Thursday, July 26, 2012

Roast pork "Bangkok-en-Royans"

In France, in a butcher's shop or in the meat section of a supermarket, when you buy a piece of pork to be roasted, you generally get a rolled cylinder of lean pork sheathed in a thin layer of fat, tied up with string. That standard solution is not the only kind of pork to be roasted. Every Friday afternoon, a local pig farmer, Emmanuel Micolod, opens up his modern butcher's shop in a wing of his old stone farmhouse.

See his French-language website at Emmanuel's shop enables us to purchase cuts of top-quality pork and pork-based delicatessen foodstuffs. And you can phone up beforehand to make an appointment with Emmanuel's wife Maria Micolod to get your hair cut, in an adjoining wing of the farmhouse. (That's a frequent rendez-vous for my daughter Emmanuelle when she visits Gamone.)

For my roast pork, I simply ask for a big chunk of échine (shoulder). Back at home, I cut it into two or three strips, a few centimeters wide, then I call upon my magic Thai powder, purchased in the shop of a friendly Asian lady in Romans.

Apparently this is the product that Thais use to obtain their red roast pork. The pork is macerated in a solution made with this powder. The red color comes from the inoffensive E129 food dye, while the flavor is obtained from two strong spices: cinnamon and anise. Inevitably, like everything of this kind that comes out of Asia, there's some monosodium glutamate in the powder, but I don't see anything of a questionable nature in their list of ingredients. Once the pork has been macerated for a day or so, I simply slip the pieces into plastic bags and place them in my deep-freezer.

Before roasting, I let the piece of pork thaw out slowly in the sun. Then I placed it in a Pyrex dish and covered the meat in fresh bay leaves (from my vegetable garden). I roasted it slowly, for almost an hour, in an oven at 200°. And here's the final roast pork dish, which I've named "Bangkok-en-Royans":

The hot pork (straight out of the oven) is seasoned with green pepper grains and capers, and sprinkled lavishly with fleurs de sel and freshly-ground dried pepper grains of the Ducros 5 berries kind. The meat is accompanied by a few slices of my pickled walnuts macerated in honey and cherry brandy, and the greenery is simply tender parsley, straight out of my garden.

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