Monday, October 26, 2009

Leeks and Loins

Another attempt at an Autumn appetizer. Leeks, a mild, sweet member of the Onion family, are slow-roasted until it reaches its most tender state. It serves well alongside the pork loin. It is braised in dry white wine and water for several hours. The tender leeks are a welcoming flavor on a cold October night.

Basically you want to use the white parts of the leeks. The roots and tough upper leaves are disguarded.

Cut the white part of the leeks anyway you want. I choose to cut it julienne style. Soak in cold water after cutting to loosen dirt from the leeks.

Combine the leeks, 1/2 cup of water, butter, salt, and pepper in a pot and cook until the leeks wilt. About 10 minutes.

After the wilting of the leeks, place in separate bowl and brown the pork loin on all sides.

After browning, add the leek mixture to the pork loin along with 1/2 cup of dry white wine and cover and simmer on a low setting for two hours.

Pan-roasted Pork Loin with Leeks is an easy dish to make. It takes some time but the result is worth the wait. The leeks braised in the wine tenderize the vegatable to an amazing flavor.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fingerlings & Fennel

It is autumn in the Midwest. The leaves have turned to reds and yellows. Playoff baseball is on the set. Temperatures are lowering to the mid-40s. A warm and cozy porky comfort food is the perfect partner for a fall October day.

In this entree, the pork tenderloin takes a back seat to the side dish. Pork tenderloin medallions are paired with Fingerling Potatoes and Fennel, a marriage of flavor that would satisfy any food lover.

We start off prepping the side dish: Fingerling potatoes (about 7-8), one Fennel bulb, medium thinly sliced white onion, 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 3 springs of thyme, and 1/3 cup pitted Nicoise olives.

Cut the Fingerling Potates in half and brown for about 7 minutes in a 1.5 tablespoon of olive oil. When finished, set aside in a bowl.

Place chopped fennel bulb in a pot and brown for about 7 minutes then add the sliced onion for another 2 minutes. Give it a constant stir to prevent burning.

Slowly add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Nestle the Fingerling Potatoes in the pot and add the sprigs of Thyme. Cover, turn to low and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Add the Nicoise olives near the end of cooking time, uncover and cook off any remaining broth.

Time to prep the pork tenderloin. Cut medallions and season with salt & pepper.

I pan-fried the medallions for about 2-3 minutes a side on a smoking hot cast iron skillet. The outside will be crispy but the inside of the tenderloin will be slightly pink and tasty.

Garnish the pork with chopped thyme and reserved fennel fronds. And don’t forget to also garnish the meal with a Autumn seasonal Micro Brew.

Roasted Fennel is usually paired with fish but this time of year, Pork and Fennel and Fingerling Potatoes are a perfect combination for any special occasion and it won’t leave you unsatisfied.