Friday, 29 February 2008

That pork dinner

The in-laws came over for dinner a few weeks ago, and about an hour before they were due to arrive, I still hadn't decided what to cook for dinner. FIL is gluten-intolerant, and that was my excuse for being indecisive. It doesn't really make much difference with a main meal - it's easy enough to use rice or potato instead of pasta, but it's not so easy to get the flour out of cake or pudding!

Anyway, GKGK came up with the idea of "that pork dinner". I don't often serve pork to visitors because some people can be a bit thingy about pork. I think for the most part, it's probably all in their head, or they've only ever had the pork that Aunty Flo used to serve at Christmas that had been in the oven for forty days and forty nights. People forgive a dried out steak - "he forgot to turn it, just give me some sauce", but poorly cooked pork? "I don't like pork, it's dry". And they never eat it again.

Anyway, GKGK had to decide what his parents would eat, and pork it was. And they loved it! It's actually one of our standard dinners - albeit one that's fairly high up the everyday dinner tree! It's really different, it's fairly healthy and its easy and tasty. I originally got the recipe from delicious magazine, but of course I felt compelled to tweak it! The trick is not to overcook the pork. A tiny bit of pink is GOOD. If you can't cope with that, fine, but don't cook it til it's leather, or a pigskin handbag or something!

Pork Cutlets with Roasted Fennel and Apple
Adapted from Delicious June 2006

2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and thickly sliced
2 small red onions, cut into wedges
1 red apple, skin on, cored, cut into wedges
1 tbs white wine vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs roughly chopped rosemary
4 x 200g French-trimmed pork cutlets
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1-2 tbs brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 200ÂșC
Toss the fennel, onion and apple with the vinegars and 1 tbs of the olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary and season with salt and pepper.
Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the fennel and onion are tender.
Meanwhile, rub the pork cutlets all over with ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining oil in an ovenproof frypan over high heat. When very hot, cook the pork for 2 minutes each side or until brown. During the last 5 minutes of vegetable cooking time, transfer pork to oven to finish cooking.
Remove the vegetables from the oven, add the spinach and brown sugar and toss gently to combine and wilt spinach.
Serve vegetables topped with pork cutlets and drizzled with pan juices.

I like to serve this with roast potatoes and/or pumpkin.

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