One of my items from pork prom was a three pound piece of pork belly. I considered "makin' bacon" as I had learned in the class, but decided that I really wanted to slow roast it. I spent a bit of time searching for a recipe before settling on one from the River Cottage Meat book. That, of course, called for company. Last night K and I were joined by four adults and two children for a night of pork belly and pinot (plus). Well, Shirley Temples with homemade grenadine for the kids.
First for the food. I had out bread, cheese, pickled carrots and green beans and nuts for people to nibble on. I apparently am incapable of having guests over and not serving a triple creme cheese, even if rich meat is to follow. Lisa brought a frisee salad with avocado and goat cheese. Fresh and perfectly dressed, it was a nice contrast to the roasted dishes to follow. I had rubbed the pork belly with salt, pepper and thyme and roasted in the oven for several hours, until the skin was crisp and meat tender, taking it out of the oven several times to remove excess fat. I pulled a jar of our apricot chutney off the canning shelves to accompany it which turned out to be perfect. The apricot was sweet and a bit tangy, but did not overpower the meat. I also roasted cauliflower, romanesco and green garlic, with a bit of olive oil, lemon and hot pepper. I love the way roasting brings out the sweetness in cauliflower. For the kids and kids at heart, I made mashed potatoes and pasta served simply with butter. Dessert were Haiti fundraiser cupcakes and several flavors of ice cream.
Now for wine. While some opted to start with sparkling I went straight for pinot. I started with a 2006 Cellar Rat from the Anderson Valley. Next up was a Craggy Range 2006 from New Zealand. Both were lovely and complimented the food perfectly, but also showed the differences in style that make pinots so intriguing to me. My favorite of the night was the 2007 Cobb Rice-Spivak. This is another Sonoma Coast wine and like the other Cobb pinots I have had suited my palate perfectly. We also opened a 2006 Tablas Creek Grenache and their 2006 Syrah. I'm a big fan of both of these wines but they did taste quite big after the more subtle pinots. Happily, I have more of both and can enjoy them at another time.
Now of course it is time for the worst part of entertaining: the dishes. The one flaw in this apartment is that lack of a dishwasher. However, the fun last night of the food and company more than makes up for that. Now if I can only figure out what to do with the pork jowl.