If Aristotle had quipped “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” about this superb dinner platter before a forkful of this graced his lips, you might have thought him daft. Just saying, what’s not to love about the platter’s parts? It’s hard to resist diving into a pot of hot basmati rice laden with sautéed olives, a sweet baby Vidalia, spinach, walnuts, and cream, with its scentuous fragrance wafting through your kitchen. Or, a fine, rich duxelles finished with a splash of Madeira—it tastes just as good on a saltine as a Wellington. And little has more culinary sensory appeal than the looks, sounds, touch, taste, and smells emanating from your back yard of full of hickory smoke saturated with the sizzling perfume of hot fat drippings from a slow cooked seasoned pork loin, and the spicy, sweet taste of the sorghum dripping from your fingers after you finish basting that loin to get the vaunted lacquered, mineral tasting bark? It’s all good.
But the sum is greater. The creamy, olive complexioned rice bedecked in sautéed walnuts is an unlikely perfect match with the subtle smokiness of the loin, itself formally dressed in sweet warmth with a polarity pairing of the finest Mississippi sorghum and black and red pepper. In a memorable palate shotgun wedding, the subtly smokin hot, spicy, and sweet marries the haute rich and creamy. All doubts about this marriage of distinct flavors are erased with the duxelles’ vows to wed them each into culinary bliss, performed through butter imbued blessings with appetizing grace. All could be fine single dishes, and all are made better with their union. The sum is greater; perhaps Aristotle was a chef.
For the rice:
1 ½ cup ecogrown Two Brooks Farm Missimati Bayou Bouquet Fragrant Brown Rice
2.75 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp olive
1 baby Vidalia onion, bulb and shoot minced
¾ cup black olives, chopped
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
¾ cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
For the pork loin:
3 to 4 pounds petite pork loins
Red pepper, salt, black pepper, to preference
½ cup sorghum, warmed before application. A little more for drizzling on plated pork.
For the duxelles:
½ pound favored seasonal mushroom, minced
2 tbsp clarified butter
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
½ tsp salt
¼ cup Madeira
Prepare the pork: In your grill light fire and burn to hot coals (use oven at 275 degrees Fahrenheit if no grill available). Lightly sprinkle loins with red pepper, then to taste with black pepper (don’t be shy) and salt. Smoke or cook until internal temperature is 135 degrees. Remove from grill and lightly coat with sorghum on all sides. Return and cook until internal temperature is 145 degrees F. Remove and set aside. Before plating with the rice, slice in pieces across grain less than ¼ inches thick. Retain drippings.
Prepare the rice: In medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and add rice, swirling rice to coat kernels. Add chicken stock, bring to boil, cover with tight fitting lid, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 35 minutes. Remove lid, fluff with fork, and simmer until liquid evaporated. Set aside. In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté walnuts for 1 minute. Add baby Vidalia onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add olives and sauté for 1 minute. Add spinach and sauté until spinach turns dark green and lightly wilted. Add cooked rice and blend well. Add heavy cream and blend well until heated and mixture somewhat thick. Set aside.
Prepare the duxelles: In medium sauté pan, melt clarified butter and add garlic, shallots, and salt. Sauté for a moment until shallots soften. Add mushrooms, blending to coat with butter. Continue to sauté the mushrooms until their internal moisture seeps and evaporates from pan. Mushrooms will begin to darken at this point. When an occasional mushroom sliver begins to crisp, add Madeira. Sauté until Madeira evaporated. Set aside.
To plate: Place olive rice in a mound in center of serving platter. Layer the slice pork loin like fallen dominoes around the rice. Lightly sprinkle the duxelles over the pork and the rice. Pour warmed retained drippings from slicing the pork over the olive rice. Sparingly drizzle the pork with thin ribbons of sorghum. Can place in oven warmed to 150 degrees F for a few minutes until ready to serve. Enjoy!