Monday, November 26, 2007

Another loud Sunday

While Sundays are highly correlated with hangovers, and hangovers usually involve increased sensitivity to noises, it seems quite ridiculous to invite VERY NOISY PEOPLE for Sunday dinner over and over again, but high-pitch screaming and arms everywhere has become an integral part of Sunday dinner, and actually has a sort of soothing effect.

Spending an hour and half cooking in my own kitchen, while continuously being entertained with re-enactments of crawling out of a toilet booth in a nightclub and stories about sharting is the perfect Sunday evening. Keep up with the wine, and I’ll keep cooking.

Foams of all sorts have invaded restaurants everywhere lately, mostly as a silly little dash of whipped whatever, which doesn’t add a thing to the dish except a sign that you’ve read about Ferran Adria. But there are nice foams also, created using a N2O-fueled cream whipper, which turns all sort of things into a fabulous creamy texture. The hardware is somewhat expensive, but my kitchen will definitely see more foams in the near future.

Juleribbe med kålrabistappe
Spiced Christmas type belly of pork with rutabaga-vanilla cream

This dish turned out really beautiful, with the fat and spicyness of the pork belly going really well together with the rich, sweet rutabaga cream and the burnt saltiness of the browned butter.

The dish is somewhat challenging, mostly due to time spent preparing, and the use of a cream whipper. If your kitchen doesn’t have one, just mash the rutabaga with cream and vanilla. You don’t have to make the belly a day in advance, but that way it looks much better.

For the linguists out there; why is Kålrabi(n) the same as Swede(eng) or Rutabaga(eng), while Kohlrabi (eng) is the same as Turnips (n)?

Serves 4 as a starter

1 piece of pork belly (6-700 g)
Assorted Christmas spices, such as cinnamon, clove, star anise, black pepper

½ head of rutabaga (app)
½ vanilla pod, seeds only
1,5 dl double cream

3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Worchestershiresauce

One day before serving:
Roast the pig belly in a pan with a couple of dl water, some vegetable mire-poix at 150 degree C for three-four hours, until the bones can be removed easily. Remove the bones and cut of the rind. Season with the ground spices of choice, put the meat on a plate, put a plate on top and weight the top plate down. Leave overnight.

On the day of serving:
Peel the rutabaga, divide into equally sized sticks (1x1 cm) and boil in salted water until completely tender. Drain and pour into a blender with the cream. Blend until completely homogenous. Strain this mix through a chinois or a fine sieve and mix in the vanilla seeds. Season with salt. Heat the mix, and fill it in a cream whipper, charge with one cartridge and keep warm.

Melt the butter, and leave it on moderate heat until the butter is brown, but be careful not to burn it. Let cool for a couple of minutes and mix in the soy and w-sauce.

Divide the pork belly into four equally sized pieces, and fry them in a considerable amount of butter. Fat side down first, until nice and brown, then on the other side while continuously ladling the meat.

Arrange the pieces of pork on a hot plate, place some rutabaga-cream on the plate, and spoon some of the butter around.

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