Monday, October 5, 2009

Autumn Meals

The market on Sunday was displaying a number of items we normally see only in the fall in this area, and ones that I love. First was freshly pressed apple cider, and a jug of that came home with me. Second, there was a display of pomegranates and I couldn't resist a couple of those either. The other thing that jumped into the basket was a pork tenderloin, though that is hardly seasonal.

There was also one totally non-seasonal thing that made the journey home, fresh asparagus. It had been awhile since asparagus looked good, but the stalks flown in from Chile looked good.

Come dinner time I seasoned the pork with salt, pepper, and small amounts of cumin, allspice and cinnamon. The tenderloin was seared in a skillet until brown and crusty and then popped into the oven to finish. Into the pan went a cup of the apple cider. While that was reducing we removed all the seeds from the pomegranate and crushed the juice out of them using a potato ricer. This produced just shy of one cup of juice and that went into the skillet with the cider.

While that reduced by about two thirds the pork came out of the oven and rested for a few minutes. I strained the sauce to remove bits and pieces and returned it to the pan. I added some cornstarch liquefied in some more cider and let the sauce thicken slightly. Just before slicing the pork I added a tablespoon of butter to the sauce and whisked it in to blend.

The acid in the pomegranate and the cider really livened the sauce and the butter added just a touch of richness.

There were two leftover wines, the 2008 Leitz Dragonstone Riesling and the 1996 Chateau Beausastel Chateaneuf de Pape, both discussed below. The star for this meal was the Riesling as the apple flavors in the wine and the acid from the pomegranate were singing some great harmony with the pork. The Beaucastel was good with the meal but it was at its best after the meal as dessert of a small square of dark chocolate studded with cranberries and blueberries.

Some friends called after the meal and after asking what I had for dinner and hearing the results there is another pork, cider and pomegranate meal planned for next weekend. I imagine there will be several Rieslings.

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