November 12, 2009

Roast Pork for a Special Thursday

I love Fall!  Even if it hasn't felt like it very much this past week, the leaves are still falling, the wind is picking up, and at night, you can feel that crispness that says winter is right around the corner.  What can I say - I'm a skier, the first sign of snow and I'm giddy!  But for now, I'm going to keep using the gorgeous autumn vegetables that are all over right now - and perhaps start practicing for Thanksgiving?

One of the challenges of this meal was how to cook the sweet potatoes.  My toaster oven was otherwise occupied for roughly 1 1/2 hours and boiling them would just take too long.  So I turned to our trusty microwave, an appliance that doesn't get enough love from aspiring home chefs.  Rightly so, there's no substitute for a nice slow roast, but I've found that the microwave can really be your friend in a tiny kitchen.  I "steamed" the potatoes in there for 8 minutes total and voila!  the perfect consistency for sweet potato puree.

With the Brussels sprouts on at the end, this meal was easy and a delicious treat - one that I suggest you make tonight!

Roast Pork with Fennel

2 lbs. pork roast
1 bulb fennel, top discarded, sliced and quartered
1 onion, sliced and quartered
salt & pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Salt and pepper the pork and place in small roasting pan.  Cover the meat with the fennel and onion (don't worry if it looks like too much, they cook down very small).  Roast for an hour and a half or until a meat thermometer through the middle registers 140 degrees.  (This may be too rare for you, but I assure you, it's safe - the bacteria you worry about with pork is killed at 137 degrees.)

Serve with the juices and vegetables over the top.

Sweet Potato Puree

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. chicken stock
salt & pepper

Microwave the potatoes on high for 5 minutes.  Check and poke with fork to let some of the steam out.  Microwave on high for another 3 minutes.  Take out and cut into 2 inch chunks.  Add to a bowl with the butter, chicken stock, and salt and pepper to taste.  Using a hand mixer, blend until smooth.  Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly.

The Brussels sprouts I did the way I have done them before for this blog - sauted and lightly steamed in chicken stock!

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