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Cooking at Home with Daniel Boulud for the Holidays

A great recipe from the chef's new book, and 12 Alsace whites to match

Laurie Woolever
Posted: December 6, 2013

Just in time for the glorious holiday entertaining season, chef Daniel Boulud has released his latest and most ambitious cookbook, Daniel: My French Cuisine, which includes signature dishes from his New York flagship restaurant, the Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning Daniel, as well as a selection of more casual—yet still wildly delicious—dishes suited for the serious home cook in need of an impressive recipe for entertaining.

The recipe that Boulud chose to share, Beer-Marinated Pork Rack with a Barley-Mustard Crust, is from that second category. It requires some advanced planning—the pork is marinated for 48 hours in the refrigerator, and mustard seeds, used in both the marinade and the crust, must be soaked overnight. Armed in advance with that knowledge (and a Frenched pork rack from the best possible butcher), you'll find the technique straightforward and the results spectaular yet homey.

As for a pairing, Boulud says, "This dish is thoroughly Alsatian; during our photo shoot, we paired it with a Trimbach Riesling, Cuvée Frédéric Émile." See below for a list of recently rated recommended Alsace whites.

You may notice that the recipe calls for the pork to be cooked only to 130° F, but do not be alarmed, says Boulud, because the recipe's final steps will bring the meat to 145° F. "We remove it at 130° F to put on the crust, so when it goes back in to broil, the temperature will increase," he explains. "Once removed from the oven (you should always allow approximately 10 minutes for a roasted meat to rest in a warm place before carving), the meat will have a period of 'carry-over cooking' in which the internal temperature will continue to rise."

Boulud's own holiday plans may inspire envy. "This year I will have a party with some close friends and family. One of my favorite dishes is my grandmother's recipe—a whole roasted pumpkin stuffed with crusty bread, gruyère cheese, bacon lardons and walnuts. And of course we will serve brined, roasted turkey with the traditional accompaniments of cornbread-giblet stuffing, sweet potato puree, gravy and Brussels sprouts fricassee with chestnuts. For the holiday, our pastry chef Ghaya Oliveira is making a special dessert with spiced butternut squash cream underneath of a crispy sugar cloche, served with cassis sorbet and pumpkin seed praline, which I am sure will make an appearance!"

Beer-Marinated Pork Rack with a Barley-Mustard Crust

Recipe from Daniel: My French Cuisine by Daniel Boulud. Copyright © 2013 by Daniel Boulud. Used with permission by Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.

For the barley-mustard crust:
• 1/4 cup pearl barley
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
• 1/2 cup 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 to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Rinse the barley with cold water until it runs clear. Place in a medium-sized ovenproof saucepan with the stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, cover with an ovenproof lid, then transfer to the oven to 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.

2. 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 sheet of parchment on top and roll into a 1/8-inch thick sheet. Refrigerate until firm, or for up to 3 days. Note: This recipe will make more than is needed for one pork rack.

For the pork rack:
• 2 1/4 tablespoons salt, plus more to taste
• 3/4 tablespoon brown sugar
• 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds, soaked in water overnight
• 3/4 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
• 1/4 cup grated fresh horseradish

1. In a large saucepan, simmer 2 1/4 cups water with 2 1/4 tablespoons salt and the brown sugar until dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the mustard seeds and 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Transfer to the oven and roast until the internal temperature reaches 130° F, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

5. 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.

6. Arrange the cabbage on a serving tray and set the roasted pork rack on top. Carve and serve. Serves 6.

RECOMMENDED ALSACE WHITES

Note: The following list is a selection of outstanding and very good wines from recently rated releases. More wines can be found in our Wine Ratings Search.

BARMÈS BUECHER Riesling Alsace Herrenweg 2010 Score: 93 | $31
Rich and mouthwatering, this leans toward an off-dry style, with lush, lightly honeyed flavors of guava, dried pineapple, apricot and candied kumquat, finding fine balance thanks to well-meshed, piercing acidity. The lasting finish is aromatic, with floral and smoky mineral notes. Drink now through 2028. 2,200 cases made. —A.N.

PAUL & PHILIPPE ZINCK Gewürztraminer Alsace Grand Cru Eichberg 2010 Score: 92 | $35
Creamy and mouthwatering, this shows tightly knit flavors of lychee, green melon, pink grapefruit pulp, crystallized ginger, honey, smoke and fleur de sel. Features a minerally core, fine cut and good balance. Drink now through 2025. 1,000 cases made. —A.N.

EMILE BEYER Gewürztraminer Alsace Tradition 2012 Score: 91 | $22
A finely balanced version, featuring lush and creamy flavors of ripe melon, glazed apricot and strawberry fruit, layered with accents of Thai basil, lime zest, honey and pickled ginger, with juicy, well-meshed acidity. Drink now through 2023. 1,500 cases made. —A.N.

PAUL BLANCK Riesling Alsace 2012 Score: 91 | $20
Lively and expressive, featuring floral and ground spice notes, this open-knit version shows a fine mesh of bright acidity, with saline minerality and flavors of ripe Anjou pear, apricot, blanched almond and lemon preserves. Drink now through 2022. 4,000 cases made. —A.N.

TRIMBACH Pinot Gris Alsace Réserve 2009 Score: 91 | $27
Dry, smoky and elegant, featuring flavors of glazed pear, chamomile, plum skin and crystallized honey. Well-focused by finely meshed acidity, this rides a lacy texture through the lasting, mineral-tinged finish. Drink now through 2023. 5,800 cases made. —A.N.

J.-B. ADAM Pinot Gris Alsace Les Natures 2011 Score: 90 | $25
Bright acidity keeps this lithe version light on its feet, framing well-knit flavors of yellow plum, candied almond and ginger, lemon wax and dried apricot. The long, minerally finish shows notes of dried fruit and spice. Drink now through 2023. 1,200 cases made. —A.N.

EMILE BEYER Riesling Alsace Tradition 2012 Score: 90 | $22
Strikes a good balance between razor-sharp acidity and zesty ground spice accents, with juicy flavors of apricot, blood orange, honey and pickled ginger. Features a stony finish, with a hint of almond. Drink now through 2018. 1,600 cases made. —A.N.

KUENTZ-BAS Riesling Alsace 2011 Score: 89 | $17
A dry, lightly smoky white, this exhibits a subtle tang of pink grapefruit zest and fleur de sel, with notes of fresh-cut apple, star fruit and stone. The finish is fresh and minerally. Drink now through 2018. 2,500 cases made. —A.N.

DOMAINES SCHLUMBERGER Pinot Gris Alsace Les Princes Abbés 2011 Score: 89 | $18
Well-knit and stony, with a spicy edge to the flavors of apple, star fruit and melon. Balanced and fresh. Drink now through 2016. 2,300 cases imported —A.N.

FAMILLE SPARR Riesling Alsace Cuvée Tradition 2011 Score: 88 | $13
A light-bodied version, focused on subtle minerality and balance, with a flavor profile that includes hints of apricot, beeswax, anise and Gala apple. Drink now through 2016. 4,000 cases made. —A.N.

HELFRICH Riesling Alsace 2012 Score: 87 | $15
A zesty core of minerality is layered with flavors of white peach, candied lemon zest, fresh ginger and persimmon in this bright, balanced white. Drink now through 2018. 5,000 cases made. —A.N.

ARTHUR METZ Riesling Alsace Michel Léon 2012 Score: 87 | $14
A subtle version, offering hints of Anjou pear, orchard blossom, lemon meringue and apricot. Balanced and tangy, with a touch of fleur de sel on the finish. Drink now through 2015. 12,000 cases made. —A.N.

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