We ordered in for New Year's Eve (Indian...mmmmmm) and have been eating at friend's houses or snacking instead of eating actual meals since then so I was itching to get back in the kitchen tonight. It's now gotten to the point that preparing a meal, even just for the two of us, makes me feel like not only have I done something productive and homemakery (homemakerish?) around the house, I feel I've exercised my creativity as well. The sense of satisfaction is immense. I picked up a pork loin at the grocery store tonight with no clear agenda as to how I was going to prepare it. Pork isn't something I cook with much. I try to make a good percentage of our meals vegetarian, although I do cook quite a bit of chicken and to a lesser extent lean beef. I don't cook with fish because, and you may not know this so allow me to clear it up for you, fish is icky. It is smelly, it tastes bad and it feels weird in my mouth. And yes, I make my whole family's menu based on what are clearly the food preferences of a picky 5 year old. I just can't get over it. I hates the feeeeesh. But enough about foodstuffs that make me want to throw up in my mouth! On with the improvised pork loin...something I am calling Bistro-Style Pork Loin because it is uncomplicated and tasty, just like my favourite bistro dishes. I wish I were a little more Bistro-Style...but that's another post.
What you'll need:
1 pork loin (mine was a little less than 1/2 a kg)
1 clove of garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons (roughly) extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1/2 cup organic vegetable stock
1 cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
seasoning salt (to taste)
fresh ground pepper (to taste)
Wine pairing: I'm back on the good 'ol reliable Yellow Tale Shiraz this week, friends. It's a pretty big bottle too, so it's going to take me a while to get through it. After that, who knows? In fact, if anyone has any suggestions for a nice bottle that they think I might like (remember my criteria - red and cheap!) let me know.
Listening: Art Blakey, Moanin'. Also, Miss Lenny Clayton, Moanin'. Teething, man. It's ROUGH!
1. Start with a high heat. While the olive oil is getting hot in your pan or pot (whatever you use, just make sure it is something you have a lid for) slice your garlic clove into at least six pieces and insert them into little slices in your pork loin. Think of this as creating a garlic pocket for your pork. Come on. Who doesn't want a garlic pocket?
2. Season your pork loin with seasoning salt (An evil I tried to dispense with, but after living without it for two months I buckled and bought a replacement bottle tonight. I couldn't live without the orange coloured goodness) and fresh ground pepper.
3. Brown your pork loin on all sides in the hot oil.
4. Add your sliced onion and cook the whole deal together for about 4 minutes, until the onion has softened. Remember to turn the pork occasionally, to ensure even colour.
5. Add 1/4 cup organic vegetable stock, cover and cook on a lower heat (I turned it down to 3 on my stovetop) for 25 minutes. Don't forget to scrape all the brown bits up from the bottom of the pot when you add your stock to intensify your flavours!
6. After 25 minutes the pork should be done. Check with your meat thermometer and if you get a read around 165 degrees you're good to go. Remove your pork and cover with tinfoil. Let it rest so the juices redistribute.
7. To make your sauce add the flour, light sour cream and remaining vegetable stock to the onions and drippings in the pot. Stir and bring the sauce to a boil so that it thickens. This should take no more than a couple of minutes. When it's done, remove it from the heat and season to taste with salt (only if you really need it, you probably won't considering the seasoning salt already on the pork loin) and fresh ground pepper.
8. Slice your pork loin after it has rested and spoon the sauce over it.
9. I served this with baked sweet potato fries (just sweet potatoes, sliced and roasted for about an hour in a 400 degree oven with a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper) and a simple mixed green salad. The sauce was great on the sweet potatoes. I did, however, yield way more sauce than I needed and with that in mind think this would be great served kind of like a stroganoff, over buttered noodles or mashed potatoes.
Verdict: A keeper. The flavours really jumped off the plate. Next time, I'd consider trying this with a whole mirepoix instead of just the onions, omitting the sour cream sauce and just serving it au jus style with a side of roasted broccoli. I hung onto the extra sauce, thinking that I might make some more sweet potatoes tomorrow and eat it with that. I can't promise that I won't sneak another taste before that though!