Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Cuisine Terroir

Recently my cooking has taken a provincial turn. I have become fascinated with simplicity. I use meats and vegetables that take hours to cook, and I am using Dutch-ovens and cast-iron pots more than ever before. I am in quest of ancient recipes and forgotten techniques: food that our forefathers cooked, “cuisine terroir“. For the time being, I have turned my back on all "new" food. Restaurants that turn apple juice into faux-caviar like El Bulli just depress me now. I can no longer tolerate any cooking that masks the true flavor of food. I want to use the most basic of ingredients and cook them painstakingly slowly with the utmost attention. I want to taunt the flavor out of my ingredients. I want to wait patiently, like a father waits for his children to grow up…like a connoisseur waits for his wine to be ready to drink.
Give me time…. give me the chance to tease and coax my ingredients to perfection… give me kitchens thick with the perfume of slow-cooked food…. but most of all.... give me one or two friends that feel the same way to enjoy it with.

Pork Shanks with Lentils and Carrots (pictured above)
4 pork shanks about 2 inches thick
2 medium onions
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of flour
Half a bottle of white wine
2 cups of water
1 cup of Puy lentils
2 cups of sliced carrots
In a cocotte, fry the pork shanks in olive oil to give them some color, add onions salt, pepper and thyme and flour and continue to fry until the flour begins to get a little color. De-glaze the pot with the wine and add enough water to almost cover the meat. Set the cocotte in a 220° F oven (100° C) for 6 hours. After 3 hours, turn the shanks, add the lentils and carrots and cook for another 3 hours. Serve in shallow bowls with a heavy white wine or light red.


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