Ripailles – Pork Butchers Wife

The Guardian and Observer Food Monthly recently compiled a list of the 50 best cookbooks:
Numbers 50 – 11
Numbers 10 – 1

So inspired by the list I thought I’d dig out my favourite recipe book (which didn’t make the top 50 unfortunately) for a recipe blogpost.

Ripailles by Stephane Reynaud is a mammoth book of traditional French recipes, beautifully illustrated with immaculate photos and humourous illustrations throughout it’s 480 pages. As well as the recipes there’s pages devoted to artisan producers of French produce and some lighthearted looks at French culture to put the food into context. I was lucky enough to be given the book as a Christmas present last year and since then it’s never failed to put me in the mood to cook something delicious whenever I’ve flicked through the pages.

One of the recipes I love the most in it is pork butcher’s wife. It’s pork chops with a bacon, spinach and tomato accompaniment which lends itself to various alterations and variations for the individual, doesn’t take too long to cook and is very, very delicious.

As the recipe itself is for 6 people I varied it slightly for 2, though as we were hungry most of the vegetable portions stayed the same. I also replaced the cornichons with strips of courgette as we’ve got bloody loads of them growing at the moment!

Pork Butchers Wife
My photos aren't quite as good as the ones in the book

Serves 6

6 pork chops
100g streaky bacon
1 onion
600g spinach leaves
100g cornichons
2 tomatoes
50ml red port
Salt and pepper

Blanch and peel the tomatoes, chop the flesh into cubes. Julienne the cornichons.
Pan-fry the chops in butter, 10 minutes each side, and keep in a warm place.
In the same pan brown the bacon pieces with the chopped onion and add the spinach and the julienned cornichon. Deglaze with the port, add the diced tomato and season.
Serve the chops topped with the vegetables.

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