There's a first time for everything but what to choose as the very first post that launches this blog?
To hit the nail on the head, I went for the dish that I most recently cooked for some of my loyal "customers".
It was a great success and also has the advantage of well representing my 'Anglo-Monferrine' roots (from the Monferrato hills, in Piedmont, where I now live).
Ingredients - for 6 people
1.2 kg of pork meat from the neck
2 cloves garlic, crushed
the grated rind of 1 / 2 lemon
1 tsp coriander powder
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 glass dry white wine
juice of ½ lemon
8-10 pitted prunes
2 tbs flour
4 tbs olive oil
250 g shallots, whole or halved
600ml vegetable or chicken stock
2 tsp brown sugar
2 rolls of flaky pastry.
Cut the meat into 3-4 cm cubes. In a non-metallic bowl, mix the meat with the garlic, coriander, thyme, zest and juice of the lemon, white wine and plums. Add salt and pepper. Cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for a maximum of 12 hours.
Remove the meat and plums from the marinade, reserving the liquid and setting aside separately. Dry the meat and then coat it in flour. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a frying pan and brown the meat on all sides (in batches if necessary). Transfer the browned meat in a large enough, heavy bottom cassarole.
In the first pan add the remaining oil and the shallots. When these are golden and soft, remove and set aside.
Now pour the liquid from the marinade in the pan, allowing to reduce for 2-3 minutes, then add the stock and sugar, bringing it all again to a boil.
Pour the liquid into the casserole and cook veeeery slowly, for at least 1 ½ hours or until the meat is tender. Be careful to check, every now and then, that it does not dry up too much. If necessary add a bit 'of broth or water.
(if you wish this part of the preparation can be done the day before and put in the fridge - however, before resuming the cooking, bring it back to boil)
Meanwhile, preheat the oven (160 ° if ventilated, 180 ° if static) and peel the pears, cutting them into quarters (halved them again if very large, but always in big chunks, they should not, for any reason, fall apart). Add them to the rest together with the prunes and shallots, mixing well.
Divide into 6 individual pie dishes and seal with a pastry lid brushed with a beaten egg yolk.
Return the pie dishes to the oven for another 30' then serve directly to the table.
Trust me, simple but effective, as well as delicious!