Saturday, September 08, 2007

Cote de porc a la charcutiere

THEY say God is love. Well it appears the Voice of God has found love via that wonderful "social-networking" tool known as Facebook.
The Voice has been absolutely beaming these days. Rather than shooting thunderbolt stares at people and growling dire warnings, he is more likely to be seen skipping around the office, humming gaily to himself. I swear his voice has risen half an octave, too.
Apparently the Voice was contacted by an old "friend" from his schooldays and the rest, as they say, is history. Some might say it's a miracle that a man so willing to unleash a mighty wrath on anyone that crosses his path can change so much in such a short space of time.
Then again, it's amazing what a bit of nookie can do.

On Friday all Wales was preparing for a mighty assault on the rugby World Cup. Before that there was a little matter of a game of footie at the Millennium Stadium between Wales and Germany. The recent performances of the round-ball team had meant only 25,000 tickets were sold - hardly the kind of crowd that was likely to bring chaos to the streets of Cardiff.
But first sign of those awful football fans, and Wales goes into meltdown. Drinking with one of my old pals from the nationals on Friday night, we decided to make the most of a balmy evening by standing outside so that I could puff contentedly on a roll up.
Fine, until it came to a trip to the bar. When the barmaid plonked my pint of Carling down it was, heaven forbid, IN A PLASTIC GLASS.
Of course, I complained. "Sorry," she said, "but it's the law."
Well, it's not the law every other Friday when we drink outside the Yard. And I'm sure it's not the law when thousands upon thousands of alcohol-addled rugby fans visit the city with the express intention to get wrecked.
Double standards, I tell you. Double standards.

As for the meal I enjoyed the other day, I have refreshed my memory of the Anthony Bourdain recipe for cote de porc.
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
4 large, boneless pork chops
a handful of shitake mushrooms and some big sliced Portabello mushrooms
salt and pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tsp flour
two washed and roughly chopped, but not peeled, carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 finely sliced shallots
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup beef stock
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley.

Sprinkle the chops with rock salt and black pepper and leave to dry for 15 mins.

Pre-heat oven to about gas mark 4
Place carrots, celery and shallots in an oven-proof pan and pour over olive oil.
Put that in the oven and roast for 15 minutes, then toss into a large saucepan.
Heat up and mix in 1 tsp of flour.
Add a pint of beef stock and boil rigorously for a while, reducing and thickening.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan, or griddled saucepan if you want to be fancy.
Add the chops, put the mushrooms around them and sear them for 4 mins on both sides
Transfer both to an ovenproof pan and place in the oven, cooking for 8 minutes before removing from oven and placing on a plate, covering with silver foil.

At the same time as the pork is in the oven, drain the vegetables from the thickened stock with a sieve placed above a measuring jug.
Put the frying pan with the chop juices back on the heat and add the chopped onion.
Cook until golden, then add the flour and stir in. Add the white wine, and reduce, scraping up all the good bits.
Add the newly made stock a bit at a time, stirring all the time.
Reduce by half then remove from heat and whisk in the mustard.
Add the parsley and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Lay the pork out on a plate and pour over the stock. Serve with the sweet potato and spring onion mash featured on the previous blog entry. Mmmmmm!

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