Monday, January 20, 2014

Simple braised pork from the James Beard Celebration Cookbook

The recipe's official title is Roti de Porc Braise aux Oignons, and it's contributed to the 1990 James Beard Celebration Cookbook by Lydie Marshall. Twenty years ago, her cooking school, La Bonne Cocotte, was located in Greenwich Village "not far from Jim's house." Today, it is in Nyons, France, one hour northeast of Avignon. She offers five-day cooking classes, limited to four people, during which students come and stay in town, and market, learn, and live with her in and around the restored medieval fortress which is her home and school.

To be sure, her website and class schedule have not been updated since 2009, so all of this information may be moot now. In any case, here is her braised pork, delectably simple.

Roti de Porc Braise aux Oignons

3 Tbsp olive oil
4 pounds pork roast (picnic cut)
4 large onions, peeled and chopped
1 tsp salt
fresh black pepper
1 cup water

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (Lydie Marshall's schools have both been named for this, her favorite cooking pot -- a casserole or cocotte in French). Add the roast and brown well on all sides.

Put the onions around the roast along with the salt, pepper, and water. I browned the onions separately ...

... and then laid the pork on top of them, for fear of the meat becoming too tough by actually sitting in boiling water to cook.

Cover with lid and braise for 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours, turning the meat occasionally and adding more liquid if necessary.

Transfer the roast to a cutting board and cover with tin foil to keep warm. Let rest for 15 minutes while you reheat the sauce and degrease it as well as possible. Sprinkling a little rice flour into it, and stirring, will give you a thicker but gluten-free gravy.

Mashed potatoes and buttered Brussels sprouts will be your perfect accompaniments, as will a glass of perfectly pale golden, refined and elegant and bracingly refreshing, but barely melon-and-caramel-like chardonnay. Something perhaps like Stag's Leap Cellars' Karia.
My, my.

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