Cheesing hardcore...the Claes4.

Monday, January 30, 2012

1/26/12 - Fennel and garlic roasted pork loin with potato hash medley

Looks and tastes like fall.

Fennel and garlic roasted pork loin with potato hash medley and kale chips. Soooo good. You have the right to be jealous.

For some reason I have fallen in love with the flavor of fennel seeds this pass year.  Don't know if I have actually eaten fennel bulb but I dig the flavor of the seeds.  Kind of an earthy, licorice taste.  The fact that it is a main ingredient in absinthe has nothing to do with it.

This meal started the night before as I put together a marinade for the pork loin.  Now a pork loin is perfectly lovely with salt and pepper but I wanted to be adventurous. I put together fennel seed (about a ¼ teaspoon), sea salt, black pepper, ground marjoram (for kicks), Steak au Poivre, and 4 garlic cloves along with some soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinaigrette.  I added the pork loin and let it all become friendly overnight in a Ziploc bag placed in a bowl (always place stuff like this in a pan of some sort in case there is a leak).

The next day I browned the pork loin all over in a pan.  I made a bit of a mistake here…browning it was a good I idea but I had the heat too high and the sugars in the marinade browned too much.  It was fine but next time I will be aware of that possibility.  After that I added about ½ a cup of chicken broth, water or apple juice/cider would work too, to the same pan I browned the pork loin in, covered it and put it in a 350° oven.  I cooked it for about 25 minutes but this baby would have been good at 15 minutes + 10 minutes of resting.

With the marinade I poured it in a small saucepan and then just cranked up the heat to reduce it and kill any bacteria.  When it reduced by more than half I tasted it, adjusted the seasoning with some diced garlic, chicken broth and a splash more balsamic vinegar and then continued to let it thicken and simmer.

While the pork loin was cooking I shredded a few russet potatoes I need to use and cooked them quickly.  Pretty much hash brown style.  I then diced up a sweet potato I needed to use (poor carbs aren’t getting much love in our house right now) and cooked it for about 15 minutes in a skillet till the cubes were browned, soft and almost caramelized.

The last step was making the kale chips.  Easiest thing to do is just give you the recipe I used from (  My suggestions, make sure the kale is rinsed and dried as much as possible, leave them in bite size or larger pieces and try to only have one layer of them.  I had to cook them a bit longer, like 2 minutes, so for that last bit I turned the oven up to 400° and finished them off.

When it was finally time to slice the pork loin it had rested a bit too long and was cooked more than I would have liked but it was fork tender.  Once I sliced it up I drizzled some of the reduced marinade (strained it first…just looked prettier that way) over it.

Verdict:  I thought this meal was great.  The fennel was a new flavor for my family.  Sean didn’t seem crazy over the flavor but the kids didn’t seem to mind it.  The potato hash was good and I liked the contrast with the sauce and the fennel taste. As for the kale chips, frankly the things are like crack.  So good and the kids were licking their fingers and practically the plate.  I will make this all again with some adjustments and remember to double the kale chips. 

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