Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Menu for 3/2/2011 -- Pork Tenderloin with burnt brown sugar and orange confit

* We shared this on EKat's Kitchen Friday Potluck -- check it out! *

I'd been eyeballing this recipe in Seven Fires ever since I got the book, and I finally got a chance to give it a shot tonight.  A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I got a shipment of fresh organic oranges from her parents in the southwest.  The oranges were fantastic, and we juiced a number of them.  I saved the peels with this recipe in mind...

This pork tenderloin is layered with orange peel confit, thyme, and burnt black sugar.  I served it with my special recipe rosemary scalloped potatoes and an experimental recipe for collard greens that turned out quite good. There are four recipes tonight, so I'll try to do a better job organizing them than I did on the fajitas post (I was pretty tired when I wrote that one).  If you start at the top and go down, you should have everything done at about the right times.  Here we go:

Orange Confit (another winner from Seven Fires):
  1. Peel from four oranges
  2. 3 bay leaves
  3. 12 black peppercorns
  4. 3/4 C. dry white wine
  5. 2 tsp sea salt
  6. ~2 C. organic unfiltered olive oil
Put everything but the oil into a sauce pan, and add water to cover the orange peels.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about half an hour, until the peels are quite soft.  Allow them to cool in the pan with the juices.  You can see the orange peel halves on the board below:

Cut or tear the peels into strips about an inch wide, then use a sharp paring knife to remove the white pith so as to leave only the zest.  The book recommends to "scrape it out," but I had much better luck just slicing it off in one big piece.  To do this, stand each strip up on end and start your knife at the end between the pith and the zest.

Once the cut is started, keep the knife level and continue the cut by rocking the segment back and slicing with the knife until you have removed the entire pith.  After the first couple of tries this only takes three or four seconds per section.  This step was what made me wait so long to do this recipe, and it turns out it's really quite painless.  You can see some of the completed zest pieces below:

When you have all the peels done, put them in a small container and cover with the olive oil:

The longer you let this sit before using it, the better it tastes (up to about a week in the fridge).  I was in a hurry tonight so mine didn't sit long at all (minutes) but it was still quite good.

Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes (serves two to three):
  1.  3 medium organic red potatoes, cleaned thoroughly but not peeled (peel them if they're non-organic)
  2. 2 Tbsp fresh grated parmesan or similar cheese
  3. 2 tsp organic dried rosemary (from your garden is the best)
  4. 1 tsp sea salt
  5. 1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, to taste
Using your knife skills or a mandolin, slice the potatoes into very thin (1/16 inch or so) circles.  It's okay if they aren't all perfectly the same, but they should be flexible.

Put them in a medium bowl and coat well with the remaining ingredients:

Generously oil a small (8" or less) fry pan and layer the potatoes flat and as closely as possible in the bottom of it.

Cover and cook very slowly over low heat to crisp the bottom, then carefully flip the whole mess with a thin, flexible turner to achieve something like the picture below.  Cook uncovered in this configuration until ready to serve.  On my lowest setting, it seems to take about 15-20 minutes per side. If you overcook them on this side, it's not the end of the world.  You can get them to let go by pouring a bit of white wine in all around the edges to kind of deglaze the pan from underneath them, and the extra dark potatoes on the bottom actually taste pretty good.

Wilted Collard Greens with Black Sesame and Orange:
  1. 1 Bunch organic collard greens
  2. 2 sections of orange confit, diced small
  3. 2 tsp black sesame seeds
  4. 2 Tbsp organic unfiltered olive oil (you can use the oil from the confit)
  5. sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
Put the sesame seeds and the confit into a skillet with the oil to toast the seeds.

While this is happening, tear up the collards and wash them but don't dry them.  After your sesame seeds are pretty well toasted, add salt and pepper and toss in the collards.  Cover tightly and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to coat the greens with the seasonings.  Remove from heat but leave covered until you're ready to eat -- it'll stay hot for quite a while like this.

Now we're finally ready for the main entree:

Pork Tenderloin with Orange Confit and Burnt Brown Sugar (from Seven Fires):
  1. 2 pork tenderloins (3/4 to 1 lb each) from hogs on pasture and good forage
  2. 6 pieces of orange confit, torn into 1/2 inch bits
  3. 2 Tbsp oil from the confit
  4. 2 Tbsp fresh thyme (straight from the garden!)
  5. 1 Tbsp sea salt
  6. 3 Tbsp organic brown sugar
Amazingly enough, I was able to harvest some fresh lemon thyme from my garden (it overwintered without even dying back).  Pick off about two tablespoons of leaves (more won't hurt):

    Put the confit pieces on the tenderloins, followed by the thyme, then the sugar, then half of the salt, and finally drizzle the oil over all of it and press it down securely to stick everything together:

    While you're doing all that, heat a heavy skillet or griddle with a bit of olive oil to the point where water will sizzle.  When the pork is ready and the pan is hot, gently place each tenderloin in the pan with the coated side down.  Put the remaining salt on the side that is now the top.  Now don't mess with them for at least five minutes.  If you think it's really getting badly burned, you can turn down the heat or move the pan, but don't move the pork!

    Flip them with a thin, flexible turner after about five minutes, and cook until they reach 135-140 internal temp.  I had to cover my skillet for this last phase in order to retain enough heat (my current cooktop is pathetically underpowered):

    Now all you have to do is plate it all up and eat it.  We had a nice malbec for a wine accompaniment.  I though it was good, but I have no idea if that's a normal pairing for pork.  Any wine experts out there?

    This pork was another fantastic recipe from Seven Fires -- I am really starting to love that cookbook.


    1. Wow, all these recipes look awesome! I am definitely going to try the Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes. My husband LOVES potatoes and those look so good. Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by The Purposed Heart! - LeAnne

    2. Great! My family loves those potatoes, I hope yours does too!