Pork with Apples and Shallots

Pork with Apples and Shallots

Adapted from Elizabeth Bard’s Lunch in Paris

  • 3 cups apple cider plus 1 cup apple cider
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pounds pork loin, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 6 shallots, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons course ground mustard

Bring 3 cups of cider, salt, pepper, and coriander to a boil in a saucepan.  Remove from the heat, add the ice, and cool completely.  Transfer the brine to a large zip top bag, add the pork loin, and refrigerate for 8 hours.

30 to 45 minutes before you’re ready to cook, remove the pork from the brine, dry with paper towels, and let sit at room temperature.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 375 degrees and melt the butter and oil over medium heat in a large oven safe frying pan or dutch oven.  Add the pork and brown it on all sides.  Transfer the pork to a platter and cook the shallots and apples for 5 to 10 minutes until they begin to brown lighly.

Return the pork to the pan, add the remaining 1 cup of apple cider, and cook until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of the pork registers 155 degrees.  Transfer the pork to your serving platter and cover with foil for 10 minutes.

Return the pan to the stove top, add the bourbon (if using), and allow the sauce to reduce slightly.  Whisk in the mustard, add salt and pepper to taste, and thin with additional apple cider if desired.

Serve slices of the pork topped with the apple shallot sauce.

Daube de Boeuf

not daube de beouf...just in case you were wondering

What is daube de boeuf?  That’s just a fancy name for beefy, stewy pot roast.  A fancy French name for beefy, stewy pot roast. So what’s fancy French pot roast got to do with the picture above?  I took that photo at the chateau where The Mistah and I stayed while we were in France.  I can’t believe it’s been over two years since we were there.

Sadly, our hosts at the chateau didn’t serve us daube de boeuf.  And we didn’t try it at any of the restaurants or bistros where we dined.  To be honest, I didn’t make the acquaintance of daube de boeuf until last year.  But it makes me think of the days we spent exploring Normandy….narrow, winding roads lined with bocage, traffic circles, ancient churches, and stately chateaus.  It reminds me of cold September mornings and the heat of the afternoon sun.  It sounds like hymns sung in French for the noon mass at Mont St Michele and feels like the water of the tidal flats lapping against my calves.  And in my imaginary life, where we have a vacation home in Normandy, it’s exactly the kind of meal that I would fix for an informal weekend supper with friends.

At this imaginary dinner, we would eat and drink and be tres heureux (that’s very happy).  Our table would overflow with laughter, so much so that it would spill out into the courtyard and be picked up on the evening breeze, destined to be scattered among the stars.

I may not have a French chateau.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t make that imaginary dinner a reality.

Daube de Boeuf

Adapted from Elizabeth Bard, Lunch in Paris

  • 4 pounds rump or chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 shallots, whole
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 16 ounces whole tomatoes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 4 carrots, halved
  • 8 ounces mushrooms

Heat your oven to 325 degrees, pat your roast dry with paper towels, and sprinkle it with kosher salt and black pepper.  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a dutch oven large enough to hold the roast over medium high heat.  Once the pot is hot, add the beef and brown it on both sides.  If you had to cut your roast into several large pieces to get it to fit in the pot, work in batches and brown the meat on all sides.

Remove the meat once it is well browned.  Add the shallots and chopped carrot and cook for approximately 10 minutes before returning the meat back to the pot.

Add the tomatoes and their juice, the wine, and broth to the pot.  Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the oven for 90 minutes.  After 90 minutes, turn the meat over and cook for an additional 90 minutes.  At this point, add the mushrooms and the halves carrots and continue to cook another 30 to 40 minutes or until the meat is fork tender and the vegetables are cooked.

{printable recipe}

Braised Lentils

can't find french green lentils at the grocery store...look no further than amazon.com

The Mistah and I have been swimming in an ocean of paperwork and bureaucratic red tape.  Forms.  Inspections.  Interviews.  It’s enough to leave me drained and uninspired at the end of the day.  Which means that my tolerance for fussy dinners is at an all time low.  Right now I want uncomplicated.  I want comfort.

There are a lot of dishes I could choose that meet that criteria.  But from a perspective of economy…of effort, of money, and of return on investment…braised lentils are my clear winner. Brown the bacon, chop and saute the veg, add lentils and liquid, and walk away for an hour.

Now, during that hour I may be trying to untangle some of the red tape or get to the bottom of the seemingly endless stack of forms.  But when the timer goes off, I can forget about all of that and sink into a bowl of beautifully braised lentils.  It’s like my lifejacket in the ocean of paperwork.

Braised Lentils

Adapted from Elizabeth Bard, Lunch in Paris

BAH Note: I mostly eat lentils with salad greens but I like Elizabeth’s suggestion of topping them with a dollop of sour cream and serving it with a pan fried or broiled salmon fillet.

  • 1 cup french green lentils
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2  to 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 pound bacon, cut into lardons

Cook the bacon lardons in a dutch oven set over medium heat until well browned.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a small bowl and set aside.

Add the carrot and onions to the bacon drippings in the dutch oven and cook for approximately 10 minutes until the vegetables start to become tender and the onion is translucent.  Add the lentils to the dutch oven and stir them to completely coat them in bacon drippings.  Add the broth, stir to combine, then partially cover the dutch oven and let the lentils cook on low heat until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, approximately one hour.

Add the bacon to the lentils and taste for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper to taste and finish with a light drizzle of olive oil.

{printable recipe}