03.07.09: la nuit américane.

Greetings one and all.  Today we (finally) get around to posting the next installment in our foreign film-inspired-dinner series.  This time, selected Francois Truffaut’s Day for Night (originally la nuit américane).  Set in the French countryside, this movie-about-making-movies is a modern classic.  To mirror the flick that night, we opted for a French Bistro menu, straight out of Anthony Bourdain’s modern classic, The Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking.

There are plenty of clips from the movie available on the youtube, but below please find a loving tribute to the ideas and style of the film in the form of a hilarious AmEx ad by Wes Anderson.

We began with a simple mushroom soup consisting of little more than the beloved fungus, some onions,  butter, finished with a touch of sherry.

Mushroom Soup with Sherry
Mushroom Soup with Sherry

We found another pork shoulder recipe in this beloved tome, and dissatisfied with my first attempt, we struck out again (Avid readers may remember this trial being referred to already in the Cuban Sandwiches post.  Yes, this was the shoulder that born those self-same cubanos, consider this exposition for the sake of completeness or perhaps ret-conning, if you like.)  This shoulder wasn’t slow-roasted via oven, but rather simmered in our dutch oven for several ours with a crust of homemade breadcrumbs and mustard.  Pork Shoulder is a bit fatty, and a little on-plate surgery may be required when the finished product finally makes it to the table, but it’s completely worth it.

Pork Shoulder, browned and ready to stew.
Pork Shoulder, browned and ready to stew.
Breadcrumbs...before they were breadcrumbs.
Breadcrumbs...before they were breadcrumbs.
Pork Shoulder resting...
Pork Shoulder resting, breadcrumbs cooked on. Ah, the circle of life...


Pallette de porc à la bière, avec du couscous et des légumes braisés
Pallette de porc à la bière, avec du couscous et des légumes braisés

Above is the finished plate (consideration for authentic French titling provided by Elizabeth).  Onions, carrots and garlic from the roast pot decorate a little couscous, a holdover idea from the first attempt.  I highly recommend Bourdain’s book, Truffaut’s  film and any pig’s humble shoulder for a Saturday night that’s humble and exotic, relaxing and exciting.


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