Phew, I don't know about you all, but it is really hot this evening, and has been all day. Not much to do but hang around the apartment drinking water and laying under the ceiling fan, or if you are me, cooking with full burners and the oven on. Yep, I'm crazy. But I figure it will take a couple of very delicious dinners to convince Husband J to start fanning me with palm fronds and spritzing me with Evian all day.
Few weeks back I made a dish much more suited to the cooler weather--rôti de porc au lait (pork roasted in milk) with parsnip puree. If you'll all turn your hymnals to page 173, you'll see a very mouthwatering picture of a golden pork roast being basted in creamy milk. The reality of this dish is not exactly how that picture makes it look, but it is tasty.
First things first, obtaining a pork loin roast. Obviously the only place I can ever go for pork is my trusty vendor, Cedarbrook Farm. At their stall I learned the difference between a European pork loin roast (bone in, skin on) and an American pork loin roast (skinless, boneless, but with a very nice layer of fat lining one side). Since the recipe calls for boneless, I went with the American roast. I carted this home, and put it in the fridge, and then into the sink in an ice bath, to thaw.
To cook the roast, first brown it on all sides in a large pot.
Pork bubbling away in a mix of olive oil and butter.
While searing the pork, I chopped up the veggies used to create the milk sauce: carrot, leek, onion and garlic.
Mise en place for the veggies. The upper right bowl contains garlic confit, which I threw into the parsnip puree on a whim.
After the roast had been seared, I set it aside, and added the chopped veggies to the pot to caramelize over high heat.
Next, I added flour and the milk, and a bouquet garni.
This whole mess gets brought to a boil, then the pork is added, and the pot turned down to a simmer. Then the lid goes on the pot to cook for 1 hour.
So far, so good. While the pork cooked, I made the parsnip puree. This is insultingly easy--just chop the parsnips, boil until soft, strain, and pulse in a food processor while adding some salt, white pepper, and a full stick of butter. (Yesss.) I also added some garlic confit, as I said earlier, for a little kick.
After the hour, I removed the pork from the pot, and set it aside to rest. I decided to skip straining the sauce, and instead pureed the entire mess, veg and all, with my stick blender, until it formed a creamy orange sauce.
Then I cut into the pork, and was met with this:
Oh good lord... the pork didn't cook more than half an inch into the roast! At this point our dinner guest had already arrived, and I started panicking. I shoved the entire thing into the oven for a half an hour, and was met with still rawish pork coming out of the oven. In a despair spurred by not desiring to make people sick and get sued, I decided to cut the pork up and saute the slices until they were done. This seemed to work, so I slathered the sauce onto the meat and served.
Not the prettiest shot of dinner ever, but hey, nobody died.
The pork was very succulent, the sauce was delish, but the real star of the dinner was the butter--I mean parsnip--puree. I haven't eaten many parsnips in my time but this has made me a convert, as they are sweet, creamy and delicious.
I was a little sad that the sauce was not the white, creamy, milky sauce featured in the photograph, but other bloggers who have made the dish before me have also come out with a rather chunky orange sauce instead, so I figure I must be doing that bit right.
It took me a while to think of why the pork just did not cook at all according to the recipe, but I think it's because the massive chunk of meat just didn't defrost properly in the time I gave it. Next time I guess it's straight into the ice bath as soon as it's brought home, rather than into the fridge first.
Lessons learned: Do a better job at defrosting. Parsnips are freaking fantastic, especially with a stick of butter mixed in them.
Next week: Steak au Poivre.