Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pounti auvergnat

My post-undergrad time in France was spent in a region called the Auvergne (more specifically, Cantal). It's very rural, and the regional foodscape was filled with hearty, stick-to-the-ribs meals. The better to fuel a day spent on the farm! Or, in my case, taking 3 hour walks every day I wasn't working.

I lived with a host family, and they 100% brought me into the fold. We had Sunday dinner at Tata Nenette's every week - my host mother's aunt, who had to be at least 80. Tata Nenette was, like all the women in that family, an amazing cook. It was at her table that I first tasted pounti. Roughly translated from fr.wikipedia.org:
This dish is a perfect example of a single country food that melds sweet and salty, and is great for brown-bag meals eaten far from home. It is a pate or terrine that combines a batter of flour, eggs, and milk with swiss chard, bits of pork, and prunes. It's traditionally eaten cold or lightly pan-fried in slices, accompanied by a salad. It can also be eaten as a side dish with roast chicken.
Thanks to pregnancy, prunes started holding a special appeal for me last week. I'd never eaten them out of hand, though, and was nervous to try them. I did know I liked pounti, and it seemed like an excellent thing to take for lunch. I looked for recipes in my multiple French cook books, and struck out, so I turned to Google. Quelle surprise! Over at Chocolate and Zucchini, I found a promising recipe. I combined it with others that I found online, and created my masterpiece.

Only it wasn't so masterful. It smelled FANTASTIC coming out of the oven, but it did not unmold well, which really causes me to feel like a complete failure in the kitchen. I hate when things stick to the pan (this post brought to you by Pam cooking spray. I wish). It did taste good, though. But I found there were several things that I will be changing the next time I make it... I'll post my recipe once I finalize it.

 It's short because I don't have a proper terrine, so I made it in a loaf pan. Also because the bottom inch stuck to the pan. And yes, those are extra prunes on the side. I made M. try it, and he said he thought it needed more onion, but mostly liked it.

Overall, my pounti cantalou is tasty and filled with fiber (which, after all, was the point), but there's room for improvement. Specifically:
  • more chard
  • less meat
  • higher temp for shorter time
Still, it was well worth the effort, and I'm looking forward to making it again.

1 comment :

  1. Bonjour! I clicked over after you left a post on Bringing up Baby BIlingual and wanted to figure out what your connection to French might be.

    How fun to revisit a regional dish from your year in France! I spent time in Savoie and still really enjoy raclette.

    Congrats on your baby, by the way!