Recipes from My French Kitchen by Allyson Gofton
27 March - Penguin - RRP $45
If you’ve ever dreamt about living in France for an extended period or simply have an enduring love affair with the French, then famous NZ foodie Allyson Gofton’s latest cookbook is the one to curl up with this Mother’s Day. It has been a joy to read and now I look forward to cooking from it.
Part cookbook, part travel memoir Recipes from My French Kitchen transports us to the heart of all things French as Allyson chronicles, month by month, her family’s year of living in Caixon, a tiny village of just 350 permanent residents. Caixon lies at the foot of the Pyrénées — the majestic mountain range that creates a natural border between France and Spain.
Despite a quite rocky start with a freezing winter and great homsickness, Allyson says that their time away was a wonderful family experience.In fact, it was so special that they’re returning to Caixon this Easter. They’ll take a copy of the book with them to present to the Mayor, who is throwing a launch party for them. They also plan to go back again in 2016 to spend another year there. Next time I get to France I plan to visit Caixon.
And here is a recipe for you to try, it is reproduced with permission from Recipes from my French Kitchen by Allyson Gofton. Published by Penguin. RRP $45.00. Copyright text, recipes and photographs © Allyson Gofton, 2015.
Pork with Lentils, Ginger and Pears
The love of jambon – salt-cured and air-dried leg of ham on the bone – has ensured this area has a plentiful and economical supply of other pork cuts. Épaule (shoulder), collet (collar), côtelettes (cutlets and chops), filet, poitrine (chest), jambonneau (pork knuckle), pied (foot) and tête (head), along with sundry cuts like ears, snout and liver, were all readily available at the market and supermarket.
Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 2 hours Serves: 8–10
1.5–1.75 kilograms pork roast, shoulder, loin or leg (skin removed)
6–7 cups vegetable or chicken stock (stock cubes and water is fine)
1 large or 2 small onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and finely chopped
6–8 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped, better still grated
5–6 ripe pears (any variety is fine)
1½ cups green lentils
1–2 cups jus or gravy (use packet-made for ease)
Preheat the oven to 190–200°C.
Place the pork and 2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock into a large, deep roasting dish. Season well with salt and pepper and cover with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
Pan-fry the onion, garlic and ginger in a good knob of butter until the onion has softened. Halve the pears and peel if wished; I like the way the cooked flesh sits in the skin, which can act like a safety boat in case of overcooking. Leave the pears under water to which the juice of half a lemon has been added, until the meat is ready.
When the hour is up, remove the pork from the oven and pour in 4 cups of stock.
Scatter the onion mixture and lentils around and nestle the pears into the lentils.
Return to the oven, this time without a cover, and cook for a further 1 hour or until the meat is cooked. The lentils should be cooked and there should be some liquid remaining with them. If the pork requires more cooking time, assess whether you need more stock to prevent the lentils from drying out.
Once the meat is cooked, transfer with the pears to a warmed serving dish. Stir the hot jus or gravy into the lentils to make a thick, chunky sauce. Serve the pork thickly sliced with a generous serving of lentils and a pear half.