Coming home from a long day, we both wanted something we knew would be good. We've made this dish before and really enjoyed it, so time to knock it out, right?
First, we'll play a game called "Why Scott Shouldn't Be Allowed to go to the Store By Himself". I got the list for the grocery store and headed out, but something caught my eye. A beautiful sign on the right hand side of the road with plain red script and white background.
Michelle and I don't drink liquor (though, I will enjoy a fine whiskey every now and then), but as I drove up to the sign I remembered something from the recipe - Calvados - something we didn't have.
Never mind we've made this before with the Apple Jack that's in the sideboard with great success. No, I just KNEW that authentic Calvados would make all the difference. So, in I went through the doors to pick up the only bottle of this stuff they had - at $42.50. You add in the cost of the Champagne we got for this meal and all of a sudden, we're talking some serious dough! Looking through the index of CCF, I have found two more recipes that call for this liquor, so I think I can justify the expense...sort of...
There is not a whole lot that's technical about this dish, aside from tying the two pork tenderloins together with twine. I've seen Alton Brown give a demonstration on this subject from the TV and there are handy frame by frame pictures to follow along with Thomas Keller in Ad Hoc, but actually doing this right without the bacon falling off or using way too much string is a challenge. Lucky for us, Michelle's know-how was tapped and dinner was back on track.
I LOVE to flambé and it was no less fun with $42.50 Calvados. Just thought you would like to know that burning expensive liquor is a gas.
After shoving the bacon-wrapped-pork (doesn't that just sound good?), I went about carmelizing the rest of the apples. Since we possess no apple coring device, I went ahead sliced the apples and carmelized them in wedges instead of the rounds suggested.
This made for a beautiful presentation on the plate when placed atop the pork.
The flavor was very different than the last time we made it - sweeter somehow. We poured over how this could be for about an hour. Then we realized the last time we didn't add the optional cream! I think I prefer this dish minus the cream, but Michelle added some Sherry Vinegar to the final sauce and that helped to give it a little more of a sharper edge, allowing the distinct flavors already in the sauce to be experienced a little more clearly. This is absolutely a comforting meal with a thick, creamy sauce poured over apples and bacon wrapped pork. All in all, great dish for a cold winter evening.
The Champagne picked for this was the Louis Roederer Brut Premier Non Vintage. Since this a creamy, yeasty style of bubbles (but not as much as Pol Roger), it went well with the creamy style of the dish. There is still enough great acidity that comes through, working well with the apples, that this combination was very well matched.
Next up, it could be a number of things, but I think we might start to get into the more "interesting" sides of Country French Cooking soon.
Until then, we'll be doing shots of Calvados.