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.
Posted by Marie at 6:39 PM