The potato, which was introduced to Europe in 1536, became very popular in various cuisines. Over the last 473 years, the potato has become a very important crop in Europe and over the last nine years, the potato has become important through China and Southeast Asia. Today, the potato has become one of the most versatile vegetables around. Although a starch, it can be boiled, mashed, baked, grilled, broiled, fried, and riced. It can be made into a gluten-free flour for breads and vegetarian thickener for stews and is even used in the medical industry to stop bleeding in accident victims.
The issue of Renaissance Magazine, I paired one of my easiest entrée recipes with one of the more complex side dishes. Applejack Pork is one of my family’s favorite recipes. Easy to make and always a crowd pleaser, it’s perfect for any potluck or historically accurate meal you may make. For this particular meal, I would recommend pre-slicing the potatoes, placing them in cold salt water (kosher or sea salt), and pre-heating the oven before beginning the Applejack Pork. This way, the potatoes and pork will get done together.
4 lb Pork Loin (can be larger or smaller)
Apple Cider (non-alcoholic)
10-12 Cinnamon sticks
4-8 Cored Harrelson or Braeburn Apples
Cooking time: One and a half hours
Take the pork loin and rinse with water. Place in pot, fat side up, on top of the stove. Fill the pot with apple cider so that it covers the pork loin. Add all of the cinnamon sticks so that they are in the apple cider. Sprinkle liberally with the powdered cinnamon and nutmeg. Cover and cook on the stove top at medium to medium-high heat to poach the pork loin.
While cooking, you will want to check on the pot. You want to make sue there is enough apple cider to keep cooking the meat and keep it moist. After about an hour, add the cored apples to the pot Cook for another half an hour so that apples are soft and tender.
Pull the pork and baked apples from the pot and turn up the heat on the leftover apple cider and pork au jus to reduce to approximately 2 cups. The reduction should be served with the pork loin like a light sauce and sprinkle lightly with powdered cinnamon.
Preheat over to 350 degrees F
3 lbs of red potatoes, thinly sliced
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large garlic clove, halved
4 table spoons of butter
2 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the potato slices into a bowl of cold water to remove the excess starch. Drain and pat dry with paper or cloth towels. Take the halved garlic clove and rub the cut side around a wide, shallow, ovenproof dish or cast iron pot. Butter or spray oil the dish/pot generously and blend the cream and milk together. Cover the bottom of the dish with a layer of the potatoes. Dot a bit of the butter and minced garlic over the potatoes and season with the salt and pepper. Pour a bit of the cream and milk mixture over the layer. Continue making layers until all of the ingredients have been used, ending with just a layer of cream. Bake for about 1 1/4 hours. If the potatoes are browning too quickly, cover with a lid or a piece of aluminum foil. The dish is done when the potatoes are soft and tender and the top is golden brown. Serves 8