Posts Tagged dinner party

Potted Pork Rillettes & Apricot Mostarda

As promised, I am now finally getting around to posting a few of the recipes from my Cheese, Wine and Swine dinner party. To start off, I thought I’d share the recipes for the Pork Rillettes and Apricot Mostarda. I’ll keep the post short and simple, but I am going to leave you with the Wikipedia definitions for each item, in order to give you a better understanding of these two dishes.

Mostarda: (also called mostarda di frutta) An Italian condiment made of candied fruit and a mustard flavoured syrup. Commercially the essential oil of mustard is employed, which has the advantage of transparency; in home cooking mustard powder heated in white wine may be used. Traditionally mostarda was served with boiled meats, the bollito misto which is a speciality of northern Italian cooking. More recently it has become a popular accompaniment to cheeses.

Rillettes: A preparation of meat similar to pâté. Originally made with pork, the meat is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded, and then cooled with enough of the fat to form a paste. They are normally used as spread on bread or toast and served at room temperature.

In short, rillettes is essentially a rustic paté (think: carnitas meets paté) and apricot mostarda is a mustardy apricot chutney.

And if I do say so myself, the combination of the two is absolutely dynamite. Fatty creamy pork spread + spicy sweet apricot goodness + crusty bread = party in your mouth. (Oh, and did I mention the pork is cooked in a slow cooker? It does the cooking for you! So this meal is fancy, tasty, and easy.)

Pork Rillettes
(Adapted from Food & Wine)

3 lbs pork shoulder, cut into 2″ cubes
1 Qt. rendered pork fat (lard)*
4-6 garlic cloves, smashed
2 teaspoons whole allspice
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
10 thyme sprigs

*Note: I couldn’t find rendered pork fat so I bought a big piece of fatback and rendered down the fat. This process took awhile, but it a great option if you aren’t able to find pork lard/fat.

In a spice grinder or mortar & pestle, grind whole spices together into a fine powder. Once ground, mix in cinnamon and then combine with a 1/4 cup of salt. Spread mixture evenly over the pork pieces to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (best if left overnight).

In a slow cooker, melt 1 cup of the pork fat. Add thyme sprigs, garlic and pork pieces and cook on low heat for 6 hours, or until pork is extremely tender. Allow the pork to cool slightly and remove to a bowl. Discard thyme sprigs. With 2 forks, shred the pork until the pork looks unison and there are no large chunks. Discard any gristle. Stir in one cup of the fat; taste, and season with salt if needed.

Pack the meat into jars, crocks, or other sealed vessels. Melt the last of the pork fat and ladle a 1/2 inch layer of fat atop each container of pork. Store rillettes in the fridge. With the fat seal still in tact, rillettes will keep for up to a month in the fridge.

To serve the rillettes, remove from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving. Rillettes is best served room temperature. Serve with crusty bread and apricot mostarda.

Apricot Mostarda:

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup dry white wine (I used Erath Pinot Gris)
1 Tablespoon whole mustard seeds
1 Tablespoon whole grain or dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion is beginning to caramelize, about 15 minutes.

Add the apricots, sugar, wine, mustard seeds, mustard and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the onion and apricots are tender and the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. When the mostarda is finished, it should be thick and similar to a chutney. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before serving.

Foodbuzz 24×24: Cheese, Wine and Swine.

24×24: “Showcasing posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers, the monthly Foodbuzz 24 highlights unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period. “- Foodbuzz

A few months ago I had one of the best meals of my life. The only problem with the meal was that I happened to eat it all by myself, 1000 miles away from home.

I was in Chicago on business. I’d been told by a number of people that I had to eat at The Purple Pig. When I saw that the restaurant’s motto was ‘Cheese, Wine, and Swine, my mind was made up. I had to go.

Let me just say that I was not disappointed. I did dine at The Purple Pig and I enjoyed every morsel of my meal. There was cheese! There was swine! And, of course, there was wine. It was glorious. The menu was simple, yet unique. Every single dish was spot on. I loved it.

But with every bite came a twinge of sadness: I kept thinking how much my husband would have loved it. Don’t get me wrong – I thoroughly enjoyed the meal – but there is something so special about a great meal that is shared with loved ones. For me, dining is about the shared experience.

But when I got home from Chicago, I was struck with a brilliant idea. I knew that I couldn’t whisk all my friends and family away to the windy city, so I decided to make my own Purple Pig inspired meal (with a twist!). You see, the Northwest happens to have amazing wine, cheese, and pork. And thus, this little dinner party was born. I invited a few friends over and made a meal that paid tribute to The Purple Pig, while showcasing the cheese, wine, and pork (and charcuterie) of the Northwest.

I dreamed up the menu, which was loosely based on the original meal I had at the Purple Pig. I added a few courses, and used local pork, cheese, and (mostly) Northwest wines. I asked a few friends to come over and enjoy the feast – all of whom are wine savvy – and gave them the task of selecting wine pairings. We ended up with a beautiful selection of wines (mostly from the Northwest, but a few French wines snuck in there! :) )

I did a lot of my shopping for this meal at the Portland Farmer’s Market. I must say, I owe all the success of my meal to the fantastic offerings that Portland has to offer. If I’m being honest, my meal began as a tribute to the Purple Pig, but really…I think it ended up being more of tribute to the Pacific Northwest. I had absolutely beautiful products to work it, so it wasn’t hard to make them sing.

All that to say: I had a lovely time dreaming up, planning, prepping, cooking, and eating this meal. I am so glad I was able to be part of the Foodbuzz 24×24 for April!

Please see below for a full description and photos of the cheese, wine and swine dinner party. I will post recipes for these dishes throughout the week!

The Dinner Table.

Playing ‘Chef’ for a night:

And now, the meal! In five acts.

Act 1. Melon skewers with home-cured duck breast prosciutto, Juniper Grove Redmondo aged goat’s milk cheese. Paired with The Babushka (A beet vodka & Prosecco cocktail).

Just for fun, I also decided to serve a Country Paté from Chop that I picked up at the farmer’s market that morning:

Act 2. Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad with Pistachio Vinaigrette and Whipped Goat Cheese (from Juniper Grove Goat Cheeses, Redmond, OR). Wine Pairing: Terrisey Gaillac 2009 Rosé

Roasted Beet Salad

Juniper Grove Goat Cheese

Act 3. Moules Frites. Mussels in Pancetta, Shallot and White Wine (Erath Pinot Blanc) sauce. Served with Belgian style twice fried fries and cremé fraiche. Wine pairing(s): Anne Amie Pinot Gris and a 2009 Domaine du Pas Saint Martin Saumur

Act 4. Potted Pork Rillettes (Basque Farms & Carlton Farms pork) served on crusty bread with Apricot Mostarda. Served with a shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with pine nuts and lemon. Wine pairing(s): Anne Amie (Willamette Valley) Cuvée A Pinot Noir and Laura Volkman Vineyards St. James Estate 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir.

Pictured: Potted Pork Rillettes

Apricot Mostarda

Act 5. Poached Pears with Raw Wildflower Honey and Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Cheese Wine pairing: Erath 2009 Sweet Harvest Pinot Noir

Poached pears

Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue

As you can see: THIS MEAL WAS AWESOME.

Finally, I must thank my husband for all the work he put into the creation of this meal. He cured the duck breast prosciutto (which was fan-tastic). He cleaned and prepped the mussels. He made the twice fried Belgian fries. I love him for so many different reasons, but he is an amazing cook and his culinary perspective is so unique. He helps me think out of the box and he helps keep me sane in the kitchen. I couldn’t have done it without him. (Oh, and he did ALL the dishes. All of them! Best husband ever!)

Thanks to Mari, Dan, Noelle, Blake and Nicole for being the guests of honor. It was my pleasure to cook for you all.

And now I’ll leave you with photo of our tiny living room, transformed into a ‘formal’ dining room. (With my cat, Penelope, in the window):

Photo credits: Mari Yeckel & Lindsay Strannigan