Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Rock the Casbah!

Carne di Maiale e Melanzane con Raz el Hanout & Ceci
Pork & Aubergine with Raz el Hanout & Split Peas

Ok people- it's time we spiced things up around here again! Just to prove to you that leftovers need not ever be boring. Oh, ok- AND because I wanted a delicious dinner! So Take a look at what I did with the remaining pork tenderloin and the eggplant from my previous 2 posts- it's hardly looking repetitive now is it? And it really wasn't a lot of work either! And this is what I did...

Fist off, I prepared the split peas by soaking them all day in salted water. I then changed the water, brought them to a gentle boil, removed the foam that formed after 2-3 minutes with a slotted spoon and transferred them to a frying pan. I then added some finely chopped onion, garlic and ginger and 3-4 finely chopped parsley stalks- I find that they have much more flavor for cooking than the leaves. I sautéed them for 3-4 minutes in a pat of clarified butter and then added 1 cupful of water and reduced the heat to a low simmer. And now I could turn my attention to the rest of the ingredients...

Before starting on the pork and aubergine, I first ground 1 tablespoon of Ras el Hanout spices in my mortar and pestle and them toasted them for 2-3 minutes in a dry frying pan. I have a wonderful blend of Ras el Hanout with a good amount of rose petals included... but I removed these before grinding as I was afraid that they would be too delicate and may end up burning or becoming bitter during roasting in a dry pan. I chopped both the pork and the aubergine into equally sized chunks and began sautéeing them in the same pan. I did this because I didn't want the aubergine to get soaked in oil and become too soft and, well... just too soft! You know what I mean! I kept the heat high and kept stirring, and soon enough, the aubergine began to get miraculously and beautifully brown in the small amount of fat that the pork was giving off. At the same time, the moisture from the aubergine was keeping the pork from sticking... this was a good exchange going on! Next came a handful of pine nuts- I didn't add these earlier as I didn't want them to burn... At the same time, I didn't want to produce any extra wash-up just for the sake of a handful of nuts... so this was the right time! And by now it was safe to add the rose petals too...

So now I was stirring the split peas occasionally, the meat constantly and my meal was beginning to come together! I added some sliced onion, a little finely chopped garlic, a hint of cayenne and a pat of clarified butter- this now brought out and brought together the flavors of the spices, the aubergine and the meat. Next came a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan and a drizzle of honey. A squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a little freshly ground chili were my finishing touches- and my exotic dinner was ready to be served! As a garnish I added plenty of fresh parsley leaves and a squeeze of lemon and that was it! I told you it was easy!

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