Monday, January 10, 2011

Roasted Pork Loin with Fennel and Tomatoes

I'm sad to report that our beautiful new home currently has absolutely no hot water. The previous water heater sputtered it's last ounce of hot water early Thursday morning after leaking far too much water onto the ground for anyone's good. So, alas, we are without hot water during what will probably (hopefully!) be the coldest week of the winter. However, we are very fortunate to have parents near by with plenty of hot water to spare and a furnace that is working wonderfully to keep our house nice and toasty. So other than freezing cold hands, we are doing ok. The most challenging part for us, I believe, is the lack of hot water in the kitchen for washing dishes, which in turn means that our dishwasher does not work. Therefore, we are forced to wash everything by hand with water we have boiled on the stove. Very old school indeed. While many saner folk would probably opt for take-out on disposable dishes or eating out so someone else can wash the dishes, we plug on and are determined to cook as usual. Although Gavin usually does most of the dishwashing - since I do all the cooking - we are sharing the task now that everything has to be handwashed. But fear not! Like I said, I am still cooking and will therefore be sharing some fun new recipes.
I've been alternating recently between wanting hearty comfort food to fend off the cold and then lighter meals to pretend like it might some day get warm again. I wholeheartedly believe that what you cook and what you eat can effect your overall mood and your outlook on the day. So if you're feeling chilled to the bone and in need of warm blanket or hug, make something hot and satisfying that will not only warm you up as you're making it, but keep you warm after the dinner has been eaten and put away. This pork with fennel and tomatoes will make you warm and satisfied without weighing you down. Pork tenderloin is a very lean cut of meat and the vegetables are full of all of those great nutrients that help keep your body going and hopefully ward off that inevitable cold. To add another layer of comfort to this dish, serve the pork over rice or pasta. That way you have somewhere to catch all of the delicious sauce from the juicy tomatoes and white wine.

Roasted Pork Loin with Fennel and Tomatoes (Serves 4)
  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1.5 lbs)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved if large
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
Preheat oven to 350F.
Rinse off pork tenderloin and pat dry.
Combine minced garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, thyme leaves, salt and pepper.
Rub the mixture all over the pork. Set aside to come to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Heat oil in a large dutch oven (any oven proof pan will work) over medium heat.
Sear pork on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Cut the green tops from the fennel bulb. Reserve about 4 tbsp fennel fronds and discard the rest.
Cut the fennel bulb into quarters from top to bottom. On a diagonal, cut out the core from each quarter. Thinly slice the fennel bulb and chop the fronds.
Once pork is seared, add sliced fennel, fennel fronds and tomatoes to the pot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Put pot, uncovered, into the oven and cook pork to desire doneness. For medium rare, the thermometer will read 135-140, about 25 minutes.
Put the pot back on the stove and remove pork. Let the pork rest while finishing the sauce.
Over medium heat, add wine to fennel and tomatoes.
Scrape up any herbs on the bottom of the pot and allow to simmer until reduced by half, about 5-8 minutes. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Slice pork and serve with the sauce.

For a printable recipe click here.

Roasted Pork Loin With Fennel and Tomatoes

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