Monday, 19 November 2012

The Sweet & The Tender!

Filetto di Maiale, Puré di Patate Dolce al Caffé & Salsa Piccante con Mirtillo Rosso
Pork Tenderloin, Mashed Sweetpotato Infused with Coffee & Spicy Cranberry Ketchup

Sweet potato? Love it! Pork tenderloin? What's not to love? But either of those things in combination with coffee and ketchup? "What?!?!", you are asking yourselves- "has that guys cheese slipped off his cracker?!?" And of course, the answer is no! How fickle you are to think I would lead you along... unless it is along the path to a great supper of course!

So come on- have an open mind and be brave! I promise to only take 2-3 minutes of your time to tell you how I made this meal... and promise you will be able to rustle it up in just half an hour or so, once you have finished reading, looked at the pictures and decided you want to give it a go! Because, come on now... you know you DO want to try it!

To make the mashed sweet potato, I first peeled and diced it into large cubes and then steamed it for 10-15 minutes until it was soft enough to crush with a fork. Steaming is so quick and easy and leaves all of the flavor in the potatoes, whilst leaving them perfect and firm and not waterlogged as they would be by boiling. You can also bake them, but that just seems like way too much trouble to me! A saucepan, a steam rack, a little water- and you are cooking!

Whist the potato was steaming away, (yes, that was just one potato for the one portion I made this evening), I started to prepare my tangy, spicy, cranberry-enriched "ketchup". To make it, I finely chopped about an inch of fresh ginger and a Spring onion. I started to brown these gently in a little clarified butter, then added a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste. I stirred this in and when it began to stick and to brown, I deglazed the saucepan with a splash of whiskey- you can just use a little orange juice if you are making this for children. I then added a little orange zest, a hint of cayenne, salt, pepper, a little cinnamon and a good splash of white wine vinegar. Next came a couple of tablespoons of cranberry preserves, a sprinkle of finely chopped rosemary and enough water to cover everything and thin it down until you can see the bottom of the pan when you stir it. And all you need to do now is to turn the heat to a low simmer and let this mix reduce down, thicken and become a tangy, sweet/sour and spicy sauce for pork... which is next on our list!

I kept the pork very simple, sautéing it in a tiny pat of clarified butter, with finely dice garlic, salt, pepper, a few sprigs of rosemary for flavor and a little lemon juice to "lift" the flavor a little. After 2-3 minutes from either side, I lifted the pork slices with tongs and browned the fat on the outer edge until it was crispy and brown. I then added a tiny drizzle of honey, flipped the slices over once more and got ready to get the mashed potato ready... it was time to serve!

I mashed the potato down, added a little pat of butter, a splash of hot milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg... and just a little instant coffee powder- maybe a half teaspoon. I stirred it in quickly, added a little freshly grated nutmeg and stirred it together vigorously with a fork- I like my mashed potatoes to still have a few lumps in them... and a little character! The pork slices went on top of the potatoes and to finish it all off perfectly, a couple of tablespoons of that tangy cranberry and tomato "ketchup"... yum!

So, whaddaya say? Are you ready to give it a try? I sure hope so- because I know you will love it if you do!

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