Saturday, July 2, 2016

Cheese & Football Feast day 18: Belgium

Slow roast pork shoulder is one of my favourite roast dinners. The joint can be cooked at a low setting for the whole day so you can go out in the morning and come back to the delicious aroma of roast pork when you return. If I am cooking a small joint just for the two of us on a work day I set the oven to 80C in the morning, cover the joint with foil, and let it cook at that temperature until I return. The oven can then be turned up to 180 to finish the cooking. I prefer mashed potato to roast potato, which may be a strange choice, and is most likely because I am not so good at cooking roast potatoes, but if they are not really good, I don't think roast potatoes are worth the calories.
The gratineed onions idea comes from my Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook but whereas their recipe was in a cream sauce I chose to braise the onions in a beer sauce which went very well with the roast pork. I think this dish is best cooked with smaller sweeter onions like shallots or large spring onions. The peeled onions were placed in a single layer in a heavy based saucepan with a good pinch of salt and a knob of butter, and beer to a depth of about 2cm. I then cooked them gently, turning occasionally, until they could be easily pierced with a knife. The cooked onions were transferred to a gratin dish and the remaining cooking juice boiled down to a thick syrup. The syrup was drizzled over the onions and they in turn were covered with a good layer of a 50:50 mix of fresh breadcrumbs and grated mild cheddar like cheese. The dish was then put in a hot oven until heated through and golden brown on top.
For the third quarter final game of Germany vs Italy I am serving ricotta and spinach cannelloni.

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