Saturday, June 5, 2010

Popotte-Santé : Legumes and a Surprise Roast

Popotte-Santé Club members from left to right : Jean-Pierre, Magnolia, Linda, Quynh, Fabio and Farah behind the camera.

Our monthly Popotte-Santé get-togethers are getting more and more interesting as we're moving along with the concept. On a beautiful and warm day, the lunch was held outside this week, at the picnic tables on the terrasse of our building. Once again, everyone brought something, but this time we had a spectacular cuban-style roast. It was juicy and so tender. Although everyone did a magnificent job in preparing delicious foods, I think that most of us would agree that the pork roast was the highlight of our picnic. The idea of having a Popotte-Santé (Healthy Cooking club) is to share healthy recipes but it doen't mean that meat is not welcome. On the contrary, a healthy meal can consist of meats and seafood as long as they're prepared in a healthy way : baked, steamed, boiled, or broiled.

Also, I meant to emphasize that cub members or even guests are not always expected to bring or to prepare anything, but we do want to encourage members to share ideas, recipes and even tips on how to prepare healthy foods, tell us about foods that are not familiar to some of us, or to simply join us to taste and listen to food anecdotes that the group can bring to the table. I must admit though that the pot-luck idea is not one that I'll object to. When we feast together, there's a positive family atmosphere. Sharing and eating great food is a great part of good living.

To complete our meals, Jean-Pierre, Linda and Farah had brought great tasting tea, a yogurt dip and fresh summer fruits.
Here are some of the recipes of the luscious dishes we savoured, which are simple and easy to make.

White Bean Dip from Magnolia Recipe "au pif":1 can Cannellini (white kidney beans) beans
1/4 cup Flat-leaf parsley
Lemon juice of ½ lemon or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil,or to taste
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until pureed.

This dip has a similar texture as Hummus but is lighter. It also goes amazingly well with toasted mini pitas lightly brushed with a little bit of olive oil and herbs of your choice.
Share and enjoy

Lentils and tomato Gratin from Quynh
Recipe "au pif":2 cups dry green lentils, rinsed
4 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stalk
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes (from can)
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tbsp butter or margarine
about 1/4 cup of heavy cream or plain unsweetened soya milk (optional)
Grated cheese to garnish
Spices:1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp ground cardamom
3 cloves, crushed in mortar and pestle
a pinch of whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp ground chili powder (to taste)

Preheat oven at 350F

Boil the lentils in the chicken stock in a large sauce pan on medium high heat for about 30-45 minutes, or until the lentils have softened. Lentils are tender when you can easily poke through with a small knife. Set aside.
Melt butter or margarine in a separate large sauce pan on medium heat. Add in the (spices and) garlic and stir for about 2 minutes.

Add in the lentils and chicken stock mix. Give it a good stir, then add the crush tomatoes.

You can add some cream to balance the acidity and give the lentil stew a velvety texture.

Garnish cheese of your choice.

Bake for about 15 minutes to melt the cheese.

Serves 4 people
To give this lentil dish a richer taste the cream is a perfect little addition. Otherwise, a dash of plain unsweetened soya milk will give this dish a velvety texture.
Share and enjoy.

At last, the pièce de résistance, a Cuban-style roasted pork from Fabio.

Recipe "au pif":
4-8 lbs of pork leg or shoulder (preferably leg - has very little but enough fat to obtain a moist roast)
Marinade:3-4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely mincd
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp dry oregano
2 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
juice of a sour orange (sour orange can be substitued by the juice of 1/2 orange and 1 whole lime if you can't find sour/bitter orange).

Preheat oven at 350F

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

Marinade at least 2-4 hours or overnight,. The longer the meat is marinated, the tastier and juicier the roast). Reserve some of the marinade (about 1/4 of the quantity to drizzle over the final roast).

Place the marinated pork in a large baking pan.

Cover the roast with aluminium paper and roast between 1h 45 min to 2 hours if using a regular oven. If using a convectional oven, roast for at least 1/2 the time, or until the roast
*It is important not to overcook pork because it will become tough and dry, but if under cooked it will not have the proper flavor or texture. It also needs to be cooked to the proper doneness to make it safe to eat. Shown below are signs to look for to determine doneness:
- When pricked, the juices should run clear, with no pinkish coloring.
Cut into the meat and check to see that it is white in color. When cooked to medium doneness there may be slight traces of pink in the middle.
- To ensure doneness, check with a meat thermometer. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the cut should produce a temperature of 160°F for medium doneness (165°F to 170°F for well done).

*Another trick used by many caribbeans to clean a good piece of meat is to soak the piece of meat in warm water and rub it with sour orange and lemon. Then boil the piece of meat for a good 15 minutes. The Roast time will be less than 2 hours. *
Remove the aluminum foil and raise the temperature to 400F to brown the outside of the roast, until the roast has reached a nice golden brown colour.

For best results, the meat should be allowed to rest (a waiting period before carving) for 10 to 15 minutes. During this time the meat will continue to cook and will increase in temperature 5 to 10 degrees. Resting also allows the juices to be redistributed through the meat before it is carved. Remove strings if tied, and slice or carve to the desired thickness.

Serves 6-8 people

Share and enjoy.

Tarte aux prunes Liégeoise from QuynhTeaser recipe "au pif" in my next post! Promise!

* updated June 9th - recipe of plum tart is now available here!*

1 comment:

dining sets said...

These are very nice dishes! I was drooling over the photos!