My favourite suppers are those which – apart from a little bit of work at the beginning – can be left to cook quietly by themselves while I get on with something else.
One of the most delicious is this simple loin of pork with prunes – a favourite Lopez-Viota family recipe given to Penelope Casas in Seville (via Concha from her mother-in-law) and included in her wonderful “La Cucina de Mama – The Great Home Cooking of Spain”.
Now the rich mix of pork with prunes and/or other fruit is familiar in Italy, France, Sweden and other countries as well as Spain - almost always wonderful but time consuming. Something for Sundays.
What is perfect about this easy dish is that the prep takes no more than 10 or 15 minutes – especially as I have taken liberties with Penny’s original (and undoubtedly superior) recipe and eliminated the pearl onions she specifies. Not always easy to find, these tiny onions are also fiddly to peel. So I leave them out. Unless it is Sunday. (Sorry Penny).
ALL YOU NEED: serves 4
2 lbs/900gr boneless pork tenderloin cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, slivered
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup chicken broth
8 pitted prunes.
Optional: 12 pearl onions, boiled for 3 minutes, rinsed under cold water, then skins removed.
In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the vinegar and sugar and stir until dissolved.
Heat the remaining oil in a deep pot. Add the pork, garlic and slivered onion and sate over medium high heat, stirring and sprinkling with salt and pepper until the onion is softened. Add the broth, the vinegar mixture and the prunes. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
If using, add the pearl onions and simmer a further 15 minutes.
Make your life easy and serve with Penny’s easy
Baked Rice (“La Cucina de Mama”)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons minced onion
1 cup Arborio or Valencian short grain rice (as for risotto)
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
a few strands of saffron, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400F
Heat the oil in a deep casserole, then add onion and cook until the onion has softened. Stir in the rice, coating it with the oil. Pour in the chicken broth and 1 cup water; stir in the parsley, thyme, saffron and salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Remove from flame, cover and put in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven an let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.