Justification Tastes Like Cherries

Confession: I made this recipe really entirely because I bought a cherry pitter (and I bought the cherry pitter originally just to make an almondized version of Ivonne's cherry coffeecake - use almonds in the topping, replace the yogurt with sour cream, and add 1 tsp. almond extract to the batter - it's supergood), and I felt the need to justify the purchase beyond that. I collect new cooking toys, although I've been very good in limiting myself for the most part over the past year, as in the past I've gotten some and just never done very much with them. Some are infrequently used but indispensable when you want them, like this gorgeous food mill or a food processor, and those are perfectly acceptable. Some, like the bamboo steamer which I think is in a closet somewhere, ditto my creme brulee torch, were things I didn't think through well enough and now sit there waiting for nothing. But I wanted the cherry pitter to be different and not just a one-hit wonder purchase. It's quite a fancy little gadget, advertising a suction base and rapid-fire action, and sounded so cool that though it was a few bucks more, it simply had to be done. As Sara pointed out to me, at least I didn't spring for the really hardcore version.
The combination may go against your judgment at first, but think about all the yummy meat and fruit things that do go together - pork with pears or apples, chicken and apple sausage, turkey and cranberry sauce, duck with orange. I'm calling it gravy because of the roux to thicken it a bit, but should you want more of a pan juices sauce simply leave it out. The wine flavor seems more pronounced the next day. As it does have a sweet tinge, you'll want a good savory foil to go along. I made mine with a saffron pilaf, lightened a bit by the addition of lemon juice, but mashed potatoes a la Thanksgiving would be my next choice.
As for the cherry pitter? Worth every penny.

adapted from the all-new Joy of Cooking

for the pork
~ 1 lb pork loin
dried marjoram, sage, and savory
olive oil
salt and pepper
for the sauce
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 Tbsp flour
1 c red wine
1/2 c milk
1 1/2 c cherries, stemmed and pitted
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Take the pork loin and rub well on all sides with olive oil. Sprinkle over a mixture of the herbs and salt and pepper, and rub well over the surface of the pork. Place in a saute pan or Dutch oven and place in the oven. Cook at 450 for ten minutes, turning the pork after five. Turn the heat down to 250 and cook for another ten to fifteen minutes, turning every five minutes or so.
Meanwhile, halve the cherries and place in a bowl. Sprinkle over the balsamic and thyme and let sit while the pork cooks. When the pork is done, remove to a plate and cover with foil.
Take the pan in which the pork cooked and place on the stove above medium heat (if your pork was well trimmed, you may need to add a bit of oil to the drippings). Saute the onion in the drippings for a few minutes until beginning to soften. Sprinkle the flour over and stir in well. Let the flour mixture cook for a few minutes until beginning to color light brown. Stirring carefully as you go, add the wine to the pot. Bring to a gentle boil and stir for a minute or two. Add the milk and stir well. Add the cherry mixture, scraping the bowl to get the juices and vinegar, the lemon juice, and the brown sugar to the pot and stir well. Let boil for about three minutes, stirring well.
By this time the pork should have rested enough to be ready to cut. Slice the pork and pour some hot cherry gravy over each portion.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you tried the cake and like it!

Great post!

10:16 AM  

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