron – 6 Rue Saint-Jean 11000 La Cité Carcassonne
  • La Cave au Cassoulet – 54 Rue Peyrolières 31000 Toulouse
  • Pik nik – 6 Bis Rue Roumiguières 31000 Toulouse
  • La Fiancée – 54 Rue Peyrolières 31000 Toulouse

Christmas Eve Dinner “à la Française”: Part 2

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Pork Loin with an Almond, Sour Cherries, Pistachio stuffing and a Cherry sauce.

 

Ingredients for the stuffing:

  •  150g almond meal
  • 1 brown onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch sage
  • 1 small bunch rosemary
  • 150 g sour cherries
  • 100 g pistachios
  • 1 egg

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Method:

  1.  Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (392 F)
  2. Finely chop the onions, grate the garlic and finely chop the herbs.
  3. Heat up a medium saucepan with some olive oil on a medium heat. Cook the onion, garlic and herbs for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool. Roughly chop the cherries and the pistachios and keep aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl mix together the cherries, pistachios, almond meal and the egg. Add the onion mix and stir well, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Open up the pork loin so you a “flat” piece. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Place the stuffing in the middle and wrap the meat around it. Tie up the loin tightly (not too tight) with cooking string.
  6. Scar the skin using a sharp knife and rub the skin with a little olive oil and salt, this will give you a perfect crackling. Place the pork loin in a roasting tray and cook in the hot oven for 3 hours on the middle shelf of the oven. If you see the crackling is getting too dark, you can cover it with foil for the last part of the cooking.

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Ingredients for the sauce:1 brown onion

  • 1 brown onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 50 ml port
  • 400 g sour cherries (in juice)
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 350 ml cherry juice

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Method:

  1.  Finely dice the onion and grate the garlic.
  2. Heat up a medium size saucepan with olive oil and cook the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the port, half the cherries and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add the cherry juice, the stock and Reduce by half. To thickens the sauce mix a little bit of corn flour with water and mix it through the sauce until you reach the desired consistency. Then add the rest of the chopped cherries and check the seasoning.

I have chosen to serve a simple green salad freshly picked from garden and dressed with sherry vinegar and olive oil with this delicious Christmas dish.

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I recommend a Chateau “Le Bourdieu” Médoc 2010 available from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au

Bon Appétit

Le Fermier

 

 

 

Roasted pork fillet salad with a grilled pear and walnut dressing.

 

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I really enjoy pork fillets in springtime. They’re a nice change to the heavy roasts and slow cooks of winter, and the perfect complement to this crispy pancetta salad. The hero of the salad aside from good quality pancetta is the dressing, which combines freshly grilled pears and walnuts. It’s so good that you could almost eat it on it’s own!

This dish is the perfect Sunday lunch, reinvigorated for warmer months, and the best part is that any pork leftovers will be just as delicious to eat cold the next day, sliced and thrown into a salad or as cold sandwich meat with your favourite accoutrements.

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 1 purple cauliflower
  • 1 bunch baby Dutch carrots
  • 1 oak leaf lettuce
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 4 globe artichokes
  • 5 slices mild pancetta ( 2 mm thick)
  • 40 g walnut
  • 1 bunch chive
  • 1 packam pear
  • 1 pork fillet ( about 400g)

 

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Method :

 

  1. Set up a steamer on the stove and preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into little florets, peel the carrots and asparagus, wash the lettuce and take the leaves, stems and the fluff of the artichoke until only the heart remain, place the artichokes in lemon water straight away to prevent them from going black.
  3. Steam the vegetable separately or in different basket if you have a multi level steamer. Cook them until just tender, a good way to check is to use a small knife if it goes in easily, it’s ready.
  4. Preheat a shallow frying pan with a bit of olive oil, cut the meat in equal pieces, season it with salt and pepper and seal the pork all around then put in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, slice the pear (2-3 mm slices) and grill them on a grill pan for 1 minute on each side, then cut them into small dice and keep aside. Finely chop the chive, roughly crush the walnut and mix with the pears.
  6. Heat up a small frying pan on a high heat and cook the diced pancetta until crispy (no need to add any oil in the pan), transfer the pancetta in a bowl with some kitchen paper to soak up the excess fat, then mix with the rest of the dressing ingredients.
  7. Add white wine vinegar and olive oil to taste, season with salt and pepper. Mix the vegetables together and arrange them on serving board or a platter, place the pork pieces around the salad and drizzle the dressing over the top.

 

With this dish I recommend a Chateau “Ollieux Romanis” Blanc, available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

 

 

Porc a la Normande ( slow cook pork fillet in cider and Calvados)

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Normandy is located in north west of France. Normandy is well known for their apple cider, lamb and their beef, but I think most people would know Normandy for their famous cheeses such as Camembert, Livarot , Pont l’Évêque and Brillat-Savarin. As you can tell with this recipe cream is an important ingredient in “Normand” cooking . Normandy is also the biggest producer of oysters, mussels and coquille saint Jacques( scallops) in France. Normandy was  the home of the author of one of the first French cuisine cookbook ” Le Viandier” , Guillaume Tirel known as “Taillevent”.

For the pork ragout :

–          2 Pork fillets or diced pork

–          4 Shallots

–          ¾ litre Apple cider

–          400g Sliced mushroom

–          1 glass Calvados ( Apple brandy)

–          3 Apples

–          200 ml Crème Fraiche

Method: Heat up your pot on high heat with a bit of olive oil then add half of the meat. Cook until it starts to colour then take the meat out and repeat the process with the rest of the meat• Put the meat back in the pot and add the calvados and “Flamber”•  Add the shallots and  colour them for a few minutes•  Add the peeled and diced apples, cover with cider, season with salt and pepper and cook on low heat for 30-40 minutes• Add the sliced mushroom and cook for a further 15-20 minutes• Before serving add the crème fraiche . Reduce the sauce if necessary.

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For the “ Tomates Provencale” ( Provencale tomato)

–          5  vine tomato

–          ½ Bunch continental parsley

–          4 garlic cloves

–          ½ cup bread crumbs (optional)

Method:  Cut the tomatoes in half sideways and place them on a roasting tray • Crush the garlic, chop the parsley and mix them together• Drizzle the tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper• Sprinkle the garlic and parsley over the top and roast at 180 degree celcius for 10-12 minutes.

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Pulled Pork Tacos

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Here is one of my favourite dishes at the moment, Pulled Pork Tacos. The heart of this dish, as the name suggests, is succulent melt-in-your-mouth pork, complemented by home made fresh corn tortillas and tasty trimmings. This Mexican inspired fare is the perfect comfort food for cold days or for sharing with friends in summer alongside some ice-cold cervezas. If corn tortillas aren’t your thing, the pulled pork can also be enjoyed with fresh pasta or in a crusty baguette.

Ingredients

For the Pulled Pork:

– 1/2 kg Boneless pork shoulder

– 2 Brown onions

– 4 garlic cloves

– 1/2 bunch thyme

– 1 stick rosemary

– 2 Tbs cumin powder

– 2 Tbs coriander powder

– 2 Tbs mustard seeds

– 2 can crushed tomato

– 2 Tbs smoked paprika

– 1 Tbs chili powder or smoked chili powder.

For the Tortilla :

– 1 cup Maize meal

– 1 cup plain flour

– 1 Tsp baking powder

– 1 Tsp salt

– 1 – 2 cup warm milk

Method for the Pulled Pork:

Dice the donions, grate the garlic and chop the herbs. Cut the meat into cubes and put them in a large deep pot. Add the herbs, onions & garlic, herbs and spices. Add the crushed tomato and a cup of water. Cook for about 2 1/2 hours or until the meat falls apart . You can add a bit more water if the sauce thickens a bit too much.

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Method for the Tortilla :

Mix the maize meal, flour, baking powder and salt. Add the warm milk. Knead the dough until smooth. Rest for ten minutes. Cut the dough into 80g pieces and roll with a rolling-pin into a round shape.

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Lightly spray a frying pan with oil spray and cook for about 1 minute each side on medium heat.

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Place some pork onto a tortilla, add your favourite trimmings and enjoy!

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Bon Appetit!

Le Fermier