This is a recipe from an ancient Sainsbury’s magazine. La Vallée d’Auge is in Normandy, and this name invariably means a dish (usually chicken) that’s cooked with apples, cream, and probably cider and/or Calvados. We don’t eat much pork, but for this occasion (9 people for dinner) we treated ourselves to a fabulous 2 kg pork roast from the local charcutier. It’s quite a lot of work, but the results are worth it. There wasn’t a scrap of it left over.
We served it with a potato galette cooked with duck fat, and followed it with Val’s gorgeous pear upside-down cake, so all in all it was an artery-clogging extravaganza.
2 kg joint of pork, boned (leg or loin)
75 g butter, clarified
3 shallots, chopped
1 carrot, diced
100 ml Calvados
1 tbsp flour
225 ml chicken stock
225 ml dry cider
fresh or dried thyme
150 ml crème fraîche
salt and pepper
If the pork is larded or has a coating of skin or fat, you need to remove it all, and re-tie it. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Heat 50 g of the butter in a large, heavy casserole with a lid and brown the pork well on all sides. This will take about 10 minutes. Set the meat aside and then saute the shallots and carrot over a medium heat for 5 minutes, till they start to soften. Pour in the Calvados and set fire to it, standing well back.
When the flames have died down, stir in the flour using a wire whisk. Pour in the stock and cider and continue to cook, stirring and scraping up any stuck bits until the sauce boils and thickens slightly. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper.
Put the meat back in the pan, baste with the sauce, cover, and then put in the oven for 30 minutes per 500g plus 30 minutes (i.e. about 2 1/2 hours for this size of joint). Time ot to be ready about 30 minutes or so before you wa t to eat it. Baste occasionally, but other than that it needs no attention, so you can get on with preparing the rest of the meal.
When it’s ready remove the meat to a warm platter, cover with foil, and set aside to rest. Put the sauce on a high heat and boil hard to reduce by about half. Strain through a sieve into a clean pan, squashing with a wooden spoon to get as much of the juice out as possible. Stir in the crème fraîche and boil again to reduce slightly. Taste and correct seasoning.
Meanwhile, peel and core the apples and cut into quarters if small, or eighths if large. Heat the remaining clarified butter in a frying pan and saute the apples over a medium heat until tender and lightly caramelised.
Serve the pork sliced, with some sauce poured over and the rest in a jug, with the apple slices as garnish.