The season of gift books is upon us, and if you've got a foodie on your list, Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt recommends Daniel Boulud's Daniel: My French Cuisine above all other cookbooks this year. Now to find someone with enough culinary talents to take on recipes like this one . . .
Beer-Marinated Pork Rack with a Barley-Mustard Crust
Barley-Mustard Crust (makes extra)
- ¼ cup pearl barley
- 1 cup Chicken Stock
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 cup Fine White Breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons mustard seeds, soaked in water overnight
- 1 tablespoon mustard powder
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
- Freshly ground white pepper
- ¾ tablespoon brown sugar
- 1½ tablespoons mustard seeds, soaked in water overnight
- ¾ tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
- 6 sprigs sage
- 8 sprigs thyme
- 4 bay leaves, torn
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 (6-rib) pork rack (about 8 pounds), Frenched and tied
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle amber ale (such as Fischer’s Bière D’Alsace)
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 8 large green cabbage leaves, remaining head reserved for the baeckeoffe
- 1/4 cup grated fresh horseradish
For the Barley-Mustard Crust
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Rinse the barley with cold water until it runs clear.
- Place in a medium ovenproof saucepan with the stock and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Bring to a simmer, cover, and bake for 35 minutes.
- Remove, rest for 10 minutes, and fluff with a fork.
- Transfer the barley to a tray, spread into a thin layer, and chill uncovered in the refrigerator.
- In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the butter until creamy.
- Add the cooled barley, the breadcrumbs, mustard seeds, mustard powder, Dijon mustard, and grainy mustard and season with salt and pepper; mix just until combined.
- Scrape the butter onto a sheet of parchment paper, set another paper on top, and roll into a 1/8-inch-thick sheet.
- Refrigerate until firm, or for up to 3 days.
For the Pork Rack
- In a large saucepan, simmer 2¼ cups water with 2¼ tablespoons salt and the brown sugar until dissolved.
- Remove from the heat, add the mustard seeds, cracked peppercorns, and half of the sage, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic; allow to cool.
- Place the pork in a 2-gallon resealable bag and pour in the water–spice mixture and the beer. Seal and marinate refrigerated for 48 hours, turning the pork 4 times.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Remove the pork from the marinade, scrape off any herbs or spices stuck to the meat, and pat dry.
- Season on all sides with white pepper. If desired, wrap the bones with aluminum foil to prevent browning.
- Heat the oil in a roasting pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the pork and sear on all sides until golden brown, about 8 minutes total.
- While searing, baste often with the oil from the pan, especially in the areas around the bones. Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the remaining sage, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic.
- Continue turning and basting for 3 minutes.
- Transfer to the oven and roast until the internal temperature reaches 130°F, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and boil the cabbage leaves until tender, about 4 minutes.
- Strain off the water and add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter.
- Toss with the horseradish to heat through.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the pork and increase the oven temperature to broil.
- Remove the barley crust from the refrigerator.
Press the crust onto the meaty side of the pork and trim any overhanging edges if needed.
- Broil the pork for about 5 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
- Arrange the cabbage on a serving tray and set the roasted pork rack on top.