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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rainy Sunday Dinner: Recipe

How can anyone mind a day like today when all there was to do (in our house) was trim the tree, play Sorry!, and eat? Rainy days do have their place in the world and today was one of the joyous ones.

Try this when you're relaxing at home and have no where to race off to - or serve it as a holiday meal or for a dinner party. The flavors are slightly exotic while fruity and packed with taste. If you don't care for raisins, you can still make this dish using dried apricots instead. However, my kids hate raisins so I just didn't spoon any onto their plates. Serve this alongside couscous or wild rice.

I will say that the kids looked terrified as this came out of the oven and they heard about the raisins. However, they each ate every morsel on their plates (each of them!!!) and they asked for seconds! My daughter even told me that I should win a cooking contest - now, if that doesn't convince you that this was a winner, nothing will!
Roast Pork Loin with Fruit, Ginger and Vanilla
one 2 3/4 lb. center cut pork loin
salt and pepper
2 small leeks, chopped
3 large carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp. ground turmeric
2 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbls. fresh minced ginger
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed but still whole
3 large strips of orange zest (removed with a peeler)
2 small bay leaves
1/2 cup apple brandy
1/2 cup vermouth
1 cup chicken stock
1 fresh vanilla bean
1/4 cup yellow raisins
1/4 cup craisins

Heat oven to 325.

Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Tie up the loin tightly and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add the loin into the pot, fat side down first. Brown well - about 10-15 minutes (ensure you turn the meat to get all sides - do not burn).  Remove the meat to a plate and add in the onions, carrots and leeks. Lower the heat a bit and saute well until wilted - about 5 minutes.

Add in the cayenne, turmeric, coriander and stir another 3 minutes.  Add in the ginger, garlic, bay leaves and orange zest and stir.  Next add in the apple brandy and scrape up all the browned bits and bring to a boil. Next add in the vermouth and the stock and boil another 1-2 minutes.

With the tip of a knife, slice a line down the vanilla pod and with two hands, carefully spread it open.  With the knife, scrape out the fragile beans inside and place into the pot. Mix the liquid once more to incorporate all ingredients.  Next, the fruit and stir.  Place the pork inside the pot and nestle it into the center - spoon liquid and ingredients over the top several times. Cover the pot tightly and place into the bottom third of the oven. Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes - spooning the liquid over the meat at 30 minute intervals.

Allow the meat to rest a minute or two before slicing...

Slice and serve!

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