Monday, March 9, 2009

Tipsy Braised Pork Loin

The ineffable Geoff Isaac on It Came From the Kitchen has been ranting about cilantro (and who can blame him?), but like me he does enjoy the lovely little seeds of the coriander plant.

I was first introduced to coriander as a spice (rather than an herb) when I was working at Penn and a graduate student from Nepal periodically brought me a gift of rice pudding, called Khir. It was rich and creamy and redolent of both cardamom and coriander. I thought I'd post a recipe here to help Geoff out, even though it's far too rich for the current condition of my own arteries. Alas, however, the closest recipe I could find online (from Zen in Practise; it originally came from doesn't mention coriander seeds, but I suppose one could add them. My hunt also located a luscious variation that does include coriander, Chilled Vanilla Rice Pudding with Figs--even better because there's a red wine sauce to go with it and it'll give me something to do with my figs when they come in. The recipe comes from Big Oven, from whence I've derived several inspirational meals.

None of this has anything at all to do with the topic of the post. But I thought Geoff would be interested in tonight's main course, and so might other folk, because it requires beer. I've made it before, but not recently, and as I was searching for Himalayan rice pudding recipes I remembered that I had a pork roast in need of attending, and it was coming up on 3 pm, thanks to the arrival of Central Daylight Time on Sunday. So first I typed "pork loin roast" into Google, but didn't really want to deal with the oven. I was on my way to the cookbook shelves to leaf through my slow cooking bibles when it hit me: Tipsy Braised Pork Loin, as I used to call it when I made it for friends during my halcyon days in Philadelphia, before I got religion.

It just so happens that I have on hand some pink lady apples, onions, and plenty of garlic. There's always beer, so any time I want to souse a chunk of meat I'm well prepared. I'm less eager to give up a bottle of wine, but Beloved Spouse will forgive my pinching a bottle of his Sam Adams for a good cause. And I no longer have religion, so that's not a problem, either.

So here goes:

1 two-pound loin of some poor dead pig (preferably one that lived well before it became dead)
An onion, sliced
An apple, also sliced (not peeled; don't ever peel anything unless you have to)
A bottle of beer (real beer, like Sam Adams Boston Lager or, even better, Guinness Stout or Samuel Smith's Oatmeal stout; use 12 oz. of that one and drink the rest)
about 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
freshly ground peppercorns
freshly ground sea salt
two sprigs of rosemary, from the kitchen garden
a bit of good Greek or other tasty olive oil

Pour the olive oil (probably about two tablespoons) into a heavy Dutch oven big enough to fit the roast and heat; place the pork roast in the hot oil, turning it periodically to brown it. Then remove it to a plate, while you saute the onion and apple briefly in the oil. Add the garlic and stir it up, being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the roast back in, and pour the bottle of beer over meat and veg. Do this slowly so as not to foam the beer over the top of the pot. Bring to a boil, add the rosemary sprigs, grind pepper and salt on top, cover, and lower the heat. Let it cook on low, peeking about every twenty minutes or so and giving it a stir, for about two and a half hours. When done, it should practically fall off the fork you test it with.

Serve it with basmati or some other aromatic rice, either steamed or cooked as a pilaf (with some pignolis and raisins if you like). I'm going to add a fig and onion chutney I made a while back, and maybe some naan.

And, of course, don't forget your favorite tipple.

PS: The image at top is what it looks like when it gets going. Here's a shot of what it looks like plated up for eating. I did serve it with brown basmati rice pilaf, but since I didn't have any raisins, I used dried cherries, and they were terrific. Good thing, however, that I'm a better cook than a food stylist. It needs some green, so I'm thinking of picking up some slender French green beans for the second round. The whole things goes well with a good stout beer or a glass of something dry and rich with berry flavors, like Bogle's "Phantom."


Geoff said...

Now you've gone and done it! Not only do I have to run out and buy pork tenderloin (always a welcome exercise) but I've taken the liberty of posting the link on Facebook.

If this is half the perfect world I think it is -- and since Beer exists in the first, it must! -- (yes I can be a bit philosophical too!) then you'll get a welcome flood of really cool friends.

Thanks and cheers!


Owlfarmer said...

It's a loin roast--but you're welcome indeed. After all the snotty things I've said about Facebook elsewhere, though, I hope your friends are the forgiving sort.

jhg20003 said...

what happened to the Egyptian beer? This sound really good. but yeah your right presentation needs a little work. :-) Even so..... I bet it was delisqous.......