Tonight's New Zealand dinner is made possible by my old (figuratively speaking) and awesome friend, Sonny, who picked this book up for me while on assignment in New Zealand. Many, many thanks to you for taking time out of your busy schedule to hunt this beautiful book down for my wacky journey!
This cook book includes some of the best recipes from chefs throughout the country, but I tried to pick a dish that would capture the feel of the country and still be easy enough to replicate without having to fly there to find the ingredients. Tonight's meal comes Central Otago and Queenstown, on the tip of the South Island.
Cuisine varies by location, but agriculture is the primary source that sustains New Zealand. Local produce, sea food and live stock are abundant, with British-based with Mediterranean and Pacific Rim traditions infusing the culture.
Liquored Pork with Apricots and Capers (Adapted from the Discover New Zealand Food Cookbook)
4 large pork chops
1 Tbsp. oil
1/2 cup brandy
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup Kahlua (I used the homemade stuff I made!)
1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup capers
1/4 cup walnuts or hazelnuts
1/2 cup cream
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a hot frying pan and brown the chops on both sides. Remove to an oven proof dish. Degalze the pan with brandy then orange juice. Turn down the heat and add the kahlua, the apricots and organge zest. Pour over the pork chops, cover and bake in moderate oven for 30 minutes. Add the capers, walnuts and cream. Season and bake for a further 10 minutes, uncovered.
Serve with a green salad and kumara orange mash.
Kumara Orange Mash (sweet potatoes) (Adapted from allrecipes.com)
2 lbs (about 4) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 4-5 inch chunks
1-1/4 cups fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. butter
salt and pepper to taste
Place the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan, add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, over and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the orange juice, ginger and garlic in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until he juice is reduced to 3/4 cup, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the butter and stir until melted.
When the sweet potatoes are tender, drain them and return to the saucepan. mash with a potato masher. Gradually add the reduced orange juice mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon. Season with pepper.
Final Assessment: My family loved this meal because the sauce was sweet and loaded with citrus flavor. The combination of brandy and Kahlua made a wonderful glaze and the addition of the capers, cream and apricots was just awesome-sauce. Served up along side Kumara Orange Mash (sweet potatoes) and a fresh green salad, the meal was a winner.