Sunday, October 22, 2006

Steak Frites: Porc aux Champignons et Pommes de Terre au Reblochon (Pork with Mushrooms and Twice Baked Potatoes with Reblochon Cheese)

Okay, so I didn't make steak frites, but a cookbook about French bistro cooking, particularly steak frites, had me drooling all afternoon, so I decided I probably shouldn't continue to resist the call of la cuisine fran├žaise.  While a beautiful steak coated in freshly cracked black pepper with a side of fries sounds heavenly, said steak isn't really part of the budget this paycheck.  I had to take a step down the meat aisle and settle for some pork, although it certainly didn't feel like settling once this luscious dish hit my taste buds.

Such a fantastic pork dish needs something equally fabulous on the side, so I decided to try some twice-baked potatoes, French style.  The original recipe called for Reblochon cheese, but since brie was an acceptable substitute, and I didn't want to spend my afternoon in the grocery store, I grabbed a wedge of creamy brie.

Everything turned out beautifully (except for my pictures, ack!), and I moped up every bit of the pork's sauce with my creamy potato.  A little spinach on the side, and this was a bistro-worth dinner for sure.

Porc aux Champignons (Pork with Mushrooms)
From Steak Frites by Pierre-Yves Chupin

2 pork tenderloins, each weighing 14 ounces
Olive oil, for frying
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound, 2 ounces button mushrooms
1 bay leaf
2 cloves
3 shallots
8 baby onions
1 small sprig thyme
1 cup light cream

Cut the pork tenderloins into large pieces.  Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and brown the meat on all sides.  Season with salt and pepper.  Wipe the mushrooms, slice them thinly, and add to the skillet with the bay leaf and cloves.  Peel the shallots and baby onions.  Slice the shallots and add them to the skillet with the whole onions and the sprig of thyme.  Cover and cook for 1 hour over a gentle heat.  Add the cream and bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the sauce thickens.  Season to taste.

Makes 4 servings

Pommes de Terre au Reblochon (Twice Baked Potatoes with Reblochon Cheese)
From Steak Frites by Pierre-Yves Chupin

½ Reblochon cheese, or 4 ounces brie or Monterey Jack
4 thin slices bacon
4 large baking potatoes
Olive oil for brushing
4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter

Cut the cheese, with its rind, into pieces.  Chop the bacon and fry in a little oil or broil.  Scrub clean and dry the potatoes.  Brush them with a little olive oil and cook them in the oven for 1 hour at 425°F, being sure to turn them halfway through.  Remove the baked potatoes from the oven and cut in half lengthwise.  Carefully scoop out three quarters of each potato from its skin.  Preheat the oven broiler.  Place a large piece of butter in each half potato, then place them under the broiler for 10 minutes until they are golden brown.  Remove from the broiler and stuff each half potato with a little cheese, followed by some chopped bacon and scooped out potato flesh.  Put back under the broiler for a few minutes, then serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

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