Nothing spells holidays like a gathering around the hearth, on the festive table, with good company of loved ones and sensuous food and drink to make mortality seem like an afterthought. Although many roast a turkey for the holidays, the traditional dish for Christmas in Greece has always been pork, prepared in a variety of ways. Since the pantry is so rich in dried fruits and herbs that hint at the summery pleasures nostalgically preserved for the solstice, I prefer to make the following recipe. It's very easy and quick and truly delicious, as the intermingling of flavors oscillates between savory, sweet and umami.
16 small cutlets of tender pork with bone (2 carrés, reserved at your butcher's)
28 dried apricots (without pits)
28 dried prunes (without pits)
8 onions, peeled & cut in halves
800ml (2.5 cans) lager beer
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cardamom (powdered or very finely chopped)
8 spoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce
100ml white wine
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1.Preheat the oven at 170C.
2.Place onions, apricots and prunes in a bowl soaked in the beer for a quarter of an hour. Then drain and keep the marinate liquid.
3.Place the pork on a heatproof pan and drizzle oil and marinate over it. Sprinkle the herbs and spices and put in the oven for 1.5 hours.
4.Then add the marinated onions, prunes and apricots and let it sit for another 40 minutes, taking care so as not to let it dry (you can add spoonfuls of water if it starts having no liquid).
5.When done, transfer into pretty flatware and serve with the cooked fruits around the edges. Keep a little of the liquid off the pan at hand for the sauce.
6.Put the liquid in a small pan on the stove, add the wine and the mustard and let simmer for 5 minutes. Check for taste/saltiness. Pour over the meat and serve on the table.
It accompanies rice pilaf (preferably prepared with pine nuts and roasted chestnuts) or baked potatoes perfectly!
Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and a happy time for all!
pic via gastronomos.gr