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PORK WITH CAMEMBERT & SAUTEED POTATOES

November 14, 2010

Feeling increasingly pressured at work, thinking about my impending lack of employment after Christmas, decided to share a cooking date with my boyfriend to mark the start to the weekend. Haven’t got tonnes of cash to spend in fancy restaurants so being a frivolous girl, I decided to cook some French-style dishes with my boyfriend as my “sous-chef”. A meal for two with drinks in a restaurant can easily reach £30-40, ouch (!), must save money for a rainy day……

Wanted to rustle up two fairly simple components for a meal so we could have enough romantic time later plus we’re always knackered after work! Settled on pan-fried pork leg steaks (originally wanted pork tenderloin as this is a lovely cut of pork which is tender but alas this was sold out by lunchtime at my local butchers!) with a camembert cheese sauce. This is a very common French dish using only a few ingredients to produce a tasty dish and is very adaptable so you can change the cheese variety or use pork tenderloin.

Our meal turned out really well despite me trying not to get drunk on white wine on an empty stomach while cooking but luckily I had my “sous chef” checking the food while I was stressing out in the kitchen. I blame work for making me stressed, grrrrrrr…! Bashing the pork leg steaks helps to flatten them to similar thicknesses so they cook evenly and quickly plus I needed dissipate some of my own aggression. Sauteed potatoes are extremely moreish and go well with the camembert sauce. In fact, they are an excellent side dish and a great alternative to chips. Prepare these before cooking the pork as it takes a while to saute the potatoes. I recommend a heavy based frying pan such as a saute pan so you can brown the potatoes allowing them to crisp up on the outside with a soft interior, simply gorgeous.

Pork with camembert

Serves 4

4 x 125 g pork leg steaks,

1 tbsp butter

100 mL sparkling dry cider/dry white wine

200 mL creme fraiche/double cream

100 g camembert cheese with the rind removed, sliced

1 tbsp freshly chopped herbs e.g. sage, thyme, parsley

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Parsley to garnish

  1. Place one of the four pork steaks in between two pieces of clingfilm on your kitchen worktop or chopping board. Bash the pork with the end of a rolling pin or meat mallet to flatten them to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Repeat for the other pork steaks. Season each steak with black pepper. 

    Flattened pork leg steaks with a rolling pin

  2. Preheat a heavy based frying pan and melt the butter over a medium-high heat. Cook the steaks for approximately 3 mins on each side, they should be browned, then check for doneness, cook for longer until cooked thoroughly. Transfer steaks to a warm plate and cover with foil.
  3. There should be meat residues on the bottom of the pan, add the wine or cider and scrape these residues off the pan bottom after the liquid is boiling.
  4. Add the herbs, mustard and cream and keep stirring to keep mixing. When this is boiling again, add the cheese and mix again and then add any meat juices from the plate of pork steaks.
  5. Taste the sauce and season, add more cream if required. Pour the sauce over the pork steaks and garnish with parsley.

Sauteed potatoes

Serves 4

1 kg potatoes e.g. Maris piper, Desiree

1 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp butter

3 rosemary sprigs

salt and black pepper for seasoning

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1 inch pieces. Place these into a bowl and cover with cold water for 15 minutes to get rid of excess starch. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water to wash away excess starch, drain again, then dry with a kitchen towel.
  2. Preheat a heavy bottomed pan on a medium-high heat, add olive oil and butter until hot. Swirl the oil and butter around until the entire base is covered.
  3. Add the potatoes to the pan and leave for 2 min to brown the potatoes on one side.
  4. Shake the pan and leave the potatoes to brown on the other side for another 2 min, then shake the pan again  until all the potatoes are evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Turn the heat down to a low heat and continue cooking the potatoes for 20-25 mins until they are tender. Check by using a knife to poke the potatoes. Stir and shake the pan often. Approximately 5 min before potatoes are done, sprinkle rosemary leaves over.
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