Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Moroccan Seasoned Braised Pork with Yams

Yes, I know. This recipe really takes liberties with Moroccan food. I apologize to my North African readers. There are virtually no authentic Moroccan pork recipes because most people in an Islamic country don't eat pork. I am not about to launch into any sort of religious or political diatribe here except to say that the spices in a sweet and savory ras el hanout ( a Moroccan spice mixture) go very well with pork, especially a lean roast pork like a pork sirloin tip, or a small loin roast. And with yams. Preserved lemon goes with both, too. This is totally and utterly toothsome and I suggest you run right out to the store and buy what you need and make it for dinner tonight.

While this may not strike you as a particularly June-ish dish, and I agree, it was just perfect for dinner on Friday when it was coolish and we got more than 4 inches of rain here near Philadelphia. Miserable dreary day and the pork was just right. Perfect actually, and there will be fighting over the leftovers, because like all braises, it improves with age. Luckily I hid it in the back of the fridge. So its mine.

Moroccan Seasoned Braised Pork with Yams

Moroccan Seasoned Braised Pork with Yams

Serves 4 - 5 

Note: If the ras el hanout you can find doesn't have any cinnamon or cloves in it, add about 1/4 teaspoon each of cloves and cinnamon to the spices.  I consider this dish Primal or Paleo. If you don't use yams, substitute about 4 large carrots for the yams. Hold off adding any salt until the pork is nearly done, as preserved lemon adds a great deal of salt to the finished dish.

Approx. 2-1/2 lb. pork sirloin tip or boneless pork loin roast
2 tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and in 6 wedges each
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large preserved lemon half, rinsed and seeded, pulp and skin minced
2 tablespoons ras el hanout (I like the    brand as it's sweet)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
3  yams (about a pound) peeled and in 1-1/2" inch slices)
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt if needed

1. Heat oven to 350ºF.  In a medium sized Dutch oven that will just hold the pork roast and the yams, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat, and brown the pork roast on all sides, for about 2-3 minutes a side. Remove the roast to a plate, and add the ras el hanout and the cumin. Stir in the oil for 10 -20 seconds, then add the garlic, preserved lemon, wine and the chicken stock.

2. Carefully put the pork back in the pot, topside down, and arrange the onions and yams around the meat. Grind 8- 10 grinds of fresh black pepper over the top.Cover and place the pot in the oven and cook for 1 hour. At this point, turn the meat, rearrange the vegetables and cook about 45 minutes to an hour longer, until the meat is very tender. Taste the juices for salt and add if needed. Serve directly from the Dutch oven at the table.

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