Fennel and coriander spiced pork

I’m the kind of person who wanders around the supermarket in a mild state of panic, picks things up, puts them back and always comes out with the same things. Lemons, eggs, potatoes and apple juice. So it is with great pride Florence that I tell you that last Thursday I picked up a pork loin. Pork is not my favourite meat, it’s OK I guess but nothing I can really get excited about. But this was a loin I couldn’t pass over. A seasonal special, a bellota loin, taken from an iberian pig destined for Jamon. A pig that had spent its days rooting around the oak forests, eating acorns and living the good life. I couldn’t turn it down.

When I got home however, panic set in. What do you do with such an esteemed piece of pork? I thought about for 3 days and then did what any Indian does when faced with unfamiliar foods. I smothered it in spices and chucked it in my toaster oven. It was a triumph. The meat was unbelievably tender and had a depth of flavour quite unlike any pork I´ve  had before. The marinade was warming and  fragrant without being too overpowering – one that I will definitely be making again!

A pork loin is a great cut of meat for anyone who lives alone, and has limited cooking facilities. It´s the perfect size for 1 very hungry person, or can leave you with enough leftovers for a great sandwich to take to work. Also, as you cook it quite slowly, you don´t need a full sized oven and my toaster oven cooked it to perfection.

Serves 1-2

350 gm pork loin

Ginger paste 1 tsp (about 2 cm piece, see below)

Garlic paste 2 tsp (about 3-4 fat cloves, see below)

Fennel seeds 1 tsp

Coriander seed 1 tbsp

Toast the spices until golden brown and aromatic, and pound to dust in a mortar or coffee grinder. You could use ready bought powdered spices but it really is worth toasting and grinding your own, the flavor is completely different.

Next make the pastes. Indian recipes often call for garlic and ginger pastes, you can buy them in jars but please don’t. They’re full of vinegar, oil and nasty preservatives. If you can find them the frozen pastes are pretty good. You can make them in a mortar, or with a blender (adding water) but the best easiest way to make it is by grating. You’ll need a fine grater and if you have a microplane grater then all the better.

Mix the spices and pastes together, with the oil. Place the loin on a piece of cling film, slather with the marinade and wrap tightly. Put in the fridge and allow to marinate for at least an hour, but preferably for longer. Take the meat out of the fridge a good hour or two before you´ll be cooking it. The idea is to bring it up to room temperature before roasting so that it cooks evenly. Roast in an oven (or toaster oven!) pre-heated to 170 degrees C for about 15-20 minutes. Good quality pork can be eaten medium rare, do try it, it´s juicy and flavorful. When you take it out of the oven, cover with a piece of foil and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. This allows the meat fibres to suck up the juices before you carve, resulting in juicier meat.

This smelt so gorgeous when I pulled it out of the oven that I completely forgot to take a photo, I just couldn’t help it and dived right in.  It was only when I was half way through that I thought that I should really take a quick pic to show you how much my friend Beti and I enjoyed our dinner:

As you can see I served these with roast potatoes, a squeeze of lemon would have been nice too. You could serve this with anything, but as it´s a little dry a creamy mash would be better than rice or cous cous.

One Response to “Fennel and coriander spiced pork”
  1. masked food lover says:

    Humm that sounds/smells/looks delicious …. First evening free i’ll try it …. Bety is a lucky friend of yours !!

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