Pork blanquette paprika

An old favourite of mine which I’ve been making for donkey’s years — not the least of its attractions is an excellent score on the effort versus results scale. Credit: Josceline Dimbleby, who describes it as a cross between a French blanquette and a Hungarian goulash. She makes it with veal but I am dubious about French calf-rearing practices and I don’t like veal much anyway, so I always make it with pork. The meat should not be too lean — use shoulder or boneless pork steaks.

1 red pepper
3-4 cloves garlic
1 oz butter
1 tbsp oil
1 lb pork, cubed
2 tsp paprika
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1 oz flour
3/4 pt milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp green peppercorns
4 oz button mushrooms
4 oz frozen peas
5 fl oz yogurt, sour cream, or crème fraîche

Cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds, and cut into thin strips. Flatten the cloves of garlic with a heavy knife and remove the skin. Melt the butter and oil in a flameproof casserole, add the meat and stir around to brown on all sides. Then add the paprika, the cayenne pepper, and the garlic and mix thoroughly. Stir in the flour, then gradually pour in the milk, followed by the lemon juice. It will probably look revoltingly curdled at this stage — don’t worry! Add the green peppercorns and red pepper and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer, still stirring, for a couple of minutes — the appearance should improve somewhat. It can now be cooked, covered, in a moderate oven or on top of the stove using a heat diffuser — allow about an hour and a half. If cooking on top of the stove you will need to check occasionally that it isn’t sticking. You can do it in advance up to this point.

Five to ten minutes before serving, add the mushrooms (halved or quartered if large) and the peas, and simmer for another five minutes. When serving, add a dollop of cream or yogurt to each plate, but don’t stir it in.

I used to serve this with pasta or rice, but I’ve recently discovered the virtues of Ebly — it’s whole wheat grains that look like Sugar Puffs that haven’t been puffed. Its big advantage over rice or pasta when entertaining is that it is completely untemperamental — you just cook it in boiling water for 20 minutes or so, and unlike rice if you leave it a bit too long it doesn’t turn into a soggy, sticky mess. When cooked, you drain it and stir in either a dollop of cream or a nice big lump of butter. It has a bland, nutty flavour which goes very well with this dish.

One thought to “Pork blanquette paprika”

  1. Just refound this recipe – had this evening – as good as I remembered (but we all picked out the peppercorns!) – couldn’t decide between rice and pasta so had orzo which worked well.

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