“In the past, most people in Spain, like most people anywhere, could only afford to have meat dishes on special occasions. Pork loin with figs and Pedro Jiménez sauce is a simple yet sophisticated meat dish.”
Image and recipe from Barcelona Cult Recipes by Stephen Mitsch, Murdoch Books, RRP $49.99
Photography by Arnold Pöschl
Serves: 4 | Preparation: 15 minutes | Cooking, frying and roasting time: 55 minutes
For the side
1 tablespoon raisins
8 dried figs or pitted prunes, halved
Sherry for marinating
For the pork loin
1kg pork loin
Olive oil for frying
125ml sweet sherry (e.g. Pedro Jiménez)
1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon plain (all-purpose) flour
150–200ml hot chicken stock
Sea salt flakes
3–4 small sprigs thyme
1. Soak the raisins and dried figs or prunes in the sherry and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Trim any skin, tendons or fat off the pork loin. Trim off the ends and use elsewhere. Cut the meat into four even pieces.
3. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof pan over high heat and sear the pork loin all over. Cover, transfer to the middle rack of the oven and roast until cooked through, about 15–20 minutes.
4. Deglaze the meat juices in the roasting pan with the sherry. Heat some more olive oil in another pan over medium heat and caramelise the onion with a little salt. Once the onion is lightly caramelised, stir in the flour and cook for another minute before adding the sherry stock. Bring everything to the boil. Add the soaked dried fruit and simmer to reduce somewhat. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer for about 15 minutes to make a creamy gravy. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
5. Season the pork loin with pepper and arrange the slices on warmed plates. Pour the gravy around the meat slices and divide the dried fruit among the plates. Garnish with sea salt flakes and sprigs of thyme. Serve with potatoes.