Embrace October…

October 3rd, 2009


As golden and plump as a ripe quince, autumn is here at last.  Something about the fullness of this season, always a mixture of pleasure and melancholy, brings more to do than hours in a day allow. Beyond finishing up some desk work, beyond raking a fresh ton of maple and elm leaves, then pulling out dry tomato plants – it is a season that draws me into la petite cuisine. With a bowl of firm quince at the ready, what is stopping the vagabond from taking a new tack with a pork roast?  And stirring up a pot of duck stock for vegetable soup fits into the week end’s goal: a Sunday lunch with friends. The menu is lined up:  a pork roast has been rubbed with minced rosemary, garlic, sage and a little pepper, then wrapped in jambon de pays/cured country ham to mellow overnight. Quince and sweet onions are ready to sauté in duck fat to accompany the pork.  Sweet potatoes and carrots will roast slowly, drizzled with pan juices for an hour. A ripened bleu de Gex and lait cru/raw milk Camembert are cool, waiting their turn on the table. My master chef/MC has cooked the apple sauce and formed his special pastry dough into a ball to rest overnight – ready to roll in the morning for Tarte aux pommes à la Michel - before slicing firm apples for the garniture/topping. A few recipes will follow after the true test: tasting on Sunday.


Monday’s report adds a few details to the pork roast recipe sketched above. A 3 pound/1.5 kg rolled pork roast for 7 or 8 begins with the seasoning and wrapping in four slices of jambon de pays/cured country ham. Let the seasoned roast rest overnight, then bring to room temperature in the morning. Allowing about 2 hours roasting, preheat oven to 350°f/175°c; a meat thermometer should show 185° f/90°c  when done. Heat a heavy skillet and sear the roast on all sides before putting it into the roasting pan, on top of a bed of sage leaves. Insert meat thermometer. After 40 minutes, add 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds (some may be tucked under the roast). Season with white pepper and nutmeg, drizzle with olive oil or melted butter, return roast to oven – but baste every 30 minutes. Remove from the oven 20 minutes before serving in a heated dish, surrounded with the rounds of sweet potatoes. Garnish with parsley & sage leaves. Serve with a side of brown rice or wild rice. Well balanced wines from our Bergerac region, the Pécharmant, compliment the rich flavors and sweet tones of this menu. Look for the Pécharmant reds of Château Tillerai, Château Terre Vieille – or splash out with a Graves from Château d’Ardennes….to toast the golden season.

Quince in focus: The fruit, the tree, the lore of cydonia oblonga are brought into focus on the site – scroll down to October 27 entry:


Next up: report on the almond harvest, making chèvre at home (at last), and a visit with vintners.

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