This week, I’ve started cooking from a new book I picked up a couple of weeks ago by Jamie Oliver, entitled Jamie at Home. Actually, I started watching the TV show on Cooking Channel and then noticed the book. It’s all about growing from the garden and using natural, simple ingredients. The dishes are earthy, homestyle fare that take full advantage of fresh vegetables and things from the garden. So it’s perfect for the spring when things are starting to grow again. I’ve got a bunch of stuff started in the garden this year and I’m looking forward to using as much of it as I can.
What I love about this recipe in particular is that the baked onions and potatoes take a starring role. The pork, while delicious, almost acts as a companion to these rich and delicious vegetables slathered in balsamic glaze and butter – lots of butter.
The dish has “attitude,” as Jamie puts it. It uses a lot of vinegar… quite a lot! But, don’t be put off, the flavor is outstanding and really something different. This is going to change the way you look at balsamic, that is for sure. It’s a big dish, and should be made for a big, appreciative group of friends or family.
Balsamic-baked Vegetables with Roast Pork
From Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home
- 3 1/2 pounds medium-sized waxy potatoes (all purpose), peeled and quartered lengthwise
- Olive oil
- 7 ounces butter, cubed
- 1 bunch fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
- 1 whole bulb garlic, quartered or smashed
- 5 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
- 1 1/2 cups cheap balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pork:
- 1 small bunch fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground fennel seeds
- 1 (3 1/2-pound) boneless rolled pork loin, preferably free-range or organic, skin off, fat scored in a crisscross pattern
- Olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 stalks celery, trimmed and chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 wine glasses white wine
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the potatoes into a pan of boiling, salted water and cook for around 8 minutes, then drain and return to the pan. Chuff them up a bit by shaking the pan.
- To prepare the meat, scatter a handful of finely chopped rosemary leaves over a large chopping board. Sprinkle over some salt and pepper and the ground fennel seeds. Roll the pork across the board, pressing down hard so all the flavorings stick to it.
- Get a large roasting pan that your pork will fit snugly into, and place it on a burner over a medium-high heat. Pour in a little olive oil and place the pork in, fat side down, sprinkled with any flavorings remaining on the board. After a few minutes, when the pork fat is lightly golden, turn it over and add the garlic cloves, onion, celery and bay leaves to the pan. Place on the bottom shelf of your preheated oven for 1 hour, basting it halfway through. (For the last 20 minutes of cooking, you may need to cover the pork with a bit of damp waxed paper to stop it coloring too much.)
- Get another roasting pan, into which you can fit the potatoes in 1 layer, and heat it on the stove. When hot, pour a glug of olive oil into it and add the butter, rosemary and garlic. Add the potatoes and toss them in all the flavors. Add the onions and all the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes on the burner to reduce the balsamic vinegar a little. Place the pan on the top shelf and cook for around 50 minutes, until the potatoes and onions are dark, sticky and crispy – removing the pan to toss the onions and potatoes halfway through.
- After 1 hour, the meat should be cooked. Prick it with a sharp knife – if the juices run clear, it’s done; if not, pop it back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, keeping the potatoes warm. Remove it from the oven and let it rest on a plate for 10 minutes. Pour away most of the fat from the pan and mash up the garlic and onion. Place the pan over the burner and add the white wine. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, scraping all the meaty, marmitey goodness off the bottom to make a tasty little sauce, and season if necessary. Pass through a sieve into a serving pitcher. Then slice the pork and serve it with your incredible baked onions and potatoes, drizzled with the pan juices.
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