Monday, April 7, 2008

Mission: La Coupe PDC

So by now you may have read about some of our exploits sourcing one of the key elements of this week's effort, but to put it in perspective: between the legwork and the actual preparation of the stock, there was about 20 hours of prep making that single ingredient. Add to that, if you want, the time spent making the pork stock (we're also that using this week) and obtaining the custom cut pork loins and... it all adds up to a fair amount of time.

Good thing it's worth every minute.

Let's get straight into the mis en place:

Mis En Place - La Coupe

That's some good looking pig, ain't it? While it's coming all the way up to room temperature, we'll dive right into a simple Béchamel sauce, which will eventually become the base of a mustard sauce for the kraut:

Bechamel - la Coupe

The butter was melted and flour added to our petit saucier - which really has been a life saver in this project thus far after a long period of not getting much use in our kitchen. (The Album is sauce-a-riffic, just how we like it!) Then we added the milk and nutmeg, and it looked like this:

Bechamel en fuego

Once it was all done, we got our mis en place together for step 2 of the mustard sauerkraut sauce. (Notice the two mustard combo: the lower mustard is one of Jacob and Melissa's old time favorites... Plochman's. And that's the freshly made Béchamel to be added to the mustard sauce. Be forewarned that the recipe makes A LOT of Béchamel. We halved the recipe, and still had a good cup or so leftover. So being the resourceful folks that we are, the leftovers went into the mashed potatoes, along with the leftover garlic cream from last week. Mmm... leftover creamy creamy goodness potatoes. Oh, and our venison stock is finally getting in on the action too!)

Mustard Sauce meez

What's going on with the pork, you ask? At this point, it's come up to room temperature, so it's time to give it a nice sear in some... what else... duck fat:

Protein in duck fat

The pork might look normal sized in the pictures, but that's only because it is in a gargantuan sized pan. This pork was HUGE. Huge, like, if pigs were dinosaurs. Or something. But know it was really, really, big. We digress. And then we flip and sear the other side:

One side down, one to go

And then into the oven the whole thing goes. After a little bit of time in there, we check the temperature, and once it's where we want it to be (which is not the 73 degrees the thermometer is showing), we set the meat aside and go to work with what fat is left in the pan. (Of which there is a lot!)

Temp check

This is a structured dish, or it will be: the pork will be placed on a bed of mustard sauerkraut, and atop the pork we'll have a mound of delicious mushrooms and onions. While the pork was in the oven, Jacob went to work slicing mushrooms... and while he'd like to report that he used the mandolin this time as well, he gave up on that and worked with his santuko instead - it went quickly and easily that way, and without having to worry about losing fingertips:


And once that was all done, they went into copper pan with onions and of course all that rendered fat that we left in there from the sear/bake of the chops themselves. We probably should have drained some fat off, but hey, we like to go big (not home!) so we left it all in.

Mushies and onions

At the same time, we're saute-ing the drained sauerkraut in a little bit of butter, and keeping the mustard-Béchamel sauce on low heat.

Full speed ahead

Now we wait for the mushrooms and onions to reduce, and then reduce some more in some wine, then some more with pork stock. During this time we combine the mustard-Béchamel and the kraut and keep it on real low heat during the continuing reduction. Did we mention there was some reduction happening? Lots and lots of it. Well, after things have reduced by half, and then by half again, it's finally time to construct our plate, just so:

La Coupe PDC: Finis

And oh my, oh my, this was time well spent.

The recipe called for 4 bone-in loins, but we only served two and there was plenty of food for all involved.

The meat was perfectly cooked, tender, and juicy; a very fine representation of the pig in his grandeur. The mustard-sauerkraut had both bite and depth - amazing what Béchamel can do for a simple food (especially one so close to Jacob's Pennsylvanian heart). The onion-mushroom mix was superb as well, and brought a whole different league of sweetness that complimented the sour very well. The pork met rave reviews from the guests (and not just because of its ginormous size), and we would totally make it again, especially the mustard-kraut!

Note to selves: Ask the price when you call the butcher for a special order! While we were totally in love with the pork we bought and thought it was worth every dime, it was well more than we figured it would be. (We're still learning!)

Time, mis to eat: About three hours, not counting the stock preparation.

Cost of the components of the dish: $68 - again, the meat accounted for most of the cost (we used fan-dancy meat, and not a small amount of it). Totally worth it, and it probably could have fed more people, but hey, we were celebrating the pig, man.

Next Week: Pig's Feet (#4) and PDC Mashed Potatoes (#5). Two recipes in one week!

Blast from the past: Wondering what we are doing and why? Read about it from his and her perspectives.

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