Last week, I took some time to go visit my parents, with every intention of making a smoked salmon version of last week’s French Fridays assignment, but ending up with all sorts of other dishes, instead. I was defeated by our inability to locate the balance of the salmon my brother had smoked, which my mother was sure was in the left-hand chest freezer in their garage. There are many good things in that freezer, but no smoked salmon, as far as I can tell.
So, I found myself slowly cooking chicken thighs in saffron-scented broth and arranging butter-soaked sheets of phyllo pastry in a cake pan. The first time I made Chicken B’Stilla, I used homemade gluten-free puff pastry and it was wonderful. I’d always wanted to make it with phyllo, though. The proper version is just as delicious, but so much prettier.
Then, I made three kinds of caramel.
Once for the Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars that Tuesdays with Dorie tackled in March. These were fantastic, though the caramelized Rice Krispies that top the bar are so addictive that it was hard to keep everyone from eating them all by themselves.
The second was a warm caramel sauce for the Waffles and Cream that Doristas blogged about two weeks ago. I’d left my waffle iron at my parents’ house at Christmastime, since it’s not going to get any use at my house (too great a risk for gluten cross-contamination). Dorie’s caramel sauce is simple and delicious. I let mine get a little thick, for extra gooeyness when it’s used on ice cream (which it may have been). But warmed, it flowed beautifully when strewn across the waffles. I think Dorie’s waffles, which use beaten egg whites rather than whole eggs, are the tastiest I’ve had. With a little whipped cream, this was a perfect dessert.
The third batch of caramel was to top a rhubarb upside-down cake that hasn’t come up in the Tuesdays with Dorie rotation yet. I’ll be making it over and over again until rhubarb disappears for the year. Brown sugar and butter make a fine topping for an upside down cake, but this caramel is even better – so worth the extra step or two.
Then, finally, I got to this week’s recipe. I had to drive almost twenty kilometers to get canned lychees, which I’d have only had to go a few blocks to get if I’d remembered to pick them up from home. This is my excuse for not realizing that the roast needed red wine vinegar and white wine, rather than the other way around. By the time I read over the recipe again, there was no way I was going back out on another trek to the store. Which might help to explain the alarming colour of my sauce. (It doesn’t excuse the presentation – just know it was prettier in person.)
Though the sauce looked scary, this dish was delicious. My pork loin was a little larger than the one called for in the recipe, so by the time it was fully cooked, the mangoes had disappeared into the sauce. Next time, I’ll cut them in larger chunks. The canned lychees worked very well in this dish, even though I’d prefer fresh ones when they’re in season. I loved the sweet and sour sauce against the perfectly tender pork. It’s a dish with Dominican roots, created by a French-trained chef, which is how it came to be in the book. I served this with the citrus version of my favourite Dorie rice recipe, along with some simply steamed vegetables.
Next week, we’re back to fish. Maybe I’ll even get to that salmon tartare, as a bonus. It sounds too delicious to skip altogether.
You can find links to the rest of the French Fridays crew’s posts on this week’s recipe here: Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees. And you can see what everyone thought of the waffles here: Waffles and Cream.