Braised food

Cook this: Lomito de cerdo al tamarindo y menta — braised pork loin with tamarind and mint — from Colombiana

“It’s the juiciest pork loin ever,” says Mariana Velasquez

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Our cookbook of the week is Colombiana: A rediscovery of recipes and rituals from the soul of Colombia by Mariana Velásquez. Tomorrow we will offer an interview with the author.

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To try another recipe from the book, check out: Roasted Chicken and Cilantro Empanadas; and the “Gloria” pastel (guava paste and feta pastries).

Making a lightly warmed braise is a surefire way to shake off the summer doldrums. Mariana Velásquez’s braised pork loin – with the tamarind ply and mint burst – is a prime contender.

“I (didn’t) want the summer to end, but one of the ways to motivate me and lift my spirits is to turn on the oven again,” says Velásquez. “A little fall cooking is always a good way out.”

Accompanied by 10 other dishes in its Colombian chapter – including pearl barley soup with mushrooms and chorizo; rice pilaf and grilled angel hair with ground beef, capers and raisins; and grilled corn salad with scallops and juicy tomatoes – this braise isn’t “typically Colombian,” but carries hints of the Bogotá native’s heritage.

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  1. Colombiana roasted chicken and cilantro empanadas.

    Cook this: Colombiana Roasted Chicken Cilantro Empanadas

  2. Pastel 'Gloria' (guava paste and feta cheese puffs) from Colombiana.

    Cook this: Pastel ‘Gloria’ – guava paste and feta cheese pastries – from Colombiana

  3. “The party is always great.  It's always generous.  It's always plentiful

    ‘The party is always big’: Mariana Velasquez on the bounty of Colombian cuisine

Inspired by a recipe for Braised Filet Mignon in Vinegar from a cookbook she worked on — Caroline Chambers’ Just Married — Velásquez came up with her own version. “I loved it, but when we (first) made it, I was really hesitant about the cooking time. And once I tried it, it was the juiciest,” Velásquez says. .

In order to achieve the tangy note of the original, she turned to tamarind paste instead of vinegar. “The tamarind has really become the ideal vehicle to develop this recipe, she adds, then the onions and the freshness of the mint. This is delicious.”

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Colombiana: A rediscovery of recipes and rituals from the soul of Colombia by Mariana Velásquez
Colombiana: A rediscovery of recipes and rituals from the soul of Colombia by Mariana Velásquez. Photo by Harper Wave

LOMITO DE CERDO AL TAMARINDO Y MENTA

BRAISED PORK LOIN WITH MINT TAMARIN

1 (2 1/2 lb/1 kg) center-cut pork loin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup dark rum
1/3 cup tamarind paste, seeds removed
2 small red onions, quartered by the root
2 cups of chicken broth
3 tablespoons grated panela or dark brown sugar
1 tbsp grated fresh horseradish or 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).

2nd step

Season the pork with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes, to lose the chill of the fridge and for the salt to do its magic.

Step 3

Heat the oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed sauté pan. Add the roast and sear on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes, until a golden crust forms.

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Step 4

Remove roast with tongs and transfer to a rimmed dish. Reduce the heat to medium, deglaze the pan with the rum and bring to a boil, scraping up any bits of brown crust with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook until alcohol evaporates, about 45 seconds. Add the tamarind paste, onions, chicken broth and panela, and bring to a boil. Return the pork to the skillet. Carefully transfer the pan to the preheated oven and roast for 40 to 50 minutes, until the internal temperature on a meat thermometer reaches 145°F (63°C).

Step 5

Remove the pork loin from the sauce and transfer it to a rimmed serving dish. Cover with aluminum foil and let stand 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, finish the sauce: stir the horseradish and mint leaves into the sauce. Taste for seasoning and add a little more salt if needed. To serve, cut the pork into medallions and spoon the sauce and onions over the loin.

Serves: 6

Recipe and image reprinted from Colombiana. Copyright © 2021 by Mariana Velasquez. Photograph by Gentl & Hyers. Published by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins.

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