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Thursday, November 4, 2010

AGUARDIENTE PORK ROAST AND PRUNE SAUCE WITH GRAPPA

MINIATURE DISTILLER (STILLPOT OVER 
HEATER, CONDENSER AND RECEIVING FLASK)
Photo by: wineimbiber.com
OCast agua vita, MEng. aqua ardaunt, ardente, Eng. grappa made from distilled wine; wine spirits. In England it can also be agua vite, brandy or distilled spirits. Normally it is made from left over grape stalks (L. graspa, wine stalk), which are fermented and then distilled. Distillation has existed since 2 B.C. but the Arabs perfected it between the 6-8 C. According to Arnaldo de Villanova it was called agua vita as it was thought to prolong life, preserve youthfulness, disburse superfluous humors, sustain health and reanimate the heart. The alcoholic content of the drink is 11%. Previously Spaniards said “let’s have 11” when they wanted to drink grappa. Note the modern Spanish word for grappa contains 11 letters. [Curye. 1985:170; Madrid. 1980:15:16; and Villena/Calero. 2002:122]


PORK LOIN ROAST AND PRUNE SAUCE WITH GRAPPA RECIPE FROM THE ARCHIVES OF THE MEDIEVAL SPANISH CHEF
For 4 persons
(It appears that pork was prepared by the slaughterman and his staff in Spain, which would explain for the  fact that recipes such as this one do not appear in Sent Soví or in Nola's MSS.)

Ingredients

1 deboned pork loin roast (about 2 lbs)

For the brine:
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 c boiling water
3 ½ qt cold water
1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
Pork with Prune Sauce from the DS
Photo by: Ocha-Neko

For the spice rub:
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
10 sage leaves
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ c brown sugar
3 tbsp olive oil


For the sauce

1 1/2 c chopped prunes
1/2 c sugar
juice from 2 lemons
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp freshly ground ginger
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
grappa
salt to taste


Preparation

In a large pot, add the salt, sugar to boiling water and stir until the solids dissolve. Add cold water and pepper. Cover pork with the brine and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Then removed from brine and pat pork dry.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400º F /204º C

Mix together the garlic, fennel seeds, thyme, rosemary, sage, mustard, salt, pepper and mustard and finely chop. Pour olive oil over the mixture. Grind the herbs and spices until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand.

Rub the pork all over with the spice mixture and set in a roasting pan. Cook in the oven until the internal temperature registers 140 degrees, for medium, between 60 to 90 minutes, depending on its size. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Prepare the sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the prunes, dates, 1 ½ cups water, sugar, lemon juice and bay leaf. Simmer until the prunes just start to break apart and dates are soft and pulpy, about 15 minutes. Add ginger, pepper and grappa and simmer for 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt.

Slice the pork. Serve each portion topped with the sauce.

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