Pork Stew Normandy

 

Normandy is a region rich in gastronomic tradition.  Its coastline stretches nearly 360 miles from the town of Dieppe to the majestic Mont St. Michel.  The sea provides a rich harvest for the fisherman who earn their living along this bountiful coast.  Fish and seafood are of superior quality in Normandy and superb seafood dishes showcase langoustine, lobster, crayfish, prawns, scallops, oysters and mussels.  Parts of Normandy consist of rolling countryside typified by pasture for dairy cattle as well as orchards producing apples and other fresh fruits.  It is a well-known fact that nearly half of France’s milk, butter, cream and cheese is produced by herds in Normandy.   Normandy is also a major cider-producing region, with calvados, or apple brandy, being a well-known and respected product.  Can there be any doubt that Norman cuisine could be based on less than such rich bounty…!

On a recent 5:30 AM workout at the local YMCA I was talking food with one of my early morning colleagues who mentioned that she had just prepared a scrumptious French pork stew that had included in its list of ingredients pork shoulder, brandy, cream and prunes… a dish that could not have been more Norman in its origins.  I could only imagine the succulent pork from pigs fed from the bounty of ther land, beautiful plums that had been harvested and lovingly dried to capture the rich goodness of the earth, sun-kissed apples that had fermented into a distinctive golden brandy and pitchers of thick cream rich with butterfat… all combined in one magnificent dish.  I asked if I might have the recipe… and was thrilled to have it in hand the very next morning.  That evening we prepared our own version of this indescribably delicious dish and christened it Pork Stew Normandy…

Pork Stew Normandy

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  •  5 1/2 – 6 lb pork shoulder

Remove the bone, trim the excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes.  Set the cubed pork aside.

Place the trimmed bone in a small roasting pan or pie tin and roast for 1 hour to achieve a rich, dark color. Transfer the roasted bone to a large saucepan and reduce oven heat to 325 degrees.  To the saucepan add, in addition to the roasted bone:

  • 5 C beef stock
  • 4 – 5 fresh parsley sprigs
  • greens from 1 leek, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp whole allspice berries
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns

Bring to a boil over moderately high heat then reduce to a bare simmer until ready for use.  To a Dutch oven over moderate heat add:

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil

Mix together in a large paper bag:

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 – 3 T All Purpose Meat Rub

To the paper bag add:

  • the cubed pork

Shake vigorously to coat the pork cubes with seasoned flour.  When the oil is shimmering in the Dutch oven transfer the pork and brown in batches.  Do not overcrowd in order to facilitate browning.  Add additional olive oil to the pan as necessary during browning:

Transfer browned pork cubes to a dish on the side:

When all of the pork has been browned add to the skillet:

  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, both white and light green portions, chopped

As the leeks soften and release their liquids scrape the bottom of the Dutch oven to loosen the accumulated brown bits.  Add:

  • 3 T all-purpose flour

Continue stirring and season with:

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Strain the beef stock and discard the solids.  If necessary, add additional stock to total 4 cups.  To the Dutch oven add:

  • the beef stock (4 cups)
  • 1 C brandy

Stir to complete deglazing, if necessary.  Add:

  • 1 T demi-glace
  • 1 1/2 C pitted prunes, halved
  • 1 T minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 T tomato paste

Stir well to combine and adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Add:

  • the browned pork
  • 4 – 5 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 T caramelized garlic

Stir to incorporate all ingredients, place lid on the Dutch oven and transfer to the preheated 325 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Add:

  • 2 bunches baby carrots, peeled and trimmed

  • 1 large fennel bulb, cut into 1/4-inch strips

  • 1/2 C beef stock, if necessary, for sauce consistency if too thick
  • 1 T minced Italian parsley
  • 1 C creme fraiche

Adjust seasonings, if necessary, cover and return to the oven for an additional 45 minutes.  Transfer to a tureen for presentation and ladle warmed bowls with generous helpings of this velvety smooth and sumptuous stew.  Garnish with a generous sprinkling of minced Italian parsley… Bon Appetit!

 

Copyright 2010 Via Aurea Designs, Inc., All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Pork

Author:Steve Meyer & Dayton Azevedo

Food and fine cooking have been our passion for many years, fueled by the year-around abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry and meats, as well as aromatic spices and herbs readily available to us here in the San Francisco Bay Area, making adventuresome, creative and delicious 5-star cooking a reality in our kitchen. Our aim is to make it yours as well by utilizing our step by step instructions and serial photographs. Bon Appetit from our kitchen to yours...!

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