As I started to put together a shopping list, Mum volunteered a large piece of meat, which I accepted, along with a novelty wine from Italy that she'd bought because the bottle was in the shape of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. As it turned out, the piece of meat was pork and the wine was a Sicilian wine "typical for the region". Yeah, definitely for cooking.
I also went a bit lazy and didn't get shallots, but opted for regular onions and used canned button mushrooms instead of fresh ones.
Further changes were that I had to transfer things between a casserole dish that could go on the hob and a gyuvetch (crockery pot) that goes in the oven. This palaver due to not having a pot that does both. I also prepared the dish up to the slow cooking point last night and finished it this morning.
1.2 kg blade pork/spare rib roast
170 g smoked and diced bacon
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium sized carrots
1 largeish onion
1 tsp salt
0.25 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp flour
750 ml red wine
2 - 3 dl beef stock
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 cloves of garlic
0.5 tsp dried thyme
1 crumbled bay leaf
1 can of whole button mushrooms (400 g) along with the liquid
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 largeish onions
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil
salt and pepper to taste
a bouquet garni made of 4 sprigs parsley, 0.5 bay leaf and 0.25 tsp dried thyme tied in a double layer of cheese cloth
225 g of parboiled girolles
sprigs of parsley for decoration
- Pre-heat the oven along with the gyuvetch, so that it doesn't crack from a sudden temperature change. This is done slowly and in increments up to 230 degrees C.
- In the mean time, trim off the fat from the pork as much as possible and cut into 5 cm chunks. Then dry each piece with a paper towel.
- Peel the carrots and onion and slice them.
- Then heat up the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan on medium and sauté the bacon for 3 - 4 minutes, then remove from the pan and place in the guyvetch in the oven.
- Turn up the heat until it starts smoking, then brown the pork pieces all around. Do this in several batches, making sure they aren't crowded in the pan. Remove each batch to the guyvetch.
- Turn down the heat a little, then add the carrots and onion and brown them for a few minutes until the onions go soft and translucent. Stir so nothing sticks and burns. Finally take the guyvetch out of the oven and transfer the carrots and onion there as well.
- Then season and sprinkle the flour all over, stir around to get the meat coated and place the guyvetch in the oven for 4 - 5 minutes uncovered. Then take out, stir again and return for a further 4 - 5 minutes. This will brown the flour a bit.
- Turn down the oven to 165 degrees C, take out the guyvetch and transfer it's contents back to the deep frying pan. Replace the guyvetch in the oven to keep it warm for later.
- Pour the wine over the meat and top up with beef stock, so that the liquid barely covers it.
- Add the tomato paste, peel and press in the garlic, sprinkle the thyme and crumble the bay leaf. Stir well and bring to a simmer on the hob.
- Return everything to the gyuvetch, cover and let simmer in the oven for 2 h. Check that the meat is done by piercing it with a fork.
- While the casserole is baking, drain the canned mushrooms, but save the liquid.
- Heat up the butter and oil to the point when the bubbles begin to subside, then add the mushrooms and sauté them for a couple of minutes until they get lightly browned. Again do this in batches so they don't over-crowd. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Peel and cut the onions into 2 - 3 cm chunks. Then add to the fat from the mushrooms and sauté for about 10 minutes, while stirring carefully so they don't disintegrate.
- Add about 1.2 dl of the mushroom liquid and the bouquet garni, cover and let simmer for 35 - 40 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Discard the bouquet garni and set aside until needed.
- When the 2 h are up, check the meat, if it's tender, add the sautéed mushrooms and onions. Also add any left-over mushroom liquid and the parboiled girolles and stir through to make the ingredients mix, then give the stew another 15 - 20 minutes, or if not serving straight away, turn down to about 80 degrees to keep warm.
- Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes and decorate with sprigs of parsley.
It does sound like a lot of effort, but that's mainly due to having to switch between casserole dishes.
But thinking about my random results for guyvetch stew, I think drying the meat before browning it and also coating with flour and baking to brown it might make a difference and I must remember that next time. Along with pre-frying the vegetables as well.
In hindsight, I should have got shallots, they look so much more attractive than chunks of regular onion. Sautéing the mushrooms and onions like that was interesting as well and according to Julia Child, they can be served as is.
I did manage to burn the onions a bit during the sauté, but not too bad.
Since my Mum mentioned that she doesn't do mashed potatoes, I opted for that, rather than just boiling them. Besides, Delia's perfect mashed potatoes are just too tasty.
We had a great dinner, the stew smelt and tasted wonderful, the meat was tender, the sauce was of perfect thickness and everyone had seconds. Lundulph could sadly not participate in the birthday celebrations, his flight got cancelled due to the severe weather that's hit the UK over the past couple of days, so I'll have to do this dish for him especially sometime soon. And then with shallots and fresh button mushrooms.
A note on the meat. A quick search on wikipedia reveals that pork is cut differently in the UK and Sweden. The piece I used was called "karré" and there is no direct cut that corresponds to it. Google translates it as loin, but that's not entirely correct, the loin is towards the back of the animal, whereas the "karré" seems to correspond to the shoulder, which was termed as the spare rib steak and blade.
Of course being a birthday celebration, we finished off with a lovely cake, made by my Mum.
Though we skipped the candles, and as my Gran said, 90 candles would have blown it up.