Open Hands

When I talked to a local organic producer earlier today, I always learn more about their passion for the food that they raise. They look at every detail of how their animals are raised. Sunshine Organic Farms raise beef, pork, chicken and turkey. They’re mindful of the feed for the animals, by growing it themselves to augment the natural grazing, especially in our rather extreme winters.

They butcher their own animals to have as much control over the production as possible. With that extra step that they do, they can do special cuts on a whim. Today I got a beautiful pork loin roast, rolled with a fat cap, skin intact. I wanted to roast it right away and thought of ways to compliment the rich flavour of their Berkshire variety of pig.

Last weekend, at a local farmer’s market, I purchased a strawberry jam from another organic farmer. I also picked up some fresh red chillis from a greenhouse grower (greenhouse growers are invaluable in our climate where winter can be upwards of six months out of the year). And to aid in the emulsion of these flavours, I used my favourite cold-pressed canola oil, done in small batches by Mighty Trio Organics. These were the basis for my glaze.

To accompany it, I wanted to do a roasted potato dish, but as I was pan-roasting, I thought to add red cabbage and pear to also play off the pork’s flavour and richness. Finishing it with a pan sauce augmented by the glaze, it came together nicely.

Strawberry-Red Chilli Glazed Pork Loin

1-1/2 lb Sunshine Organic Farms pork loin, rolled with fat cap, skin intact.

1/2 cup August Organics strawberry jam

2 Doef’s Greenhouses fresh red chillis, chopped

1 Tbsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil

1 Tbsp salt

1 Riverbend Gardens medium red onion, peeled, halved, thickly sliced

1 Tbsp Morinville Greenhouses fresh thyme

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

In a blender, add the jam, chillis and oil. Purée until smooth. Split into two half batches. Set aside.

Sprinkle the pork with the salt and sear the outside on all sides in a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. The fat from the pork should be enough to sear, but a teaspoon of oil may help the searing process initially, if needed. Place in a small roast tray on top of the sliced onions. Coat the outside of the pork roast with half of the glaze. Add 1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the pan and roast on a lower rack for 1 hour.

Remove the onions on the bottom and return the roast back in the pan and roast for a further 35-45 minutes, depending on the desired doneness. Remove the roast from the pan and set aside on a plate to rest for 15 minutes.

Remove the skin and fat cap. Cut into rough 2cm/1″ chunks and pan fry over medium high heat for a few minutes until deeply golden and crispy on all sides. Set aside.

Place the roasted onions, the other half of the glaze and the scraped juices from the bottom of the pan into a blender. Add another 1/2 cup water to the roasting pan, scrape it again while the pan is hot to loosen any more bits and purée until smooth. Finish the sauce with fresh thyme and black pepper. Serve roast slices and sauce with Pan Roasted Potatoes with Red Cabbage and Pear and the crispy skin.

Pan Roasted Potatoes with Red Cabbage and Pear

2 tsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil

1/2 lb Riverbend Gardens baby red potatoes, cut into 2cm/1″ chunks

1 cup Riverbend Gardens red cabbage, sliced

1 pear, finely grated

1/2 cup water

1 tsp ground black pepper

In a large, wide-bottomed pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the potatoes and pan roast, turning occasionally for about 10 minutes, until deeply golden on all sides. Add the cabbage, grated pear and water and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for a further 8-10 minutes. Season with pepper and serve with the Strawberry-Red Chilli Glazed Pork Loin, pan sauce and crispy skin. Serves 3.

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