I can’t tell you how much I love Sunday Dinners! When I lived in England this was the one day I looked forward to every week. I go on and on about our lack of a real food culture and even England beats us at that. I’m not implying that we aren’t educated, interested or progressive towards our food culture but we don’t carry traditions for eating and gathering like a lot of European countries do. In my perfect world we would be able to drop by friend’s places for impromptu meals. We would eat celebratory meals on the weekend…and in fact, any day of the week. We would gather to bring our lives closer together with food being the catalyst.
I’m never stuck on one recipe as I love changing things up all the time. I like having the freedom to change recipes and ideas without a worry. Here is a great Sunday (or any day) dinner that is incredibly tasty and celebratory at the same time.
Roast pork loin with chipotle & pink peppercorns, hasselback potatoes, sauteed patty pan squash and a gratin of fennel. Finished with a chocolate & hazelnut stuffed pear wrapped in phyllo with vanilla bean infused cream.
Sit around the table with family and friends, drink some great red wine – ( I would go with a beautiful southern Rhone blend from France ) play boards games and top it off with a glass of Scotch or Brandy! This is my kind of meal.
Roast Pork Loin with red wine sauce -serves 4
454g (1lb) pork tenderloin fillets, trimmed
2 tbsp of pink peppercorns
2 teaspoons chipotle flakes
Red Wine Sauce
1 diced garlic clove
sprig of fresh rosemary & thyme
1 cup cup red wine (don’t use crappy wine, you’ll only be left with crappy flavour!)
150ml of chicken stock
2 tbsp of cold butter cubed
Hasselback potatoes – serves 4
12 sml-med size yellow potatoes (you want the creamy kind not dry and fluffy like russets)
Sauteed Patty Pan Squash – serves 4
12-18 Patty Pan Squash (If you can’t find Patty Pans you can use yellow and green zucchini. 2 of each kind)
salt & pepper
Fennel Gratin – serves 4
2 fennel bulb trimmed and cut into wedges
salt & pepper
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Chocolate & Hazelnut Stuffed Pears in Phyllo – serves 4
water & 2 tablespoons of sugar
100g of 70% chocolate
1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts chopped in food processor
8 sheets of phyllo
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 vanilla bean
2 tbsp sugar
1. I would start with the potatoes as they need to roast the longest. Do thin slices into the potato without cutting through all the way. Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Lay potatoes right side up on baking pan and pour olive oil over them. Sprinkle generously with salt. This is going to take about 45 mins.
2. Cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Add to cream with sugar and leave to rest in the fridge.
3. Next you’ll want to peel the pears, halve them and core them. Place them in a bath of water or white wine that just covers the pears. Throw in the vanilla bean left over from scraping into the cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar and bring to a gentle boil. Cook until a knife goes throw with little resistance. You don’t want them too soft or they’ll far apart when stuffing them.
4. Break up the chocolate and mix with hazelnuts. Allow it to melt a little so that it comes together. I do this by leaving it somewhere warm like the stove for a few minutes.
5. Once the pears have cooked and cooled you can stuff them with the chocolate mixture. Take a sheet of phyllo and brush with melted butter. Do this until you have four layers. Place one completed and stuffed pear in the middle. Bring all the sides up of the phyllo and twist. Put on baking sheet and let rest in the fridge until the rest of dinner is cooked.
6. Now the pork! Pat the pork dry. Crush the peppercorns and chipotle flakes in a pestle and mortar or with a heavy object. You want it to be coarse but not too coarse. Cover the pork with the crushed peppercorn and chipotle flakes and season with generous amount of salt. The salt will really help caramelize the pork and bring the flavours out. Heat a pan to high add some oil and sear all sides of the pork. If your pan can go directly into the oven then place it alongside the potatoes when the potatoes are about 15 mins from being done. Use a roasting pan if your sautee pan can’t go into the oven.
7. Sautee fennel with oil, pepper and salt until just soft. Put fennel into a small roasting dish and top with cheese and bread crumbs.
8. Meanwhile, dice up the shallots and garlic and sweat them for a few minutes. Add the wine and reduce till syrupy. Add the chicken stock and herbs and reduce to coating consistency. Sieve into a clean pan, bring to a simmer then whisk in the cubed butter to thicken. Check the seasoning.
9. Roast the pork until a thermometer in the meat reads 150F. Take out of oven, wrap in foil and set on top of the stove where it can stay warm.
10. When the potatoes and fennel are done you can sautee the Patty Pan squash on med-high with the oil, salt and pepper. Move them around so they colour all over, 5 mins tops. You want them to retain a bit of crunchiness.
11. Slice up the pork into medallions and serve with potatoes, squash and fennel. Spoon warm red wine sauce over meat and wherever else you desire. (Almost there…just one more thing….)
12. Turn the oven down to 350F and put the pears into the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is nice and golden to dark brown. Allow to rest. Serve cut in half with cream. It’s best if the pear is still slightly warm!
It seems like a lot of steps but it’s really quite straight forward. My advice is to take each step slowly and get people to help with the peeling etc… Enjoy!