Monday, September 8, 2008

Pork loin and eggplant

I almost never cook fatty bits of meat, but then again when I go to an Estonian style restaurant or someone's mom has prepared fried meat then I quite like it. So the last time I went to the market I saw this really nice, clean looking loin peace of pork, with the skin and the fat still on (the blade chop) and couldn't resist buying it.
There we were then, me and the fatty peace of meat, staring at each other in my kitchen. I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. But then I remembered a very appetizing picture of a loin of pork from Mr. Ramsay's 'A Chef for all seasons' and it was settled.

Loin of pork with Indian style eggplant and fragrant rice. (Sealiha indiapärase baklazaani ja aromaatse riisiga.)
Loin of pork (blade chop) ~400 gr
sea salt
2 cloves of garlic

Eggplant (inspired by Nami-Nami)
1 eggplant
1 large ripe tomato
1 red bell-pepper
1 onion
1 tsp tumeric
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander powder

rice (~150 gr)
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp ginger powder
pinch of ground nutmeg

Heat a pan, when hot, put the pork on the pan, rind down and press it down until the rind starts crackling. Do that until the rind looks nice, slightly browned and crackled.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Transfer the pork into an oven tin, sprinkle with sea salt and roast for 30 minutes.
Cut up the garlic into thick slices and after 30 minutes of roasting, put holes in the meat with a knife and stuff them with garlic. Turn down the heat to 180 and roast for 15 more minutes. It's ready if clear juices come out when pierced with a skewer.

Cut the eggplant into thick slices and brown on both sides on a frying pan. It'll take a while.
Chop the onions and the bell peppers. Peel and chop the tomatoes. When the egg-plant is ready, fry the onions in oil until golden, then add the bell peppers and when they've become more tender, add the spices and quickly fry for 30 seconds. Then add the tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes, then carefully lay in the sliced egg-plant and cover the slices with the sauce.

Rinse the rice and if possible leave it soaking for a while (30 min). Cover the rice with water so that you'll have about 1 cm more water above the rice and add in the spices from the start. Place a saucepan over a moderate-high heat. Bring the water to the boil and then reduce it to a simmer. Place a lid on the saucepan and leave the rice to cook for 10 minutes then turn off the heat heat. Leave it for 5 minutes to steam. All of the water should go in the rice.

It looks and smells very nice and the relatively light sides of eggplant and rice kind of balance out the fatty meat. And even if you don't eat the crackling, it still makes it look nice and adds flavor to the meat.

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