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Smothered Pork with Vegetables and herbs.jpeg

‘To make this all-in-one meal, I cook bite size pieces of pork tenderloin  in its own steam as it is smothered beneath layers of colourful fresh vegetables and herbs.  The pan is a canvas, the dish so visually appealing and you can use which ever vegetables you have available, but the important thing about this dish is to layer the vegetables and not to mix them too much, adding the vegetables that cook quicker on the top layer.  Add them gradually, layer by layer as the  pork cooks slowly to become succulent and moist.  The vegetables are added during the entire process of preparing this dish to retain the vibrant colour and their natural texture.

This is an ideal dish to entice younger children to eat vegetables.  I found that they are drawn to it because it is so colourful and  simply cannot wait to dig in, turning fresh vegetables into a big treat.

fresh herbs Malta

The winter in Malta brings a feast of available fresh herbs and they are nutrient dense and make any dish special Rather than use them in small amounts, I love dishes that embrace the freshness and flavours of these fresh herbs using them as a main ingredient as we would normally use spinach or kale.

You will need:

1 pork tenderloin, cut into bite size pieces [I use local fresh pork
1 fresh garlic, finely chopped [if not available use a garlic clove]
1 small leek

1 1/2 cups mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped [I used flat leaf parsley, chervil, marjoram and dill]
a pinch of dried herbs
1 bulb fresh fennel, chopped into slices
2 small carrots chopped
1 stock pot
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
120g  Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and chopped
2 leaves kale, stem removed and chopped finely
1 beetroot, finely diced
100g romanesco in small florets [if not available use broccoli or cauliflower]
2 tablespoons sweetcorn

150ml tinned chopped tomatoes

zest of 1/2 lemon, grated

5 tablespoons of cream

Method:

Trim the pork tenderloin and cut into bite size pieces.

Use a large heavy pan and add half the olive oil over medium heat.  Cook the pork pieces on both sides until they turn slightly golden and push to one side of the pan.

Start by adding the vegetables.

First add the chopped leeks and stir for a minute then add the chopped fresh garlic.  If you are adding a clove of garlic, add it after the stock.

Distribute the vegetables and pork evenly around the bottom of the pan, then add the sliced fennel, jerusalem artichokes and carrots.  Add the stock pot and 50ml of water and 1/3 of the herbs.  Add the dry herbs and bay leaves.

Cover and allow to cook for around 7 minutes.

At this stage it should look like this clip that follows.

 

Add the chopped tomatoes, distributing it evenly between the vegetables.

Now start to add the other vegetables, in layers, starting with the florettes of romanesco or broccoli/cauliflower.  Cover for 5 minutes, then add the cream, in very small amounts distributed evenly around the vegetables, then 1/3 of the vegetables and the kale.  Cover again and allow to cook on gentle heat for 5 minutes.

Next add the lemon zest, season with salt and pepper and add the sweet cover.

Cover again for 2 minutes and finally add the finely diced beetroot and the rest of the herbs.  Remove from the heat and allow it to rest, covered for 5 minutes before serving.

 

 

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