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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Coffee Crusted Pork Roast

Saturday was a pretty lousy day.  I was up all night Friday with a bad belly.  Saturday I not only felt lousy but was exhausted.  All I could get down for dinner was a fried egg sandwich.  Thanks to Connie who was chef for the night.  He toasted the bread just enough to take the smoosh off but not so much as to make it crunch.  The egg yolk was still a little runny.  And, he grated a bit of swiss cheese onto it.  It was pretty darned perfect.  And, as soon as I ate I got to curl back up on the couch and go back to sleep.  That's how to recuperate!
Needless to say, my week's menus did not get made on Saturday.  Sunday we went to the office for the morning and got home just in time for the Colt's game.  YAY - we beat Tennessee!  Andrew Luck rocks!!!  So, at 5:00 Sunday I still had no clue what I was going to fix for dinner.  My options from the freezer were not promising.  Fine.  I picked up the cookbook on top of the stack of cookbooks to mark for recipes to make.  Commander's Wild Side.  Another find from the bargain bin at the grocery store.  I want to make everything from the chapter titled, "Showstopping Dishes to Impress Your Friends."  Let's see, there's Truffled Scallps and Crabmeat wtih Caviar Vinaigrette, Creole Lobster Bisque, Crab and Brie Stuffed Flounder, Speckled Trout Napoleons with Morel Cream, Crab and Oyster Mushroom Risotto and Pepper-Crusted Beef Sirloiin with Crispy Oysters and Horseradish Cream.  Is your mouth watering like mine is? 
I knew Sunday was not the evening for a show-stopping (read long and complicated) recipe, however.  You see, Peyton's playing Drew Brees.  That we need to see.  So, I opened the cookbook to the chapter titled, "Not-So-Wild Game."  The first recipe was Coffee-Crusted Pork Loin with Fig-Bourbon Syrup.  Not only did it sound fantastic, it also sounded pretty darned quick.  Connie said there was a tub of spinach to be used up.  I found a recipe from Southern Living called Mango-Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette.  Sounded perfect together.  And, I had a sweet potato I could mash to go along.  I was off to the grocery. 
What did we think?  This was super easy to put together.  The flavors were amazing.  The crust on the pork was very thin but so packed with flavor.  The fig-bourbon syrup was perfect with it.  As were the bourbon mashed potatoes.  Those were just a large sweet potato mashed with about a teaspoon of bourbon, a quick grate of nutmeg, a couple of tablespoons of butter and a couple of tablespoons of half and half.  The salad was a great alternative to your traditional spinach salad.  All in all, we gave the whole meal a score of five on a scale of one to five.  Connie liked the pork best, while I preferred the salad.  But, there were no losers here!
Coffee-Crusted Pork Loin with Fig-Bourbon Syrup
serves 4
1 cup fig preserves
1/2 c bourbon
1/4 c finely ground chicory or regular coffee
1 T plus 2 t dark brown sugar
1 T Creole seasoning (we use Emeril's)
1 t smoked paprika
2 lb trimmed boneless pork roast, preferably loin
Mix the preserves and bourbon in a small saucepan.  Let it simmer while you prepare the pork.  I needed an immersion blender since there were some pretty big chunks of fig in the preserves.

Make the rub next.  In a spice grinder combine the coffee, brown sugar, Creole seasoning and smoked paprika.  Process it until it's very finely ground.

The original recipe called for rubbing the pork with vegetable oil prior to rolling it in the rub.  I didn't do that and it worked perfectly.  Roll the pork in the rub, coating every surface.  Allow it to rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Heat your grill.  Grill the pork for about 20 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 130F.  Make sure to turn the pork so all sides get a nice crust.  Remove the pork from the heat and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving it. 

Serve the pork drizzled with the fig-bourbon sauce.

adapted from Commander's Wild Side

Mango-Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
serves 2


4 thick slices bacon, diced and browned
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 T lime juice
1 T honey
2 large handfuls fresh spinach
1 mango, peeled and diced
2 T crumbled queso fresco or mild feta


Brown the bacon and drain all but a tablespoon of the fat.  Saute the onion until it's very soft.  When the onion is done, pour in the red wine vinegar, lime juice and honey.  Stir well and keep warm until you're ready to assemble the salads.

To assemble the salads, put a handful of spinach on each plate.  Top with half of the mango, then the bacon, dressing and finally the cheese. 

adapted from Southern Living

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