The second half of our second class on the food and wine of the Rhone River Valley featured ‘Mandarin Orange Pork Ribs with Roasted Carrots and Potatoes‘ followed by a dessert of moist ‘Dark Chocolate Cake with Orange Blossom Ice Cream‘.
Roasted Pork Rack with Mandarins, Roasted Carrots and Potatoes
I love pork with fruit, and in this dish the sweetness of the mandarins was a perfect complement to the garlicky pork ribs.
- The pork rack was cross-cut and seasoned with salt, pepper, vegetable oil, mandarin juice and coriander seed powder. Deep incisions were made into the meat and split garlic cloves were stuffed inside. The rack was wrapped and allowed to marinate for 30 minutes.
- The mandarins were peeled and then put whole into simmering sugar syrup for a few minutes. The fruit was removed with a slotted spoon and left to cool. The syrup was reserved for basting the pork rack.
- The rack was baked at 350°F for about 30 minutes each side, and basted every 15 minutes or so with the mandarin sugar syrup.
- While the meat was roasting the vegetables were prepared, with both the carrots and potatoes being blanched for about 15 minutes.
- After one hour of cooking the blanched vegetables were place under the pork roast and baked for another 20 minutes.
- At this point the mandarins were added and roasting was continued until the internal temperature of the pork rack was 175°F.
Stuffing the garlic cloves into the meat was inspired, resulted in bites of sweet roasted garlic! However, the very nature of the pork rack meant that each serving was huge, twice as much as I normally eat. But it was so good that I would certainly make it at home, maybe substituting pork tenderloin for the pork rack. (Note: I later did this but the tenderloin cooked too quickly for the garlics to roast properly – so don’t try this at home!)
The wine pairing for this dish was a red 2010 Close Sixte Lirac. These grapes are grown just across the river from the Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and the best wines from this area are often compared to their famous neighbours. This was oaky, very dry with hints of dark ripe fruits. I liked it with the pork but felt that the wine could do with a few more years in the cellar to smooth it out.
Dark Chocolate Cake…
- These rich moist cakes contained simple ingredients: eggs, sugar, salted butter, flour and dark chocolate with a minimum cocoa content of 65%.
- The chocolate and butter were melted in a ‘bain-marie’.
- Once the chocolate mixture had melted, sugar and egg yolks were whisked in.
- The egg whites were beaten until they formed soft peaks, and then folded into the chocolate mixture.
- In our class the cakes were baked in individual buttered molds but one could also make a large cake.
…with Orange Blossom Ice Cream
- The ice cream consisted of eggs, sugar, half & half (cream) and orange blossom water.
Orange blossom is a popular flavour in this region , and almost everyone loved this delicate ice cream. Me, I’m not so crazy about ‘floral’ flavours in my food – a rose petal lassi from India was not on my list of favourite foods, and neither are ‘floral’ flavours in beer. I loved the chocolate cake though!
The wine chosen to accompany this dessert was a sparkling sweet rosé by J.P. Chenet. Coppery-rose in colour, fruity, and with tiny ‘frizzante’ bubbles, it set off the chocolate cake perfectly.
Class 1 Part 1: ‘Roasted Onion Trilogy Soup Lyonnaise’ paired PERFECTLY with 2011 Cotes du Rhone Heritages Ogier, followed by an appetizer that could have been an entire meal: ‘French Potato Salad, Saucisson Chaud Lyonnaise (Sausage in Pastry) and Cranberry Spinach Salad’
Class 1 Part 2: The main course for this meal was ‘Panned-fried Fish of the Day with a Juniper Berry Buerre Blanc and Curried Lentil Cauliflower’ and for dessert we made ‘Pine Nut Custard Pie with Caramel & Whiskey Sauce’, both accompanied by interesting wines.
Class 2 Part 1: ‘Epicurean Fish Consommé’ followed by a delicious ‘Salad with Bleu de Bresse Cheese and Grilled Walnuts’
Chef Eric posts many of his recipes on his website: http://www.911cheferic.com/