To keep up with the Autumn spirit, an old Portuguese classic. The sort of dish that reminds of home, rich, tasty hearty. Just what you need for a cold grey day.
The recipe is by Chefe Silva, from his book Recipes for My Friends. The paprika is a replacement of colarau, a condiment used in Portuguese cuisine made with the different types of Capsicum. They are more or less the same, but colorau tends to have a stronger saltier taste and give a radioactive red color to the food.
Pan-fried pork with chestnuts
- 700g pork (preferably loin or sirloin)
- 1,5 dL white wine
- Salt, pepper and paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 smashed gloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon lard
- 750g frozen chestnuts
Cut the meat into small pieces weighing app. 15g and season them with white wine, salt, pepper, paprika and the garlic. Let it marinate for about 1 hour. Then drain the meat, squeezing it very well. Save the marinade. Heat up the lard in heavy bottom frying pan, add the meat and let it fry at strong heat, stirring well. When brown add the chestnuts and let it fry for another 3 to 5 min. Then add the marinade you saved, and let reduce for about 2 min. Serve the dish with oranges or with apple jam.
The roasted pork loin with orange was taken from Recipes for My Friends, a recently edited book. On the forefront, Chef Silva explains that these are the things he cooks whenever he entertains as “life tastes sweeter when friends and family join you at the table”. By the look of it, you can almost feel Chef Silva dictating from memory or looking for scribbled papers tucked away into the kitchen drawer.
Chef Silva recommends to serve the roasted pork with orange quarters. But, I thought that would be too many citruses in the same plate, and decided to go for apple jam instead. This is my Mother’s recipe, passed along in a moment of despair during a trip to the supermarket. “Why spend all that money in a sugary artificial paste, when it takes less than 20 minutes to to it home…. go and fetch some apples! You kids cannot value money and properly made food”. She was, as most of times, right.
Roasted pork loin with orange
- 800g of pork loin (I used shoulder, following the butcher’s recommendation)
- white wine
- salt and pepper as needed
- 50g lard (impossible to find here, I used olive oil instead)
- 100g sugar
- 2 oranges
Poor the wine over the meat and season it with salt and pepper. Place on the tray greased with the lard and roast it on a oven set for 160oC for about 35min. Turn the meat occasionally.
In the meanwhile, prepare the sauce: heat up the sugar in a small pan and stir it with a wooden spoon until it browns (brown, not burnt, I may add. It is really important to stir it at all times). Add 2dl of orange juice, 2 cloves and thin orange peels cut into diamond like shapes (slowly, otherwise the sugar will crystallize; if it does, just keep stirring until it dissolves). When serving, stick the diamonds to the meat using cloves.
Serve the orange sauce apart.
- 1 Kg apples (bitter apples give best results)
- Sugar to taste
- Cinnamon sticks
Peel and cut the apples in quarters. Put in a sauce pan with about 100ml of water, sugar and cinnamon sticks. Let it simmer for 10 min or until the apples start to feel apart. Remove the Cinnamon and blend it with a mixer. Put back into the fire and let it simmer for a few minutes more, until it gets the desired consistency. ith a mixer. Put back into the fire and let it simmer for a few minutes more, until it gets the desired consistency.
I got this bottle of Frei Gigante in Lisbon shop specialized in Azores’ delicacies. It is definitely a girly wine: fruit, fresh and light. The kind of number that goes up to your head and makes you giggle in less time than finishing the first glass.
Long story for a delicious bottle of wine, thoroughly enjoyed with some friends. It was produced in the Island of Pico, in the Archipelago of the Azores. The inhabitants of the Island had to build walls with stacked basalt rocks to protect the vineyards from the strong Atlantic winder and sea water. The grapes that grown amongst this network of rocky cubicles have to be hand picked. Verdelho, arinto and terrentez are the only grapes permitted to grow in the Island of Pico. Needless is to say, that the production volume is quite small. Most of the wine stays in the Pico Island and only a few bottles make their way to the Continental Portugal. And this one, did an extra flight to get to Zurich.