If you have ever sat down to a meal of smoked pork collar slices served with broad beans in an aromatic sauce and soft potato quarters and wondered where this wonderful dish comes from, the knowledgeable waiter might interrupt your thoughts to suggest a Luxembourgian origin.
Georges Hausemer would disagree.
‘There is not a single indigenous dish which can in all conscience be described as typically and exclusively Luxembourgian,’ he says and goes on to explain why.
‘The country has always been a border area, a crossroads for widely varying European cultures. After the Celts, the Romans, the Teutons and the Franks had left their mark on the area, the Burgundians, the Spanish, the Austrians, the Dutch and the Germans did the same, and all these influences naturally found their way into the cooking pots.’
This is probably a bit hard on their judd mat gardebounen, especially as the art of smoking a piece of pork collar is a time-honoured tradition not easily grasped by the uninitiated.
Finding a smoked collar that has a smokey aroma and hasn’t been drenched in salt can be difficult. Even Luxembourgians warn against not soaking the salt out of a piece of smoked collar.
And that is the secret to this dish. If the collar is perfectly smoked, the dish will turn out exactly as it should, the smokey flavour of the meat mingling with the aroma from the sauce, which requires a Luxembourgian dry white wine, Elbling perhaps?
- 1.5 kg smoked pork collar
- 1 kg broad beans, fresh, shelled
- 1 kg waxy potatoes, peeled, quartered
- 30 ml sunflower oil
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 6 parsley sprigs, chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 150 g carrot, chopped
- 150 g onion, whole studded with 4 cloves
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 125 ml dry white wine
- 50 g butter
- 50 g flour
- 2 bay leaves
- 15 g summer savory
- 10 g salt, for bean water, and seasoning
- Black pepper, freshly ground, large pinch
- Water, for stock
Parboil potatoes, set aside.
Put the bay leaves, collar and vegetables into a large pot, cover with water, bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for two hours.
Make a dark roux, add 250 ml of the meat-vegetables cooking water, bring to the boil, then simmer for five minutes, until a velvety thickness has been achieved.
Blanch beans in boiling salted water, about five minutes.
Add wine and savory to the sauce, bring slowly to a low boil, reduce heat, simmer for ten minutes, season.
Sauté potatoes in hot oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add 250 ml of meat-vegetable stock and garlic, increase heat, reduce until liquid has evaporated.
Add beans to sauce, heat through.
Remove collar from cooking water, leave to stand for two minutes, slice thickly.
Serve with beans and sauce, and potatoes, garnish with parsley.
Note on Smoked Collar
If smoked collar is not available from your butcher, buy a piece of plain collar and smoke it yourself.
This is the method for a 1.5 kilo piece.
Use an old large and deep saucepan with a lid in which you can fit a rack or steamer.
Line the saucepan with slightly crumpled kitchen foil to protect the base.
Add a tablespoon of rice, a tablespoon of jasmine tea, a large stalk of rosemary, a large sprig of thyme, 6 lightly crushed juniper berries, 12 lightly crushed black peppercorns and a good pinch of coarse salt.
Place the rack on top with the meat on the rack and put the lid on.
Heat the saucepan over the lowest setting. Turn the meat every ten minutes until it is evenly coloured, about 40 minutes.
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