Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chopped at home week 1: Babaganoosh & A Pork Roulade

Here's the second dish we made during our Chopped at Home playdate. The first dish you'll remember was Pork Wonton soup. Please allow me to introduce the rest of the ingredients we had to work with for this first challenge.

2 Chinese eggplants
3 tomatoes
2 red bell peppers
1 pork loin roast
a bunch of Chinese herbs

Recently I went to a cooking demo where the Chef made a garam masala spice blend - he sampled it to us via some fantastic babaganoosh with roasted red peppers and it was fabulous. I've never been much of an eggplant fan until I tried this babaganoosh, it was really flavorful and addictive. So when presented with 2 large Chinese eggplants I immediately thought of babaganoosh and the fabulous garam masala which I just happened to have all the spices to make it. Turns out my buddy was thinking babaganoosh as well, awesome! So we whipped up a batch of the spice blend and we roasted the veggies. Then we stood there and asked each other, "Ok, now what? We still have this pork loin to use up" and that's when we decided to pound out the loin, slather it in babaganoosh and roll it up roulade style.

We seared the pork rolls in a hot cast iron pan then finished them in the oven. They were pretty darn good I have to say. The babaganoosh filling turned out to be more of a tunnel of babaganoosh rather than a spiral roll but meh, that happens. The flavors blended nicely with the pork and the garam masala spices were really good with it. Would I make this again? Absolutely, with a few changes. First of all, it made a TON of babaganoosh (which we did enjoy with pita chips later that week) so keep that in mind. Second, I don't know that I'd go thru the messy work of making it into a roulade again; rather I'd cut the loin into chops, cook them & serve the babaganoosh as a side dipping sauce. But the flavors were really good and it was fun to work with different ingredients off the cuff.

So that leaves the Chinese herbs. We decided the best idea was to determine WHAT these strange herbs were before using them. Its a DARN good thing we did, too; turns out that we got a medicinal herbal packet, one of them you had to boil 9 times before its considered safe for ingestion. Another one claimed to be "Flavorless, sweet and neutral, however it could cause hallucinations as well as damp excretions" Needless to say we decided to forgo the herbs. There'll be another cooking playdate this weekend, who knows what we'll make next!

Babaganoosh Pork Roulade
Makes about 4 cups of babaganoosh
Pork Roulade serves 4 people
2 Chinese eggplant sliced 1/4 in thin (regular eggplant can be used if the Chinese variety can't be located)
3 tomatoes, halved and seeded
2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
4 oz cremini mushrooms
Olive oil
kosher salt
1 T Garam masala
Pork Loin roast
butchers twine or cotton string for tying

Preheat oven to 400F. Distribute vegetables between 2 sheet pans. Drizzle vegetables with about 3 T oil for each pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast. Check veggies half way and rotate pans if needed. If they're not browning much add a bit more oil. Once they've browned remove from oven.

Put roasted vegetables into the work bowl of a stand mixer along with the spices and puree, adding up to 4 T olive oil. Puree until you have a smooth mixture.

Pretty it isn't, however it is darn tasty!

~*~Kitchen Witch Tip: No food processor? No worries! This babaganoosh would be quite good in a chunky fashion as well. Simply chop all the roasted veg to your desired consistency then add the spices and stir. Next time I make it I'll leave it chunkier, more like a salsa~*~

To make the roulade:

Preheat oven to 350F

Cover counter tops with plastic wrap, you'll need 2 overlapping sheets. Dampen counter before laying plastic out for best adhesion. Cut roast in half and cover with plastic. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet pound out the meat to 1/4 in thick, trimming any tendons as you go.

Salt and pepper the meat. Spread babaganoosh over it evenly. Roll the pork along the long side and tie with butchers twine in a running knot. Sprinkle the roll with garam masala. Repeat with 2nd half of meat if you had to cut your roast in half as we did. (click here for more info on how to tie a roulade)

Sear tied roll in a hot cast iron skillet on all 4 sides, placing pan in oven once you start the sear on the last side. Cook pork until internal temperature of 150F is reached. Allow meat to rest at least 5 minutes before removing twine and serving.


Jenn said...

I love that statement the herbs made - as well as damp excretions - EEEWWWWW!! LOL Now that's a trip I've never had!!
The pork looks soooooooo good!! What if you took the babagnoosh and rubbed a thin layer of it over the pork (if you used chops) and than breaded it???? Wonder if that would work too....Great... Now I'm gonna be thinking about pork and babaganoosh all day!!

Pam said...

LOL! Funny with the flavorless herb packet. This dish sounds delicious! And looks great also!

Design Wine and Dine said...

I LOVE that you guys are doing this! This post is great ans shows how much fun you can have when being creative in the kitchen! It's how great recipes are discovered! I missed your garam masala post - going there now!!!!

Farmerswife said...

That looks so yummy!

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