Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
The food or the wine?
The sauce or the meat?
As always, I think the answer is somewhere in between. This time, though, the idea for the sauce really came first, and then the meal was built around it. The idea...cherries. I saw them right when I walked into the store.
Now, what to do with them? Chicken? Duck? Pork. Yes, roasted pork loin. Stuffed? Sauce? Yes, sauce. A simple roast with a cheery cherry sauce. I decided (easily) to roast it in my tagine. I rubbed it with salt, pepper and dry mustard, then browned it all over in a non-stick pan (don't wash the pan...we'll use it for our sauce), then into the tagine and popped in a 300° oven for almost an hour, or until the internal temp. of the roast reaches 135°. This is what it looked like when it was done.
While the pork was roasting, I began making the sauce and cooking some rice. For the sauce, I first brought 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup of wine (I had some rosé in the fridge that I used) to a boil, and then.....added two of these tea bags to steep. Blackberry sage black tea. This will add some depth of flavor to our sauce. Next I halved and pitted about 2 cups of the bing cherries. The non-stick pan was reheated and I poured in the tea-broth and added the cherries, scraping up any browned bits left over from the pork. I also tossed in a sprig of lemon thyme. This was left on medium heat to reduce.
Now the rice. I love Lundberg's Black Japonica Blend Wild Rice. I heated a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, and sauteéd some minced ginger. I then added the rice, stirred it to coat, and then threw in 1 cinnamon stick, along with 2 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer, and let cook for 45 minutes.
After the pork reached 135°, I transferred it to a plate and tented it with foil to sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, the sauce had reduced and become a beautiful, deep red color. Although the flavors had also deepened and intensified, it was still quite tart, so I added 2 tablespoons of cherry jam I happened to have on hand, and just before I served it, I stirred in some minced preserved lemon to brighten it up. Yo yo!!
I had some broccolini that I had blanched and then cooled in an ice bath, that were to be sauteéd with minced garlic and chili flakes. E voilà! Roasted pork loin with cherry sauce, ginger rice infused with cinnamon, and garlic chili broccolini.
Oh, and by the way.....leftovers make killer BBQ sandwiches!