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World Chefs: Grausman takes fear out of French cooking

Jun 28, 2011, 7:08 a.m.

Q: As someone so familiar with French cuisine, do you have any favorite recipes?

A: "Pork Roast with Prunes for me is a fabulous recipe ... It comes from a classic country preparation of pork and prunes which is a saute, like a Coq au Vin. I was trying to rethink it, be more elegant, so I roast the pork and make a sauce with the prunes and red wine."

Q: What advice do you have for people trying to cook some of these classic French recipes for the first time?

A: "Generally I tell people to read through the book and when they come across a recipe that sounds easy and good, it will be. If it sounds a little difficult, skip over it. As you cook through the book your techniques will build, experience will build. Come back in six months to that recipe that sounded difficult and it won't sound difficult anymore."

Poires Au Porto - Pears Poached in Port Wine (serves 6)

6 pears, preferably Comice or Bosc, peeled

3 cups dry red wine

1 1/2 cups port

1/2 cup minus 2 teaspoons (100g) sugar

Peeled zest and juice of 1 orange

Peeled zest and juice of 1 small lemon

1. Place the pears upright in a deep pan just large enough to hold them. Add all of the other ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until the pears are tender, 15 to 20 minutes for unripened pears and 5 to 10 minutes for ripened, ready-to-eat pears. Allow the pears to cool in the poaching liquid.

2. Place the pears in a serving bowl and strain the liquid over them. Refrigerate for 2 hours or more. (This can be done a day or two in advance.)

3. Serve 1 pear per person in a bowl or on a plate with some of the poaching liquid.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; editing by Paul Casciato)

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