Sunday, 12 April 2015

Porc aux Pruneaux

Sometimes it seems as if this blog should really be called ‘Some Old Bloke's Half-Remembered Meals’ and I'm sorry but here's another one. This particular nearly forgotten dish is based on something that I ate in Chinon many years ago. Chinon is a lovely little town with a fine castle, the river Vienne, some very pleasing wines and a number of good restaurants. Well, it did then and I feel sure it still does.

This dish is easy to put together, quite rich and definitely old school. It's based on a dish from Tours, which is not far from Chinon, but I'm pretty certain the version that I ate used a Chinon white wine. It can be quite hard to find white Chinon wine in other parts of France let alone outside of the country, so use another dry white wine instead – a Chenin Blanc would be ideal.

Traditionally, I'm sure it would be more normal to cut the pork into noisettes and fry them rather than roasting the fillet whole, but I prefer the roasting option – it’s easier and, I think, the texture is better. I used a homemade rosemary jelly this time and it works very well but I have a feeling that the original dish used a thyme-scented jelly. You could use redcurrant jelly instead.
Porc aux Pruneaux
This will serve 2.

6 large prunes, pitted (Agen prunes would be ideal)
200 ml dry white wine (see above)
1 pork fillet (tenderloin)
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 tsp rosemary, thyme or redcurrant jelly
100 ml crème fraîche
½ tsp Dijon mustard
A dash of lemon juice

Cut each prune into four pieces, place in a bowl and pour over the wine. Leave to macerate for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Season the fillet, place in a small roasting tin and put in the oven. It’s very difficult to be precise about roasting times since sizes will vary a lot, but around 30 to 35 minutes should be about right for anything but the largest pieces. Check that the juices run clear.

As soon as the pork has gone into the oven, begin frying the shallot gently in a little olive oil. Once the shallot has softened (don’t rush it), drain the prunes and add the prune-soaking wine to the pan together with the rosemary, thyme or redcurrant jelly. Increase the heat, stir to dissolve the jelly and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce until the mixture starts to become syrupy. Take off the heat and strain the sauce – squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the shallot and then discard it.

When the pork is done, remove it from the oven and leave it to rest while you finish the sauce. Reheat the wine mixture and stir in the crème fraîche and Dijon mustard. Once the sauce is thoroughly mixed, add the prunes and allow them to heat through. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and add a dash of lemon juice.

Slice the pork fillet, place on warmed serving plates and pour over the sauce. Serve immediately. I like to serve this with simple green veg and some French bread for mopping up purposes.
Chinon

9 comments:

  1. 'Some Old Bloke's Half-Remembered Meals' would be a fantastic blog title. I love it! I also love this post, not least because a) I've been to Chinon (that's a whole other story, believe me) and b) I can trot out my favourite wine and Chinon-related pun about chinon blanc. Maybe it's not that funny when you write it down... anyway, I am always looking for fun things to do with pork fillet, and this looks utterly gorgeous. Sante!

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  2. What a great recipe for pork fillet. I too love Chinon and its chateau, and love the Loire valley wines.

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  3. We are always happy to try new foods, to jump on the bandwagon of new food fads, but we shouldn't forget classic food which we have enjoyed and which holds memories. This blog has jogged my memory of this dish, although not eaten in Chinon. So thank you for this post and for sharing the recipe.

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  4. What a delightful combination - I love prunes and this dish is music to my ears, look forward to trying out, thank you Phil.

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  5. What a delightful combination - I love prunes and this dish is music to my ears, look forward to trying out, thank you Phil.

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  6. Being as we are currently chez nous (albeit with only half a kitchen) and therefore within an hour's drive of both Chinon, possibly my favourite town in France, and Tours, I feel compelled to cook this dish for our visitors this weekend.
    It looks and sounds delicious.

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    1. I forgot to add that I love your picture of Chinon taken from the château. There is now a huge and not very attractive elevator to take visitors up to the château and that very view. But it is easier than the slog up the hundreds of little cobbled steps.
      Chinon has become more chic lately with even more restaurants and cafés, and it is still a lovely place to visit.

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    2. I'm not surprised that Chinon has become more chic - there's a lot to like about the place. It is a fine view and there are a LOT of steps so I suppose the elevator makes sense. It's a pity that they can't make it look suitably medieval.

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  7. Not a hugs fan of prunes Phil, but I bet they taste completely different in this dish. And don't apologise for sharing your memories with us all - it's very a enjoyable journey!

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