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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Grilled Pork Loin with Pork Reduction, Sauteed Swish Chard Leaf, Pickled Swish Chard Stem, and Grapes

I started off by breaking down the pork tenderloin. I removed all of the silver skin while trying to keep some fat on the pork. The silver skin does not break down when cooking so it needs to be removed. A lot of recipes say to trim the fat off meats. I have to disagree about this because the fat imparts such a great flavor and moistness. After the pork was trimmed I portioned the loin into four 4 oz pieces. The pork got seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, chili, cinnamon, thyme, and rosemary. I let the pork "marinade" for about 3 hours.

(The other 4 oz portion of pork was seasoned without salt for my dad so it is not in this picture)

For the sauce I started to render the fat out of 6 strips of bacon and the pork trimmings from the loin. Once most of the fat was rendered I added thinly slice red onion and cooked for about 15 minutes. Next I added apples and cooked for another 15 minutes. Then I added a bottle of beer, thyme, rosemary, chili, trimmings from the swish chard stem, and cinnamon and simmered for 45 minutes. Once all of the flavor was soaked out of the vegetables I strained the sauce. I reduced this strained sauce and reduced it until it looked like a caramel. Right before serving I mixed in a little nob of butter.

I removed the leaves from the swish chard stem (I am very fast at this because I have to do clean boxes of Swish Card when I go to Uproot). I cleaned both the stems and leafs in cold water to remove the sand and grit. I then trimmed off the stems and cut them into uniform sizes. I heated water with lemon, salt, and sugar and poured it over the swish chard stem to do a quick pickle. I let the stems rest in the liquid for about an hour. I blanched the leafs in salty water (Thomas Keller goes into a great explanation of how to properly blanch greens in his book The French Laundry Cookbook) and then shocked them in ice cold salty water. Meanwhile I sauteed diced onions and garlic with a little butter until slightly caramelized. I drained off the liquid from the swish chard and squeezed out the excess liquid. Then I chopped the swish chard up into bite sized pieces and added it to the garlic and onion. I then cooked till it was tender and added some lemon juice and zest.

I started to peel grapes and slice them in half revealing a white inside. I then sliced unpeeled grapes and the insides were purplish. I was shocked. It obviously has to do with the skin and maybe light, but I am not sure.. Do any of you?

I grilled the pork chops on a hot grill on all 6 sides until it was golden brown and about 150 degrees. I then let the pork rest so the juices would all redistribute and it would keep the pork moist.

I put the greens down in the middle of the plate and added the loin of pork on top of them. I ladled the sauce on top of the pork and in front of the pork. On top of the sauce went the stems and grapes.

The dish tasted great. The pork was very moist and flavorful. I enjoyed the savory flavor of cinnamon, which is very under used. There was a great balance of salt and sweet overall throughout the dish. Also, the lemon made the beet stems taste outstanding. I still am very curious about why the peeled grapes look different than the unpeeled grapes.

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