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Pork Loin with Persimmon Sauce

This recipe is like pork chops with apple sauce, only better.  Persimmons are one of my favorite fruits, and it’s not even a fruit I can recall eating much before college.  I don’t even think I knew they existed, nor did I see them in stores in the quantities I do now.  I remember the first time I saw a persimmon tree, it was on a trip up to a friend’s cabin in Clear Lake, Ca.  It was during college and for New Year’s, meaning that in Northern California it was pretty cold.  The tree was there, beside the lake, bare of any leaves, and drooping with bright orange persimmons.  It looked like Tim Burton and Dr. Seuss had gotten together and dreamed this thing up.  But in fact it was real – and the fruit was edible, and sweet.  Amazing.

My love affair with the persimmon continued on through college and my next impactful persimmon experience came when I was living with two friends, Henry and Andy, in some woman’s converted garage apartment in Palms.  It was kind of a weird living situation, I’ll be honest.  Henry was in a particularly resourceful mode and very into scavenging food from various places.  He found a persimmon tree in the front yard of a house that he swore was abandoned (by found, he and everyone else that passed the house “saw”).  We ate those persimmons like they were on the Monsanto “soon to be genetically altered” list – until one day a big hand painted sign appeared on the front lawn of the house that said, “Do not take persimmons.”  We felt a little bad.

Anyway, this recipe is somewhat similar to what you’d expect if you ate pork chops and apple sauce.  The persimmons offer a subtle sweetness, and the leeks balance them out with savory notes.  I added quite a bit of habanero hot sauce to mine to give it a bit of a kick, something that compliments the sweetness nicely.  If there was one thing I would change about the dish, it would be the slightly less than ideal color of the persimmon sauce.  But such is life.  Oh, and because I am moderately obsessed with dry Spanish chorizo, I shaved some over the top.  The smokey flavor is great.

You can really use any cut of pork you’d like for this, but I prefer pork loin because it is lean, quick cooking, and is relatively cheap.  Season the pork with salt and pepper and whack it in hot, oven safe skillet to brown on both sides.  Then bake for about 10 minutes or so.

Ingredients

-1 pork loin

-1 persimmon, sliced

-1/2 t fennel seed

-1 leek, white part only, sliced thin

-1/4 t cinnamon

-1 t hot pepper sauce (or more)

-1 T toasted walnuts

-1 C chicken stock

-Olive oil

-salt and pepper

Total time:  30 minutes

Serves: 2-4

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy skillet.  Add the persimmon and leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Once leeks are soft, transfer to a blender.  Add stock, fennel seed, cinnamon, hot pepper sauce and walnuts.  Blend until smooth (longer than you think you need to).  Transfer to a small sauce pan and simmer over low heat.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy, oven-safe skillet.  Season the pork loin with salt and pepper and brown on both sides.  Transfer to heated oven and cook about 10 minutes, until done.  Let sit at least 5 minutes and slice thin.

Top with persimmon sauce and shaved dry chorizo.  Enjoy

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