South Africa is a melting pot of culinary ideas at the moment. With our history and our background as country we’ve become that proverbial teenager always looking for something fresh and different…and something we can call our own. There is a boom in the local artisanal gin world in South Africa. If you follow my social media posts you’ll know about my obsession with gin at the moment. Whenever I can I always try taste a new local gin. I reckon I’ve tried about 30 local gins at last count. One of these gins that stands out from the crowd and never ever fails is Inverroche. It’s the one South African gin I’ve offered to different people and everyone has enjoyed. So why would a chef be writing about gin? Well when you’re at culinary school you’re also taught about the world of alcohol and how to perfectly balance the flavour in it with the food you’re serving. Everyone knows this as “food pairing” and everyone also knows that we chefs are obsessed with cooking with wine. Why go with the norm? This recipe is about cooking with gin. People have this fear of cooking with spirits for some reason. Gin is awesome for cooking because of the strong herb based flavour it has.
Cool, so I’ve got my bottle of gin. What should I cook with it? This is where the tricky part came in. As it has a herb based flavour gin works well with white meats like fish, pork and chicken. It’s awesome in cures for salmon if you want to attempt to make a Salmon gravadlax, lovely with pork marinates and does wonders in basting sauces for chicken. I decided to make pork loin (the label said pork fillet for some reason. They are the same thing) my primary protein. I then looked at the lovely cans and packets of olives the lovely folk at Buffet Olives sent me. If you search on my blog you’ll find a post I wrote last year detailing olives and explaining everything about them. Buffet Olives are the largest supplier of olives in South Africa. They have a wide range of various stuffed olives (anchovy, lemon, garlic to name a few) which are awesome for cocktails, salads, tapenade…well, anything and everything really. Olives are quite diverse in themselves, you get some very savoury and “meaty” tasting ones, you have some sharp and citrusy ones, and you get some fresh “herby” ones and others that tend to be very fruity. When people tell me they hate olives I always retort with “you just haven’t tasted the right one”. After tasting the various olives from Buffet Olives I decided to go with the lemon stuffed cocktail olives. Lemon and pork are an awesome combination.
Gin, olives and pork. How will I put it together. Well, here’s the recipe below, try it yourself and let me know your thoughts.
- Pork loin – 450g
- Plum sauce – 100ml
- Soy Sauce – 50ml
- Mixed dry herbs – 15ml
- Inverroche gin – 100ml
- Rooibos infused honey – 45ml
- 10 lemon stuffed Buffet cocktail olives.
- Using a sharp knife cut off as much sinew from the outer layer as possible (sinew doesn’t cook well and ends up causing your meat to be tough)
- Pour all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Place the loin in marinate and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Place in the fridge overnight.
- NOTE: Do not add salt.
- Once the pork has marinated overnight remove from the dish and allow to rest at room temperature for half an hour.
- Slice the loin into segments about two fingers thick.
- Heat a pan and add about 3 spoonfuls of butter to it along with about 10 olives. Once the butter is melted and the pan is hot, place the pieces of loin in the pan HOWEVER to not grill the pork like you would normally. Tilt the pan slightly until the hot butter has pooled in one corner of the pan. Using a spoon scoop the hot butter over the loin pieces. Do this continuously. Once the underside of the loin has browned to a dark golden colour flip over and repeat the scooping of butter process until the meat is well browned on all sides.
- Remove the meat with tongs and place in an oven tray.
- Remove the olives and set aside. Do not discard the melted butter.
Inverroche and Olive sauce
- Leftover pork marinate
- Grilled lemon stuffed Buffet olives – 10 olives
- Double cream – 125ml
- Inverroche classic gin – 100ml
- Crushed garlic – 1tsp
- Dijon mustard – 1tblsp
- Thyme – 3 sprigs (chopped fine)
- Rosemary – 3 springs (chopped fine)
- Rooibos infused honey – 2tblsp
- Salt and pepper – to taste
- In the pan you just used to grill the meat, add the marinade you have left over to the melted butter. Add the garlic, mustard and herbs. Stir well to incorporate the mustard into the sauce.
- Slice the olives into rings and add to the pan.
- Pour the remaining ingredients to the pan and allow the sauce to simmer until thickened. (about 15 minutes). Stir at regular intervals.
I made stuffed cheese ravioli. Pork works well with pasta. I then placed everything on a bed of baby lettuce and shoots. I drizzled the sauce over the pork, ravioli and leaves. A simple lunchtime meal served with a gin and tonic infused with raspberries.
Think you can come up with a winning recipe?
Stand a chance to win with Buffet Olives and LesDaChef. One lucky winner stands a chance to win a gin and olive hamper sponsored by Inverroche Gin and Buffet Olives. To enter, share your gin inspired winter warmer food recipe on twitter or facebook, tag @LesDaChef, @Inverroche and @BuffetOlives and you could be a winner. Ts & Cs apply – Competition runs until the 2nd of June 2017 and the winner to be announced on 2 June 2017