Eat Like a Geek: Hundred Years’ Pork

Image: Romance of Alexander, Bruges, 1338-44 (The Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS 264 fol 170v) – public domain, via Wikipedia

We love food, cooking, and all the science and history behind it here at GeekMom. Many of us have so many unusual and fun recipes that we’ve developed through the years, we thought it’d be a good (and helpful) idea if we started sharing a weekly recipe with our readers. Some of these recipes come straight from our own test kitchens (like my recipe today), others are stand-bys that we’ve been given, inherited, or found. Either way, we hope they’re a fun way to put a little geek in your culinary arsenal.

Today we bring you a recipe for my Hundred Years’ Pork with a complimentary history lesson, to boot!

Hundred Years’ Pork

A pork roast in and of itself isn’t particularly special. But this roast is named as such due to the seasonings: English mustard and French herbes de provence. In this case, they two warring cuisines are actually in harmony. As meals go, it really couldn’t get much easier, and the results were a mighty success in this house (both with my predominantly French background and my husband’s predominately English).

Ingredients:
1 4lb boneless pork loin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
5 tbsp English mustard (like Coleman’s)
3 tbsp herbes de provence
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 500. Bring pork loin to room temperature (about 1 hour on the counter — it makes for quicker and more even cooking). In a Dutch oven or large oven-safe skillet, melt the butter and oil together at medium-high. Sear all sides of the pork in the oil. Remove vessel from heat. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and herbs evenly over the roast (use tongs, as it’s hot!). Spread mustard over the herbs, evenly over the roast.

Cook for 15 minutes at 500, then drop the heat to 275. Cook until internal temperature reaches 145 (for less done) or 160 (for well). Typically about an hour total cooking time, but depends on size of roast and oven.

Let rest for 15 minutes, and slice in 1/2″ segments. Serve warm with green beans or, haricots verts!

Image: Andrei nacu, via Wikipedia – public domain

Tasty Tidbits

The Hundred Years’ War lasted, in fact, a bit more than a hundred years (1337 to 1453). The root of the problem started centuries before, you know, during that little scuffle in 1066. If you’ve heard anything about this war, it probably has to do with the fact that Joan of Arc had something to do with the final French victory (though that battle was by no means the end of English/French conflict). Not to mention that during the war, the borders of France and England shifted so frequently it’ll make your head spin to try and keep up (see graphic, above, for a helpful visual aid). Most of my French ancestry comes from Brittany and Normandy, highly contested territory, so I always find the territorial issues particularly fascinating (does that technically make me part English?).

Another historical tidbit? The Hundred Years’ War is also known for the advances it ushered in in the way of military warfare. Yes, that magnificent longbow came of age during the continued strife, changing forever the way wars were fought. Everything from tactics to armor shifted dramatically as a result. Not to mention, they had a bit of a Plague problem during the war.

And that’s not to say that this ended the conflict. As we know, England and France have something of a spotted history, and some historians even argue that there was a Second Hundred Years’ War. (See, even then, people loved sequels.)

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Natania Barron is a Gryffindor, a Took, and a Greyjoy (mostly because of the squid).