Pork Loin, Polenta, Chicory and Parsnip
Such a special, yet simple supper this evening! 2 little slices of lean pork loin, basically, 1 cup of polenta, 1 parsnip, 1 shallot and basically, the leaves that I would otherwise have discarded from the Puntarelle that I will be enjoying tomorrow evening... amazing what a little feast they turned into!
Drat! Now I have already told you what the ingredients were- haha! Along with a little nutmeg and milk for the polenta and thyme, white wine and good olive oil for the rest, these simple ingredients made for a perfect, quick Autumn meal... Word!
I kept this dish butter-less and do you know what? It was still terrific! I relied instead on just a little good olive oil, added at the end, to infuse the ingredients with a rich, Mediterranean flavor. Which was frankly better as well as being lighter than the usual butter and cheese excesses that polenta often is.Try tasting your ingredients rather than overpowering them with other flavors that you "love", like butter and cheese. It's just a suggestion! Because you know, in my humble little opinion... as tasty as all of those typical dishes may be- they are, as well as being pretty unhealthy... also pretty one-sided and boring! There! I've said it!
Here you go... the ingredients. feast your eyes... I already slipped-up and typed them up for you once- haha! But basically... they are so simple they need no further explanation.
The only sauce you will need for this will be the juices from the pan, enriched with white wine and honey- the flavors of the meat juices, onion, thyme and parsnip make for a lovely dressing... which I forgot to add when I took my photos this evening- aargh! But I did re-heat my meat in them before enjoying it- hehe! And yes- they are very, very good!
It is a little matter of multi-tasking, this meal- so here's how to begin. Start off by scrubbing, slicing and boiling the parsnip in a little more than 2 cups of water for 5 minutes. In another saucepan, start boiling the chicory, which you need to wash thoroughly and then cut down into 2-3" pieces.
After 5 minutes, remove the parsnip from the water, set it to one side and then add 1 cupful of polenta to the water, which is be now nicely infused with parsnip flavor. Stir it in well and then add salt, pepper, nutmeg and enough milk to bring it to the right, creamy consistency, then turn down the heat and let it simmer very gently for the duration of the cooking time, stirring occasionally.
As for the chicory- it will be absolutely tender and perfect after 10 minutes. Once you have drained it, add salt, pepper and olive oil and set it to one side, nice and warm, and give it time to soften up a little more, soak up the olive oil flavor and become even more delicious.
Whilst that is happening, quickly brown the pork slices in a little hot olive oil, then add plenty of pepper and thyme, the shallot and the parsnip and a dash more olive oil.
Fry at a high heat for 2 minutes from each side, keep the parsnip and shallot slices moving and then deglaze the frying pan with a good splash of white wine. Once the initial bubbling and steaming and boiling has subsided, add a little honey, stir through gently, and after just a couple of minutes more... you will be ready to serve!
Nice, pure, simple and delicious flavors and ingredients- that's what my kind of cooking is all about! I hope you all really enjoy!
Anyone for seconds?