1 September 2012

Barbecue Pork Loin Steaks with Apple, Walnut & Cress Wedge Salad and Cornbread

What a feast this was!

We put this meal together some time ago now, before the weather had turned from being monsoon-like into barbecue weather (albeit briefly) and so the pork steaks were cooked in the oven.

The two that are photographed here are the two from the Westin Gourmet pack (I think there's just the mince to blog about now, just in case you're getting fed up of hearing about Westin Gourmet!).  I was - in the same way as the French chicken - surprised and disappointed to discover that the pork steaks originated in Denmark.  Now we all know that Denmark are famous for their pork and bacon exports - but surely with all the great pork producers here in the U.K. Westin Gourmet could have come up with some British pork?

That aside, the pork steaks were undeniably tender and sweet tasting.  I had bought two pork chops for son & heir and myself to have and I can definitely confirm that the two Loin Steaks were by far the more tender.  Hubby gave me a taster, you see!

For all that, though, I can't help but say that I was happier with my locally produced pork chop, then ever I would have been with the steaks.  I'd take locally produced and more robust over imported and tender any day.  Quite apart from the miles it has travelled, there's always a question in my mind as to how the product got to be that tender.  Had it gone through some procedure(s) that made it so?  There's nothing on the packaging to say the meat has received any such attention and I wouldn't expect there to be.  It just leaves a question mark in my mind.

Anyway, getting back to the recipe side of things, it was another excuse to break out the excellent Mic's Chilli El Loco BBQ sauce and I slathered the steaks in it before putting them into a hot oven for 25 minutes or so (slightly longer for the chops, as they were bigger).

I served the pork with a wedge salad of Iceberg lettuce covered with shredded apple, crushed walnuts and cress - finishing it all off with the excellent Mary Berry & Daughter's Caesar Salad Dressing.  Delicious!  The walnuts and apple were scrummy with the cheesy salad dressing and it was lovely to have the crunch and freshness of the Iceberg lettuce.

I had been at something of a loss to think of what sort of carbohydrate to put with this meal.  We'd had a number of potato dishes recently and hubby isn't a great fan of potatoes at the best of times.  Pasta wouldn't do and all the grains such as quinoa and wheat weren't universally liked.  I suddenly remembered that I'd found a bag of cornmeal in the supermarket and bought it with cornbread in mind.  Perfect!   It had been absolutely years since we'd had any cornbread, so that would do the job.

I'd picked up a little jar of Chipotle chilli paste in the "marked down" section of the supermarket, so decided to use some of that along with some cheddar cheese in the cornbread, just to gee it up a little.

Gosh, but I'd forgotten how much I love cornbread.  I remember when I made my first batch and we were so surprised at how "cakey" the texture was.  Like most Brits, I'd been expecting something more "bready" and wasn't sure about this fairy cake texture at all.  That was until I bit into it and got a mouthful of the unique flavour that cornbread has.  That was it, then.  I was a confirmed cornbread fan from thereon in.

With the chipotle past and cheese included, the cornbread bakes up a little heavier than normal, but still with the deliciously corny flavour that all cornbreads have.  The chipotle paste adds a certain warmth and smoky flavour, with the cheesy depth that a good strong cheddar will add.  Gorgeous!

I've included the recipe I used for the cornbread below, just in case you want to try it.  Don't worry about adding flavours (such as the chilli paste or cheese) to it if it's your first go - make it plain (just leave them out) and sample it in its pure form to begin with.  Then you can decide whether you want to jazz it up for your next go.  I'm sure there will be a next go!

CHILLI AND CHEESE CORNBREAD  (makes 9-10 portions)

Ingredients :

190g plain flour
115g corn meal
half a tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
40g sugar
240ml buttermilk (or plain yoghurt)
1 large egg
55g butter, melted
3 tsp chipotle chilli paste
2 big handfuls of grated strong cheddar.

Method :

1.  Preheat the oven to 200degC/400degF/Gas 6.

2.  Grease a 9in baking pan with melted butter - or alternatively line with baking parchment, then grease with melted butter (helps with turning the loaf out).

3.  In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, including the cheese if you're using it.

4.  In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, including the chipotle paste if you're using it.

5.  Add the contents of the small bowl to the large one and mix together quickly but thoroughly.

6.  Pour into the prepared pan and level the surface.  Then bake for approximately 20 minutes (check it at 20 mins, it should be risen and brown on the surface, springy to the touch and a cocktail stick inserted into the middle should come out clean).

7.  Once baked, allow to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack to cool further.

8.  Is delicious served warm from the oven, but can be kept for a day or so (if you've any left, which is unlikely!).

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