Recap: Swine & Dine at Get Cooking

On Wednesday, April 20, 2016, Get Cooking hosted a four-course Swine & Dine dinner designed by Chef Doreen Prei featuring Irvings Farm Fresh Berkshire Pork. That meant Swine & Diners had to work for their dinner.

The unique venue on the main floor of the MacEwan residence downtown Edmonton allows patrons to sit back and relax with a glass of wine as you watch Chef Prei and Get Cooking owner Kathryn Joel cook, or allows patrons to throw on an apron, roll up your sleeves, and literally get cooking.

Get Cooking Swine & Dine YEG

I arrived early to the aroma of Irvings Farm smoked ham hock that had been braising for the past six hours. I had just enough time to sample the broth before Chef Prei put me to work separating the fat and bone from the hocks and pulling apart the pork. The bones went back into the broth – along with apple peels Doreen decided throw in – a hint of sweetness for a dish on her all Alberta Pork menu.

Irvings Farm smoked ham hock


Get Cooking Swine & Dine
Alan Irving of Irvings Farm Fresh is all smiles with Darcy Fitzgerald, executive director of Alberta Pork

Get Cooking Swine & Dine

First on the agenda for the evening was to learn how to make pork liver pate. My friend Vijay got tasked with slicing open the liver before seasoning with salt and pepper and giving it a cognac bath.

Irvings Farm Berkshire pork liver

The liver was wrapped in a few layers of plastic wrap and poached in simmering water for 20 minutes – then sautéed in duck fat and butter along with garlic and shallots.

Get Cooking Swine & Dine

The Irvings Farm Fresh liver pate was then smeared on toasted baguettes and topped with a slice of pear and micro greens.

Get Cooking swine & dine

Doreen showed how simple it is to make pate at home – a simple and economical appetizer that is sure to impress. Visit the Passion for Pork recipes page to learn how to make Chef Prei’s Pork Liver Pate, served with warm bread, pear, and watercress.

Pork Liver Pate

Chef Doreen Prei was working at Zinc Restaurant in the Art Gallery of Alberta when the first Swine & Dine I ever organized happened almost four years ago. That night, she featured a dish that includes a crispy parmesan pork cracker; the component was so good that she had to bring it back to share with Swine & Diners at Get Cooking.

Get Cooking Swine & Dine

After a quick pasta-rolling demo from Kathryn & Doreen – Meryl & Evan quickly got to work rolling out pasta sheets for the smoked ham hock cannelloni.

Get Cooking Swine & Dine

Many hands make light work, and an assembly line of pasta rolling, noodle cooking, bechamel stirring, and cannelloni stuffing took off.

Get Cooking S&D

Get Cooking Swine & Dine

Get Cooking S&D (8 of 16)

The result of all our hard work was our second course for the evening: an Irvings Farm Fresh smoked ham hock cannelloni, served with a tangy bechamel, and topped with arugula and the crispy parmesan pork cracker. While the recipe has many components – each of the steps are easy to follow and is something Doreen made us feel like we could replicate with the right ingredients at home.

Smoked ham hock cannelloni, tangy bechamel, arugula, crispy parmesan pork cracker

We had a few minutes to digest before we were up from the table and back at the stove. Also in attendance was English-trained butcher Elyse Chatteron; Doreen asked if she would show off her skills for our main dish of the night. First, Elyse butterflied the pork loins so that Mel could layer dijon mustard, wild green onions, and smoked cheese.

Get Cooking Swine & Dine

Then, Elyse stepped in for an impromptu lesson on tying of a butchers knot and tying off both stuffed loins.

Get Cooking Swine & Dine YEG

Get Cooking Swine & Dine

The speed at which her hands move was very impressive. For a tutorial on how to tie a butchers knot – visit Elyse’s blog Life Without Lemons.

Get Cooking Swine & Dine YEG

After a quick sear in a frying pan – the loins were transferred onto parchment paper and into the oven for an additional 20 minutes.

stuffed pork loin

Once out of the oven, the cheese that had melted out of each loin onto the parchment was fair game for any greedy fingers (like mine) to sample. Smoky cheese melted and soaking in pork loin jus; it was incredible.

Get Cooking Swine & Dine YEG

Chef Doreen Prei’s main dish for the evening: stuffed pork loin served up with potato puree, wild Mo-Na Mushrooms, grilled fennel, and jus, as served up at Get Cooking.

Stuffed pork loin, potato puree, wild mushrooms, grilled fennel & jus

When we first arrived, Doreen had mixed up some lavender cream to be chilled for dessert.

Lavender ice cream

The lavender ice cream was the perfect accent for Doreen’s Swine & Dine dessert – a gluten free bacon & apple tart. (This celiac couldn’t have been happier)

Bacon & apple tart

And of course… here is the recipe for Doreen’s bacon & apple tart.

Bacon & Apple Tart

The delicate bite of sweet and savoury was the perfect way to conclude the evening.

Swine & Dine at Get Cooking with Chef Doreen Prei featuring Irvings Farm Fresh was an educational and flavour-packed evening. A huge thanks to Doreen, Kathryn, and Liv for hosting Swine & Dine YEG – I can’t wait to try out all of these recipes at home. Also thanks to Nicola & Alan Irving for sharing their story of how they became Berkshire pork producers in Alberta – and the origin of their incredible dry-cured bacon.

If you want to improve your skills in the kitchen – the lunch & learn concept at Get Cooking is a great place to get involved, get inspired, and walk home with a pack full of recipes. Visit Get Cooking for a calendar of upcoming events, kitchen parties, and classes.