Full on autumn weather. I don’t have much to say today as an intro for this post (must be this weather…) but I want to share this recipe because it is so wonderful and comforting. It’s a classic combination of ingredients you’ll find in many cookbooks and recipes online. That won’t stop me from uploading my own take on it though 🙂 I have rights too! Pork loin, pears and kale. Pork Medallions. Let’s do this…
8 pears, peeled and seeded
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp chinese 5 spice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of brown sugar + more if you like it sweeter
1 cups of apple cider vinegar
1 pork loin, silver skin and excess fat removed
2 or 3 tsp kosher salt
2 or 3 tsp honey
1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Making chutney. My only experience with making chutney prior to this post came from watching some Jamie Oliver’s tv show/episode years ago in which he made this strange concoction. I’m from Venezuela and we know jams, marmalades, and other kinds of preserves but I’m not sure we’re familiar with chutney, most definitely not me. The origins of chutney are, as I’m sure everybody knows but me, Indian. There tons of chutney preparations, all having things in common, like the use of spices, fruits, and or vegetables, and possibly the cooking method as well. They’re like spiced up marmalades/jams, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the concept, sweet and sour and a slight hint of savory as well… But whatever it is that I prepared last night, which I arrogantly called a Pear Chutney, turned out delicious, so more chutney making on the horizon for sure… like an apple and cranberry chutney for turkey day.
To make the chutney, start by peeling and coring the pears, cutting them in small cubes. Maybe you want to process the chutney in a food mill and turn it into a thick sauce, like apple sauce, I left mine alone. Anyways, add the vinegar to a saucepan, bring to a boil, add the sugar, dissolve, add everything else and lower the heat until the mix is simmering. Cook uncovered until the mix has thickened up, about an hour, maybe more. The entire house will smell of Christmas by then. Then transfer to a non reactive container and refrigerate overnight. You can eat it right away. I had a bit of it both ways, and I preferred the one that had been resting in the fridge overnight. A perfect candidate for canning, chutney, can be make in large batches and stored for months. It will stay a few weeks in the fridge in any container.
The pork loin. Really not much to do here. Trimming is important. Silver skin is too tough to chew and it will shrink when cooking warping the loin and making it difficult to sear evenly. Remove. I like to marinate meat, or brine it. This time I opted for a quick and easy rub of salt and honey, and I let the pork alone in the fridge for about a day. When ready, take out of the fridge. Don’t bother bringing it to room temperature, but have your oven ready at 350F. Heat up a skillet with some olive oil on high heat until oil shimmers. Sear meat evenly… use tongs if you have them. You need to turn the loin around and sear the entire surface. If the meat sticks to the pan, don’t panic, the skillet should let go, just wait another minute and then it should come off. Once ready, place the pan in the oven, and monitor in meat’s internal temperature using a thermometer.
Cook until about 135F (its about 10 minutes but it does depend on how big the cut is, how cool it was inside, etc… a thermometer is the best way to do this) take out of the oven and let carry over heat finish the job and bring it to 140F which should be perfectly pink and juicy which is what I like when using this cut. Let the meat rest for about 10 minutes before cutting up the medallions. This below is what it looks like when ready.
The kale. I found this really nice green curly kale at the store. One thing to keep in mind when cooking kale is how tough the ribs are. If you’re not gonna slow cook it, you probably want to remove them. Heat up some oilve oil on a skillet on medium heat. Add the kale to the skillet (sans the ribs, just use a knife to cut them). You can cover the skillet to help the wilt kale quicker or be patient and stir it until it starts to become soft. You can add a bit of water to get some steam to cook it. Salt and Pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Add a splash of lemon juice, maybe a little drizzle of olive oil and set aside.
Once the pork loin has rested, assemble the dish. Cut the pork medallions (it will be obvious that you need to cut against the grain). Place them the plate however you want, add the kale around it and then spread some of the chutney over the medallions but don’t over do it. It’s not dessert 🙂 And there it is. The flavors are bold but well balanced. I’ve seen other versions of similar recipes mainly using pork chops which I really like. I used pork loin though. It’s leaner and it packs so much flavor. And it can look so great on a plate!
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Yum!!!!!! I showed my mom your blog this weekend! She loved it!!!
🙂 yay!!! thanks Lotis!! say hi to your mom!
I love pork … this is a wonderful dish – I don’t like kale … but it’s not a must for this dish – this I will bookmark. Love everything about that chutney – great post, photo and recipe. Thanks.
thank you Viveka! yeah, Kale is one of hate or love ingredients, Depends on the preparation I love it or hate it too 🙂
Yes, you’re so right … has become very trendy to use in cooking those day .. but I prefer Savoy Cabbage !
love cabbage in all of its forms!
It looks wonderful! I have a pork loin in the fridge. I usually make it with some honey and mustard sauce, but you’ve just given me some nice ideas here 🙂
thanks Sofia! 🙂 really like the combination of pork and mustard!
Before I turned those Damsons into jam, I considered making a chutney with them. Like you, though, I had no experience make chutneys of any kind and worried I would foul things up, losing my chance to work with Damson plums for another year. Pear chutney, though, sounds real tasty, Paul, and would make a great accompaniment for pork. Best of all, there are plenty of pears in the markets right now. 🙂
I’ll be honest John, I had to adjust things constantly until the taste was something that I was happy with. At first, the onion flavor was too prominent and it didn’t really work, so I had to add more pears, and adjust the sugar, boil down, taste…etc.. the one thing that worked from the get go as the chinese 5 spice powder, the scent of that chutney left the house smelling incredibly yummy. A pinch of salt helped to get that onion to play nicely with the pears. I’ll continue to experiment with chutneys and other preservations methods, it’s quite fun! thanks for your comment John!
Great recipe! and your photos are really amazing! Thanks for sharing!
how did you monitor the internal temperature of the pork? maybe oven safe thermometer stick into the pork? Just wondering if there are other ways to tell if the pork is ready.
thanks for the nice comment! So glad you like the photos! To monitor it, I have an instant read thermometer that I stick in the pork a few times until it barely reaches 140F. You could use a probe thermometer, they’re oven safe. The instant read thermometer has a thinner needle though, and I can prick the meat in different places to get a better idea of whats going on. You get the tripod?
Thanks for the tip. I was gonna say I didn’t see any hole from poking the pork for temperature.
I got a “mini” tripod, the ultra portable ones that you can fit in a large pocket. but I think I need to get a regular one so I can take nice top down pictures like the ones you have. Any recommendations?
I recommend NOT getting mine 🙂 I have this old gitzo that is like 200 pounds heavy, but it is perfect if you’re photographing tornados, nothing would move that thing off the ground. Manfrottos are good and affordable options because some tripods can get pretty expensive. Check the new line of carbon fiber gitzos to get an idea.
of course, gear can get really expensive, and usually you get what you pay for, but those manfrottos are a good starting point, and is nice to get familiar with ball heads.
For the top down photos… which I usually take handheld shooting with the flash, because it takes setup time to do them right, which requires getting the food possibly on the ground so you can look through the camera’s viewfinder, they also sell this extension arms that attach to the ball head, and allow you to place the camera away from the tripod so it doesn’t show in the picture… makes sense?
Great resource! Looks like I got some research to do.
Didn’t think of putting food on ground. Thanks a lot for the tip! Will give it a try.
heheh yes…. food on the ground… 🙂 hahaha, I also have a pretty low coffee table that is perfect for that sort of stuff. You’re welcome!
Fab dish – fab photos – what a marvellous blog!!
thank you for your nice comments 🙂 I just visited your food blog, and I’m staying connected! Beautiful posts!
What a delicious looking meal. Hopefully I’ll have some pears remaining on the trees in the orchard when I return home from my vacation so that I can prepare this.
thanks Karen! you have pear trees at your house?? 🙂
We have three hundred apple trees and about a dozen or so pear trees in our orchard.
I want your orchard! 🙂 that’s incredible!
I am salivating! This dish looks so good!! Yum!! 🙂
hahaha 🙂 thanks Lilly! It was a lot of fun to make and now I have canned chutney for the holidays, I’ll be making this for a larger audience then!
Sounds perfect! 🙂
Looks great; wonderful photos as usual! Agree that the pork should be cooked to 60C/140F. I’ve never had this combination, but it sounds interesting. I’d probably make it with cavolo nero as I prefer that to the kale we can get here — although it definitely helps to remove the ribs. I don’t really know much about chutney either, but all the chutney recipes I’ve seen were chunky. This may be tough to do a wine pairing for — always an important factor for me 🙂 Although I suppose I could cook this on a weekday when we don’t have wine. Otherwise it may also be interesting to use less sugar and vinegar and add white wine and meat stock to what would then become a pear sauce rather than chutney.
had troubles with wordpress trying to post a reply to your comment, I apologize if you got more than one reply.
You’re great at pairing food and wine, a skill I doubt I will ever develop or become as good at it as you are, I’ve gotten a little bit better over time, because I think of one as another ingredient to a meal. For the longest time I went by the cliche rule of white wine with fish and red wine with meat without giving it much thought, but there are really blurry lines there and color has nothing to do with the pairing, or at least, in my head, is the last thing to consider As I cook more often with wine, and learn more about seasoning and balancing flavors, I find more appreciation for wine pairing. The chutney world is wide and unknown to me, but I sort of want to explore it. I think I could learn new things about spices and flavor combinations.
thanks for your nice comments again, take care!
I sometimes have trouble too, especially when I use the app on my iPhone.
To learn more about pairing food and wine, there are three things that I recommend:
– read about this online
– when eating at a restaurant, ask the sommelier to explain why he did a certain pairing, and the best one:
– try multiple wines with the same dish to see which one you liked best and try to discern patterns (e.g. sweetness and acidity should usually be matched, bitters are more complicated)
And of course you could always ask me for advice. I’d love to provide some suggestions. I have to warn you though that I do not know a lot about Californian wine as that is hard to find and expensive here.
I’ll take you up on that offer! 🙂 thanks for the tips, Stefan, super useful! I’m a little familiar with the Californian wines, but by no means an expert.
I find it helps tremendously to visit a wine region, sample the wines and talk to the winemakers, to really get to know the wines. It helps even more to bring home a case of each wine, which rules out California for us. (But I now have a lot of expertise of quite some Italian and French wine regions.)
visiting wine regions in California is great, but Napa and Sonoma are far away from Los Angeles. There are some ok wineries in Santa Barbara and Temecula, but I don’t think really worth the drive. I’ve been to Napa twice and I agree, talking to the wine makers really help. I just don’t know if I could ever remember as many wines by name and region as you do! hahaha. Its pretty impressive.
The wineries we visit are 7 hours away (Sancerre or Burgundy) or even more (10 hours and more for Italy, but then we don’t go just for a weekend). Definitely worth it though. We usually bring home 150 bottles or more 🙂
How do you bring 150 bottles home? Ship it? Is that wine for the entire year? You must have a huge cellar 🙂
We take them home in the trunk of the car. We also like to travel through wine regions with an RV that has plenty of loading space 🙂
No cellar unfortunately; the soil is too soft for that around here. We have 5 wine fridges with enough room for almost 1000 bottles. 150 bottles is not enough for a year with all the entertaining we do 🙂
sounds like a great life to me 🙂 thanks for sharing Stefan!
That pork looks oh so tender!
:)! thanks Jade! thank you for all the likes too!