Sunday, October 18, 2009

getting out the crock pot

Top Chef introduces me to many different ingredients and flavor profiles. When I happen to have the ingredients on hand, I'm more likely to introduce them to a dish.

Enter the spice rack. Earlier in the summer, I used the ground ginger and basil on it to season a fillet of salmon to give it a distinctly Thai feel when it was finished with the slab of grilled pineapple. To tie this tale together, Top Chef this week had a pork competition. One of the cheftestants (yes, that's really what they call them) made a tenderloin that she seasoned with fennel and paired with sweet potatoes and apples. I've never had fennel before, so I didn't particularly know what it tasted like. It's on the spice rack. Experiment time!

3 lbs. pork tenderloin
1/2 bag of dried lentils, rehydrated
3 sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
25 oz. jar of plain applesauce
12 oz. your favorite Oktoberfest beer (or soup stock)
approx. 1 tsp. fennel

Layer the ingredients into a six quart crock pot. If yours is smaller, adjust quantities accordingly. I put the potatoes on the bottom, then lentils, then cubed pork, and finally applesauce. Season somewhere in between and add the liquid. Cook on high for 4 hours or so. If you want to cook it longer on low, I'd recommend browning the pork first so it's still recognizable at the end of the day.

Serve it over rice on a rainy day. It was pretty delicious. It'll be here all week.

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