Pork with Brown Sugar, Orange Confit & Thyme

Every year Food & Wine Magazine compiles a book called Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes (I’ve linked to my all-time favorite volume). Needless to say, the name more than speaks for itself, these are the BEST of the BEST recipes from the BEST COOKBOOKS of the year (did I say BEST enough, because I don’t think I could!).

I got tonight’s Pork recipe from the Best of the Best, Volume 13 (which is the most recent addition), originally taken from the cookbook Seven Fires by an Argentinian chef, Francis Mallmann with help from Peter Kaminsky.

By the description alone I knew the flavors would work together beautifully, however it was a flavor palate I wouldn’t usually choose for myself. This is why I decided to go for it, and I encourage you to do the same as it was DELICIOUS! I halved the recipe as it was only me and my boyfriend eating last night (and substituted pork tenderloin for pork loin chops). I think you could still half (or even quarter the confit) with 4 to 6 servings and there would be plenty (unless of course, you plan on eating orange confit on everything for the next week!). I’ve included the original serving recipe for 6.

What you’ll need:
For the Orange Confit (full recipe)
4 oranges
3 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
About 2 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons coarse salt
For the Pork (full recipe)
2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each (I used pork loin chops instead)
6 pieces Orange Confit (from recipe above), about 2 inches long, plus 2 tablespoons oil from the confit
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (I just used fresh sprigs, no need to take the leaves off unless the stems are really woody).
1 tablespoon coarse salt, or to taste
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
For the Artichoke and Lemon-Butter (serves 6)
3 fresh artichokes, leaves and stem trimmed and cut in half
2 tablespoons clarified butter (about 1/2 stick, I’ll show you how to clarify it below)
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons shallots (or yellow onion)
2 tablespoons garlic cloves
2 tablespoons cold butter
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
You’re going to want to start with the confit, so here is the step-by-step:
1. Cut the oranges in half. Squeeze the juice and reserve it for another use (as in drinking, because it was delicious!)
2. Put the squeezed orange halves in a large sauce pan and add the bay leaves, peppercorns, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the white wine, and salt. Add enough water to completely cover the oranges and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the orange peel is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the liquid.
3. Drain the oranges and tear the peel into rough strips about 1 inch wide. Place a strip of orange peel skin down on the work surface and, using a very sharp paring knife, scrape away every bit of the white pith, leaving only the orange zest. Repeat with the remaining peel.
4. Put the strips of orange zest in a small container and cover completely with olive oil. The confit will keep, tightly covered in the refrigerator, for at least a week.
Time for the Artichokes and Lemon-Butter:
Time to trim this bad-boy!
All done, now to cut you in half…
Beautiful! Now you’re ready for the steam!
1. Start out with 3 whole artichokes, leaves and stem trimmed, and cut in half. In a large stock pot with steamer insert, fill up with about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Place the artichokes on top of the steamer insert, and cover with lid, reduce to simmer. Allow to steam for 25-45 minutes or until the leaves are tender and the outer leaves can be pulled off easily.
2. Meanwhile, you’ll need to clarify your butter. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. When melted, remove from heat and set aside for several minutes to allow the milk solids to settle on the bottom. Skim the clear (clarified) butter from the top, and discard the sediment. This can be done ahead of time.
3. Now in a small sauce pan, add the clarified butter, garlic and onion and sautee until transparent. Add the lemon juice and white wine, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer 2-3 minutes to reduce liquid. Remove from heat and swirl in the remaining cold butter until sauce is smooth and emulsified. Serve on the side of the artichokes as a dipping sauce for the leaves.
Now for the main event: The Pork!
1. Start by laying out your pork loin (or in my case, two pork loin chops) on a work surface.
2. Tear the orange confit into 1/2-inch pieces and scatter over the top of the meat.
3. Add thyme and half the salt.
4. Then sprinkle the brown sugar on top and pat it down firmly with you hand.
5. Drizzle with oil from the orange confit.
6. Heat a chapa or a large square or rectangular cast-iron griddle (I had to use a skillet, so I know those work as well) over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles on the surface. Using a wide spatula, lift each pork tenderloin and invert it, sugar side down, onto the hot surface. Cook them, without moving for 5 minutes. If the sugar begins to smell unpleasantly burned, adjust the heat by moving the griddle and/or lowering the temperature. When the sugar side is well browned, turn the tenderloins and cook, turning to sear on all sides, for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until done to taste. The internal temperature should be 135 degrees F for a rosy pink.
7. Transfer the meat to a carving board and allow to rest, tented loosely with foil, for 10 minutes before slicing. Season to taste with the remaining salt and serve!
This entry was published on December 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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