French Fridays with Dorie
When I told my husband Thursday morning what was on the menu for dinner that night he received it with very little enthusiasm:
“Really? Is that what Dorie eats? Do you have to?”
I didn’t quite understand his disinclination, but I too wasn’t very keen to make Dorie Greenspan’s Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees. My reason being I’m just not much a fan of pork (or duck) cooked up with fruit when savory is an option. Please keep it off my dinner plate and save it for breakfast, lunch or dessert where it belongs. Also, I’m not that ardent to tinker around excessively with Dorie’s recipes after having committing to cooking my way each and every one of them. (A project we Doristas are a mere four recipes away from completing!
Turns out my husband, a fruit lover at any meal, was unenthusiastic for completely different reasons. I was noticing his picking through the perfectly roasted pork while staring intently at the puddle of fruit sauce,shuttling it around with his fork. Taking another bite, my non-native-English-speaking husband finally offered up his judgement:
“This is pretty good baby, but I don’t see any leeches.”
I did not think it possible but in that very moment I fell just a little more in love with him.
Not because he had given me a much needed five-minute laugh at the end of my very stressful day. But rather because I even when believing he was about to sit down to a side of leeches with his Pork Roast with Mangoes, he dutifully did so.
He trusted me.
Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees
I cruised the Doriesphere last week for clues as to how everyone else was doing with their prep for the recipe and heard the usual Dorista rumblings of various ingredient substitutions, cut-of-meat changes and method hacks. “Oh heck”, I thought, only slightly more colorfully, “if they are going to make this many changes, I might as well do the same and be done with it.” It would certainly save me a lot of time trying to track down lychees after work!
All day I plotted to edit, substitute and adapt my way around this recipe and eventually morph into my favorite weeknight dinner: “Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce.”
I often find myself jealous of fellow Doristas for the freedom they exhibit approaching these recipes. I understand, however, that this freedom was mothered by Dorie Greenspan herself through writings and descriptions that present technique while encouraging the reader to play around and use what is at hand. (Although I highly doubt she would quite understood my effort at adapting her dinner entree recipe into a dessert. )
Ultimately, I overcame my urges to adapt and was very pleased with the results. It turns out that cans of lychees are easily found if your supermarket has an Asian section. My fear that mangoes would a seasonal impossibility was unfounded. Turns out that differing varieties make them available year round. (I think frozen mango chunks would have worked just fine as well.) My fear of this dish being overly sweet was misguided as the vinegar, lime juice, and white wine did their job and balanced it perfectly.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's recipe which can be found here.
This is what you will need:
- 1 2- to 2½-pound pork loin roast, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, split and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- 3 tablespoons honey
- ½–1 teaspoon piment d’Espelette or a good chili powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into thin strips
- 10 lychees, peeled and pitted if fresh, drained if canned.
This is how you make it:
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Pat the roast very dry with paper towels and set aside. Heat a Dutch oven or other heavy oven-going casserole with lid over medium-high heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of the oil. When it’s hot, put the pork fat side down in the pot and cook for a couple of minutes, until the fat is browned, then turn it over and brown the other side. Transfer the roast to a plate, season with salt and pepper, and discard the oil.
- Return the pot to the stove over low heat. Add the remaining oil. When warm, toss in the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Turn up the heat and pour in the vinegar. When the vinegar has nearly evaporated pour in the wine and let bubble for 30 seconds, then add soy, lime juice, and honey. Bring back to a boil, stir in the piment d’Espelette, add the bay leaf, thyme, mango, and lychees, and give the pot another minute at the boil.
- Slide the roast into the pot fat side up and baste with. Cover the casserole and place int the oven. Allow the roast to braise gently for 30 minutes, then check its temperature: you’re looking for it to measure 140 degrees F at its center (and no more!) on an instant-read thermometer. The roast is likely to need a total of 40 to 50 minutes in the oven depending on its size and how cold it was when you started the braise. It’s important to check early, since pork varies.
- Pull the pot from the oven, transfer the roast to a cutting board, cover it lightly with a foil tent, and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, during which time it will continue to cook (its temperature will probably rise another 5 degrees or so).
- While the roast is resting, taste the sauce and season if needed. Concentrate the flavors more by boiling it for a couple of minutes but not so much that the fruit breaks down.
- Slice the roast, which makes 6 to 8 ample servings, and spoon the sauce to the plate, drizzling liquid over the meat.
This Roast Pork with Mangoes and Lychees was an assignment for French Friday’s with Dorie, a cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s culinary tome “ Around My French Table” . We generally avoid including the recipes in our posts. However, wherever there has been a significant adaptation by me or where the recipe has already been publicly posted by Ms. Greenspan or her publishers or by hundreds of other bloggers, or it is, in fact, not much of a recipe at all but rather a methode , I will either include it here (adapted) or provide a direct link to it. Please feel free to contact me via the link provided on my page if you need any assistance finding a French Friday with Dorie Recipe. You should buy the book though.
It will change your life as it has mine.