Being relatively new to cooking but not afraid to take chances, I often take elements of different recipes and cobble them together. Usually I know enough to not get into too much trouble but Leslie thinks I tend to overspice at times or use disparate elements to the dish's detriment.
So I am trying to improve in that department and I do learn something every time I cook.
Last night I made a pork normandy, a traditional French dish. In America it tends to be made more as a sauce but in many of the French recipes it is more of a casserole.
I was fairly faithful to this recipe.
I had picked fresh white sage from my garden a few days before and dried it out. I cooked at our friend Renée's house last night. She loves French food and has a great palette. My wife was classically trained at Emil's Restaurant, a master chef and family friend from Liechtenstein.
It is hard to cook at another person's house, you don't know what to use or what to bring, or what drawer to find the spatula, but we are all old friends and made it work without much fuss.
I got there around four o'clock and started prepping the apples. I used two honeycrisp. Renée took the sage and after applying a little olive oil, rubbed it into the pork and then salted and peppered the tenderloin.
I seared the meat in oil in her "Always" pan for about five or six minutes, turning repeatedly to brown everything well.
I saw that the French recipes added celery to the fond and we added a stalk to ours. My wife does not like onions but I added a shallot and two cloves of garlic to compensate.
I then added chicken stock, apple cider, a pinch of ginger and the Dijon mustard.
Leslie was just leaving work and grabbed it and brought it over.
It is pear but RoxAnn informed me that traditional calvados was also often pear and we went for it for the three tablespoons required.
Well, it said two, I added a third for good measure.
The sauce started taking shape.
I added a little corn starch, or corn flour as the English call it and the whipping cream.
We allowed that to come to a low boil and mixed it up.
Renée instructed me to not use the wooden spatula so much to mix but instead to shake the pan so as not to break down the apples.
I don't think Chef Robert at Le Bistro used a puree but most of the authentic recipes do.
I wanted whole apple slices in the dish as well.
We pulled the tenderloins out of the 400° oven after about 10 minutes and when they reached 135°.
Leslie didn't think they were quite done to her satisfaction so we put them in the oven proof pan with the sauce and cooked them for another five minutes.
Leslie opened up a choice bottle of Chateau neuf de pape and we decanted it.
I finished the plate with some fresh tarragon.