Homer: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Lisa, honey, are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad! Those all come from the same animal!
Homer: [Chuckles] Yeah, right Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
The wonderful, magical pig: it bequeaths us luscious sausages, the tantalizing smell of bacon, the versatility of ham. And yet - and yet pork in its natural state can be a difficult thing to cook well. I've had more tough pork chops than I've had tender ones, and there's not much that's appetizing about a square of gray, dry meat on the plate. A lot of it comes down the the quality of the meat, which is the result of the pigs that are being bred and farmed (there's a very interesting article about this amusingly called 'The Swine of Our Times'). It also comes down to the cut of the meat, with some pork being more easy to work with, and for this reason my favorite cut is the loin.
Mr A&N had a flash of inspiration when we last had pork loin, and so I left him to it. Or, I tried to leave him to it as best I could. I asked questions ("What are you making it with?" "How are you going to cook it?" "Are you sure you want to add *that* to it?"), made noises ("You are? ...Oh." "Umm...do you think...eer...never mind"), and tried to pretend I didn't want to interfere in the process at all. Finally, I had to leave the kitchen and just enjoy the results - which I enjoyed immensely since Mr A&N is a very good cook even despite my meddling. The accompanying sauce was so flavorful in its own right that I was torn as to whether to award the pork or the sauce as the star of the show. This should produce enough sauce so that you can be greedy with.
Pork Loin in a White Wine and Mushroom Sauce
- 1 - 1 1/2 k pork loin (about 2 - 3 lbs or pork)
- olive oil for frying
- 6 - 7 closed cap mushrooms, or 1 1/2 portabello mushrooms, chopped quite finely
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 Tbs wholegrain mustard
- 1 medium bunch of thyme
- 1 large glass dry white wine
- 1/2 Tbs flour
- splash of cream or milk
- salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C / 360 F.
- In a small saucepan with a splash of olive oil, briefly sautee the mushroom, onion, and garlic until the onion softens slightly.
- In an oven-proof dish large enough to hold the pork, pour in the mushroom mixture. Add to this the mustard, thyme, and white wine, and stir.
- In a heavy-bottomed pan or pot, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil over a medium heat.
- Brown the pork briefly on all sides.
- Pour any pork juices into the mushroom mixture, then place the pork on top of this. Lightly salt and pepper it.
- Spoon some of the sauce onto the pork so that it's covered on the top and bottom.
- Cover the dish with tin foil, and place in the oven.
- Cook for 35-45 minutes or until the pork is done when tested with a meat thermometer.
- Pour out the mushroom mixture and all juices into a medium-sized sauce pan. Keep the pork in the oven dish and re-cover to keep warm.
- Dissolve the flour in the cream or milk by stirring well, then add this to the saucepan with the mushroom mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste
- Heat over a medium heat, stirring, until the sauce has thickened a bit.
- Serve the pork in slices, with the sauce poured over it.