I was queuing at our local butcher the other day, and overheard a woman standing next to me saying – ‘Oh, I want the same as last time because ‘Je me suis régalée’ – meaning she really ‘deliciously’ enjoyed… her cigalines. I had never heard of cigalines before, and I was so intrigued that I asked Michel the butcher what it was: ‘It’s a specialité! It’s the meat from the hip of a pork, marinated in olive oil and Provence herbs. It’s even more tender than a filet mignon!’. This was so tempting, mainly because of how the lady expressed her joy. So I bought a few pieces of ‘cigalines’ and decided to make a gratin Dauphinois (baked potatoes in cream) to accompany this discovery.
Gratin Dauphinois is a typical French dish of the Dauphiné region, consisting of sliced potatoes, milk, cream, butter, nutmeg and lots of garlic. This creamy potato ‘gratin’ is the ultimate French comfort food, filled with garlic flavors.
The combination was truly delicious. The pork meat was indeed incredibly tender, juicy and succulent. Cigalines might not be easy to find, so I would recommend asking your butcher for porc meat near the hip bone (in France we call it araignée meat), and marinade them overnight with olive oil and Provence herbs.
Ingredients: (for 6)
1.5 kg medium-sized potatoes (sliced finely 4 millimeters)
100 grs butter
900 ml milk
25 cl liquid cream
5 garlic cloves
dash of ground nutmeg
Salt & pepper
900 grs pork meat (near the hip bone as it is more tender)
160 ml olive oil
2 tbsp Provence mixed herbs
2 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
In a bowl, marinate the pork in the olive oil and herbs and leave in fridge overnight. When ready, heat a large frying pan on a medium to high heat and fry the cigalines. As they are quite fine, a couple of minutes on each sides should be good.
For the Gratin Dauphinois:
Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees celsius.
Rub a sliced garlic all over an oven-proof pan.
Peel and slice the potatoes (approx 3-4 mm slices) and garlic (thin slices). Do not rinse the sliced potatoes as you will need to keep the starch for a better binding. Heat the milk with salt, pepper, nutmeg and when it starts boiling, lower the heat and add the sliced potatoes and garlic – cook for 10 minutes, then pour mixture into the oven-proof pan. Pour the cream, and add slivers of butter all over. Season with salt and pepper to your liking and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Serve ‘cigalines’ pork filets and the gratin Dauphinois together. Enjoy!