Saturday, March 20, 2010
On weekends, especially Sundays, I like to put together a nice-ish dinner. Sometimes this means something rather involved, like coq au vin or baked ziti. But just as often, I make dinners that look like they took some work but in reality required very little effort.
Such as roast loin of pork.
Here's my method. Combine a few tablespoons of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and any other spices or herbs you like. Sometimes I chop up garlic and rosemary and throw that in; other times I grind up fennel seed and coriander. Many nights, I'm too lazy to do either and just rely on salt and pepper to do the work. Rub the mixture over the pork roast and place in a pan. Roast at 425 for about 40-45 minutes, turning once. I usually take the pork out when a thermometer registers about 137-140, which is medium on the side of pink, but cook as you prefer. Let rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.
When I'm feeling a little fancy I make this fig and port sauce to serve alongside it; it's a simple, gorgeous, shiny sauce that smells of Christmas. This sauce would be divine on almost anything: duck, quail...I've even dreamed of pouring it over vanilla ice cream.
Of course, you need sides. Last weekend while the pork was in the oven, I rummaged around and found some cauliflower and a couple of carrots. I roasted them with some olive oil, and at the end threw in some slivered almonds and currants left over from Captain Chicken.
I decided to make some polenta, too, because I pretty much always have cornmeal around. I cook polenta in a mix of chicken broth and water and at the very end stir in some milk or half and half to make it extra creamy. You could always put some cheese in but sometimes I can't be bothered to pull out the grater. I also don't think you have to stir it all the time, the way some recipes say. I stir mine for awhile, then turn it down, cover it, and go do some other stuff. It turns out fine. And I'm lazy, see?
The best thing about this kind of dinner is that it requires no recipes. I've made the pork enough times to know it by heart, and all the side dishes fall into place, depending on what I have on hand and what I'm in the mood for. In the end, this looked like a pretty nice dinner, and almost like I put in some effort. But that can just be our little secret.