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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chard-Stuffed Pork Roast with Matafan - French Fridays with Dorie

It's nice to get back to my house and my kitchen, after trips to Portugal and Morocco. Not that I'm complaining, but as Dorothy says, clicking her ruby slippers, "There's no place like home." And home is especially nice when the oven warms the kitchen and sends out smells of roasting pork.

Contrary to my predictions, the stuffed pork roast was amazingly good, and the matafan - last week's recipe for most people - was a disappointment.

For one thing, the pork roast was seriously easy to make. Just a quick saute of onion, garlic, and chard,

stuffed into a butterflied loin of pork, which is then rubbed with crushed peppercorns and coriander seeds, and tied.

The matafan, on the other hand, requires riced potatoes. Or at least it recommends riced potatoes. I stared at my big potato ricer for about 5 minutes before I got up the spirit to actually do the ricing. It's not hard, really, and there was a time when I was a little smug about including this step whenever I made mashed potatoes. Now digging out the heavy ricer, and - worse- cleaning it after it's gummed up with potatoes makes me more irritable than smug. But I did it.

Ricing is followed by folding in egg whites, another irritating step.

In fairness to the matafan, the ricing and folding aren't really all that difficult. I think I was just disappointed because after doing these extra steps, I was expecting something really amazing, especially because I really, really like potatoes.

And when I took the first bite, and sampled the heavenly light texture, I was very pleased. But as I really tasted, I realized that it was - well, it was pretty boring. An ethereal but tasteless morsel.

Compared to the pork, which was savory, rich, and perfectly balanced, the pancakes didn't carry their weight. Maybe I expected too much of them. Maybe if they were served with creme fraiche and caviar, as suggested, they wouldn't be boring. But if you put creme fraiche and caviar on top of stale saltines, they probably wouldn't be boring either.

Jim said he liked the matafan as much as the pork (or maybe he said he liked the pork as much as the matafan). Either way, he thought they were both winners. I thought the pork was surprisingly good and the matafan surprisingly underwhelming. As I've suspected on so many other occasions, it's all about the expectations.


  1. Good for you to catch up...this would be a great meal...all goes well together. You might like some syrup on that matafan?

  2. Great looking meal. I also doubled up this week, but my side was the cauliflower gratin due at the end of the month, just because I know I will have absolutely no time to cook the last week of December. And I think you make a good point, sometimes expectations play a very large role.

  3. I think the matafan is a great blank canvas - it's success depends much on what you mix in with the batter or the toppings you chose. Glad you liked the pork! Your trips sound amazing - I hope to see some inspiration from them pop up in your posts.

  4. I'm glad you liked the dish! Funny, I thought the pork was bland.

  5. I wasn't wild about the pork, and I thought the matafan was a whole lot of work for something that didn't taste like much. I'm just powering through the month until we hit creme brulee! Glad you enjoyed your pork. Oh, and that trip you took sounds amazing. Jealous!

  6. I thought the matafan made a lovely canvas for pomegranate molasses & creme fraiche :-) They definitely were a vehicle for bolder flavors.
    Glad the pork worked out for you!

  7. What a great combination. It really works well and both of these recipes
    were well received in this house. I have been doing most of December's recipes ahead, cause next week is the week I baked cookies. Great job on both recipes.

  8. Definitely agree with your reviews - loved the pork, but the matafan was just too boring for me! Both of your dishes look great though!

  9. I liked both of them, but we ate the matafan with sour cream and green onion which gave them more flavor. I think you are right though that with the amount of work that went into making them brought the expectation for them much higher. Both of your dishes look great.

  10. Your pork looks devine, and I agree that it is a rich, satisfying dish. The matafan are good with gravy - mmmm.

  11. OH thats too bad about the matafans! I made the batter up to have the morning after the pork roast and I didn't remember it was there, so I have to start all over again another day - but this is not too inspiring! I'm glad you liked the roast though, it was so fast, wasnt it??? :)

  12. I totally agree about expectations!
    I can imagine the matafan would have paled next to the flavourful roast!
    But glad you enjoyed the roast.