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Pan Seared Belly of Pork with Kevin Dundon

Monday, 16 November 2009

All this week, all the chefs will be cooking with Irish produce. Every single ingredient down to salt and cooking oil will be produced locally!

All over Ireland you'll find small scale, artisan food producers who take infinite care over their products. From the finest cheeses to great bakeries, smokeries and meat producers, Ireland nurtures some of the best. We should try and eat our local produce more and support the economy, especially the way things are at the minute.

The reason behind people beginning to eat locally more and more could also have come from the slow food movement which originated in the 1980's.

Kevin Dundon Proprietor of Dunbrody House
Kevin Dundon is the Chef/Proprietor of Dunbrody Country House Hotel & Restaurant, located in Ireland's sunny South East. Dunbrody was established in 1997 by Kevin and his wife Catherine and has very quickly become a must-see for all foodies. It is now considered to be one of Ireland's Premier Hotels & Restaurant. Kevin's runs a cookery school at the hotel as well which already recognised as one of the most respected in the country.
Dunbrody is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of The World and Ireland's Blue Book. The hotel has won numerous awards including Restaurant of the Year 2004, 2005 & 2006, Chef of the Year in the Food and Wine awards 2004, 2005 & 2006, Andrew Harper's Grand Award 2001 for the best Hideaways in the World, Irish Bacon Dish of the Year 2000, Country House of the Year 2001 (Georgina Campbell's Hotel Guide) , Country House of the Year 2001 (National News Paper) Evening Herard RAC Gold Ribbon Award & Three Dining Awards and Red Chateau for the Michelin Guide, to name just a few.

Reasons to Eat Local Food:
Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons. By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their best, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.

Locally grown produce is fresher. While produce that is purchased in the supermarket or a big-box store has been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, produce that you purchase at your local farmer's market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase. This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value which declines with time.

Local food just plain tastes better.
Locally grown fruits and vegetables have longer to ripen. Because the produce will be handled less, locally grown fruit does not have to be "rugged" or to stand up to the rigors of shipping. This means that you are going to be getting peaches so ripe that they fall apart as you eat them, figs that would have been smashed to bits if they were sold using traditional methods, and melons that were allowed to ripen until the last possible minute on the vine.

Eating local is better for air quality and pollution : the miles that organic food often travels to our plate creates environmental damage

Eating local protects us from bio-terrorism. Food with less distance to travel from farm to plate has less susceptibility to harmful contamination.

Eating local means more for the local economy. a euro spent locally generates much more income for the local economy. When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction.

All the products will be placed nicely in a basket with some Irish flags., the chef will name check each ingredients as he goes through demo, where they are from and how important it is to promote Irish produce.

Pan Seared Belly of Pork with Sautéed Leeks & Wild Mushrooms Honey, Apple and Cider Reduction

Pork Belly is a very flavoursome option to serve. PJ Crowe has an outlet in Dundrum, Co. Tipperary and his pork is top quality. He supplies us with two different types of bacon for breakfast and it is a great joy to cook the bacon and not have it shrivel up t nothing on the pan.

Pan Seared Pork Belly:
. 2lb/900 belly of pork
. 1 carrot
. 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
. 1oz/25g butter

Sautéed Leeks & Wild Mushrooms:
. 10oz/300g wild mushrooms
. Pinch salt
. 1 sprig of thyme (woody part removed-use leaves only)
. 2 leeks-thinly sliced
. 1oz/25g butter

Honey, Apple & Cider Reduction
. 2 medium sized cooking apples
. 2 tablespoons honey
. 10floz/300ml cider

. 1 tablespoon pouring cream/crème fraiche

Method
1. When you buy the pork belly it sometimes comes as a flat piece. In my opinion it is best to get your butcher to roll this up for you and tie it tightly with some string.
2. Place the rolled pork belly in a saucepan with the carrot and the parsley and cover with cold water.
3. Bring the entire mixture to the boil and then simmer very gently for approximately 1 ½ hours.
4. Allow the pork to cool down (I normally leave it to cool in the water). It is probably best to have this stage completed on the day before you actually intend to serve the pork.
5. When the pork is completely cold heat a large frying pan with a little butter.
6. Slice the pork "roll" into slices about 1 inch in thickness. Pan fry the pieces on both sides until very crispy and completely warmed through.
7. Meanwhile heat a medium sized pan with a little butter and add to it the sliced leeks and torn wild mushrooms. Sauté gently for 3-4 minutes before adding in the thyme and a little salt and then serve under the pan seared belly of pork.
8. Now you must begin to make the reduction. Heat a medium sized pot with a little butter and add to it the peeled and diced cooking apples. Sauté them gently for 4-5 minutes and allow them to caramelise slightly. Next add in the honey and allow this to bubble up and melt down a little before adding in the cider. Allow this to boil and reduce for a few moments and then add in the cream or crème fraiche to enrich the sauce slightly. Continue to simmer for approximately 10-12 minutes and serve with the seared pork.

Ingredient Producers:

Pork - PJ Crowe
Mushrooms - Fancy Fungi
Cider - Bulmer's
Honey - Boyne Valley
Wholegrain mustard - Lake Shore
Apples - Dunbrody Garden
Bread - Irish Pride
Salt - from the sea
Eggs - Dunbrody Hens
Milk, Cream, Butter - Wexford Creamery


Apple Charlotte With Honey Scented Cream

Another fantastic apple dessert which will be well received at your next upcoming dinner party and the flavour of the apple is superb against the buttered toasted bread.

Ingredients
. 8 large dessert apples
. 75g/3oz butter
. 2 tablespoons honey
. 1 loaf of bread-cut into slices about ¼inch/5mm thick-crusts removed
. 110g/4oz butter-softened

You will need:
. 6 individual ramekins or pudding basins (150ml/5floz capacity)
. Or one large round ovenproof soufflé dish
. Make sure to brush them with some melted butter!

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
2. First you need to cut the bread into strips about ¾ inches/2cm in thickness.
3. Butter the bread.
4. Cut out a disc of buttered bread for the top and bottom of the pudding basin.
5. Put the disc in at the very bottom first with the butter side pointing downwards. Retain the discs for the top of the pudding mould.
6. Use the thin strips of bread to line the pudding mould all the way around, overlapping a little to make sure there is no overflow at a later stage.
7. Ensure at all times that it is the buttered side that is pointing outwards.
8. Store these moulds in the fridge until required.
9. Meanwhile make up the caramelised apple mixture.
10. Peel and core the apples. Cut each apple into 7-8 wedges.
11. In a large pan melt down the butter slowly. Add the apples into the butter and toss around for 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften slightly and take on a golden brown colour.
12. Pour in the honey at this stage.
13. Allow the mixture to cool-slightly.

Assembly:
1. When the mixture has cooled a little, take the moulds out of the fridge and divide the apple and cinnamon mixture between the six ramekins or pudding basins.
2. Cover with the final disc of bread-again pointing the butter side out so as to face you. This just gives a nice golden finish to the charlottes at a later stage.
3. Push down the top disc of bread to keep it secure during cooking.
4. Transfer the pudding basins to a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the bread has turned golden brown.
5. Allow the pudding to rest for 5-10 minutes and then invert onto a serving plate.
6. Serve with Freshly whipped cream flavoured with a little honey.

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