It was worth the wait.
Over the past few days, the slow braised pork medallion had marinated in orange zest, garlic and cumin and cooked to utter tenderness in a savory broth with onions and butternut squash and a dash of balsamic vinegar to balance the sweetness. I deglazed the Dutch oven with a tablespoon of dry sherry and added this to the meat.
Did you know that those small silicon basting brushes are great for deglazing sides of pots like this one? You just dab it into the liquid and wiggle the brush along the sides and all that lovely fond comes off and enriches the broth. Brilliant.
I pulled everything out of the fridge and preheated the oven. I had tried to return to work after a long bout of flu and secondary infections but was still quite unwell. I really needed some good nutrition. I had to finish this dish despite a lack of appetite and the ability to taste anything but I knew I would enjoy it regardless.
The oven was hot so I scooped out the meat and veggies and pulled off about a cup and a half of solid fat from the surface of the cooled broth. I was glad I took the extra day to remove the that thick layer of unctuous pork fat!
Everything went into my new lidded Le Creuset casserole dish and I popped it into the oven to get bubbling and hot. I added a half of a package of orzo to the broth and put it back into the oven to cook and absorb all the great flavors from the braising process. A final sprinkling of salt and it was ready.
The orzo had absorbed just the right amount of the broth but still had a pleasant brothy aspect. The meat was so very tender and yet not over cooked or stringy as one often finds in slow braised dishes. The onion had almost caramelized and the squash was tender and yet whole. Succulent is a wonderful word for this dish.
I untied the twine around the pork medallion and it fell apart into perfect hunks. I wish I had some parsley but it was just wonderful without it.
This is quite a rich and hearty dish, despite the defatting, and the 1.75 pound of pork would have easily fed six people. After eating a cat sized bowl and a small glass of wine (which I shouldn’t have had but it tasted wonderful), I portioned up the rest for work lunches.
On the 3rd day I realized suddenly that I could taste the nuances of orange and cumin from the marinade. I am so glad the flu etc. had ebbed enough to allow me to appreciate how these lovely flavors mingled together.