Pork with prunes and vin primeur

Around here we don’t have to wait till November for our vin nouveau, like those upstarts in Beaujolais; it’s ready by the third week in October. You don’t have to use new wine for this recipe; any dry white wine you fancy will do. Or dry cider, if wine is too expensive! Try to get some good honey though, not the tasteless supermarket sort. I used herb-scented garrigue honey from a nearby village. It’s easy and quick to make, and is a good alternative to our other standby casserole of pork blanquette paprika. Serve it with a potato gratin, or if that’s too much bother, Ebly or pasta.

Pork and prunes are a classic combination, but most recipes use relatively expensive tenderloin, while for this one a cheaper cut such as shoulder is fine. I haven’t included a photo because I just couldn’t make it look attractive! But the sauce is a lovely rich caramel colour, and it’s delicious — I would certainly serve it to guests. This recipe would probably work really well in a slow cooker too.

1 kg pork shoulder or similar
2 tbs olive oil
2 onions, sliced
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 glass (125 ml) dry white wine or cider
2-3 tbs French mustard
2 tbs honey
dried herbes de Provence to taste
1 tsp ginger
salt and pepper
10 prunes (or you could use dried apricots)
1-2 tbs crème fraîche

Heat the olive oil in a heavy casserole. Dice the meat, trimming excess fat, and brown lightly in the oil. Add the onions and garlic and continue to cook till everything turns a nice golden colour. Add everything else except for the prunes and cream. Cover and cook slowly for about half an hour (I put it on top of our woodburner); if it’s the type of casserole with a concave lid, pour some water into the lid so that the steam condenses. After that add the prunes and cook for a further hour, till the meat is tender. Add the cream, stir in, and season to taste.

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