Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Pork with Marsala and Fig Sauce and a Blue Cheese Cream

This is inspired by a delicious, yet simple dish I ate in France many years ago, of pork escalopes pan-fried with a splash of Marsala wine and fresh figs.

The figs I had were green figs, and luscious red inside and full of flavour. If you can get really delicious tasting figs (I suggest you slice off a small sliver and taste it - you'll know!) then you could just pan-fry them for a minute or two with the pork and add to the sauce just to warm through.

*Photos to follow shortly*

Good, fresh figs are pretty hard to get hold of sometimes, and this recipe enhances their flavour in the sauce with the sweet yet sour hint of pomegranate molasses (but don't worry, there's an alternative if you can't get hold of any).

If you have a water bath, I've given instructions to cook this sous vide. If not, don't worry, there are conventional instructions, or you can either serve a couple of pork escalopes per person, maybe pan-fried in butter (you could even skewer a slice of parma ham to one side of each escalope), or cook a tasty pork chop each, to your liking, and serve with the sauce.

Serves 4

  • 550-600g pork fillet / tenderloin (or you could serve each person a grilled pork chop / couple of pan-fried pork escalopes etc., whatever you prefer)
  • 10 rashers pancetta / very thin streaky smoked bacon
  • Oil

For the sauce
  • 1 small red onion
  • Couple sprigs fresh thyme / pinch dried thyme leaves
  • Oil
  • Butter
  • 250ml Marsala wine
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 3 fresh figs, not too ripe, trimmed and quartered
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses (or add 2 tsp honey and a tsp balsamic vinegar if you can't get hold of pomegranate molasses)
  • Salt
  • Cornflour / cornstarch (optional, a tsp or so)

For the blue cheese cream
  • 50g blue cheese (e.g. dolcelatte, gorgonzola)
  • 50g double (heavy) cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Serving suggestion
  • Fine green beans (steamed or boiled until just tender - around 5 minutes)
  • Small / new potatoes, skin on, parboiled 15 minutes, then roasted 15-20 minutes in olive oil with optional garlic cloves (in skins) and half a dozen sage leaves or a sprig or two of rosemary.

Wrap the pork loin in the pancetta (I start at one end, and tuck the end of each rasher into the next one, overlapping them), then if cooking sous vide, wrap in cling film (plastic food wrap) and tighten into a cylinder. Cook sous vide for 3 hours at 58C / 136F. Pat dry, oil, and sear on a cast iron pan then rest 5 minutes before slicing into 4-8 pieces to serve.

If cooking the pork conventionally, pre-heat your oven to 200C / 180C Fan / Gas Mark 6 and roast the pancetta-wrapped pork on a trivet for approximately 40 minutes, or until done. Rest 10 minutes before slicing into 4-8 pieces to serve.

For the Marsala and fig sauce
Peel, top and tail the onion, and slice vertically. Heat a saucepan, and add a small splash of oil and a knob of butter, and cook the onion for several minutes, stirring, until just starting to caramelise a little. Add the thyme and stir in for a minute or so, then add the Marsala wine, and reduce by half. Add the figs and chicken stock, and reduce again, until the figs have softened, and the sauce has thickened a little. Add the pomegranate molasses to taste, and if you want the sauce a little thicker, make a thin paste of cornflour and water (a tsp or so) and add gradually until you are happy with your sauce. Warm through to serve.

For the blue cheese cream
Simple cube the cheese, and mix with the cream and heat through gently until the cheese has melted. You can do in a small pan on the stove, or in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, it will take about 1 to 1.5 minutes. Stir, and add a little salt to taste.

Serve the pork slices on top of the Marsala and fig sauce, with a little drizzle of blue cheese cream, and your preferred sides and tuck in!

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