Summer & a Pork Loin

August 31, 2010

Oh my! Good intentions gone awry!

Well, the last week and a half didn’t quite turn out the way I had hoped as far as posting on my blog was concerned. I had intended to write about whatever churned out of my kitchen this week, or perhaps about another trip to the farmers market. But  food rolled out of the kitchen before my camera could be found, and the farmer’s market was only a pipe dream at the beginning of, what turned into, a wonderful last week of summer. The fact that the week was such a perfect book-end to summer is helping to alleviate my guilt.

My brother-in-law, the handsome Jake Ward, descended on us from Shakopee for his last week before school began. And what a fun time we had.

He arrived on the 22nd with John (my dad-in-law–who left promptly the next day) and spent the week going to work with Aaron, eating whatever I could scrounge up, and playing video games into the wee hours of the morning with the very willing Aaron. Also, not once, not twice, but three times we went disk golfing–and I loved it!

Disc golfing always seemed tedious and painstaking (who would want to inaccurately toss an object across a field or through the trees at a small chain-linked receptacle? Tedious!), however, I really enjoyed it. I didn’t seem to mind the fact that I couldn’t throw a frisbee in the intended direction. Or that I had to hunt down said frisbee after every inaccurate throw. It was just nice being outside in the sunshine.

Jake and I both knew that the end of the week meant the beginning of the school year, so we both absorbed it in our own way: Jake, by spending it with Aaron, playing video games, hanging out with Aaron at work, and sleeping in when he got the chance; Me, by going for long walks and bike rides outside, catching up on blogs and books, gardening and cleaning, and getting accustomed to going to bed and waking up early.

So, the week, though busy, had a sort of order to it that my personality craves. (All which will most likely go to the wayside once school kicks in full-swing  and homework accrues.)

At the end of the week, my mother-in-law, Brenda, came to pick up Jake and take him back to the reality of Shakopee and high school.

Saturday night, our last night with Jake and our only night with Brenda, I made a hearty pork loin with a dijon cream sauce, roasted asparagus, homemade sourdough, and sweet watermelon slices.  I will share with you the pork loin recipe, which Aaron found in Stéphane Reynaud’s French Feasts cookbook, because I think it is a great dish, and perfect for the coming cooler months.

Pork Loin & Dijon Cream Sauce

I have deviated slightly from the original recipe, for better or for worse. In the original, Stéphane recommends using white port, we used a tawny and it turned out beautifully. Also, he suggested cooking the pork loin for 30 minutes after the addition of the port, another 30 minutes after the addition of the stock, and a final 30 minutes after the addition of the cream. The first time I tried the recipe, I did precisely that, and the pork loin turned out quite dry. The second time around, I pulled the pork out, as instructed below, and cooked the sauce for a shorter period of time (because I was impatient once the pork was finished!).  I noticed no big difference in the sauce, and enjoyed the pork much more.

2-3 tablespoons butter

2-3 pounds pork loin

2 shallots, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2-2/3 cup port (I used a 10 year tawny)

11/4 cups stock (beef or veal)

11/4 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons dijon mustard

Salt & Pepper

Heat a heavy pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add butter and brown the pork loin on all sides. Then add the shallots, cooking for only a minute. Next add the garlic. Deglaze the pan with the port, scraping up the bits of flavor on the bottom.

Cover, adjust the heat to medium, and cook for 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of your pork loin, until the pork loin is just done (about 145 degrees F). Remove the pork loin and allow to rest. Mean while, add the veal stock, and allow to simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes. Then stir in the cream, and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, being careful to keep the sauce to a simmer. While the sauce is simmering, slice the well rested pork against the grain, on the bias into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick slices.

Finally, stir in the dijon mustard, taste, and season the sauce. Place the sliced meat in the sauce, and remove from heat.  Dish up and serve.

I loved this ladled over slices of sourdough, which soaked up the sauce very well.

Simple and satisfying.

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