Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Sometimes a meal just comes together without a plan. When this happens the result is not at all unlike giving a speech. There is the meal you wanted to make, the meal you made, and the meal you should have made. What I intended to make was a pork roast that sat atop firm stewed lentils. What ended up on the plate was a stew of lentils which had thickened the braising liquid by bursting forth from their shells. What I should have done is cook the two separately.
The wine was partially to blame or credit depending on your point of view. Mad Max's offering that week was winemaker Brian Graham's 2009 Parlay "Bookmaker" blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Syrah, Syrah, and Petite Verdot, which kept changing in the glass. There was jammy red fruit, and black pepper, calling to mind that incredible Italian dessert of ripe strawberries with balsamic and black pepper. Sharp and firm tannins led to a quick, pleasing finish. This great everyday red wine retails for about $20 and you can find it at Mondo, Whole Foods, Le Foret, Ste. Marie, Cork & Bottle, and Stanley.
Roast Pork Loin with Lentil Stew
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
A two pound pork loin (not tenderloin) benefits from a brine. If pressed for time, just season with salt for an hour or so before cooking. Rinse off brine and dry thoroughly. Season with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Sear in olive oil in a dutch oven until brown and crusty on all sides. Remove. Into the pot, add an onion and three carrots roughly chopped. Saute on medium heat for about 10 minutes until softened.
Add in a cup of lentils and a few cloves of garlic. I had red ones which turned a muted orange once cooked. Then 4 cups of water. Add back in the pork roast, bring to a boil and, place in oven, uncovered until pork is cooked through and the lentils have absorbed most of the liquid. Remove pork, allow it to rest for 10 minutes, slice and cube. Taste stew, adjust seasoning - a little cumin at this point is a great idea, a dash of vinegar also. Ladle lentil stew into a shallow bowl, top with diced pork, and leaves of parsley.