Friday, January 28, 2011

Aunt Petunia's Pork with a Side!

I got a great surprise gift for Christmas.  My fellow Harry Potter nerd friend, Dave, gave me The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.  My first attempt from the cookbook was a failure, but I chalk that up to user error.  But after my surprise birthday trip to Hogwarts I was inspired to try again.  So for Wednesday Dinner this week I attempted to make a pork loin inspired by Harry's Aunt Petunia.  She serves pork to Uncle Vernon's business associates in an ill-fated (Thanks to Dobby) meal in the Chamber of Secrets.

One of the things I like about this cookbook is that Dinah Bucholz gives us some background as to why the dish is related to Harry Potter and some history relating to the main ingredient.  For instance, did you know that "Unlike chickens and pheasants, [the pig] is one animal the Romans didn't bring with them to England.  Pigs have been around in Europe for millions of years, and since we humans discovered them we've been using them for food?"

This week I actually thought of a side!  In advance!  I made Martha's Butternut Squash with Brown Butter.  It was really good and her times were spot on.

Aunt Petunia's Apple Blossom Glazed Pork Loin

1 Cup Water
1 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Apple Butter (or Apple Sauce)
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
2 lbs Pork Loin

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  In a saucepan, combine the water, honey and apple butter and stir to blend.  This may take longer than you'd expect, but don't give up!  It will eventually blend together.

2.  Add the crushed red peppers and dried cranberries.  Bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.  It's gonna smell really sweet.  Don't worry.

3.  Pour half of the fruit sauce over the pork loin and place it in the preheated (325) oven. Bake the pork for 30 minutes.  

4.  Pour 1/4 of the remaining sauce over the pork and continue cooking 10 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 150 degrees.

5.  Rest the pork loin for 15 minutes before slicing.  Drizzle sauce over sliced pork and serve!

Butternut Squash with Brown Butter

2 Tbs Unsalted Butter
1 Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
1/4 Cup Water
1 Tbs Dark Brown Sugar

1.  Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown.

2.  Add squash; saute, stirring occasionally until golden brown and tender when pierced with a fork, about 16 minutes.

3.  Add chicken broth, water and brown sugar.

4.  Cook until liquid has evaporated and squash is nicely caramelized, about 6 minutes.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

Voila!  Enjoy the meal!

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