Monday, September 24, 2012

Porc Normande - Pork Loin Roast Braised with Apples and Onions

Meme was the one who cooked "french" food at our home.  Of course my parents cooked many great french meals also, but here it was Meme.  I cooked all other types of food, but never french.  Except for this dish, Porc Normande (or, Pork Normandy, that is to say Pork cooked in the manner of the Norman area of France).  I am not sure why, yet there it is.

This is perhaps the simplest fine dining dish you can make (other than Prime Rib, which is truly stupid easy to make well, so long as you have a bunch of cash for the meat).  Porc Normande however is very inexpensive - Pork loin is often on sale for less than $2 a pound, and the rest of the ingredients are not expensive either.  Yet people will think you are a genius.

If you need to prepare a meal for a large crowd, super easy.  If you want to make it for two - also easy - use  pork chops and downsize the rest of the ingredients.  You can also prepare ahead of time, put it in the oven, entertain guests, pull from oven, finish, serve, and be acclaimed a great cook.  Or, prepare the day ahead and just warm in a 350 oven for a half hour or so and serve.


Pork Loin
2 onions, sliced
2 tart apples - think granny smith, macintosh, regent, northern spy.  Do not use Honey Crisp or the like.  They need to be pealed, cored and sliced
2 tbs Calvados (apple brandy) - you don't have to use this - sometimes I will add a 1/2 c of fresh apple cider
12 oz chicken broth (or, if your not using the Calvados, use 1/2 chicken broth and 1/2 fresh apple cider (do not buy pasteurized - that is just apple juice - live a little and take a chance!  Besides, it is getting cooked for hours)
1/2 cup cream (you can substitute fat free half and half or reduced fat sour cream - but do not bring the sauce to a boil after adding - only cream or half and half can hold together and not separate in the sauce)
Salt, Pepper, oil, butter, flour


Heat oven to 350 degrees and get out the Le Crueset pot - sized according to how much Pork Loin you are cooking
Place pot on stove and heat it up on medium heat
Add 1 tbs oil, brown Pork Loin on each side, remove from pan
Add onions and apples, cook until golden brown.
Add Calvados, flame.  Try not to burn yourself.  Don't blame me if you do - I will only mock you.
After the brandy has burned off, add stock and/or cider, pork loin.  Cover and place in oven.
Cook for 1 - 2 hours - until meat is tender
Remove meat, cover with foil to keep warm
Place pot on stove over medium heat and cook down the sauce.  If you like you can make a roux to cheat and thicken the sauce.
If you like you can use your boat motor to puree the apples and onions, or not.
Add cream, bring to boil, adjust seasoning ( basically add salt and pepper to taste)
Slice roast (thick slices - 3/8 of an inch or more), serve with sauce poured over the top (or just add the sliced roast back to the Le Crueset pan and serve.

This is a great dish to serve with braised red cabbage, caramelized apples, mashed potatoes, egg noodles - feel free to go with what ever option you like.

No comments: