Full on autumn weather. I don’t have much to say today as an intro for this post (must be this weather…) but I want to share this recipe because it is so wonderful and comforting. It’s a classic combination of ingredients you’ll find in many cookbooks and recipes online. That won’t stop me from uploading my own take on it though 🙂 I have rights too! Pork loin, pears and kale. Let’s do this…
8 pears, peeled and seeded
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp chinese 5 spice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of brown sugar + more if you like it sweeter
1 cups of apple cider vinegar
1 pork loin, silver skin and excess fat removed
2 or 3 tsp kosher salt
2 or 3 tsp honey
1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Making chutney. My only experience with making chutney prior to this post came from watching some Jamie Oliver’s tv show/episode years ago in which he made this strange concoction. I’m from Venezuela and we know jams, marmalades, and other kinds of preserves but I’m not sure we’re familiar with chutney, most definitely not me. The origins of chutney are, as I’m sure everybody knows but me, Indian. There tons of chutney preparations, all having things in common, like the use of spices, fruits, and or vegetables, and possibly the cooking method as well. They’re like spiced up marmalades/jams, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the concept, sweet and sour and a slight hint of savory as well… But whatever it is that I prepared last night, which I arrogantly called a Pear Chutney, turned out delicious, so more chutney making on the horizon for sure… like an apple and cranberry chutney for turkey day.
To make the chutney, start by peeling and coring the pears, cutting them in small cubes. Maybe you want to process the chutney in a food mill and turn it into a thick sauce, like apple sauce, I left mine alone. Anyways, add the vinegar to a saucepan, bring to a boil, add the sugar, dissolve, add everything else and lower the heat until the mix is simmering. Cook uncovered until the mix has thickened up, about an hour, maybe more. The entire house will smell of Christmas by then. Then transfer to a non reactive container and refrigerate overnight. You can eat it right away. I had a bit of it both ways, and I preferred the one that had been resting in the fridge overnight. A perfect candidate for canning, chutney, can be make in large batches and stored for months. It will stay a few weeks in the fridge in any container.
The pork loin. Really not much to do here. Trimming is important. Silver skin is too tough to chew and it will shrink when cooking warping the loin and making it difficult to sear evenly. Remove. I like to marinate meat, or brine it. This time I opted for a quick and easy rub of salt and honey, and I let the pork alone in the fridge for about a day. When ready, take out of the fridge. Don’t bother bringing it to room temperature, but have your oven ready at 350F. Heat up a skillet with some olive oil on high heat until oil shimmers. Sear meat evenly… use tongs if you have them. You need to turn the loin around and sear the entire surface. If the meat sticks to the pan, don’t panic, the skillet should let go, just wait another minute and then it should come off. Once ready, place the pan in the oven, and monitor in meat’s internal temperature using a thermometer.
Cook until about 135F (its about 10 minutes but it does depend on how big the cut is, how cool it was inside, etc… a thermometer is the best way to do this) take out of the oven and let carry over heat finish the job and bring it to 140F which should be perfectly pink and juicy which is what I like when using this cut. Let the meat rest for about 10 minutes before cutting up the medallions. This below is what it looks like when ready.
The kale. I found this really nice green curly kale at the store. One thing to keep in mind when cooking kale is how tough the ribs are. If you’re not gonna slow cook it, you probably want to remove them. Heat up some oilve oil on a skillet on medium heat. Add the kale to the skillet (sans the ribs, just use a knife to cut them). You can cover the skillet to help the wilt kale quicker or be patient and stir it until it starts to become soft. You can add a bit of water to get some steam to cook it. Salt and Pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Add a splash of lemon juice, maybe a little drizzle of olive oil and set aside.
Once the pork loin has rested, assemble the dish. Cut the pork medallions (it will be obvious that you need to cut against the grain). Place them the plate however you want, add the kale around it and then spread some of the chutney over the medallions but don’t over do it. It’s not dessert 🙂 And there it is. The flavors are bold but well balanced. I’ve seen other versions of similar recipes mainly using pork chops which I really like. I used pork loin though. It’s leaner and it packs so much flavor. And it can look so great on a plate!