Tag: pork

Pork filet mignon with apricot and prunes

Whenever I buy meat, I tend to get highly influenced by Michel’s (my butcher) opinion on what I should cook. I might be eyeing the attractive beef filets, but I can tell that Michel thinks I should be cooking something else by his body language as he positions himself away from my actual choice! Michel appreciates my passion for cooking and wants me to pick the best choice of the day. So it turns out that he thinks the pork ‘filet mignon’ are exquisite. And so they are. What better way to cook them than stuffed with prunes and apricots with a mustard wine cream sauce. This meal reminds me of my grandmother’s blue Wedgwood porcelain collection on her buffet table – elegant and old-fashioned.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

For the pork filet:
800 grs pork filet mignon (tenderloin) (divided in 2)
10 dried apricots
10 dried prunes
5 tbsp mustard
salt and pepper
kitchen twine (string to attach filet)
1 sprig rosemary (optional – I have rosemary bushes everywhere in the garden so I can’t resist)
3 tbsp olive oil
200 ml water

1 tbsp plain flour
200 ml white wine
70 ml chicken stock
2 tbsp mustard
4 tbsp crème fraîche

Pre-heat the oven to 200° degrees celsius/ 400°F.

Take out the meat one hour before roasting so it will be at room temperature. Cut a slit in the side of each fillet. Brush the inside/outside with mustard. Stuff filet with apricots, rosemary and prunes. Tie each fillet with kitchen twine to keep its shape. Drizzle the filets with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place in a roasting pan, add the water and place in oven for 30 minutes. Turn meat once after 15 minutes of cooking. If the pan is dry add more water. Take the meat out of the oven, set aside and cover with tin foil. Put the roasting pan on the stove (medium heat) with all its juices, add the flour, mix well. Add the stock, and wine and stir well. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes until it starts to slightly thicken. Add crème fraîche and mustard, stir and switch the heat off. Pour the sauce over the sliced filet mignon and serve with haricot verts (French green beans).

Gratin Dauphinois and Cigalines

I was queuing at our local butcher the other day, and overheard a woman standing next to me saying – ‘Oh, I want the same as last time because ‘Je me suis régalée’ – meaning she really ‘deliciously’ enjoyed… her cigalines. I had never heard of cigalines before, and I was so intrigued that I asked Michel the butcher what it was: ‘It’s a specialité! It’s the meat from the hip of a pork, marinated in olive oil and Provence herbs. It’s even more tender than a filet mignon!’. This was so tempting, mainly because of how the lady expressed her joy. So I bought a few pieces of ‘cigalines’ and decided to make a gratin Dauphinois (baked potatoes in cream) to accompany this discovery.

Gratin Dauphinois is a typical French dish of the Dauphiné region, consisting of sliced potatoes, milk, cream, butter, nutmeg and lots of garlic. This creamy potato ‘gratin’ is the ultimate French comfort food, filled with garlic flavors.

The combination was truly delicious. The pork meat was indeed incredibly tender, juicy and succulent. Cigalines might not be easy to find, so I would recommend asking your butcher for porc meat near the hip bone (in France we call it araignée meat), and marinade them overnight with olive oil and Provence herbs.

Ingredients: (for 6)

1.5 kg medium-sized potatoes (sliced finely 4 millimeters)
100 grs butter
900 ml milk
25 cl liquid cream
5 garlic cloves
dash of ground nutmeg
Salt & pepper


900 grs pork meat (near the hip bone as it is more tender)
160 ml olive oil
2 tbsp Provence mixed herbs
2 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp ground black pepper

In a bowl, marinate the pork in the olive oil and herbs and leave in fridge overnight. When ready, heat a large frying pan on a medium to high heat and fry the cigalines. As they are quite fine, a couple of minutes on each sides should be good.

For the Gratin Dauphinois:

Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees celsius.

Rub a sliced garlic all over an oven-proof pan.

Peel and slice the potatoes (approx 3-4 mm slices) and garlic (thin slices). Do not rinse the sliced potatoes as you will need to keep the starch for a better binding. Heat the milk with salt, pepper, nutmeg and when it starts boiling, lower the heat and add the sliced potatoes and garlic – cook for 10 minutes, then pour mixture into the oven-proof pan. Pour the cream, and add slivers of butter all over. Season with salt and pepper to your liking and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Serve ‘cigalines’ pork filets and the gratin Dauphinois together. Enjoy!