I reached for Moro, one of my most favourite cookbooks, from Sam & Sam Clark. Sam & Sam have compiled a thick pile of delectable recipes inspired by the Middle East, and I have to admit that it's not just the xerox cool of their names that draws me back to the book time and time again.
The recipe demands organic pork loin, and Sam & Sam are insistent about good quality pork, but I have to admit that I've always rated the pork fillet on sale from Farmer's Choice in the supermarket. It's flavoursome and not watery, and I'd recommend it. I've changed the quantities somewhat, as we weren't cooking for 6 hungry mouths, and it worked.
Serve with Sam & Sam's creamy garlic mash and charred red peppers...
Recipe - for 2 hungry mouths (with a little left over)
500 gms pork fillet
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves - or dried thyme
Salt & Pepper
500 mls milk
1 cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
Chop the thyme on a chopping board, and then grind over some salt and pepper. Get your pork fillet and rub it thoroughly with this thyme mix. Heat some olive oil in a heavy saucepan (Le Creuset works well), and then add the pork. Cook fast until golden on both sides, and then turn down the heat, add the milk, cinnamon and bay. The milk might go a little ballistic being added to such a hot pan, but just keep the heat down for a little while until it settles, and then put it up to simmer point. I kept the lid off in order to allow the milk to reduce into a delicious 'nuggety' (a Sam & Sam-ism) sauce strongly flavoured with cinnamon and bay. The pork will take around half an hour to cook like this so in the meantime you can prepare your garlic mash and charred red peppers.
Chop up a couple of large potatoes, and put in a pan together with enough liquid to cover the potatoes - 50:50 milk and water. Add a peeled (but not chopped) clove of garlic and bring to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are soft. As you drain the potatoes, save about 200 mls of the remaining water which you can use in the mashing process to give you the consistency you like in your mash. Don't forget to add some salt and pepper at the end!
Charred Red Peppers with Garlic
Slice your red pepper up - removing the stalk and central pithy bits as you slice. Heat some olive oil in a non-stick pan, and add the red pepper. Whilst it starts to cook, slice up one clove of garlic as the red pepper is starting to soften. Continue to cook until the red peppers have slightly charred edges.
To serve: slice your pork fillet into medallions. Dollop a generous spoonful of garlic mash onto warmed plates, and place the sliced pork in a fan on top. Drizzle with the milky sauce. Stack up the charred red peppers next to the potato and add some wilted spinach leaves for extra colour.