Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pork Loin a la Diable

The traditional French technique of using mustard to coat something is usually referred to as "a la diable" or "of the devil," and refers to mustard's spicy flavor.  Julia Child liked to do chicken this way, usually split and broiled.  It's simple, quick, and produces amazing results.  The mustard really mellows out as it cooks, and leaves a nice tangy earthy flavor on the finish.

In this variation, I have combined Dijon mustard with Turmeric. It brings a slightly bitter floral background note adding to the complexity of the flavor.  Turmeric is ground from a root that looks very much like ginger and is found all over Southeast Asian countries.  It gives curry its bright yellow/orange color, and is commonly used in many Asian cultures.

I also used a little Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, a Christmas gift from my sister.  Tony's is a staple in the Louisiana kitchen and winds up on anything you're at a loss to make taste better.  It has seen many Louisianians through their first years of being on their own and learning to cook for themselves - including me!  It's mostly Cayenne pepper and garlic salt - you could substitute both of these things if you don't have access to the magic of Tony's.  I thought the heat and sweetness of the garlic would balance out the tangy earthy flavors of the mustard and Turmeric nicely.

This was easy to put together and the scraps that I tasted were delicious.  I would serve it at a dinner party, no question, but it's going to make excellent sandwiches for Dan over the course of this coming week.  If you're not a fan of red meat, you could easily substitute chicken for the pork with equally delicious results.  Just increase the roasting time and make sure your chicken is cooked completely through.

Pork Loin a la Diable
1 pork loin
2 tablespoons mustard
2 cloves galic
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper
  1. Combine mustard, garlic, turmeric, and Tony's in a food processor.  Pulse until the garlic is finely minced.  Drizzle in the oil to form an emulsion with the food processor on and taste for seasoning when the oil is completely incorporated.  Correct with salt and pepper as necessary.
  2. Coat the pork loin with the mixture and sear in a dry hot non-stick oven-safe skillet.  You need not add oil because of the oil in the mustard mixture.
  3. Brown the pork on the stove and transfer to a 350˚ oven.  Roast for about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the pork loin and how done you would like it to be.  I cut my pork loin into three pieces before roasting so that it would be easier to brown in one skillet.

With wine: For a white, a dry Gewurztraminer or Riesling from Alsace would be a lovely choice.  Avoid anything sweet because the saltiness of this dish will make it seem even sweeter.  If you're looking for a red, think about a low alcohol Barbera d'Asti, a fruity Crianza Rioja, or an earthy Grenache-based Southern Rhone like Gigondas.  Just about any dry rosé would also be wonderful - I am partial to those from Southern France.  In all cases, the fruity flavors of the wine should balance out the earthy tangy richness of the pork nicely.

Bon appetit!