There’s an apple farm that M. Parret likes to go to for fruits and vegetables located about 10 minutes outside of Sens. Since I moved here, he has been urging me to go. Finally, taking matters into his own hands, he insisted that I come with him for his weekly shopping trip to the farm. I’m glad I did. Is it old school that many French men do the household shopping?
We must have this kind of thing in the States. I think babyboomer that I am, I just probably couldn’t be bothered, having grown up with the convenience of one-stop shopping in supermarkets. When I first visited Europe in the 70s, I thought that the Europeans were hopelessly provincial; with their separate bread shops, poultry shops, butchers, pastry shops, fish markets and chocolate shops. Need Pampers or aspirin? Go to the pharmacy. Hello? Now I mourn the increasing closings of these specialty shops, undersold and out-convenienced by the arrival of the mega-supermarkets.
And it used to drive me insane as I stood behind a French couple, meticulously choosing cherries, one by one, discussing each one’s merit before, finally, putting one in their shopping basket. “How do they have time to cook”?, I’d fume. Now I make sure I get to the market very early so that I won’t feel guilty about blocking the tomato stall for a full 10 minutes.
I adore the canned vegetables in jars.
And the round, squat jars of jam.
But I’m “outside of the subject” as the French say. The Noslon Farm and pears. If you lived in the surrounding area of Noslan Farm and couldn’t be bothered to go to “town”, you could do all of your shopping at the farm. They carry a small selection of cheeses, breads, eggs, butter, milk, yogurt and meats, in addition to the fruits and vegetables. I bought an Epoisses cheese, strawberry jam, pickled zucchini, spinach, garlic, pork chops and pears. I love pears.
About 3 or 4 years ago, I made a fantastic roast pork with pears from the French edition of Saveur magazine but I couldn’t find the magazine and, to tell the truth, I didn’t look very hard because I had to go to M. Parret’s butcher in Gron, France, about 15 minutes from Sens. M. Parret is on his hobbyhorse again about improving the Rosemary by showing her where to shop. I bought a fantastic roquefort cheese there called, Roquefort Papillon http://www.roquefort-papillon.com/fr/traditions-techniques.php. So creamy, so unctuous, so savory! I ate a bit of it with some pear slices.
I had decided to make a baked pork chop recipe from the archives of the UK Telegraph (Roger will like this) that featured Roquefort butter and pears. Sounded good to me, however, I changed the recipe a bit, otherwise I would have ended up with oven boiled pork chops. This must have been before Jamie was born. SMH. Turn the oven to 425 degrees and leave it there! These are the lovely pork chops I found at the farm.
Pork Chops with Roquefort Butter and Pears
1/3 cup of soften butter
1/4 cup of roquefort cheese, crumbled
4 bone-in Pork Chops
1/4 cup olive oil
2 red onions, cut into 8 wedges
1 really large pear, cut into 8 wedges or 4 small pears, cut into halves
1lb small potatoes, thickly sliced
Salt and pepper
Mix the butter with the cheese, form into a log and refrigerate. Season the pork chops with salt, pepper and brush both sides with some of the olive oil. In a large bowl, mix together the onions, pears, potatoes, some thyme sprigs and the rest of the olive oil with salt and pepper. Put this mixture in a baking dish and top with the pork chops. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the pear slices with brown sugar. Turn the pork chops over. Return the dish to the oven and continue to bake for 30-40 minutes. Serve the chops with a slice of roquefort butter on top.
Wine suggestion: Epineuil