Part of this meal is highly controversial. No, not the pork; and no, it’s not the Bean Casserole. It’s the Celebration Sweet Potato!
It’s not even my recipe but it’s one I’ve been eyeing for literally years trying to be brave enough to give it a go. It’s a Nigella Lawson recipe – a cook and foood journalist I highly respect, and to be honest, if it was anyone elses recipe I probably would have thought the writer had gone mad and lost the run of themselves altogether! It is featured in her Feast book (buy it here), but the recipe is also freely available to download from her website (click here). Apparently, Sweet Potato and Marshmallows is a traditional accompaniement in America to either the Thanksgiving and/or Passover feasts. It certainly isn’t a staple of the Irish or British pallets. But since my visit to California last year, I am quite taken with American food. And no, I’m not talking fast food – I’m talking diner food, barbeque food and the use of rubs, marinades and slow cooking. American food is so heavily influenced by the cultures that have emigrated over generations to the “US of A” that there is a level of complexity and knowledge in flavour and treatment of base proteins that creates a level of flavour and taste that is unique to that continent. I like it – it’s comforting and naughty, yet flavourfull and, if you make generous use of BBQing or slow cooking, quite healthy as long as you stay away from the high calorie and fatty finishers in salad dressing, cheeses and sauces.
Yes – Sweet Potato with Marshmallows – it really does taste as mad as it looks. Give it a go – especially if you have a sweet tooth!
I digress – this meal started with thinking about what would go well with the Sweet Potato and Marshmallow dish during late summer that would elevate it from its winter warmer – comfort eating status? The answer my friends was a long marinade of a generous pork loin steak with all spice, cinnamon, black pepper, bay and maple syrup. Nigella Lawson’s green bean and lemon casserole (click here) was the perfect accompaniement to cut through the sweetness and hit the summery high notes with its lemony acidity. Cooking the Pork on the BBQ then adds a final flurry of summeryness as well as imparting an extra depth of flavour to the meat when served.
For the Pork
Ingredients (serves 2):
Two 1.5 inch thick pork loin chops. It is really important you get these cut at the butchers. The prepacked supermarket ones are just too thin and will dry up and be horrible!
1 tbsp of ground all spice
2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of cracked black pepper
1 tsp of smoked sea salt (or normal Maldon sea salt if you can’t get smoked)
3 – 4 tbsp of maple syrup (not maple flavoured golden syrup)
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 fresh bay leaf.
Mix up the dry spices together in a bowl big enough to house the pork chops.
Add in the maple syrup and the olive oil and mix together.
Add in the pork and ensure both steaks are fully covered in the marinade and add the bay leaf on top.
Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Overnight is better. Mid range is to do this step before you leave for work in the morning – giving apx 9 hours or so of marinade time.
Follow the link above to the recipes for the Sweet Potato and Marshmallow – start cooking this 45 mins before you set your BBQ going for the pork.
30 mins before you are ready to cook the Pork, get the BBQ going. This means the coals need to have gone grey prior to cooking for the right temperature.
When ready, remove the pork from the marinade and place it on the BBQ. Turn occassionally, brushing the pork with the remaining marinade as you cook – this helps to intensify the flavour of the pork and to keep it moist when cooking.
The pork should take apx 15 – 20 mins to cook through. Try not to overcook it else this will dry out the meat.
As you put the pork on the BBQ, make the Green Bean and Lemon Casserole – follow the link above to this recipe.
For a bit of added “szuszh” on the plate, cut a red onion in half, season with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook in the oven alongside the parcels of sweet potato. Finish them off on the BBQ to caramelise.
Serve everything up on warmed plates, and tuck in immediately helping yourself to more sweet potato as you go along, and …. Enjoy!
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